Excessive Hair Loss–What You Can Do About It!
A handful of hair that comes off during normal brushing or combing can be frightening and depressing. Excessive hair loss, or alopecia, can occur for a variety of reasons including illness, hormone imbalances, over- or under-active thyroid, and fungal infection of the scalp. Medications such as chemotherapy, blood thinners, gout medications, high blood pressure or heart medications, birth control pills, and antidepressants, and ingesting too
much vitamin A can also cause you to lose more hair than is normal.
First, let’s talk about what defines “normal” hair loss. Normally, each hair grows about 1 centimeter per month, and this growth lasts about 2-3 years. About 90 percent of the hair on your head is growing at any given time. About 10 percent of the hair is in a “resting” phase.
After about 3 or 4 months of resting, the hair falls out and a new hair starts to grow in its place. So as you can see, it’s normal to lose some hair every day as a part of this cycle.
The time to become concerned is when you are seeing large amounts of hair in your brush, sink, or shower, and you
notice that your hair is thinning or you have a bald patch.
The first thing you should do is to consult your doctor to evaluate if
there are any medical reasons for the hair loss, especially if you are not
feeling well at the same time you are losing hair.
The best prevention of hair loss is early treatment! Some diseases, like lupus or diabetes can cause hair loss, and it is important to find the cause so that it can be treated!
Many women notice hair loss about 3 months after they have given birth. I, on the other hand, had hair loss all
throughout both of my pregnancies. I lost handfuls of hair with each shampoo.
Lucky for me, I have very thick hair, and as soon as I had my babies, my hair loss stopped. I have talked with other women who have had the same experience.
This type of hair loss definitely corresponds with a change in hormone levels.
What are some natural things I can do to help with hair loss, if my doctor has ruled out illness or hormone imbalance? Eat a healthy diet, with lots of protein, vegetables and fruit, and whole grains. One component that is especially important is essential fatty acids, found in walnuts, olive oil, fish, and soy. Anemia can play a role in hair loss, so make sure that your doctor checks your hemoglobin levels to see if you need more iron in your diet. It’s also not uncommon to find that if you have hair loss, you are also deficient in B vitamins, especially B12 and Biotin.
Talk with your doctor about which B vitamin supplements are best for you. Finally, there are medicines that can be used to aid in hair loss. Minoxidil, brand name Rogaine, is available without a prescription. It is applied to the scalp. Both men and women can use
it. Another medicine, finasteride (brand name Propecia), is available with a prescription. It comes in pills and is only for men. It can take up to six months before you can tell if one of these medicines is working.
Can certain hairstyles cause hair loss? Yes, if you have a style that pulls on your hair, you can get a type of hair loss called “traction alopecia”. If the pulling is stopped before scarring of the scalp occurs, then the hair will grow back normally. But if scarring develops, the hair loss will be permanent.
Don’t suffer alone with your hair loss—talk to your doctor!
Blessings to You,