Understanding Hair Falling Out: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment Options

Losing hair is a common worry for many. It can happen for various reasons, like stress or health issues. This blog will guide you through the causes, signs, and ways to handle hair loss.

Keep reading to learn more!

Key Takeaways


Types of Hair Loss

Hair loss comes in various forms, including androgenetic alopecia, pregnancy-related hair loss, telogen effluvium, anagen effluvium, alopecia areata, and traction alopecia. Each type has different underlying causes and requires specific treatment options.


Androgenetic alopecia

Androgenetic alopecia, often known as male pattern baldness or female-pattern hair loss, affects roughly half of all men. It’s the top reason why men see their hair thinning or their hairline receding.

Women can also experience this form of hair thinning but it’s less common and usually involves a widening part or thinner ponytails rather than a receding hairline. This condition is mainly due to genetics, which means if your family members have it, you might get it too.

Doctors use blood tests and scalp exams to diagnose this type of hair shedding. They look at your medical history and might even use special imaging tests to get a closer look at your scalp health.

For some people struggling with severe cases, doctors suggest surgical treatments like hair transplant surgery. This method moves healthy hairs from one part of the head to fill in areas with little or no growth.

Other treatment options include over-the-counter medicines that either slow down the loss or help grow new strands on the crown and front parts of the scalp.




During pregnancy, many women notice their hair falling out more than usual. This condition, known as telogen effluvium, affects up to half of pregnant individuals. Hormonal shifts and health issues like thyroid problems or low iron often trigger it.

After giving birth, the sudden drop in estrogen leads to even more hair shedding for some.

This type of hair loss usually picks up after childbirth rather than during the pregnancy months. Despite these challenges, it’s a temporary phase for most women as their body adjusts post-pregnancy.

Keep an eye on your overall health and consult with healthcare providers if concerns arise about your hair or general wellness during this time. Moving forward, let’s explore another common cause of hair loss: Telogen effluvium outside of pregnancy contexts.


Telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a common type of hair thinning that happens after stress, shock, or a traumatic event. This condition causes many hair strands to enter the resting stage in their growth cycle all at once.

As a result, people experience widespread and sudden hair shedding. Stressful events like high fever, surgery, or severe illness often trigger this kind of hair loss.

Hormonal changes and environmental shifts also play a role in starting telogen effluvium. Because so many hairs go into their resting phase prematurely, individuals might notice more hairs falling out during routine activities such as washing or brushing their strands.

Unlike some forms of permanent baldness, telogen effluvium usually reverses itself over time as the scalp recovers and begins to renew its natural cycle of hair growth and shedding.


Anagen effluvium


Moving on from understanding Telogen Effluvium, let’s delve into Anagen Effluvium. This form of alopecia is often associated with chemotherapy and results in the abrupt loss of hairs in the anagen or growing phase due to a severe injury to hair follicles.

It causes faster and more dramatic hair loss than Telogen Effluvium, leading to sudden diffuse shedding or slower thinning over time. Doxorubicin, nitrosoureas, cyclophosphamide, and bleomycin are some causative agents for this type of alopecia.

Anagen effluvium specifically affects hairs in their growing phase due to events that impair metabolic activity or mitosis of hair. Medical treatments such as chemotherapy are common factors associated with this condition.


Alopecia areata


Transitioning from discussing anagen effluvium, let’s delve into alopecia areata. This autoimmune condition leads to hair loss in small, round patches. While it isn’t life-threatening and doesn’t cause physical pain, the psychosocial impact can be devastating due to sudden patchy hair loss.

In severe cases, total hair loss can occur. Linked to other autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and thyroid disease, treatment options for alopecia areata include medications and regrowth methods.

The National Alopecia Areata Foundation offers support and resources for those living with this condition.


Traction alopecia


Repeated and prolonged pulling on hair roots causes traction alopecia. This type of hair loss often results from tight hairstyles like pigtails or cornrows. The continuous strain on the scalp can lead to weakened hair follicles, breakage, and eventual loss.

It’s important to change hairstyles if thinning or bald spots develop due to traction alopecia.

