Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is when you have partial or complete loss of hair on your scalp (baldness) or anywhere on your body where hair normally grows. While hair loss is more common in men, anyone can suffer from it.
The most common cause of hair loss is genetics, especially androgenetic alopecia (male and female pattern baldness). Some hair loss is natural as we lose between 50 and 100 hairs from our heads every day. But there are many other factors that can contribute to hair loss:
- Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause.
- Medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases or scalp infections
- Medications including chemotherapy drugs, anticoagulants and certain antidepressants
- Nutritional deficiencies such as iron
- Stress or sudden shock
- Tight hairstyles or harsh treatments like frequent dyeing or chemical treatments
Hair loss symptoms vary depending on the causes and type of alopecia, but common symptoms to look out for are:
- Gradual thinning of the hair on the scalp
- Receding hairline (frontal fibrosing alopecia) at the crown or temples
- Bald spots or patches on the scalp or other areas of the body
- Excessive hair shedding on pillows, in the shower, or on hairbrushes
- Itchy or irritated scalp