Alopecia is the term used for hair loss. There can be many reasons for alopecia, and your doctor is best equipped to determine what type of hair loss you have. Hair loss can be a result of genetics, thyroid abnormality, autoimmune problems, or a deficiency in iron, vitamin D, or zinc.
It is normal for you to shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day. When the body sheds significantly more hairs every day, a person has excessive hair shedding. The medical term for this condition is telogen effluvium. Excessive hair shedding is common in people who have experienced one the following stressors:
Lost 20 pounds or more
Experiencing lots of stress (caring for a loved one who is sick, going through a divorce, losing a job)
Had high fever
Undergone an operation
Recovering from an illness, especially if it included high fever
Stopped taking birth-control pills
After getting Covid
Most people notice the excessive hair shedding a few months after the stressful event. For example, a new mom can see excessive hair shedding about two months after giving birth. The shedding usually peaks about four months after giving birth. This shedding is normal and temporary. Also, a lot of patients have hair shedding after getting Covid. This should be temporary, and your hair should grow back to normal.
As your body readjusts, the excessive shedding stops. Within six to nine months, the hair tends to regains its normal fullness. If the stressor stays with you, however, hair shedding can be long lived. People who are constantly under a lot of stress can have long-term excessive hair shedding.
Hair loss differs from hair shedding. Hair loss occurs when something stops the hair from growing. The medical term for this condition is anagen effluvium. The most common causes of hair loss include:
Hereditary hair loss (male and female pattern baldness)
Immune system overreacts
Some drugs and treatments
Hairstyles that pull on the hair
Harsh hair-care products
Compulsion to pull out one’s hair
If you have hair loss, your hair will not grow until the cause stops. For example, people who undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatments often lose a lot of hair. When the treatment stops, their hair tends to regrow. If you suspect that a treatment or drug is causing your hair loss, talk with your doctor. Serious side effects can occur if you immediately stop a treatment or drug.
Other causes of hair loss may require treatment. Many people who have hereditary hair loss continue to lose hair without treatment. A woman who inherits the genes for hereditary hair loss may notice gradual thinning. Men who have hereditary hair loss tend to develop a receding hairline or bald patch that begins in the center of the scalp.
Treatment helps many people who have hair loss, but not everyone. A dermatologist can tell you what to expect.
Popular treatments for hair loss include the following:
Using a topical treatment called minoxidil
Using hair vitamins like Nutrafol or Viviscal Professional Strength
Taking collagen supplements
Supplementing essential nutrients such as Iron, Zinc, or Vitamin D if you are deficient in them