Hair loss usually develops gradually. It may be patchy or all over (diffuse). Normally, you lose roughly 100 hairs from your head every day. The scalp contains about 100,000 hairs.

Causes

HEREDITY

Both men and women tend to lose hair thickness and amount as they age. This type of baldness is not usually caused by a disease. It is related to aging, heredity, and changes in the hormone testosterone. Inherited, or pattern baldness, affects many more men than women. Male pattern baldness can occur at any time after puberty. About 80% of men show signs of male pattern baldness by age 70 years.

PHYSICAL OR EMOTIONAL STRESS

Physical or emotional stress may cause one half to three quarters of scalp hair to shed. This kind of hair loss is called telogen effluvium. Hair tends to come out in handfuls when you shampoo, comb, or run your hands through your hair. You may not notice this for weeks to months after the episode of stress. Hair shedding decreases over 6 to 8 months. Telogen effluvium is usually temporary. But it can become long-term (chronic).

Causes of this type of hair loss are:

Some women ages 30 to 60 years may notice a thinning of the hair that affects the entire scalp. The hair loss may be heavier at first, and then gradually slow or stop. There is no known cause for this type of telogen effluvium.

OTHER CAUSES

Other causes of hair loss, especially if it is in an unusual pattern, include:

Home Care

Hair loss from menopause or childbirth often goes away after 6 months to 2 years.

For hair loss due to illness (such as fever), radiation therapy, medicine use, or other causes, no treatment is needed. Hair usually grows back when the illness ends or the therapy is finished. You may want to wear a wig, hat, or other covering until the hair grows back.

Hair weaves, hair pieces, or changes of hair style may disguise hair loss. This is generally the least expensive and safest approach to hair loss. Hair pieces should not be sutured (sewn) to the scalp because of the risk for scars and infection.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have any of the following:

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