The growth phase of hair follicles varies depending on various factors. These may create hair shafts that are thinner and shorter if the person goes through certain hormonal changes or if his hair or scalp becomes irritated or damaged. Even your hair has its own cycle of growth and rest. The duration of the cycle is different for many people. The general case though when it comes to the growth period of the hair on the scalp is that it takes about two to three years. This growth phase is also referred to as “anagen.” This is the period during which the hair grows at a rate of less than one centimeter in a month. When the resting period of the cycle comes, your hair now undergoes the phase that is referred to “telogen.” This takes about three to four months. At the end of this part of the cycle, the strand of your hair will fall off and a new strand will take its place. On average, a person typically sheds off 50 up to 100 strands of hair per day. This is hardly noticeable because your scalp has about 100,000 hair strands. As you age, it is normal and expected that your hair will become thinner. It can lead to baldness when the scalp sheds off more hair than usual, and when the rate of shedding off exceeds the re-growth rate.
HORMONAL CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS
This condition can happen both in women and men. The male and female pattern baldness happens when the hair appears to be thinner than usual and the duration of its growth becomes shorter. For every growth cycle, each strand of hair becomes superficially embedded and will fall out in an easier manner.
This is said to be the major cause of thinning of hair in both genders. It is just that for women, the thinning of hair happens uniformly all over the head, while the loss of hair in men usually starts at the front of their head up to their crown.
The main cause of male and female pattern baldness is the androgen DHT or dihydrotestosterone. You are prone to develop this condition if the androgen receptors on your hair follicles are greater than the DHT where these will attach to. This is hereditary and can be brought about by your genes. It will help if you will use anti-androgens or drugs that are created to stop the production of DHT. Continuous studies are also being conducted to find out more about how to implement gene therapy and how it can help in this kind of condition.
Hair loss can also happen in women soon after they give birth. As their body recovers from what it has gone through, it also experiences hormonal changes. In this state, many of their hair strands enter the telogen or resting phase. This period usually lasts for two or three months after giving birth, but there are also some cases in which the condition takes up to six months before it completely heals.
Birth control pills
Women whose genes are susceptible to androgenic alopecia (androgen-related baldness) will experience this sooner than expected once they start taking birth control pills. The pills will affect your hormones, which will trigger the hair condition to appear. If you have a family history of female pattern baldness, it is only apt to tell your doctor about it before taking the pills. The shedding of hair usually begins two or three months after a woman stops taking the pill. There are cases when the lost hairs do not grow back.
DISEASE OR ILLNESS
Certain diseases cause hormonal imbalance that then leads to hair loss. You can also recuperate from the hair loss problem once the disease is gone and you have regained your health.
Severe flu, infection and high fever
You will likely experience hair loss one to three months after you have suffered from any of these three common diseases. The condition is temporary and can be reversed when you are completely healed.
Hair loss can happen to people who have an overactive or underactive thyroid. With proper treatment though, the hair loss can be stopped and reversed.
When your eating habits are abnormal or you get only low amounts of protein in your system, you will likely suffer from protein malnutrition. In this case, your body will try to save protein by growing hair while it is on a resting period. This will result to massive hair shedding after two to three months. You will notice at this point that hair can be easily pulled out. This can also be reversed when you begin eating right and taking sufficient amounts of protein into your system.
There are some prescription drugs that can cause minimal hair shedding temporarily. These drugs include those that are used for heart ailments, depression, arthritis, gout, and high blood pressure. Taking blood thinners and high doses of vitamin A are also known causes of temporary baldness.
Common treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can lead to hair loss as the hair cells are prevented from dividing. When this happens, the hair will become thinner and break off as the strands easily detach from the scalp. This can be usually experienced one to three weeks after you have started chemotherapy. In this case, it is expected that you will lose up to 90 percent of your hair. The most common way to deal with this is by wearing wigs. Medical experts are finding ways to develop drugs that can help in preventing hair loss from happening in this case.
Hair loss can also be caused by iron deficiency. This happens when you don’t eat foods that are rich in iron. For women, this condition may surface when they have heavy menstrual periods. Once you have found out that you have this kind of deficiency after going through the necessary lab tests, you can take iron pills to try to correct your condition.
Major surgery or chronic illness
When you undergo any major operation, your system suffers a tremendous shock. This will result to frequent hair shedding one to three months after the procedure. It will reverse after a few months, except for those who have severe chronic illness. In this case, shedding of hair can be an indefinite case. It is interesting to note that hair transplantation surgery can lead to additional hair loss. The strands of hair that you will lose in this instance would no longer grow back.
This happens when your immune system treats the hair follicles as antibodies and acts to shut these down. The hair loss can be minimal, affecting an area in the scalp that may be no bigger than a coin, but it can also be severe. The latter is also known as alopecia totalis, where you will lose all hair on your entire body. This can be cured by taking the necessary drugs, undergoing a special type of light treatment, or by using topical medications.
Fungus Infection on the scalp
This is also known as ringworm, which is contagious and happens more often to children. This starts with tiny patches of scaling that can spread and cause redness and swelling. This can be handled by giving the patient the appropriate, doctor-prescribed oral medications.
Many people who have major problems that cause anxiety and stress typically suffer from hair loss three months after this problematic period. It will take another three months to stop the occurrence and for hair to grow back to its usual rate. If the sufferer is genetically bound to experience androgenic alopecia, stress can prompt the occurrence of hair loss or worsen it if the condition has already started.
Hair loss can also be self-inflicted. For one, people who are stressed out unintentionally pull at their hair. This can also be caused by some types and manners of hair styling, which include braiding, straightening and bleaching.
This is also referred to as trichotillomania. For children, the act is often part of their games, but many adults resort to this unintentionally whenever they are bothered. If your hair will be subjected to the constant stress that this action may create, this may lead to permanent hair loss. If the action can no longer be helped, it is best that you consult a mental health expert about the matter.
Hair Styling Treatments
It is very important that you be very careful about all kinds of products that you put on your hair. These include coloring, bleaches, tints, relaxers and permanent waves. You must also make sure that you only let a professional do any kind of treatment that you want to be done on your crowning glory. Your hair can only tolerate a minimal amount of chemicals and exposure to certain procedures. You must not abuse the use of these treatments to avoid suffering from unwanted consequences that may result. If you have to use the products on your own, make sure that you follow the instructions carefully, or better yet, let a qualified hair stylist do the task for you.