Previous articles discussed male/female pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia, which is the leading cause of baldness in the vast majority of cases, as well as several other possible causes of hair loss. This month we will continue discussing other possible causes of hair loss.
Low Serum Iron. On occasions, iron deficiency produces hair loss. There may be a deficiency in the diet or inability to absorb iron. Heavy menstrual periods may also develop iron deficiency. Low serum iron can be detected by laboratory tests and can be corrected by taking iron pills.
Major Surgery/Chronic Illness. Major operations may be a tremendous shock to the system. These patients may notice increased hair shedding within one to three months afterwards. The condition may reverse itself within months, but those with severe chronic illness may shed hair indefinitely.
Traction Alopecia. Cases where patients may pull their hair back very tightly, may cause permanent hair loss in the areas of traction.
Trichotillomania. A condition in which the hair is pulled due to a neurotic habit that usually appears in children, and may remain undiagnosed for a long time. The hairs may be broken off or pulled out. Some stubby regrowth may be visible. This condition may be hard to differentiate from alopecia areata.
Fungus Infection (Ringworm) of the Scalp. Has nothing to do with a worm. It is caused by a fungus infection, also known as ringworm. It begins with small patches of scaling that can spread and result in broken hair, redness, swelling, and even oozing. This contagious disease is more common in children and oral medication will cure it.
Improper Hair Care. Many men and women use chemicals on their hair dyes, tints, bleaches, straighteners and permanent waves.
These treatments rarely damage hair if they are done correctly. However, the hair can become weak and break if any of these chemicals are used too often, if the solution is left on too long, if two procedures are done on the same day, or if bleach is applied to previously bleached hair. If you notice your hair becoming brittle from chemical treatments, it is best to stop until the hair has grown out.
Hyperinsulinemia or high insulin levels. It still is early in the research stages, but evidence is accumulating that male pattern baldness may be caused by high levels of insulin that are produced by eating lots of sugary and floured foods such as bakery products and pastas. Future research will show if male pattern baldness can be prevented by avoiding flour and sugar, eating fruits only with meals, and taking drugs such as Glucophage and Rezulin to lower insulin levels.
Ultraviolet Radiation. Australian researchers have found evidence which indicates that U.V. radiation from sunlight exposure may be damaging to hair follicles and in particular to transplanted hair. It is highly recommended to wear hats and/or sun blocks when prolonged exposure to the sun is contemplated.