Hair Loss: Causes, Treatment Options & When to Visit Your Doctor

Hair loss is a common issue that affects almost everyone at some point in their life, and it’s nothing to worry about. However, it can be a severe problem that causes distress and affects someone’s quality of life. In fact, several studies show that millions of people in the US suffer from severe hair loss. We provide information on what causes (severe) hair loss, how to treat it, and if there are ways to prevent it. If you or someone you know is experiencing this problem, keep reading to learn more.

picture of a woman scalp with thinning hair. Hair loss

What Is Hair Loss?

Hair loss is a condition where a person starts losing hair from their scalp or other parts of their body. The medical term for this is alopecia. There are different types of hair loss, such as male and female pattern baldness, alopecia areata, and telogen effluvium. These types can vary in severity and the amount of loss of hair they cause. In some cases, the condition can be temporary, while in others it may be permanent. To make it a bit easier to understand we made an overview of the most common hair loss types and what they entail:

Types Description
Male pattern baldness The most common type in men, characterized by a receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown of the head
Female pattern baldness The most common type in women, characterized by a widening part and thinning hair
Alopecia areata An autoimmune disorder that causes patchy hair loss on the scalp, face, and other parts of the body
Telogen effluvium A type of temporary hair loss that occurs after a stressful event, illness, or hormonal change
Anagen effluvium A type of hair loss that occurs during the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle, often caused by chemotherapy or radiation therapy
Traction alopecia Hair loss caused by constant tension or pulling on the hair, often due to tight hairstyles
Scarring alopecia Hair loss that occurs when hair follicles are destroyed and replaced by scar tissue

Causes of Hair Loss

Hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, aging, hormonal changes, medical conditions, and nutritional deficiencies. The most common cause is genetics, specifically a condition called androgenetic alopecia, which can cause male or female pattern baldness. This condition occurs when hair follicles shrink over time, producing shorter and thinner hair until they stop growing completely. Other (less) common causes include

  • Age
  • Hormonal changes, such as pregnancy or menopause
  • Medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders or alopecia areata
  • Nutritional deficiencies, such as iron deficiency anemia or protein deficiency
  • Medications or treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Stress or trauma, such as surgery, illness, or emotional stress
  • Hairstyles that pull on the hair, such as tight braids or ponytails
  • Chemical treatments, such as hair dyes, perms, or relaxers
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus or scleroderma.

Identifying the underlying cause of hair loss is crucial for finding the appropriate treatment. Consulting with a healthcare professional can help determine the cause and provide the best course of action. Continue reading on the next page and find out how you can treat it and in which case you should visit your healthcare provider for professional medical help.