Illnesses that cause hair loss
Hair loss symptoms
The primary symptom is hair loss, which is the most common. Affected individuals may have gradual hair thinning on the top of their heads, circular or spotty bald spots, rapid loss of hair, complete body hair loss, or patches of scaling that spread across the scalp.
What causes hair loss?
There are a variety of factors that contribute to hair loss. Some of the considerations are as follows:
- Alopecia is more likely to occur if there is a hereditary or familial history of the condition.
- Hair loss could be caused by hormonal changes-imbalances that occur during pregnancy or menopause.
- Scalp infections, lichen planus, lupus, sarcoidosis, a hair-pulling ailment, and an autoimmune disorder are all examples of medical conditions.
- Medications such as cancer treatments and vitamin A consumption are examples of this.
- Radiation therapy to the head.
- Stressful events, such as unexpected weight loss, surgery, high fever, or the death of a loved one, can cause hair to fall out.
- Certain hairstyles cause the hair to be pulled tightly.
- Cosmetic procedures have the potential to cause irritation of the hair follicle.
Whenever you begin to notice part of your hair falling out, it’s natural to question whether the shedding is temporary or whether it’s a sign of further hair loss in the future. This inevitably leads to the next question: around what age do most guys begin to experience balding? The answer is: It depends.
While most men suffer some thinning of their hair as they age, male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) can begin at any point in their lives. It is mostly determined by genetics when and how much hair you lose; nevertheless, studies suggest that the chance of hair loss only grows as you get older.
Hair Loss in Teenagers
While you may believe that you are too young to begin losing your hair in your twenties, the reality is that hair loss can begin as early as 15 or 16 years old in some individuals. Despite the fact that it’s rare, hair loss in your teens usually begins gradually, with thinning hair or a receding hairline as the first signs.
Starting to lose your hair at this age can be particularly distressing because there are so few other individuals who are going through the same thing. If you observe or suspect that you are losing your hair at such a young age, you should visit with a physician or a professional at Bosley to determine the cause and the treatment options available to you for hair loss. There is a good chance that you can save your hair if you act quickly and prevent it from falling out.
Hair Loss in Your 20s
The majority of men who suffer from androgenetic alopecia (also known as male pattern baldness) begin to notice their hair loss in their mid-to-late-twenties. By the age of 20, around 20% of males have had at least some visible hair loss. Due to the fact that your 20s are frequently a time when you are discovering yourself and meeting new people, hair loss can have a huge impact on your social life as well as your overall self-confidence. And although some guys are at ease with shaving their heads and going entirely bald, others are having a more difficult time adjusting to this new reality. The moment to address your hair loss and take action is now if you can relate to what has been said. The sooner you take action to address your hair loss, the greater the chance you have of preserving your natural hair.
Hair Loss During Your Thirtys and Later
By the time you reach the age of 30, you have a 25 % risk of developing some balding patches. By the age of 50, half of all males have had some degree of significant hair loss. By the age of 60, approximately two-thirds of the population is either bald or has a balding pattern. However, just because hair loss becomes more prevalent as you get older doesn’t mean that accepting it becomes any easier. It is never too late to take action to stop hair loss. No matter where you are in the process, there are options that can help you.
Infections of the scalp are caused by bacteria and fungi that have infiltrated the hair follicles or the skin of the scalp. Scalp infection can result in a variety of skin rashes on the scalp, as well as hair loss in some cases.
The treatment for scalp infections will differ based on the underlying cause of the infection.
Hairstyle pulls on your scalp
The following are examples of hairstyles that constantly pull on your hair:
- Hairstyles such as buns, ponytails, and up-dos that are pulled firmly
- Hair extensions, often known as weaves, are a type of hairpiece that is attached to the scalp.
- Hair that has been tightly braided
Another common disorder that causes hair loss is Alopecia areata. Alopecia” is a term that means baldness, and “areata” refers to the patchy nature of the hair loss that is common with this condition.
The majority of people who suffer from alopecia areata experienced hair loss in small, round patches, leaving coin-sized areas of bare skin. This type of patchy hair loss most commonly affects the scalp, but it can also occur on other parts of the body as well.
Hair loss affecting the entire scalp is a less common occurrence. Alopecia totalis is the medical term for this condition. There have also been reports of other rare forms of alopecia areata, which have different patterns of hair loss and are more difficult to diagnose.
If you have only recently been diagnosed with alopecia areata and have had the condition for less than a year, your dermatologist may recommend that you wait it out. It’s possible that your hair will regrow on its own, requiring no treatment.
If you’ve had alopecia areata for more than a year, treatment options include prescription-strength corticosteroids (which can be applied topically or injected), minoxidil, and methotrexate, among others.
Keeping your hair clean and healthy is vital to hair growth. Healthy hair starts from the root of the follicle, so shampooing regularly can help prevent hair loss by removing sebum and dead skin cells that accumulate at the scalp.
