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What Causes Hair Loss?
Hair loss is a common occurrence among many people. Although older adults are more likely to experience hair loss from the natural aging process, it’s also a side effect of many different health conditions.
If you’re experiencing hair loss, you may be curious what’s causing it and when to seek help from your doctor. Here are different health conditions that are commonly associated with hair loss, as well as treatment options and prevention.
What Can Cause Hair Loss?
It’s completely normal to lose hair daily. However, if you see a noticeable difference, that could mean there’s an underlying issue.
Here are some signs to look out for:
- Receding hairline
- Bald spots/patches
- Extensive loss of hair after washing or brushing
- Itching on the scalp1
Here are some common causes of hair loss that do not relate to any specific health concern:
- Family history/hereditary
- Hormonal changes
- Hairstyles or hair treatments
Although not all causes are preventable, if you believe you’re struggling with hair loss due to certain medications or stress, talk with your doctor.
Aside from the common causes above, numerous health conditions can contribute to hair loss.
Thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or thyroid disease can cause hair loss. The thyroid hormone is essential for hair follicle development.3 When the thyroid is impacted due to one of these conditions, hair loss is common.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and pain throughout different parts of the body.4 The inflammation from Lupus can spread to the scalp, which can lead to hair thinning and hair loss. Lesions may also develop on the scalp, which can scar the hair follicles and cause permanent hair loss.5
People with diabetes may experience hair loss. Diabetes can interrupt the hair growth process, and it can also cause more hair loss than normal. Those with diabetes are also at risk for alopecia areata, which is when the immune system attacks the hair follicles and causes hair loss on the head or other areas of the body.6
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder among women.7 Hair loss is a symptom of this disorder. Those with PCOS experience hair loss because excess androgenic hormones are present.8
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition and chronic skin disease that causes inflammation throughout the body, rashes, and scaly skin.9 Psoriasis can cause hair loss if the scalp is impacted. The lesions that appear with this autoimmune disorder can cause breakage or affect the scalp where the hair follicles are.10
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in the digestive tract.11 Crohn’s can affect the body’s ability to digest nutrients. If someone becomes malnourished because of this, hair loss is common. Medication for Crohn’s may also be a cause of hair loss.12
In some cases, such as the medical conditions mentioned above, hair loss is inevitable or extremely difficult to prevent. However, here are some tips to take good care of your hair and hair follicles, and potentially prevent permanent hair loss.2
- Be gentle with your hair when brushing
- Avoid coloring or dyeing hair
- Refrain from using hot tools too often
- Protect your hair from hot tools with a heat protectant
- Ask your doctor or a trusted professional about hydrating or soothing hair treatments/masks
- Ask your doctor about medications that may be affecting your hair
If you have a health condition that affects the hair and causes hair loss, talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan. In most cases, medications and treatment for some of these conditions can help treat symptoms such as hair loss.
Learn More Today
If you or a loved one experience excessive hair loss, talk with a doctor. You can discuss your hair loss condition and work together to identify the underlying cause.
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Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- Moore, Kristeen. “Everything You Need to Know About Hair Loss.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. January 27th, 2022. Accessed May 17th, 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/hair-loss.
- “Hair loss.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mayo Clinic. March 26th, 2022. Accessed May 17th, 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hair-loss/symptoms-causes/syc-20372926#:~:text=It%20can%20be%20the%20result,most%20common%20cause%20of%20baldness.
- Barrell, Amanda. “What to know about thyroid function and hair loss.” Healthline Media, Medical News Today. November 9th, 2019. Accessed May 17th, 2022. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326902.
- “Lupus: Types, Symptoms, & Diagnosis.” Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. May 7th, 2022. Accessed May 17th, 2022. https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/lupus-types-and-symptoms.
- “Lupus: Can it cause hair loss?” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mayo Clinic. November 24th, 2020. Accessed May 17th, 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lupus/expert-answers/lupus/faq-20058400#:~:text=But%20some%20people%20with%20lupus,appearance%20known%20as%20lupus%20hair.
- Stephanie, Watson. “Does Diabetes Cause Hair Loss?” Healthline Media, healthline.com. September 29th, 2018. Accessed May 17th, 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/does-diabetes-cause-hair-loss.
- “Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mayo Clinic. October 3rd, 2020. Accessed May 18th, 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/symptoms-causes/syc-20353439.
- “PCOS Hair Loss: Effective Treatment Options for Hair Loss.” Flo Health, flo.health. Accessed May 18th, 2022. https://flo.health/pcos/pcos-hair-loss#:~:text=Does%20PCOS%20cause%20hair%20loss,and%20is%20dry%20and%20damaged.
- “Psoriasis: Facts, Symptoms, & Awareness.” Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. August 12th, 2021. Accessed May 18th, 2022. https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/psoriasis-awareness.
- “Autoimmune Diseases and Hair Loss.” Specialty Infusion Centers, specialtyinfusion.com. Accessed May 18th, 2022. https://specialtyinfusion.com/2020/11/11/autoimmune-diseases-and-hair-loss/.
- “Crohn’s vs. Ulcerative Colitis: How Are They Different?” Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. December 5th, 2021. Accessed May 18th, 2022. https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/crohns-disease-and-ulcerative-colitis.
- Charmley, Sarah. “Can Crohn’s disease cause hair loss?” Healthline Media, Medical News Today. April 27th, 2022. Accessed May 18th, 2022. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/can-crohns-disease-cause-hair-loss.