Have you ever wondered why there is no known cure for baldness? It’s because there isn’t one clear cause – a number of different factors may be responsible. To effectively combat hair loss, the key is in knowing the cause.
Think of your body as a well-oiled machine – each system operates efficiently so long as the others are functioning as they should. The hair follicles are very sensitive to internal imbalances and anything that disrupts the balance can cause hair loss.
Illness, surgery and even certain medications can cause hair loss, sometimes several months later, from a condition Telogen Effluvium.
There are many triggers for this condition, but those pertaining specifically to ill-health include the following…
High fever, severe infection, severe flu
Sometimes, people can experience hair loss a few months after suffering from high fever, severe infection, the flu and there’s even been a link between tooth infections and hair loss. Perhaps hair loss is too strong a word – thinning hair is the more likely result as the body’s efforts are diverted to combat the infection. It’s generally no cause for major concern and provided you keep active and healthy after the event, any hair loss should correct itself within a few months when the hair growth cycle has had time to kick back into gear.
Both an overactive (hyperthyroidism) and an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause hair loss. Diagnosis of the condition generally involves a blood test taken by your doctor and the condition can be managed with medical treatment (thyroid treatment generally doesn’t affect hair growth). Once the thyroid condition is controlled, hormone levels should get back to normal and the associated hair loss should be reversed.
Any diet that eliminates entire food groups (the Atkins Diet, for example) will have negative effects on your hair and health in the long run. There’s also a strong correlation between anaemia and hair loss and if you’re not getting enough iron in your diet or not able to fully absorb iron it could lead to anaemia. Your doctor will be able to test your body for any nutritional deficiencies but generally this type of hair loss can be reversed and prevented by eating a balanced diet and incorporating all the foods that help prevent hair loss. You should look into hair supplements if you’re still not getting all the nutrients your hair needs for optimum growth.
There are some prescription medications that can cause hair loss or temporary shedding in a small percentage of people. It’s usually reversible after treatment has stopped but the prevalence and severity of hair loss depend on the drug as well as on individual predisposition.If you’re taking a medication that you suspect is causing hair loss, don’t stop the treatment. Instead, consult your doctor and ask for an alternative.
Chemotherapy prevents the hair cells from dividing and as a result causes severe hair loss, but in the vast majority of cases it will re-grow after the course. You can ask your doctor about the alternative treatments that don’t cause hair loss but if you go ahead with chemotherapy you may want to request a scalp cooling system be used to help in preventing baldness during chemo. You may also wish to consult a hair loss specialist before the cancer treatment starts so you can plan how to manage hairloss if or when it occurs. Hair replacement systems are an effective temporary option, whilst – once cleared by your oncologist – pharmaceutical hair loss treatments may be beneficial afterwards to help encourage hair regrowth. In cases of radiotherapy, the hair loss at the entry and exit points is likely to be permanent when it is used on the scalp, due to radiotherapy destroying hair follicles.
Major surgery or chronic illness
Any situation that involves a tremendous shock to the system, such as undergoing surgery or chronic illness, can have numerous effects of the body. The hair growth cycle may be affected and increased shedding may become noticeable around three months later, but this is generally just a temporary reaction to the event. Regular hair growth should resume naturally within up to six months of the initial incident, but sometimes the hair can have trouble regrowing.
If you think you may be suffering from any of the above problems, it’s best to discuss it first with your doctor to determine what course of action to take, but consult a hair loss specialist if your hair is taking too long to re-grow or is getting worse. You may want to consider using hair growth boosters or a personalised hair loss treatment programme if you’re finding it hard to reverse the effects.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.