Tag Archives: autoimmune disease

What is Causing My Hair Loss?

causes of hair loss
Hair loss can happen at any age. At Modena Hair Institute we’ve designed topical and medical hair loss programs for patients in their early 20s, as well as those in their late 50s. While hair loss is universal, its causes and origins may be summarized into three general categories.

Very few lay people understand that hair loss is not a single, simple diagnosis, but that it is actually a common symptom that can be caused by a variety of different conditions. This is one of the reasons why finding the correct diagnosis and treatment for hair loss can be difficult, and why Dr. Amir Yazdan at Modena Hair Institute continue to study every possible underlying cause and treatment option.

By far the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is Androgenic Alopecia (AGA). Otherwise known as genetic pattern baldness, AGA occurs when the hair follicles have inherited an increased sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (or DHT). This hormone is a natural by-product of the breakdown of testosterone in the body and is present, in varying degrees, in both men and women. When sensitive hair follicles are exposed to DHT they begin to shrink and their growth cycle shortens. Over time, they produce gradually thinner and thinner hair strands until, eventually, they stop producing hair altogether.

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A second general type of cause behind hair loss may be termed external influence. While genetic pattern baldness is an internal and physiological concern, things like stress, menopause, environmental disturbances and diet may cause hair loss through external disturbance.

Individual hair follicles on the scalp do not continuously produce hair, but instead go through distinct cycles of growth and shedding. However, a variety of external factors can potentially disrupt these cycles, causing a condition called telogen effluvium where large amounts of hair are shed at once. Anything that causes a physiological shock to the body can potentially cause telogen effluvium, including physical trauma, major surgery, or even crash dieting that starves the body of necessary proteins. In some cases, emotional trauma and stress can prompt changes in eating or sleep patterns that can also result in similar symptoms.

A third general type of cause behind hair loss is auto-immune disease. There are several different auto-immune symptoms that can potentially result in hair loss, but the most common is alopecia areata, a condition similar to rheumatoid arthritis where the body’s immune system attacks the rapidly growing cells at the base of the hair follicles. The inflammation that results interrupts the natural cycle of hair growth and causes hair to shed in small, round, smooth patches on the scalp. In some rare and extreme cases, alopecia areata (AA) may progress to the point that all of the scalp hair is lost, a condition called alopecia totalis, or even to alopecia universalis, the complete loss of all body hair.

As is apparent, diagnosing hair loss can be complicated and there is really no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatment. That’s why, at Modena Hair Institute in California and Nevada, we spend so much time and effort determining the specific underlying cause of a patient’s hair loss. That is the only way we can formulate a personalized hair restoration treatment program that addresses patient’s individual needs.

Dr. Amir Yazdan, MD, is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, expert guest on Dr. Phil and The Doctors, creator of the GroMD hair restoration product line, ISHRS member, accredited member of the IAHRS and a visceral advocate for patient care. Learn more about Dr. Yazdan or read rave reviews from his patients.