Apply a gentle shampoo to your scalp and massage with fingertips for two to three minutes. Wash the rest of your body normally.
Focus on massaging the roots on your scalp, not the length of your hair, which can lead to breakage.
Use warm water; hot water can actually damage your hair follicles and result in frizz.
Let your hair air dry as much as possible. Using a blow dryer, especially in hot settings, can further damage your hair. If you must towel-dry your hair, use a microfiber cloth to gently squeeze the water from your hair instead of rubbing vigorously with a regular cotton towel.
Conditioning is also important for combating hair loss.
Childbirth, illness, or other stressors
Childbirth, illness, or other stressors can cause telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium is a condition that causes hair loss when the growth phase of your hair cycle, known as anagen, is interrupted by events such as pregnancy. Though usually temporary in nature, it leads to shedding up to several months after the stressor has ended.
Hair follicles are directly affected by estrogen levels. During menopause, which lowers estrogen levels, women may experience hair thinning due to lower estrogen levels. However, this condition is also treated with medications like hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Medications or chemotherapy for cancer can affect the body’s ability to produce healthy cells and may contribute to telogen effluvium.
Hereditary hair loss
The most common cause of permanent hair loss is male pattern baldness. In men, this typically begins with a receding hairline and progresses to a thinning crown over time.
Female pattern hair loss also has two different presentations: diffuse thinning throughout the entire scalp or noticeable thinning at the part line.
Diseases such as lupus, diabetes, and thyroid disease can lead to sudden temporary baldness in one isolated spot on the head known as alopecia areata patch. This form of alopecia is not usually indicative of future hair loss and generally resolves with treatment of the underlying condition.
Hair that breaks off into small pieces rather than falling out is most likely due to trichotillomania. Trichotillomania is when people pull out their hair for reasons other than its bulkiness or pain, usually in response to stress or anxiety. This is not a recognized form of hair loss but can lead to permanent hair loss if not treated.
Scalp psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes red, flaky scales on the scalp. This type of alopecia is most commonly found in adults between 40 and 60 years old. It can be caused by hormonal changes or an immune system malfunction. In most cases, symptoms can be managed with topical treatments.
Hormonal imbalance is a common cause of hair loss in both men and women. In women, imbalances in estrogen and progesterone can lead to thinning hair, acne, and irregular periods. In men, low levels of testosterone can result in decreased muscle mass, enlarged breasts (gynecomastia), and the appearance of breast tissue (gyno).
Cancer treatment can cause hair loss by damaging or destroying hair follicles. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy drugs, and oral medications are the most common causes of hair loss during cancer treatment.
How is hair loss diagnosed?
To diagnose hair loss, a dermatologist (a doctor who specializes in skin problems) or other health care professional will ask about any medications you are taking, your medical history, and your family history. You may also be asked to provide a before-and-after photo of your hair loss.
Health care professionals will determine the cause of your hair loss by taking into account your age, type of hair loss, the pattern on both head and body, duration of hair loss, severity, and other medical conditions you may have. After assessing these characteristics, your health care professional may recommend blood tests to determine if you have an autoimmune disorder or hormonal imbalance. These conditions are often associated with hair loss.
What are the treatment options for hair loss?
The treatment options for hair loss depend on the type of alopecia and its cause. In most cases, a dermatologist can recommend one or more treatments that will stop your hair loss and regrow lost hair. In other cases, you may benefit from a combination of therapies.
In addition to diagnosed treatments, there are a number of medications and home remedies that can help with hair loss including Minoxidil
Minoxidil is a topical medication that slows or stops certain types of hair loss. It works by opening up blood vessels in the scalp and allowing more oxygen, water, and nutrients to reach the follicles. Minoxidil comes in lotion, foam, and solution form. It is most effective when used on early stages of hair thinning and must be applied twice daily for best results.
Side effects can include scalp irritation such as redness or itchiness, unwanted facial hair growth, and chest pain.
Spironolactone is a prescription medication used to treat hair loss in women and men. It works by blocking the actions of androgens (male hormones) on the scalp, including DHT, which binds to hair follicles and causes them to become sensitive and eventually stop growing new hairs.
Hair transplant surgery
Hair loss in men is often treated with hair transplant surgery. This involves moving healthy follicles from the back and sides of the scalp to areas where hair has thinned or stopped growing. There are two main types of surgical procedure used to perform a hair transplant: FUT (follicular unit transplantation)
FUT transplants are the most common type of surgery used to treat hair loss.
This transplant involves removing individual follicles from the donor area rather than large strips of tissue. This procedure is normally more expensive and requires a longer recovery time because each graft must be planted individually. FUE (follicular unit extraction) In some cases, a dermatologist may recommend FUE as an alternative to FUT. This is a more recently developed technique that involves extracting individual follicles from the donor area rather than taking large strips of tissue. It has been reported to result in less scarring and a faster recovery time than FUT.
