You’ve seen the hair in the shower, pulled the hair out of your brush, and noticed it’s a bit wider. You’re definitely losing your hair. Sadly, you know it’s just a matter of time before you lose it all. Baldness runs in your family. The genetic influence on hair loss is a predominant factor in much of the balding community; however, there are also several causes of hair loss that are totally unrelated to whether or not your maternal grandfather was bald or whether or not your own father is bald. Here are a few reasons you might be going bald:
1. Getting Older
On average, everyone loses up to 100 scalp hairs each day–most of which grow back. Unfortunately, as individuals grow older, that regrowth of lost hairs slows down, and the hair thins out. This type of hair loss, often called male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness, affects approximately 40 million men over 30, and 50 percent of women over 50; this type of baldness is generally worse in those with a genetic predisposition.
Age-related hair loss is highly connected to levels of androgens sex hormones in the body: testosterone, pregnenolone, androstenedione, dehydrogenase-epiandrosterone (DHEA), and most especially, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Hair roots have been known to shrink as DHT binds to receptors in hair follicles, and the amount of time the hair spends growing lessens–from five years often down to two months. It has been shown that those individuals genetically prone to male pattern baldness have more androgen receptors in the hair follicles within the area of the head most affected by hair loss.
2. Certain Diseases
Certain diseases are notorious for causing hair loss:
Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that affects almost all areas of the body including the organs, joints, and blood cells. The skin is the largest organ in the body and is one of the most common targets for the inflammatory immune reactions caused by lupus. When the immune system attacks hair follicles within the skin, it causes the hair to become weakened and thin, and hair loss results. Some medications for lupus also cause hair loss.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin and scalp. With alopecia areata, the body attacks its own hair follicles causing hair to fall out on the scalp, faces and other parts of the body.
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are known to cause hair loss. Thyroid hormones help to regulate energy and metabolism and when they are out of balance, the body doesn’t metabolize proteins and nutrients properly; and so iron, zinc, and other necessary vitamins for hair growth are also out of balance, causing the hair to thin or break easily or not grow very quickly. Some medications for thyroid problems also cause hair loss.
Hormonal problems and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
These hormonal shifts, particularly in women are major culprits of hair loss. Shortly after giving birth, women often experience hair loss as their hormones shift back to prepregnancy levels.
PCOS is also a cause of hair loss in women. Eight to ten percent of women suffer from PCOS. PCOS is a disease that is characterized by the development of numerous small cysts on the ovaries. These cysts disrupt the hormonal balance which is what causes the hair loss.
3. Some Medications
Besides chemotherapy medications which are notorious for causing temporary baldness, many other medications have been found to cause extreme problems with hair loss:
- the acne treatment isotretinoin.
- the antacid cimetidine.
- the antiarrhythmic amiodarone.
- the anticoagulant warfarin.
- the anticonvulsant divalproex.
- the antifungal ketoconazole.
- the blood pressure medicines captopril and lisinopril.
- the cholesterol-lowering medications atorvastatin and simvastatin.
- the gout medicine colchicine.
- the hormones testosterone and progesterone.
- the psoriasis medicine acitretin.
This is just a short list of medications that can cause excessive hair loss. If you suffer from hair loss as a side effect of a needed medication, contact your doctor to see if there are alternative options available.
4. Poor Nutrition
Prolonged poor nutrition makes hair unhealthy and often causes hair to fall out. Good nutrition is vital for healthy hair–especially eating enough proteins.
Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia lead to malnourishment and the depletion of important proteins. When the body doesn’t get enough of the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to function, what few nutrients that are available are diverted away from non-vital areas of the body such as the hair, and hair loss ensues.
5. Emotional Trauma, Shock, and Stressful Events
Emotional trauma, shock, and stressful events trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response which increases cortisol, which can ultimately trigger the immune system. In some people, a triggered immune system can attack hair follicles, resulting in inflammation that can cause the hair to fall out. This hair loss, called telogen effluvium, can occur up to three months after the traumatic event or stressful situation end.
Aging, disease, medications, poor nutrition, and emotional distress can all cause hair loss. Some hair loss is temporary; others hair loss is permanent. Sometimes hair loss is minor; and some hair loss is extreme, resulting in complete baldness. For many individuals, losing their hair is distressing and embarrassing and they seek treatment options.
There are medications available. However, many of them have undesirable side effects that cause individuals to discontinue treatment. Luckily, there are more and more natural solutions available to stop the progression of hair loss and even reverse it.
All-natural stem cell hair loss treatments have been shown to actually reverse hair loss. Using a person’s own stem cells extracted from adipose tissue (fat), injections are prepared to infuse into the scalp. Anywhere from two to six injections later, these stem cells begin to trigger dormant and deteriorated cells in the follicles to wake up, repair themselves, and regenerate. The result is new hair growth.
Despite The Reasons You Might Be Going Bald – Don’t Give Up Hope!
When addressing hair loss, it helps to first recognize the underlying cause. Some hair loss will reverse naturally once diseases are under control, hormones are adjusted, medications are discontinued, nutrition is improved, and stress is diminished.
If hair loss is due to aging or genetic reasons, it’s worth looking into all-natural treatments such as the extremely promising stem cell therapy.