Welcome to another installment on my article series on the many reasons why your hair may be falling out.
Today’s post focuses on some more serious reasons why you may lose your hair. Though some of these may be rare, they’re certainly worth looking into. Once a health condition that causes hair loss takes hold, it’s harder to manage.
But not impossible.
I’ll cover 10 different types of health conditions that can directly or indirectly cause hair loss, along with some things you can do if you’re in this situation and hoping to manage the amount of hair you’re losing.
If you’re losing your hair and worried about developing a hair loss condition, it could have to do with diet. Click here to see my article on the best foods to eat for hair growth.
Let’s take a look at 10 health conditions that affect hair growth.
Another term for male or female pattern hair loss, androgenetic alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss.
This type of hair loss is genetic for both men and women. However, the type of hair loss differs.
In men, hair is typically lost from the temples and crown of the head.
For women, hair becomes thinner all over the head.
While androgenetic alopecia is more likely to happen as someone ages, it can begin any time after puberty. For women, the condition will usually take hold following menopause.
Unfortunately, the cause isn’t fully understood, but researchers believe that both genetics and hormones play a role.
If you believe this may be affecting you, talk to your doctor. They may be able to recommend methods or treatments to slow down the onset of this condition.
While not a health condition, being pregnant can alter the way you look and feel for some time. This is mainly due to the drastic changes in hormones during pregnancy.
When pregnant, your hair is far less likely to fall out due to an increase in certain hormones. Following pregnancy – and these hormones returning to normal levels – there’s an increase in hair loss as the hair growth cycle resets itself.
This typically resolves within a year of giving birth.
If you’re looking for ways to help your hair get back to normal following pregnancy, use volumizing shampoos and conditioners, products designed for fine hair, and avoid products that can be harsh on your hair or scalp.
Telogen effluvium is a condition where your hair gets “stuck” in a phase of the growth cycle called the “natural shedding phase”. As a result, much more hair falls out than normal.
Typically, this is a temporary condition that can even resolve itself over time. However, sometimes it can be the result of a more serious health condition. For this reason, it’s best to talk to your doctor if you think you may have telogen effluvium.
Some possible causes include stress, surgery, childbirth, rapid weight loss, thyroid problems, or certain medications.
No matter the trigger, an expert will be able to help you treat the underlying cause so that your hair can get back to normal as soon as possible!
This is another condition that stems from the hair growth cycle.
With anagen effluvium, your hair loss is far more drastic during the growth phase of the hair cycle.
Typical causes of anagen effluvium include chemotherapy, radiation exposure, fungal infections, or autoimmune diseases.
Anagen effluvium also affects hair on the entire body, such as eyelashes and eyebrows.
If you think your hair loss may be due to anagen effluvium, it’s important that you speak to your doctor so that they can pinpoint the cause and help you find a proper treatment.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks hair follicles, causing sudden hair loss.
Hair all over the body can be affected by this condition and it usually shows in patches.
If you have alopecia areata, it’s important to seek medical attention to help treat the condition and allow you to get your hair back.
When you wear certain hairstyles that pull your hair tight, this can cause hair loss. It’s a condition called traction alopecia and it’s due to trauma of the scalp.
If caught early, the scalp can heal and hair growth can return to normal. However, prolonged tension may cause permanent damage and baldness.
Hairstyles that have been associated with this condition include tight buns or ponytails, braids, cornrows, and hair extensions.
If you’re worried about traction alopecia, be sure to avoid tight hairstyles.
Though not a health condition, you may be taking medications for health conditions.
Certain types can have side effects that result in hair loss.
Common medications that can result in this are blood thinners, acne treatment medications, antidepressants, beta-blockers, birth control pills, and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
If you think your medication may be the cause of your hair loss, consult with your doctor. They may be able to adjust your dose or recommend a different medication altogether.
For your hair to be healthy and strong, it’s crucial to maintain healthy levels of nutrients. Otherwise, a deficiency may lead to a hair-loss condition.
To read which specific nutrients you want to make sure you’re getting enough of to avoid hair loss, read my article on the importance of a proper diet for healthy hair.
Though you can get ringworm almost anywhere on your body, when it manifests on your scalp, this fungal infection can cause hair loss. In such a case, it’s referred to as tinea capitis.
Because it’s contagious, you can get ringworm from an infected person, animal, object, or even from soil. Heat and moisture can also cause the fungi to develop and grow.
Symptoms of ringworm include…
Though ringworm may go away on its own, it’s best to consult your doctor so they can prescribe you an antifungal medicine that can help get rid of it so you can get your hair (and skin) back to its healthy ways!
This isn’t a health condition, but it’s very important as a decline in collagen will likely lead to hair loss sooner or later.
You can lose your collagen in several different ways, including stress, exposure to environmental toxins, consuming alcohol, smoking, and more. Collagen levels also naturally drop as we age and they can plummet during menopause.
Symptoms of low collagen can include thinning hair, along with an increase in wrinkles, joint pain, aching muscles, dental issues, and more.
We can experience hair loss for many reasons. Sometimes it’s a temporary period of increased hair loss. But other times it can be more serious.
If you’re losing a lot of hair – especially all of a sudden – and it’s leaving lasting patches of baldness, it’s likely due to a health condition. If this is you, it’s best to visit an expert who can evaluate your situation and help you find a treatment.