It is reported that hair loss can affect 70 per cent of men and 50 per cent of women at some stage of their lives. While the majority of men seeking treatments are affected by inherited male pattern baldness, known medically as androgenetic alopecia, it is important to obtain an accurate diagnosis to determine the cause of the hair loss.
Like men, the most common form of permanent female hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, although the connection to a hormonal imbalance is less clear. This condition does have a hereditary link so if there is a family history you may have a genetic predisposition.
Weight loss, low iron levels, stress and lifestyle, poor eating habits, crash diets, hormonal imbalances, along with thyroid and other medical conditions can all cause the hair to fall out trichologist Kate Dawes explains. Hair needs a healthy diet and a well-functioning endocrine system to grow and be healthy.
People have between 100,000 and 150,000 hairs on their head. It is considered normal to lose between 100-150 hairs per day as the hair cycle is constantly cycling between the growth phase (Anagen), the transitional phase (Catagen), and the resting phase (Telogen).
Androgenetic alopecia also known as male or female pattern baldness is the major cause of hair loss in men is genetically inherited. In these men sensitivity to the hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, results in hair loss. Typically beginning at the temples or crown, the DHT sensitive hair thins, weakens and eventually falls out.
Alopecia areata is common in people younger than 20, though the auto immune disease alopecia areata can affect men and women of all ages. Alopecia Areata occurs when the immune system attacks the hair follicles and becomes evident through smooth bald patches on the scalp. In the majority of cases the hair grows back.
Telogen effluvium is the term referred to for sudden and rapid shedding of hair. This can be due to the side effects of medications, dietary deficiencies, systemic disease or stress.
Cicatricial alopecia also called scarring alopecia refers to a group of rare disorders that destroy hair follicles. The follicles are replaced with scar tissue, causing permanent hair loss. The thinning of hair can be gradual, whilst at other times it can be rapid. This condition can also cause pain and discomfort. A course of treatment for this type of hair loss is decided on after a clinical evaluation and scalp biopsy.
Traction alopecia involves breakage of hair, often occurs as a result of putting too much pressure on the hair through tight elastic bands, pony tails or braids.
Trichotillomania is a hair pulling disorder affecting the scalp and eyelashes. Hair loss ends when voluntary pulling of hair, which often requires counselling and or medication, stops.
Tinea capitis is a fungal infection of the scalp which usually presents as bald spots with broken off hairs. Treated with oral antifungals, the condition is rarely seen in healthy adults.
Other causes of hair loss and hair thinning can include:
- Stress and lifestyle
- Thyroid disease
- Nutritional deficiency
- Mineral imbalances
- Medications / treatments
- Autoimmune diseases
- Iron deficiency
At Medical Hair Restoration Australia we are dedicated to treating hair loss. If you are trying to find out the cause of your hair loss or are searching for a solution, our professionals can help.