Hair Loss Causes Signs and Symptoms
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CAUSES OF THINNING HAIR?
Several factors play a role in thinning hair including genetics, lifestyle and aging. The most common cause of long-standing thinning hair is male and female pattern hair loss (also known as androgenetic alopecia, AGA). This is also known as male pattern hair loss (MPHL) and female pattern hair loss (FPHL).
HOW DOES HAIR THIN?
The normal growth cycle of a single hair strand can last anywhere from two to six years. When hair is healthy and growing at a steady rate, it grows about a half-inch per month. When hair is thinning, the growth cycle shortens and stays in the actively growing phase for shorter periods of time.
Signs and Symptoms
“My ponytail feels smaller”
Many women who wear their hair up in ponytails will report a difference in thickness. For example, they were only able to twist an elastic band once or twice, but now they have to twist it 3 or 4 times. If this has happened over a period of greater than 6-12 months, it may reflect a long-standing inherited female pattern thinning.
“I can’t style it the same anymore”
Men and women complain that there is a distinct change in texture as hair thins. This can feel like hair is more limp, more breakable, gets weighed down more easily with product, or is too thin to cover the scalp. If this problem has been going on for over a year now, and there are no major physiologic stressors you can identify, you may have early female or male pattern hair loss.
“My hair is coming out in clumps""
When the hair is coming out in large handfuls or collects as wads in the shower drain, you may be suffering from a temporary form of hair loss called telogen effluvium. This is likely if the hair has only been shedding for 6 or less months. You should consider whether there are any major stressful events in your life. Consider seeing your doctor for a workup of possible medical causes for your hair loss.
""My family says they can see my scalp""
The most common female pattern of hair loss is hair thinning in the frontal 1/3-2/3 of the scalp. For most women the frontal hairline stays intact. It is still essential to continue to prevent hair thinning using therapies such as topical minoxidil.
""Every time I comb it, hair falls out""
The simple act of combing hair can often result in a distressing amount of hair loss or hair shedding. Most persons who start using medical therapies such as topical minoxidil will report a significant decrease in daily shedding after just a few weeks to months of use."