Causes of Sudden Hair Loss

In any given day, your head’s hair could lose up to 100 shafts of hair. Don’t be alarmed by this number as it is an insignificant amount of hair and wouldn’t even amount up to the thickness of a pin head. There are conditions that do cause an increase of excessive and sudden hair loss, sometimes where the scalp may lose more than 300 hairs in one day. While most causes of sudden hair loss are natural, many people fail to understand the causes of it. Because of this, many people use “miracle hair growth supplements” that can do even more damage to one’s scalp.

The most common cause of sudden hair loss comes after extreme stress has been put on one’s body or mind. Sudden hair loss caused by stress is known as telogen effluvium. Causes of stress that can generate telogen effluvium symptoms may be a death of a loved one, depression, loss of one’s job, or a break up in a relationship. Child birth, oral contraceptives, quick weight loss, bodily damage and surgery, menopause in women, and fevers can also cause hair loss due to telogen effluvium.

Telogen effluvium is, essentially, the loss of hair due to extreme hormonal disposition throughout the body. A surplus of hormones can cause ones hair follicles to enter a “resting” state. Generally, 5 – 10% of your hair follicles are resting at any given time, but telogen effluvium will see an increase in this percentage. After 3 months of resting, those strands of hair will be dead and fall out. This is why many women see slight hair loss 3 months after giving birth.

Telogen effluvium isn’t a permanent condition. After a sudden hair loss incident, the follicles will begin to grow in over the next few months if the source of stress or hormone levels is reduced.

Another cause of sudden hair loss is known as androgentic alopecia. The symptoms of this form of hair loss are due to hormonal imbalances, as well as genetics. This is more commonly known as pattern baldness, and it can occur in men and women. There is no cure for this type of hair loss, and once the hair is lost, it may fail to grow out of that hair pore again.

There are solutions that can help slow the loss of hair due to hormonal or genetic reasons. Minoxidil is one such topical application available at many non-prescription drug aisles. It is better recognized as the brand name “Rogaine.” An oral pill, Finasteride (branded as Propecia) is another drug that you might consider to slow hair loss. While both of these options may help grow and thicken hair, their main job is to maintain the growth of hair you still have.

Anagen effluvium is probably the most disastrous cause of sudden hair loss. It is brought on by the poisoning of hair follicles that divide rapidly to grow hair strands, causing a very large and instantaneous shedding of hair. Except in cancer patients, anagen effluvium is very uncommon. Cancer treatments such of chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause complete hair loss because they attack fast splitting and growing cells, such as cancer cells. Unfortunately, hair cells are some of the fastest dividing cells in the body making them another target to these therapy treatments.

Hair loss isn’t always a bad thing. Shampooing your hair will not spur sudden hair loss. Rather it gets rid of what was ready to fall out anyways. There is no reason to be alarmed by hair loss, as in the most common instances, hair will grow back naturally.


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