Hair Loss: Common Causes And Risk Factors

There are a number of reasons why a person might lose hair, and they range from the temporary to the permanent. Some cases simply require the cessation of the cause, with others requiring medication. Still other cases have no known cure. Some of the most common causes of hair loss are described below.


Hair typically continues to grow while a woman is pregnant, and there is usually none of the normal hair loss occurring. After giving birth however, a lot of the hairs go into the resting stage, and they may fall out two to three months after childbirth.

Fever, infection, surgery, emotional stress

All of these conditions may cause hair loss four weeks to three months after they occur. The person may suddenly notice a considerable degree of hair loss at this stage, and while the situation is often temporary and will correct itself, some cases may require medical treatment.

Thyroid conditions

Hair loss can occur in people with overactive and underactive thyroid glands. This condition can normally be treated with medication.

Protein deficiency

People who lack protein in their diet–such as vegetarians, crash dieters, and those with eating disorders for example–may experience hair loss caused by protein deficiency. The reason for this is that the body will attempt to preserve its remaining protein stores by moving the hairs into a resting state. Hair loss typically occurs two to three months after the onset of the protein deficient state. Restoring protein consumption to normal levels will normally reverse this condition.

Use of medication

Certain types of prescription drugs can cause temporary hair loss. These medications include blood coagulants, gout and arthritis medication, acne or psoriasis treatments, and medicines used to treat heart conditions.

Cancer medication

Many of the drugs used in chemotherapy can cause hair cells to cease dividing. The hair strands then become thin and may break. This typically occurs one to three weeks after the onset of chemotherapy, and will usually normalize after treatment is ceased.

Birth control medication

Many women typically lose hair when taking birth control medication. Most women who do so may already have a genetic predisposition toward hair loss.

Iron deficiency

This is another common cause of hair loss, and is easily remedied with iron supplements.


Alopecia actually comes in two forms: alopecia areata and androgenic alopecia. In alopecia areata, the hair falls out in round patches leaving the scalp smooth and hairless. This condition may occur in men, women, and children of all ages.

Androgenic alopecia on the other hand is a common hair loss problem that affects both men and women. There is currently no cure for this condition, and the hair loss progresses steadily.

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