~ 092509 Factors Contributing to Hair Loss in Women

The Patriot Ledger Quincy, MA

Most female-pattern baldness is inherited. Other causes of hair loss include:

Disease. Illnesses such as diabetes, lupus and thyroid.

Poor nutrition. Having inadequate protein or iron in your diet or poor nourishment in other ways can cause hair loss. Fad diets, crash diets and certain illnesses, such as eating disorders, can cause poor nutrition.

Medications. Certain drugs used to treat gout, arthritis, depression, heart problems and high blood pressure may cause hair loss in some people. Also, the acne medication Accutane contributes to hair loss. Taking birth control pills also may result in hair loss for some women.

Medical treatments. Undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy may cause you to develop alopecia. After your treatment ends, your hair typically begins to regrow.

Recent high fever, severe flu or surgery. You may notice you have less hair three to four months after events such as an illness or surgery. These conditions cause hair to shift rapidly into a resting phase, meaning you'll see less new hair growth. A normal amount of hair typically will appear after the growth phase resumes.

Childbirth. Some women experience an increase in hair loss several months after delivering a baby. This is because during pregnancy the hair is shifted into an active growth state that then goes back to base line soon after delivery. This increased hair loss usually corrects itself.

Hair treatments. Chemicals used for dyeing, tinting, bleaching, straightening or perming can cause hair to become damaged and break off if they are overused or used incorrectly. Excessive hairstyling or hairstyles that pull your hair too tightly also can cause some hair loss.

Scalp infection. Infections such as ringworm can invade the hair and skin of your scalp, leading to hair loss. Once infections are treated, hair generally regrows. Ringworm, a fungal infection, can usually be treated with a topical or oral antifungal medication.

Source: Mayo Clinic.
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