Efforts should be made to prevent further damage by avoiding tight hairstyles that exert excessive strain on the scalp. Leading a healthy lifestyle and using gentle hair care practices may aid in promoting regrowth for those struggling with traction alopecia.


Medications and treatments


Moving on from understanding traction alopecia, let’s delve into medications and treatments for addressing hair loss. It’s essential to know that over-the-counter medications like minoxidil or Rogaine are available for treating hair loss.

Medications such as chemotherapy drugs and blood thinners can lead to hair loss as a side effect. For common types of hair loss, topical or oral medications often serve as the initial course of treatment, with options like minoxidil (Rogaine) being commonly used for hereditary baldness.

Underlying Causes of Hair Loss

Hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, chronic stress, certain medications, and medical conditions like PCOS and thyroid disorders can contribute to hair loss. Learn more about these underlying causes to understand how they might be affecting your hair health.


Hormonal imbalances


Hormonal imbalances, such as those due to pregnancy, menopause, and thyroid issues, can lead to temporary or permanent hair loss in women. An example is female pattern baldness that is associated with hormone imbalances linked to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Furthermore, conditions like androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium, and alopecia areata are also connected to hormonal changes resulting in hair loss. It’s worth noting that discontinuing certain birth control pills can cause temporary hormone imbalances leading to thinning hair for some women.

Women may experience fluctuations in hormones during life events like pregnancy or illness which can affect their hair health significantly.


Nutritional deficiencies


Transitioning from hormonal imbalances to nutritional deficiencies, it’s important to recognize that vitamin and mineral deficiencies can play a crucial role in contributing to hair thinning and loss.

Micronutrient shortages, such as low levels of iron, vitamin D, and zinc, have been linked to these issues. For instance, individuals deficient in vitamin D may experience dry, brittle hair that breaks easily or significant shedding and thinning hair.

Similarly, lacking essential vitamins like biotin or zinc can also lead to similar outcomes. In fact, research suggests that addressing such deficiencies might be a modifiable risk factor for preventing or treating alopecia.


Chronic stress


Chronic stress impacts the body in various ways, and hair loss is one of them. This type of stress can trigger hormonal imbalances, leading to hair thinning and shedding. The connection between chronic stress and hair loss has been confirmed by a study from Harvard University, emphasizing the significance of managing stress for maintaining healthy hair.

Moving on to “Differentiating Hair Loss from Hair Shedding”.


Certain medications


Transitioning from understanding the impact of chronic stress on hair loss, it’s important to consider that certain medications can also contribute to this issue. Some drugs, such as beta-blockers and antidepressants, are associated with potential side effects like hair loss.

Being aware of these medication-related causes is crucial when addressing and managing hair loss.

Understanding the influence of specific medications on hair health is important for those dealing with hair loss. Medications like beta-blockers and antidepressants have been linked to potential side effects such as hair shedding and thinning.


Medical conditions (PCOS, thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases)


PCOS, thyroid disorders, and autoimmune diseases can lead to hair loss in various ways. For instance, high androgen levels in women with PCOS might result in hair thinning or even male-pattern hair loss.

Additionally, around 8-28% of people with alopecia are found to have thyroid disease as a contributing factor. Furthermore, PCOS is linked to autoimmune thyroid disease and may manifest as diffuse hair loss.

Understanding how these medical conditions intersect with hair health is crucial for finding effective treatment strategies for addressing the underlying causes of hair loss.

Differentiating Hair Loss from Hair Shedding

Differentiating hair loss from hair shedding involves understanding the amount and frequency of hair loss, as well as consulting with a dermatologist to determine the cause. Take a closer look at how to distinguish between these two conditions by reading on.


Amount of hair loss


Hair loss can vary in amount for different people. It’s normal to lose around 50-100 hairs per day, but excessive shedding might indicate an issue. If you notice an increase in the amount of hair falling out during washing or brushing, it could be a sign of hair loss.

Keep an eye on bald patches or thinning areas as well because these could also signal abnormal levels of hair loss.

Understanding the typical amount of daily hair shedding is crucial. On average, most people shed between 50 and 100 hairs each day. However, if you start noticing more than usual amounts of lost hair in your brush or drain, consult with a dermatologist to determine whether there’s cause for concern.


