Did you know that the average human, male or female, loses about 50 to 100 strands of hair each day? And while some degree of hair loss is normal as you age, especially for men, sometimes it can be hiding signs of underlying disease, which is why it is important to speak to a doctor online about excessive hair loss.
Hair loss can be a significant source of stress for many people, as it can affect your appearance and thus your self-esteem and confidence. Balding men may feel less confident and shy away from dating and meeting new people for fear of judgment. But a part of learning to accept your hair loss is knowing what causes it and how to treat it:
How Hair Grows
The human scalp typically consists of over 100,000 hair follicles. A hair emerging from a follicle follows a three-step process of growth, rest and renewal, over the course of three to six years. The root is the only living part of the hair, which is supplied with oxygen, nutrients and lubrication through the follicle. Every few years, the hair falls out and is replaced by a new one. Balding occurs when the hair that regrows is progressively shorter and finer each time it regrows, eventually becoming so short and delicate that it is no longer visible.
The Causes of Hair Loss
- Androgenetic alopecia
Almost 95% of all hair loss in men is caused due to genetic factors, also known as androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness. In men, this type of baldness typically starts with a receding hairline followed by a bald patch at the crown that progressively gets larger. In women, androgenetic alopecia typically causes overall thinning and is known as female pattern baldness.
Androgenetic alopecia is caused by the androgen hormone, which ensures normal male sexual development before birth and during puberty. An increase in androgen leads to a shorter cycle of hair growth and a delay in regrowth, which results in shorter, thinner hair.
- Alopecia areata
On the other hand, alopecia areata causes hair to fall out in patches and does not follow a set pattern. This form of hair loss is typically caused by immune system disorders that cause inflammation of the hair follicles.
- Childbirth or menopause
Many women see an increase in hair loss in the months after they give birth or after they hit menopause. This is because of hormonal changes in the body, such as a dip in estrogen following pregnancy. However, this type of hair loss is usually temporary, and most women see their hair return to normal by the baby’s first birthday.
When it comes to menopause, hair loss is caused by a dip in the production of estrogen and progesterone and a rise in androgen. Androgens cause the hair follicles on the scalp to shrink but may cause increased facial hair growth.
- Fungal infections
Most commonly seen in children, fungal infections such as ringworm can cause patchy hair loss.
- Anagen effluvium
Also known as hair loss due to chemo or radiotherapy, this hair loss is reversible, and new hair usually regrows once treatment stops.
- Telogen effluvium
This form of hair loss occurs due to traumatic events, stress, depression, illness or certain medication. This is temporary and usually reversible once the medication ends or you recover from your illness.
Speak to a doctor online to get an accurate diagnosis of what is causing your hair loss. Your doctor may recommend a hormone test to analyse hormone levels or a blood test to uncover underlying medical conditions. Your doctor will likely ask about your diet, hair care routine, medical and family history to figure out the cause of your hair loss.