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Cause Hair Loss !!


Nuances of Hair and Related Issues

Cycles of growth : Our hair growth is identified to be following three phases during its life, namely anagen, catagen and telogen. Anagen is the phase that lasts from two to five years and this growth phase is terminated by extreme interruption between hair shaft and nourishing papilla. This interruption lasts only for a few days and is called the Catagen Phase. The next three months the hair rests and this period of resting is called Telogen Phase. After this resting period, the hair falls and in its place a new hair growth cycle begins.

Causes of Hair Loss : The primary cause of loss of hair lies in the genes, the genetic endowment and is irreversible. There is also loss of hair due to the Chemo therapy, treatment of infection by ingesting chemicals or drugs into ones biological systems. The other supplementary factors are stress, poor diet and personal hygiene, physical illness, environmental issues like pollution etc. Lets see each one of the causes in some more detail :

  • Genetics : We all carry genes from our parents in equal proportion. If anyone of our ancestors has had permanent hair loss it is carried forward to our lives also and hence irreversible. This is called Patterned Baldness, more pronounced in males and hence the common Male Patterned Baldness or MPB.
  • MPB : This legacy that one inherits is most common in young males but also known to affect the middle aged people. Early detection is important and to date there is no known medical cure to this ailment. Good scalp cleaning and nourishing is important. Generally speaking, around twenty five percent of men under 30 years of age and sixty six percent of them over 40 years of age experience male patterned baldness. It starts the process by thinning the top of the head or the hairline and recedes further towards the crown. In some cases the loss is more pronounced around the crown.
  • Pregnancy and related issues : The hormonal status undergoes marked changes during pregnancy and some of these lead to growth of hair. This is due to the fact that the Anogen phase of growth is more prolonged. However, after delivery the hormonal balance is restored to its erstwhile levels and the prolonged Anogen phase is induced into Telogen phase after completion of which the hair is lost. Therefore when a woman loses large amount of hair after about three months of delivery, there is no need to panic. This loss is temporary and after a month or so it will return to normal levels, new hair follicles replacing the old ones. A similar situation is true in the cases of abortion and when under treatment with female sex hormones or with the contraceptive pills and the treatment is suddenly withdrawn.


Stucture of hair
  • Fever and Other General Illnesses : A typhoid patient, after passage of about three months after the fever, tends to lose excessive hair. High fever due to other causes such as dengue, viral or low fever but prolonged as in tuberculosis or recurrent as in malaria can also lead to excessive hair loss.
  • Emotional Stress : Emotional stress can also lead to hair loss irrespective of the factor related to the stress. The factors can be as varied as work place, exam phobia, love affair, marital discord or of losing near and dear ones – the hair is induced in to the telogen phase prematurely.
  • Excessive Dieting : Hair shaft is nothing but a protein called Keratin; hence diet is very important factor in the growth of hair. In order to reduce their weight, people tend to do heavy dieting and this can lead to excessive hair loss. A proper and healthy diet is very essential for healthy hairline. Hair loss due to dieting is not seen if the process of diet control is slow.
  • Accidents and Injuries : It is observed that some persons lose excessive hair due to accidents.
  • Anemia : Chronic anemia is also a cause of excessive hair loss. This anemia can be because of deficiency in iron or due to frequent loss of blood.
  • Drugs : It is a misnomer that use of antibiotic leads to hair loss whereas the disease itself can be a cause for hair loss for which the antibiotics have been provided. But there are certain drugs mainly used for treatment of cancer or immune system, which can lead to excessive hair loss, and hair re grows the moment the use of drug has been stopped.

Types of Hair Loss

Normal Hair Loss : Certain amount of loss of hair is natural in both men and women since that is the cycle of growth programmed by creator of mankind. The average head has around 1,00,000 hair follicles and on an average we lose around 70 to 100 follicles everyday. It is a cycle and is offset by new re growth in healthy scalp. On an average the hair follicle grows for 7 years and it grows by half an inch in a month and if never cut will grow up to 42 inches.

Alopecia Areata/Totalis : Alopecia Areata is a patchy hair loss that occurs with great unpredictability. It means hair will fall from certain parts of the head in one, two, three or more locations. Alopecia Totalis is a total or complete hair loss, which may extend to body hair, eyelashes etc. In either case the hair may commence re growth only to be lost again at a later date. Little is known of these disorders. Theories run from hereditary to immunological. There is no cure that is viable long term. Only advanced cosmetic solutions seem to be providing the best cure.


Psychological Effects of Hair Loss

Every body knows or experiences that society places great value on hair. Balding men do suffer stress over hair loss, particularly young single men. The more extensive the loss, the greater the stress that is induced. Frustration, loss of self confidence, self conscious about looks, feeling of looking older than persons age, not being so attractive, other people's reaction are some of the negative aspects which creep in a balding gentleman's personality. This may be in the form of seeking reassurance about one's looks, worrying about how much more will be the loss of hair, feeling sensitive to other's criticism and thereby avoiding social get together.

Any hair loss, which is not due to heredity factor, can be permanent or temporary. If the hair loss is due to the factors such as listed above, it is seen generally that hair does grow once the corrective measures have been taken.

But if the hair loss is because of heredity factor or permanent in nature because of the above mentioned causes there is a remote possibility of them growing. So far there is no treatment, which can grow hair. There are various products being sold in the market, which claim to grow hair, but these products have never been subjected to unbiased scientific evaluation. The claims of success are therefore based on misconception and ignorance. There is only one medicine, which is known to grow hair with limited success and i.e. Minoxidil, which is available in the form of a 2% solution for topical use. It should be remembered that the hair, which is falling today, has been decided 3 months before, hence the hair cannot grow immediately and one has to wait for over a year to see the results and it has to be used continuously. The moment the use of the medicine is stopped the hair fall starts. In fact these topical lotions only do the stimulation act on to the sleeping hair follicles, thereby disturbing the natural cycle of hair growth, increasing the risk of more rapid hair loss. There are no oral medicines, which can grow hair and even if there are a few medicines, which work they do so with harmful side effects.

Hair loss