10 Reasons for Sudden hair loss (and what to do)

So here we are, I want to provide you with 10 Reasons for Sudden hair loss in men and women. Most reasons for hair loss are benign and should not alarm you but others require further investigation, male pattern balding is a common reason for hair loss while some Autoimmune conditions should be taken more seriously. The journey to figure out what is causing your hair loss can be daunting since many diseases of the scalp mimic one another.

Reason 1: Stress

I have listed Stress as the first reason for hair loss since it is responsible for different types of conditions including Alopecia Areata which results in large clumps of hair falling out. Stress is also linked to Telogen Effluvium which leads to temporary loss of hair on the scalp since there is a change in the hair growth cycles - it is also the most common type of hair condition dermatologists see. I will discuss these two conditions separately since they can not always be linked to stress.

What you can do
Reduce your stress levels, and do your best to control your anxiety. One tip that seems to help is to stop analyzing your anxious thoughts, acknowledge the thought but do not dwell on it. Stress is the enemy of vibrant hair and can lead to some nasty conditions of the scalp.

Reason 2: Telogen Effluvium

This condition disrupts the hair growth cycle since it places more hairs in the telogen phase (rest phase) which simply means fewer are growing than usual. Over time, this imbalance results hair thinning but once the cause is identified - hair growth should resume as normal. Typically, this condition will only present a few months after a stressful event. There are various triggers that are mostly stress related including:

  • Everyday Stress
  • Changes in Diet
  • Hormonal changes
  • Severe Anxiety
  • Iron deficiency
  • Thyroid problems
What can i do?
Any stress needs to be reduced, and poor diet needs to be corrected. If you recently started taking a new kind of medication perhaps consult your doctor to assess its side effects. You may also be prescribed Rogaine which can help with hair growth.

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Reason 3: Alopecia areata

As discussed in reason 1, Alopecia areata is a type of sudden hair loss that results in clumpy hair loss. In essence, it affects people of all ages with people having circular patches of hair loss. About 5 percent of patients experience hair loss over their entire body including their eyebrows, nose hairs, and arm hair. Alopecia areata is classed as an autoimmune disease where the body mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, and for most people, the disease does not progress beyond mild hair loss.

What can I do?
There are not many treatment options for this disease, for many years cortisone injections have been used on the scalp to stop the inflammation. For those who cannot tolerate injections like children, Topical corticosteroids can also be prescribed. A third option is to apply a Minoxidil solution which works by extending the growth phase of the hair follicles so we would then produce more hair; it is usually taken for 3 to 4 months. Again, consult your doctor to discuss treatment options.

Reason 4: Hormones

In Men, testosterone is a leading cause of male pattern balding, however, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is a subset of testosterone is thought to be the primary culprit. DHT affects many areas of the body including androgen-based conditions like prostate diseases, excessive hair growth or male pattern baldness. There are various types of inhibitors namely 5?-Reductase inhibitors have provided good results in male pattern baldness.

What you can do
There are a few treatments that can help including the New Hair DHT blocker. Click the image below to buy this product. This product is thought to combat hair loss and strengthen the hair follicles.

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Reason 5: Excess Vitamin A

In most cases Vitamin A is good for the hair however excess intake of this supplement can actually lead to hair loss - this is because the hair follicles are being over stimulated. It is recommended never to take more than 10,000 IU per day since it can be toxic to the body; you may also experience dry eyes, nausea, and even vomiting.

What you can do
It is best to get your daily intake of Vitamin A from natural sources including Sweet potato, Spinach, liver, dairy products, and fish. If you are taking supplements it is best to consult your doctor before you begin. It is reassuring to know that iron deficiencies are reversible and so treating the cause will eliminate the symptoms. Your doctor will need to order a few blood tests to determine the level of iron and discuss treatment options.

Reason 6: Anemia

Anemia is a result of Iron deficiency which can lead to hair loss. It sends your body into survival mode in which you cannot produce hemoglobin and therefore your cells do not get enough oxygen. You may feel tired, look pale, and experience shortness of breath. A recent study suggests that anemia causes the same pattern of hair loss as male or female pattern baldness.

What can you do
First of all, Eat a healthy and balanced diet, also you can take iron supplements - typically you need about 18 milligrams per day but it is important to schedule an appointment with your GP to examine your symptoms.

Reason 7: Thyroid Problems

There are many issues of the thyroid (a small gland located in your neck) that can produce sudden hair loss. Hypothyroidism is a condition that causes an Underactive thyroid which can result in some nasty symptoms. You may feel tired, colder than usual, struggle with constipation, and even gain weight. On the opposite side, we also need to discuss hyperthyroidism, this occurs when there is an overproduction of the thyroxine hormone - you may hyperactive, nervous, heart palpitations, as well as hair loss.

What can you do
Thyroid problems can be serious so visit your doctor if you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.

Reason 8: Genetics

Nearly 70 percent of men will experience some type of balding by the time they reach 60. Age and genetics are the main perpetrators when it comes to male and female pattern hair loss. Men who have a bald father are very likely to suffer the same fate, and there is also a genetic link from the X chromosome from your mother's side; if your grandfather was bald you are more susceptible to lose your locks. Even though balding is results in a slow and steady form of hair loss, I have decided to include it here for completeness.

What can i do
Current drugs approved by the FDA include Rogaine which is applied to the scalp and may work to increase blood flow to the area. Finasteride is generally used for an enlarged prostate but it has been known to help balding in men.

Reason 9: Chemotherapy

It is worth mentioning that not all cancer treatments cause hair loss, some chemo treatments do not cause hair loss. When hair loss does occur it usually presents within 2 or 3 weeks of treatment. Every patient is different since some will have chunky hair loss and others a more gradual shedding will be seen. Since chemo drugs attack other the various cells in the body, your hair follicles are also at risk - it can also affect all hair including your eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic region.

What can i do?
There is no available treatment for hair loss during Chemotherapy, however, in some cases, hair can grow back during chemotherapy treatment. During radiation treatment hair will not regrow until a few months after treatment.

Reason 10: Trichotillomania

This is one of the leading causes of hair loss related to stress, it is a mental psychological disorder that causes patients to pull out their own hair. They may yank at their scalp, or pull at their eyebrows and some even report a sense of relief from performing this act. Some pull chunks of hair out at a time while others pull at the individual strands. It is thought to affect around 3 percent of the population, so it's more common than you think!

What can i do?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is used to try and change the patient's behavior, secondly, some medications have been used to calm the patient's nerves, and anxiety. Some would suggest seeing a psychologist talk about what the triggers may be.

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