Font Size

Hair Loss (cont.)

What Causes Hair Loss?

Patient Comments
  • Common causes of hair loss
    • Pattern baldness, a non-scarring alopecia (androgenetic alopecia), is genetically determined. In afflicted postpubertal individuals, hair follicles in the center of the scalp and over the temple begin to miniaturize, producing small, fine hairs which are difficult to see. This process is due to the metabolism of testosterone by an enzyme in the hair follicle. Generally, hair follicles over the ears and around the posterior of the scalp do not possess this enzyme so a fringe of normal hair is maintained.
    • Female-pattern baldness is very similar to its male counterpart, it occurs after menopause, and often spares the frontal hairline. It usually involves an overall thinning of hair.
    • Telogen effluvium is a phenomenon that occurs mostly in females, especially post pregnancy when there is an entirely, spontaneously reversible shedding of scalp hair.
    • Alopecia areata, a non-scarring alopecia, is thought to be an autoimmune disease and is characterized by distinct, localized, sharply marginated areas of hair loss. This characteristically spontaneously remits but occasionally can result in the loss of 100% of all body hair.
    • Medications such as allopurinol (Zyloprim), oral vitamin A analogs, chemotherapeutic drugs, and warfarin (Coumadin)
    • Poor nutrition and strict dieting and certain types of bariatric surgery
  • Uncommon causes of alopecia
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/22/2016

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Hair Loss:

Hair Loss - Causes

Please describe the cause of your hair loss.

Hair Loss - Home Remedies

What hair loss home remedies have you tried?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Alopecia Areata »

Alopecia areata is a recurrent nonscarring type of hair loss that can affect any hair-bearing area.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary