Dealing with hair thinning is more of a common occurrence than most people think. Some hair shedding is expected as each hair strand ages, but when the hair loss starts occurring in large amounts, there may be cause for concern. Discovering the trigger can be monumental in helping to slow the amount of hair loss happening. There are many potential causes, but they mainly boil down to hormonal, biochemical, or epigenetic factors.
Table of Contents
Reasons For Hair Thinning
Genetic hair loss means that someone in the gene pool passes on the genes that cause hair thinning or loss. Young men are more commonly affected than women, but during menopause, many women do experience hair loss as well. Epigenetic hair loss may be the result of trauma, severe stress, nutritional deficiency, or an illness. To determine the actual diagnosis a medical professional with expertise in the field can help develop a treatment plan to mitigate the problem.
Men may begin noticing hair loss from their early twenties. For women about to enter menopause or currently going through menopause, the change in hormones may also begin to cause visible hair loss. As many people age, their scalp hair texture grows finer.
Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known as male pattern hair loss, is the most common form of hair thinning and balding. It’s believed that approximately 90% or more of male and female hair loss results from pattern hair loss. In the United States alone, approximately 40 million men are affected. By age 50, about half of men and yes, even women, are affected to some degree.
In women, a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) may contribute to scalp hair thinning while causing excess hair growth in unwanted areas. When hormones are out of balance, they can create issues throughout the body. Regulating the hair growth cycle is a significant responsibility of the steroid hormones including estrogenic and androgenic forms of each.
Stress can contribute to hair thinning and even modify your hormonal balance, thereby triggering accelerated hair loss. Stress may also contribute to scalp problems like dandruff and atopic dermatitis. Stress can actually wreak havoc on the whole body and throw the body out of homeostasis.
Anemia or Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency can contribute to hair thinning, particularly in women. Depending on where the follicle is in its cycle, the maintenance of normal growth may be disrupted by a lack of this key supplement.
Hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, or Hashimoto’s thyroidopathy can affect hair growth. One’s thyroid controls the production of proteins and the tissues’ use of oxygen, so any thyroid imbalance may have a wide-ranging effect on health, including the health of one’s scalp hair follicles. Some evidence suggests that thyroid issues may also cause iron deficiency or anemia.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Suffering a B12 deficiency may result in tiredness, low energy, and in extreme cases, even hair thinning. Vegans are often more prone to B12 deficiency, as B12 is primarily obtained through animal proteins. B12 deficiency can also lead to anemia and neurogenic disruptions. For those so diagnosed, a B12 supplement or receiving B12 injections may be indicated to correct the deficiency.
Some medications can cause hair thinning and permanent loss. Different categories of medications that cause hair loss can include antifungals, antibiotics, immune-suppressing medications, cholesterol-lowering drugs, blood pressure medications, and anticonvulsants. When a prescription drug is thought to be causing hair thinning, it’s important to inform your doctor so that alternative options may be considered.
The Most Common Cause
In both men and women diagnosed with pattern hair loss, susceptible scalp hair follicles have become exquisitely sensitive to a hormone metabolite of testosterone. This metabolite (DHT) is triggered by the enzyme 5 alpha-reductase and has been shown to strongly link to the onset and progression of AGA. Clinically, with each hair cycle, the follicle grows progressively thinner and finer. This is referred to as a ‘negative growth cycle’.
Treatment Options Are Available
If you’re experiencing hair thinning or hair loss, don’t despair: there may be treatment options available to help reduce, arrest and even reverse the progression of hair loss. Your first and best step will be to contact a medical expert today for an individual consultation to go over your hair loss concerns and explore the various treatment plans that may best address the problem. Don’t wait a minute longer; help is available!