Because there are so many types of scalp hair loss, determining the precise cause of hair loss in an individual can be challenging. . This article will cover the most common causes. The medical term for hair loss is alopecia.
Most hair loss is not associated with systemic or internal disease, nor is poor diet a frequent factor. Hair may simply thin as a result of predetermined genetic factors, family history, and the overall aging process. Many men and women may notice a mild and often normal physiologic thinning of hair starting in their thirties and forties. Other times, normal life variations including temporary severe stress, illness, nutritional changes, and hormonal changes like those in pregnancy, puberty, and menopause may cause a reversible hair loss.
Several health conditions, including thyroid disease and iron deficiency anemia, can cause hair loss. While thyroid blood tests and other lab tests, including a complete blood count (CBC), on people who have ordinary hair loss are usually normal, it is important to exclude underlying causes in sudden or severe hair loss. If you are concerned about some other underlying health issues, you may start by seeing your family physician, internist, or gynecologist for basic health screening. Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in problems of skin, hair, and nails and may provide more advanced diagnosis and treatment of hair thinning and loss. Sometimes a scalp biopsy may be taken to help in diagnosis of severe or unexplained hair loss.
Although many medications list “hair loss” among their potential side effects, most drugs are also not likely to induce hair loss. On the other hand, with cancer treatments and immune suppression medications including chemotherapy, hair loss is a very common side effect. Complete hair loss often occurs after a course of major chemotherapy for cancer. Usually, hair regrows after six to 12 months.

There are numerous ways to categorize hair loss. One must first examine the scalp to determine if the hair loss is due to the physical destruction and loss of hair follicles. If the scalp appears perfectly normal with plenty of follicular structures (which seem to be simply unoccupied) this is called non-scarring hair loss. On the other hand, the follicles are permanently destroyed in scarring hair loss. Localized, small areas, large areas or the whole scalp may be affected in scarring and non-scarring hair loss. Occasionally, it may be necessary to do a biopsy of the scalp to distinguish these conditions. Sometimes, a physician may pull a hair to examine the percentage of hairs in the anagen phase. This article will concentrate on the non-scarring types of hair loss.

 

 

 

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/27/2014