Many of us have a strong attachment to our hair, so it is no surprise that we feel distressed and depressed when handfuls of strands come out in the shower or while brushing. It can be disconcerting at first and leave us with many questions about what is causing it. Here, we’ll discuss some reasons why your hair may be falling out.
Medical Conditions and Hormone Changes
There is a range of medical or hormonal conditions that can cause hair loss, including:
- Androgenic Alopecia: Also known as male or female-pattern hair loss, androgenic alopecia is the primary cause of hair loss for other adults. In women, this typically occurs around menopause, when estrogen and progesterone levels fall and androgens and male hormones increase. Because of these changes, hair may become finer due to hair follicles shrinking, which can cause it to fall out.
- PCOS: This common hormone disorder can cause a gamut of symptoms, and, for some, that includes hair thinning and hair loss.
- Anemia: A 2013 study published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science found that iron deficiency may play a role in hair loss.
- Autoimmune Diseases: Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that results in hair loss. People with (or have a family history of) conditions such as thyroid disorders, diabetes, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and lupus may be more susceptible to it.
- Postpartum: Many women experience hair growth during pregnancy, but post pregnancy can be a different story! When your hormone levels start returning to pre-pregnancy levels, it can cause more of your hair follicles to go into a “resting phase” – where more hair falls out than normal. Be gentle on your hair, and gentle on yourself! It shouldn’t last more than six months.
Medication and Medical Treatments
Some medicines may cause hair loss, including:
- Epilepsy drugs
- High blood pressure medications like beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics
- Mood stabilizers
- Parkinson’s disease drugs
- Tamoxifen, which blocks the estrogen receptors to treat and prevent breast cancer.
- Weight-loss drugs
Stress can cause many problems, from physical and mental illness to pain, exhaustion, and, you guessed it, hair loss. Hair loss due to stress is not usually permanent as long as you can get your stress under control. There are three types of hair loss attributed to stress.
- Telogen Effluvium: Occurs when stress pushes large numbers of hair follicles into one place, causing them to suddenly fall out when combing or washing.
- Trichotillomania: The compulsive act of pulling out one’s hair due to stress and anxiety.
- Alopecia Areata: Caused when stress affects the immune system.
If you are experiencing unexplained hair loss, it’s best to speak with your doctor so that they can identify what may be causing yours, and help provide you with treatment options!