Everyone experiences shedding of hair, and it happens to each of us every day. Most people lose 50-100 hairs per day as part of this natural cycle, more on days you wash your hair. But what if you check your pillow, shower drain, or comb, and the amount looks like you are losing more than that?
Talk to your doctor or dermatologist if you are facing sudden hair loss. They will find out why and make sure you get treatment for any medical condition that is the cause of this problem.
Figuring out why you are losing more hair than usual can be hard. There are many different causes for this. Some things, like when you get the hand that you’re dealt, cannot be changed. But some other things, like traction alopecia or temporary hair shedding (also called “telogen effluvium”), can be managed or even reversed if caught early enough. It is also possible for some causes of hair loss in women to happen suddenly but others might happen gradually over time.
Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss that can happen about three to six months after you go through something stressful. Stressors like surgery, giving birth, getting a divorce or losing a job, or having a high fever are all things that can cause sudden hair loss.
If you have noticed that your hair is coming out more, or it is thinner, or not growing as fast as normal. Here are some reasons why this could be happening.
Sudden Hair Loss Reasons:
When people think of hair loss, they usually think of men. But women can have hair loss too. Women’s hair loss often happens at the crown of their heads. Men’s hair loss often happens near the top and bottom edges of their heads.
Although you cannot prevent this type of hair loss, treatments and hair growth support supplements are available that may slow it down that can help keep your hair fuller for longer. You should start the treatment sooner rather than later to make sure you get the best results possible.
Keep in mind that treatments for health conditions like this may change over time because new research and therapies may be available in the future. Talk with your doctor about which treatment options work best for you so that you can have ongoing conversations about what would be best and if anything changes as time goes on (1).
Normally, your hair goes through three stages. The first is growth. Then it stops growing but doesn’t fall out. After that is resting. Finally, after the resting phase, the hair falls out again!
But during pregnancy, most people notice their hair going into rapid growth mode. This may happen because there are surges of hormones [estrogen] that make hair grow. The stage lasts longer than normal, and this means that normal shedding does not occur.
Once your estrogen levels return to normal after giving birth, your hair starts growing again. You might have some shedding that was caused by hormones over the last 10 months. Some women will have a little bit, but others might shed more intensely for a few months.
This type of hair loss, called telogen effluvium, can happen months after a stressful event. Stressful events can include childbirth or some other major life change. This type of hair loss is not serious and it should go away on its own within six to nine months (2).
3. Changes in Birth Control
The hormones in your body can change and make you lose hair. If you are going off hormonal birth control or changing brands, your body might react by having more shedding. This is another form of hair loss that usually goes away. You can make your hair look fuller by using volumizing products and styling tricks until it grows back.
Some medications can cause you to lose hair. If you notice that your hair is falling out and it does not get better after a while, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a different medication that does not cause this problem (3).
5. Nutritional deficiencies
Having healthy hair is important. It can depend on getting the right food. Deficiencies in certain nutrients have been linked to some types of hair loss, such as iron, zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), and protein. This usually starts with a chat with your doctor and a blood test to find out what’s going on. Then your doctor might give you prescription supplements or recommend that you speak to someone else for more advice about how to fix it.
6. Dandruff or Scalp Psoriasis
If your scalp is itchy and inflamed, you might feel the urge to scratch it. But scratching can make your hair fall out more than usual. Dandruff is the most easily treated cause of hair loss, so you should use a shampoo with zinc pyrithione or exfoliating ingredients. It’s important to find a shampoo and conditioner that work well for you so that you will use them regularly.
But some other conditions can also make a person’s scalp itchy and flaky, including seborrheic dermatitis, which is more severe than dandruff. It is also psoriasis, which causes patches of thick skin. If you think that you have these conditions, then it is important to ask your doctor for help.
Tight braids and ponytails can cause traction alopecia. This means that the hair on the head is pulling too tight and it might get thinner. It could even fall out. This happens when you style your hair for a long time. You should not wear one hairstyle for too long to avoid this problem, or pull your hair too tightly if you can help it.
8. Emotional or Physical Stress
When you have a stressful, big event in your life, like when you get divorced or someone dies in your family. Your hair may not grow. This is because the body puts its resources towards helping you through the event. Hairs don’t all grow at the same time. Some are growing, some are resting, and some are being shed.
When your body has these conditions, it pauses hair growth. Then when things start to get better, those hairs that were paused start to grow again. Physical stress or trauma can also cause this condition of paused hair growth. For example: having a big operation or being hospitalized for a long time can make the body pause hair growth and then when things settle down it starts again
Usually, this type of hair shedding is temporary. But if it bothers you, find out how to change your hair to make it look fuller. Check-in with a dermatologist for more information about this.
9. Autoimmune Diseases
An autoimmune condition can make the body attack its own hair follicles, and then the person’s hair falls out. Sometimes people with this condition see their hair grow back. But if not, dermatologists can help by giving them an injection that will stimulate their hair to grow.
Conditions that only affect one part of the body, like thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or sickle-cell anemia can cause hair loss as well. Some conditions can permanently damage the hair follicle and this will result in permanent hair loss. If you think your hair loss has something to do with an underlying condition like an autoimmune condition, talk to your doctor (4).