Frequency of hair loss


When considering hair loss, it’s essential to recognize the frequency at which it occurs. The normal shedding rate for adults is about 50-100 hairs per day. However, certain conditions such as telogen effluvium can lead to excessive hair shedding, causing significantly more hairs to fall out daily over a period of time.

Understanding what constitutes as regular or excessive hair loss is crucial in identifying potential underlying issues and seeking appropriate treatment.

It’s important for individuals experiencing hair loss to monitor the frequency of their shedding and seek professional advice if they notice a significant increase in lost hairs on a daily basis.

Consultation with a dermatologist

When experiencing hair thinning or loss, it is essential to schedule a consultation with a qualified dermatologist. Dermatologists possess extensive knowledge and expertise in identifying the signs of hair loss, whether it stems from genetic, medical, or environmental factors.

Seeking professional advice from a board-certified dermatologist allows for an accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plan. The meticulous examination conducted by these specialists assists in distinguishing between actual hair loss and temporary shedding.

By consulting a dermatologist, individuals can gain valuable insights into the underlying causes of hair issues and explore effective treatment options such as medications, topical treatments, lifestyle adjustments, and alternative therapies.

Treatment Options for Hair Loss

You can try medications, topical treatments, lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments or alternative therapies for treating hair loss. Hair transplant surgery is also an option to consider.



Dutasteride, finasteride, and minoxidil are popular medications for combating hair loss. Finasteride has been approved to treat male pattern baldness since 1997. Additionally, over-the-counter medication options like minoxidil (Rogaine) can be used to address hereditary balding.

It’s important to note that anticoagulants, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and drugs for bipolar disorder may contribute to hair loss. Other treatment options include applying over-the-counter medications such as Rogaine directly to the scalp.


Topical treatments


Topical treatments, such as minoxidil (Rogaine), can be applied directly to the scalp to help promote hair growth. Minoxidil is an FDA-approved therapy for androgenetic alopecia and can also be used off-label for other types of hair loss.

Additionally, corticosteroids are another type of medication that can be topically applied to the scalp to aid in regrowing hair and treating pattern baldness. These medications have been proven effective in helping individuals regain their confidence by combating hair loss.

Furthermore, with topical treatments like minoxidil being readily available over-the-counter, it offers a convenient option for those seeking non-invasive solutions for their hair loss concerns.


Lifestyle changes


Making lifestyle changes can positively impact hair loss. Taking small but purposeful steps can make a difference. Here are some essential lifestyle changes that can help combat hair loss:


  1. Cultivate a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients such as proteins, vitamins (especially biotin, vitamin D, and iron), and omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporate foods like eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and fruits to promote healthy hair growth.
  2. Manage stress through mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Adequate sleep and regular physical activity are also important for stress management.
  3. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption as they can negatively impact hair health.
  4. Be gentle with your hair: use mild shampoos and conditioners suitable for your hair type, avoid excessive heat styling or tight hairstyles that pull on the scalp.
  5. Protect your hair from environmental damage by using sun protection products for your scalp when spending time outdoors.
  6. Consult a healthcare professional before starting any new medication or supplements to ensure they won’t exacerbate hair loss.
  7. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day to support overall health and aid in maintaining healthy hair.


By making these lifestyle adjustments, individuals experiencing hair loss can potentially improve their overall scalp health and optimize conditions for regrowth.


Dietary changes


Making dietary changes can have a profound impact on hair health, and it’s important to note that a healthy diet plays a critical role in preventing hair loss. Nutrient deficiencies can be addressed by incorporating the following dietary changes:


  1. Increase intake of foods rich in biotin, such as eggs and nuts, to promote healthy hair growth.
  2. Consume iron – rich foods like spinach and lentils to combat iron deficiency, which is linked to hair loss.
  3. Include vitamin A – rich foods like sweet potatoes and carrots to support sebum production for a healthy scalp.
  4. Add sources of omega – 3 fatty acids such as salmon and chia seeds to nourish the scalp and support hair density.
  5. Incorporate zinc – rich foods like oysters and pumpkin seeds to maintain scalp health and prevent hair thinning.
  6. Integrate protein sources like lean meats, beans, and legumes for essential amino acids crucial for strong, resilient hair strands.
  7. Opt for whole grains like quinoa and brown rice to provide vital nutrients that promote overall hair health.


