As a part of our hair cycle, an average person loses approximately 50 to 150 individual hairs per day on a daily basis . This shedding also may be observed at an excessive rate due to the occurrence of severe trauma or illness, a stressful or major life event, significant weight loss or extreme dieting, or childbirth. Yet, this condition known as telogen effluvium is temporary as it lasts for approximately 100 days, and your hair is expected to grow again and regain its volume within a couple of months.
Why does your hair fall out?
Hair loss emerges as a permanent problem when the hair follicle is thinned, and this regrowth does not occur. Such disruption in the hair cycle results in the formation of bald patches or even may progress into loss of hair on the entire scalp. Various studies denote that 70% of men and 50% of women experience androgenetic alopecia throughout their lives. If you’ve noticed that your hair is thinning or falling out in clumps, there might be several underlying causes that may be diagnosed upon a dermatologist appointment:
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Thyroid Disease
- Protein Deficiency
- Low Vitamin Levels
- Iron Deficiency
- Hereditary Conditions (such as Androgenetic Alopecia, also known as male-pattern hair loss, or female-pattern hair loss)
- Inflammatory Conditions (such as Cicatricial Alopecia, Folliculitis Decalvans)
- Autoimmune Conditions (such as Alopecia Areata, Discoid Lupus Erythematosus)
- Hair Shaft Abnormalities
As you can observe, there are several factors that may be responsible for your hair to fall out. It requires a dermatological examination to determine whether your hair loss is temporary, which indicates that if the trigger or the cause of the hair loss is eliminated, you may restore the volume of your hair within a period or whether you are experiencing progressive hair loss. Progressive hair loss signals that the falling out hair strands will not experience an ‘anagen phase’, known as the growth period of the hair cycle. In other words, your hair will permanently fall out, and you will experience balding. Among these factors, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances play the greatest role in leading to hair loss in both men and women. While hormonal fluctuations and nutritional deficiencies may be temporary – and you may regain the volume of your hair once the cause of your hair loss is determined and treated, there are also cases where secretion of some other hormones lead to permanent hair loss, such as the release of dihydrotestosterone. DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is a hormone produced as a byproduct of the androgen hormone, testosterone (it should be kept in mind that both sexes secrete testosterone hormone in their bodies in different ratios) is known to trigger permanent hair loss, as observed in androgenetic male-pattern hair loss. They are referred to as ‘hereditary conditions’ because your genetic makeup, which you have inherited from your parents affects it greatly. Similarly, there are also other diseases leading to permanent hair loss if an individual has genetic susceptibility. For example, although they are rarely encountered, there is a group of hair loss disorders collectively referred to as cicatricial alopecia (also known as “scarring alopecia”) which destroys your hair follicles and replaces it with scar tissue on your scalp while resulting in permanent hair loss. Autoimmune conditions which may run in the family, such as alopecia areata, where your immune system attacks the hair follicles for unknown reasons, can also cause you to suffer hair loss.
The only permanent way to restore the volume of your hair is the hair transplant procedure, where hair follicles are obtained from the ‘donor site’ on your scalp, and transplanted in the recipient site, which is experiencing hair loss. However, as there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach when there could be several underlying causes for your hair loss, the most important step is to determine the root of the problem before the hair transplant procedure. Therefore, your surgeon needs to examine your scalp to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for the hair transplant procedure and then discuss the details of your treatment with you, such as determining your hairline, and which hair transplantation method would be the most suitable for you.
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