A dermatologist may also recommend medical procedures to help stimulate hair growth. Some of these include Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) This procedure involves drawing your own blood, separating the platelets from other components in your blood, and injecting this mixture into your scalp. The high concentration of platelets in this solution is thought to promote hair growth.
Cryotherapy This procedure involves applying controlled cold in the form of a cryoprobe or liquid nitrogen to specific areas of your scalp. The extremely low temperature is thought to create damage and stimulate hair follicles, which in turn stimulates new hair growth. Microneedling This treatment may be recommended if you have scarring alopecia. During micro needling, dermatologists use a device with fine needles to puncture the scalp and stimulate collagen production under your skin. This process is thought to improve the condition of hair follicles that are damaged by scarring alopecia.
How can I prevent hair loss?
Losing your hair not only impacts your look, but it can also cause emotional stress and undermine your confidence. There are a few things you may do to assist reduce hair loss, though.
- Eat extra protein.
- Take vitamins.
- Follow the Mediterranean diet.
- Use over-the-counter hair loss medication.
- Try low-level laser light therapy.
- Maintain good hair and scalp care.
Drugs induce hair loss by interfering with the regular cycle of scalp hair development, which occurs every three to four months. The anagen phase, which lasts between two and seven years, is when the hair begins to grow. The telogen phase, which lasts around three months, is a period of rest for the hair. At the end of the telogen phase, the hair begins to fall out and is replaced by new, healthy hair.
There are two forms of hair loss that can be caused by medications: telogen effluvium and anagen effluvium.
Spironolactone is a medication that blocks the actions of male hormones on the scalp, including DHT, which binds to hair follicles and causes them to become sensitive and eventually stop growing new hairs. Hair transplant surgery involves moving healthy follicles from the back and sides of the scalp to areas where hair has thinned or stopped growing. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP), cryotherapy, micro needling, and medical procedures are also recommended to treat hair loss in some cases.
You can help prevent hair loss by managing risk factors such as hormone changes, certain medications, stress levels, diet and removing build-up from your scalp regularly.
Hair loss can be a sign of many serious illnesses. Some hair loss may be caused by hormonal changes, certain medications, stress levels or obesity which can all indicate other problems in the body. For example, thinning hair could be a symptom of an underactive thyroid gland. If you are concerned about losing your hair it is always best to get advice from your GP who will check for any underlying conditions that could be causing the thinning/balding.
Hair loss is a symptom of an autoimmune disease called Alopecia Areata. This condition causes the immune system to mistakenly attack hair follicles, resulting in patches of hair loss that vary widely from person to person. In a mild case, you might have only one bald patch on your head. In a more severe case, you could be completely hairless. The shape and location of the alopecia areata patches often bear some relationship to where your hair normally grows on your body or face, such as above your eyes or around your mouth. Hair typically grows back within six months but may take up to two years before it fully returns (if at all).
An infection or skin condition can cause hair loss. This is called alopecia areata and it’s a fairly common problem that affects both men and women of all ages. In children, the two most common types of alopecia are:
Alopecia capitis totalis – loss of all scalp hair Alopecia universalis – complete loss of all head, body and facial hair In adults, the three most common types are:
Alopecia areata monolocularis – one bald patch with hairs growing from it Alopecia areata multilocularis – more than one bald patch Alopecia sinonimica – diffuse thinning over the scalp due to stress, pregnancy or medicines, but no bald patches Hair loss can also be caused by:
Ringworm of the scalp (Tinea capitis) – a fungal infection causing patchy hair loss If you have alopecia areata, your chances of having diabetes and thyroid gland problems are slightly higher than for someone who doesn’t have the condition. A small number of people with severe alopecia totalis or universalis may find that their eyelashes and eyebrows stop growing. This is called ‘traction alopecia’. It happens when constant pulling on fine hairs has damaged them so much that they become permanently lost.
Topical antifungal creams are available for the treatment of fungal infections. They are usually applied once a day to the affected area, usually for four weeks for mild cases and up to six months in severe cases. It is important they are used correctly as otherwise they may not work or cause side effects. If you have hair loss due to fungal infection it is important to see your GP who may prescribe an oral anti-fungal medicine if the cream isn’t working.
Hair loss after a fever or sickness is typical. COVID-19 causes fever. Many individuals experience hair loss a few months after a high fever or sickness.
Rather than hair loss, this is hair shedding. Telogen effluvium is the medical term for this hair loss. More hairs than usual reach the shedding (telogen) phase of the hair development lifecycle. Fever or sickness may accelerate hair loss.
Hair loss usually occurs two to three months following a fever or sickness. Handfuls of hair may come out while showering or brushing. This hair loss might persist 6-9 months before stopping. The hair usually grows back normal and stops shedding.