By implementing these dietary changes, individuals can proactively address the underlying nutritional factors contributing to their hair loss.


Take the Zone Hair Pull Test
Take the Zone Hair Pull Test

Alternative therapies


When considering alternative therapies for hair loss, it’s important to explore options beyond traditional medication and surgical treatments. These therapies can be beneficial for some individuals and may offer additional support in managing hair loss. Here are some alternative therapies to consider:


  1. Scalp massage: Regular scalp massages can help improve circulation to the hair follicles and promote hair growth.
  2. Aromatherapy: Essential oils like rosemary, peppermint, and lavender may have stimulating effects on the scalp when used in aromatherapy.
  3. Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese therapy involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to restore balance and potentially promote hair growth.
  4. Herbal supplements: Certain herbal supplements, such as saw palmetto and ginseng, are believed to have properties that support hair health.
  5. Nutritional therapy: Working with a nutritionist to address any dietary deficiencies or imbalances that may contribute to hair loss can be beneficial.
  6. Stress management techniques: Practices like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress levels, which may in turn lessen the impact of stress-related hair loss.
  7. Low-level light therapy (LLLT): Also known as red light therapy or photobiomodulation, LLLT uses specific wavelengths of light to stimulate cellular activity in the scalp and promote hair growth.


Exploring these alternative therapies alongside conventional treatment options may provide a holistic approach to addressing hair loss concerns.

Next topic – “Hair transplant surgery”


Hair transplant surgery


After considering alternative therapies, some individuals may find hair transplant surgery to be a viable option for addressing hair loss. This surgical procedure involves taking hair-bearing skin from one area and transplanting it to another on the head.

It aims to restore a more youthful appearance for those distressed by hair loss, especially due to androgenetic alopecia. While there are risks such as bleeding, infection, scarring, and unnatural results associated with this procedure, complications are rare and generally minimal.

The cost of hair transplant surgery is relatively high, making it essential for individuals who haven’t found success with other treatments or can afford the expense. Various techniques exist for performing these transplants, catering to different needs and preferences of affected individuals.


Understanding hair falling out involves identifying the various causes, symptoms, and treatment options. From hormonal imbalances to nutritional deficiencies, there are several underlying factors to consider.

Consulting a dermatologist is crucial in differentiating between hair loss and shedding. Treatment options such as medications, lifestyle changes, and alternative therapies provide hope for managing hair loss effectively.

Whether it’s androgenetic alopecia or other types of hair loss, addressing the root cause is essential for effective management.


1. What causes hair to fall out?

Hair falls out due to various reasons, including hereditary hair loss, hormonal changes like those from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid diseases, immune system attacks such as in alopecia, and scalp infections like tinea capitis or ringworm of the scalp.

2. Can styling my hair too much lead to hair loss?

Yes, frequent hair styling using tight hairstyles can contribute to a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. Also, overusing heat tools and harsh chemicals might damage your hair.

3. Are there any treatments for stopping my hair from falling out?

Treatments vary based on the cause but may include over-the-counter medications for conditions like male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss, prescription drugs for autoimmune diseases or fungal infections, and lifestyle adjustments for issues stemming from vitamin deficiencies or eating disorders.

4. How do I know if my hair loss is serious?

If you notice sudden patches of lost hair on the scalp, significant thinning across your head especially outside of normal shedding cycles (anagen phase), bald spots that grow larger with time; it’s wise to seek advice from a medical center or primary care provider who specializes in dermatology.

5. Does taking certain medications affect my chances of losing more hair?

Some medications have side effects that include increased risk of losing more than usual amounts of hairs such as isotretinoin used in acne treatment and some forms of hormonal birth control pills.

6. Is it true that both men and women can experience patterned baldness?

Yes! Both males and females can undergo patterned baldness where men typically see receding at the temples forming an “M” shape known as male pattern baldness while women tend to experience overall thinning across their heads without fully going bald known as female pattern baldness.