Top 10 Reasons for Hair Loss

Written by on July 19, 2012 in Uncategorized - No comments

Our dermatologist explains some not so obvious reasons for losing hair.

Thick, lustrous hair is an important factor in individual attractiveness, yet most of us will  experience,at some time in our lives, a  problem  with hair loss. Hair loss can be scarring or non-scarring, temporary or permanent. The following are the top ten causes of temporary, non-scarring hair shedding, many of which can be prevented.

1) Iron deficiency.  Most menstruating women are iron deficient, and this is made worse by diets that exclude red meat, and are low in dark leafy vegetables.  Iron deficiency need not occur with anemia, so an iron level , rather than just a blood count, is helpful in diagnosis.

2)Female hormones. Birth control pills can trigger hair loss in some women.  Sometimes just starting or stopping hormone therapy is the trigger, and hair loss subsides as the body gets used to the new normal state.

3)Pregnancy.  See the above.  Childbirth often causes a hair shedding about three months after delivery. The loss may persist more than a few months if the woman is iron deficient, or has post-partum thyroid dysfunction, both common entities.

4) Thyroid dysfunction.  Either an over or under active thyroid can cause hair loss.  The hair loss is not always proportional to the magnitude of the thyroid dysfunction.  Modest abnormalities can cause large losses for some, and vice versa.

5) Diets/weight loss.  Too rapid weight loss shocks the hair into a resting  phase, where it is destined to be lost.  Dietary protein deficiencies may aggravate the loss.  Crash dieting is always to be avoided, if one is to maintain healthy hair.

6) Fevers of any cause.  Hair shedding will occur approximately three months after the febrile illness, and may last the same amount of time.

7) General anesthesia.  The “three month rule” also holds here.  Patients may not relate their hair loss to the anesthesia since it occurs much after the administration of the anesthesia.

8) Chronic illness.  Dermatologists may be the first physicians to diagnose early diabetes, autoimmune disease, liver or kidney problems, as occasionally these illnesses first present with sudden hair loss.

9) Vitamin D deficiency.

10) Medications, including hormones, antihypertensives, anti epileptics, cholesterol lowering meds, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, some antibiotics, chemo therapeutic agents, immunosuppressives, antidepressants and mood stabilizers.

While some of these hair loss triggers cannot be avoided, many can, and the sooner one recognizes the trigger the better.  Correcting deficiencies, eating a balanced diet, and minimizing medication exposure all are important to healthy hair.  In addition, it may be of value to add biotin (5 mg daily) to your diet, as well as fish oil, and a multivitamin with iron for women.  Vitamin D, 1000 i.u. should be taken if not contained in the multivitamin.
Many hair loss experts also talk of the value of keeping a regular schedule of sleep and meals, as hair growth cycles thrive on this regularity.


Biotin is a supplement that supports healthy hair.

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