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Glossaries

 

This type of hair loss occurs in response to certain stress events. A sudden and severe stress causes an increase in the amount of the hairs being shed. The source of stress resulting in hair loss can be events such as childbirth, pregnancy termination, starting or stopping the use of oral contraceptive drugs, premenopausal period, drugs used in diet regimens, some emotional stresses etc. These events will cause the hair to stay in the resting phase for about only 3 months. Then, a large amount of hair will be shed.

Either consciously or unconsciously, self-inflicted damage to hairs may be a cause of hair loss in some individuals. There are two types of self-induced hair loss:

Trichotillomania – This type of hair loss is commonly seen in childhood, more frequently in girls than in boys. The people who compulsively and continuously pull or pluck their hairs experience trichotillomania. This implies that this disorder has a strong psychological basis.

Traction alopecia – This type of hair loss is caused by the continuous and excessive pulling and tension of the hair due to some types of hair styling or hair systems fixed on the hair itself.

As all hairs are shed at the end of their growth cycle, some degree of hair loss is accepted as normal in every individual. During the resting stage of the hair growth cycle the hair relaxes its hold on the hair root and the bulb of the hair shaft moves closer to the surface of the skin.

Over time, usual hair movements, shampooing and brushing causes the hair root to loosen further. Eventually, the hair is shed. The shedding of around 50 to 150 hairs per day by this way is normal. On following days, the hair follicle grows a new hair to replace the one, which is shed.

There are generally three types of women hair loss. These are summed up via the three following categories – androgenetic alopecia, Telogen effluvium, and non-pattern hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss in women, and the pattern of hair loss in this case, is less predictable in women than it is men. Telogen effluvium can arise from many causes, including medication use, dietary tendencies, and stress. Then there are all of the other rarer types of hair loss, which fall into the ‘non pattern hair loss category’.

98% of men who experience hair loss in their lifetime do so as a result of androgenetic alopecia. This usually begins with a receding hair line and can often result in severe hair loss eventually. Apart from androgenetic alopecia, there is also Telogen effluvium and non pattern hair loss. The former is hair loss that is usually caused by the likes of medication, diet patterns, stress, and thyroid abnormalities. The latter relates to any random and rare hair loss experienced, such as scarring alopecia and compulsive hair pulling (also known as trichotillomania).

Anagen effluvium is the sudden hair loss resulting from exposure to radiation or certain chemicals. This type of hair loss is mostly seen during or after chemotherapy or radiotherapy applied to cancer patients. In these hair loss cases, the hair skips the resting stage of its growth cycle, and a sudden hair loss occurs within 1 to 3 weeks following the exposure. The hair loss caused by chemotherapy is mostly reversible, while the hair loss caused by radiotherapy is irreversible.

The most common cause of hair loss in men and women is androgenetic alopecia. This condition is inherited and tends to cluster in families. Sensitivity to the effects of male hormones (androgens) on the scalp and hair follicles causes thinning of the hair in women, the same way that it does with men, although women will rarely develop a receding hair line.

Androgenetic alopecia is more common in men than women and can start as early as teen years. Female pattern baldness differs to male pattern baldness, as women’s hair generally thins rather than falling out

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