Hair loss in clumps: reasons, treatment, prevention
You step into the shower and rinse your hair. You look down, and what do you see? A pretty alarming number of strands that have drifted off your scalp.
You may even notice clumps of bristles in your brush bristles after your daily brushing.
Wherever it occurs, excessive hair loss can be a troubling thing to deal with. If you’ve noticed clumps of hair falling out recently, here’s what could be going on inside your body and what you can do to treat it.
To understand hair loss, you need to understand hair growth.
There are three stages in the growth cycle:
- Anagen. This is when the hair actively grows in length.
- Catagen. This is when the hair stops growing.
- Telogen. This is when the hair rests and eventually falls out.
About 90 percent of your hair is in the anagen stage at times, and this growth phase can last for years.
The transition phase, catagen, is much shorter –often only a few weeks –and telogen lasts a few months.
There is around 100,000 follicles hair that grows on the average scalp, and it is common to lose up to 100 strands One day. Once a hair has lost, the follicle prepares for regrowth and the whole cycle begins again.
Certain conditions can also lead to imbalance, where half the hair on the head enter the telogen phase of shedding.
So what can cause clumps of hair to fall out? Well, there are a lot of potential culprits, and some people may have more than one issue at stake.
Male and female baldness
Certain causes lead to permanent hair loss.
Male and female baldness is one of them. One of the most common forms of hair loss, it is often seen in more than one generation of a family.
Hormones, as well as genetics, can play a game, leading to smaller follicles which eventually stop producing hair.
Men tend to notice receding hairline and patches of hair loss on the top of the head.
For women, hair loss results in thinning hair, especially on the crown.
Stress – such as from a traumatic event, health problem (such as surgery), rapid weight loss, or pregnancy – can be a big factor in telogen effluvium.
Essentially, this means that there is temporary hair loss where more hair goes into the telogen phase than is typical.
He can It will be difficult to determine the cause of the stress, as hair loss often does not occur immediately, but falls 3-6 months later. That said, if you find yourself losing clumps of hair several months after a big event like the ones mentioned above, chances are, stress is the cause.
Low levels of iron, zinc and vitamins
Alopecia occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Sometimes the hair grows back on its own.
There are several forms of alopecia:
- Alopecia areata. This type causes patches of baldness.
- Total alopecia. This type causes complete baldness on the head.
- Universal alopecia. This is much rarer and causes the whole body to lose all of its hair.
If left untreated, the hormonal changes caused can prevent new strands of hair from growing.
Other conditions and medications
Autoimmune diseases, like lupus and chronic infections, can also be to blame.
You may also find that drugs, such as chemotherapy drugs, retinoids, beta blockers, and antidepressants can cause hair loss.
In many cases, the hair will grow back when you stop taking the medicine.
According to NHS, most forms of hair loss do not need treatment. This is because much of the hair loss is temporary or natural due to aging.
However, you may need to be patient. It can take months for the hair to start growing back and even longer for it to become somewhat ânormalâ (whatever that means to you).
With that said, there are some approaches you can try to manage hair loss:
- Take care of your general health if your hair loss is caused by your lifestyle. Try to make sure you eat a balanced diet with enough protein (usually at least 50 grams per day), vitamins and minerals.
- Treat your hair and scalp gently, avoiding excessive heat styling and death. Stick to gentle, sulfate-free products.
- If you want to start a specific treatment against hair loss, know that no cure is 100 percent effective. Options include minoxidil (aka Rogaine), a drug that can help with hair loss and slow the tastes of baldness. However, you have to use it every day for it to be effective – if you stop using it your hair loss will resume.
- Try treating male pattern baldness with finasteride (Propecia), which reduces the hormone DHT for additional hair growth and less hair loss.
- Consider steroid injections or creams and treatment with ultraviolet (UV) light, which may have the positive effects.
Remember: See a doctor if your hair is falling out in large clumps. They will be able to advise you on effective treatment options.
Some forms of hair loss are hereditary or caused by disease, so there is no sure-fire way to prevent clumps from falling out.
But it’s okay to take a look at your current lifestyle and make some changes if needed.
These changes might involve dealing with stress by exercising regularly or trying calming rituals, such as yoga or meditation. You can also work to get enough sleep and enough nutrients by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables.
Also, try to treat your hair with care. Stay away from potentially aggravating ingredients, like alcohol and hot-drying tools.
Losing clumps of hair can be particularly painful. But there will always be an underlying reason, whether it’s a health issue, stress levels, or family genetics.
The best person to help you find the cause is a doctor or a specialist dermatologist.
And remember: most hair loss is temporary and will eventually grow back.
Lauren Sharkey is a UK-based journalist and author specializing in women’s issues. When she’s not trying to figure out a way to banish migraines, she can be found finding the answers to your health questions that lurk in your face. She has also written a book featuring young activists around the world and is building a community of these resistance fighters. Catch her Twitter.