Causes of Baldness

In the Western world, both males and females attribute significance to the hair loss. It is probably a combination of the mass- Publicity attributed to the desirability of beautiful hair together with the sinister fear lurking in the minds of most that hair loss is something to be avoided at all.

However, there are many reasons for loss. Here are the main ones:

Normal hair loss. Losing from 20 to 100 hairs a day is normal. It merely represent hairs going into the resting phase, these will regenerate and produce a hair in a few months.

Heredity. The tendency to lose hair can be passed down through families. It is by far the most common type of illness. However, the tendency is quite unpredictable – it may skip a generation, or more than one generation. It may come from either the father’s or mother’s.

Aging years. Almost every male hair as his age advances. The bald -aged male usually began to lose hair in his late teens or early 20s. This is male pattern baldness.

However, this is usually a very slow ass. Experts believe the presence of dandruff is quite irrelevant to fact that is contrary to popular Male sex hormones (testosterone). There is a definite relationship between hair loss and the hormone testosterone. Early scalp loss of hair is often related to excessive growth of hair on other parts of the body that seem to be stimulated by the same hormone. This is true also in women who produce male hormone as well as female hormone. Baldness among women is more common than is generally realised. However, what produces facial hair in women who have gone through the “change of life” (after which sex hormone production halts) is unknown at present.

Diet. Many people incorrectly believe hair loss is intimately related to diet, or the lack of a specific vitamin arid other similar dietetic causes. Profound and longstanding malnutrition (especially of protein) over a prolonged period can predispose to baldness. But it is quite well established that no single vitamin, general food or mineral deficiency will initiate hair loss.

Illness. Disease and illness are notorious for causing hair loss. The growing cells in the hair root are very sensitive to sudden changes in general health of the system. Many hairs can suddenly be brought into the resting phase, and be subsequently shed. Therefore excessive numbers come away, and a general thinning of the scalp occurs. But when a return of normal health recurs, the hairs promptly regenerate and commence to grow normally once more. However, as the hair loss may be only one symptom of a serious disorder, prompt medical attention should be sought with this type of sudden hair loss. Thyroid disorders, severe anaemias, and other constitutional diseases are in this category. An underactive thyroid is probably the most common and most important one.

Childbirth. Hair loss in the mother following the rigours of childbirth is well known. The stress of pregnancy, and the efforts involved in confinement predispose to this temporary state of affairs. The roots are merely in the resting phase, and soon regenerate and normal hair production is resumed. Hair loss with the newborn baby is common also in the first few months of life, and is normal.

Chronic emotional stress. This similarly produces premature loss of hair. It is merely due to a reduction in the usual growing phase. It is temporary only, and after the usual resting period, normal re-growth of the hair will recommence. Tensions, stresses, anxieties, family upsets, domestic crises and work dilemmas all come into this category.

Continual pressure. Another common cause is continual pressure. Many nervously inclined young women continually pull at their hair. Ultimately, the bulb simply comes adrift. Other hair conscious people regularly wear rollers that are far too tight. This can exert an enormous pressure on the bulb. Finally, it comes away, and falling hair results. In both cases (as with plucking) regeneration occurs, and a normal return of hair can he expected.

Chemicals. Certain chemicals have a predilection for the hair and cause it to fall. Thallium is the most notorious, and books of intrigue are filled with stories about this dangerous product.

Scarring. Under certain circumstances the hair follicle is irreparably damaged. In some scarring diseases the follicle is permanently destroyed, and no further hair growth will occur.

Alopecia (Alopecia areata). This is the sudden shedding of hair in circumscribed areas of the scalp. It often occurs in middle age, producing bald patches for no apparent reason. Anxieties, tensions and stresses appear to play a major partwith some women. The outlook for this is good, and the hair usually grows again with no treatment at all.

If the condition starts in early life, an progresses, the outlook for a cure is poor. Sometimes it is so extensive that all the hair of the body is affected and comes away. This form of hair loss is often amenable to treatment, although the results vary from person to person.

In recent years, another potent cause for hair loss has again crept into prominence. With the increasing advance of the permissive society, the sexually transmitted disease syphilis is becoming more common. Alopecia is a well-known hair loss until recently little seen form of the secondary stage of syphilis. Most doctors are alert to this, and will search for this as the underlying cause. Prompt treatment of this serious disease is essential to prevent long-term disasters occurring.