Causes of Hair Loss

For those who are considering a hair transplant, often the question is, “Why me?” It is natural to wonder if there is anything that could have been done to prevent hair loss or what control does someone have over the situation.

This article will briefly discuss the major reasons of hair loss in men and women, and what can be done to prevent it, if anything.


According to medical science, hair loss is a genetic condition known as male or female patterned baldness. Though the condition can be present in both genders, men are more likely to be the ones whose hormones alter the body’s chemistry, and can start as early as their early teen years.

In women, while heredity is the major cause, an alteration of the body’s hormones can also affect hair loss during such times as pregnancy, menopause, and stopping a regular birth control regimen.

While heredity is understood to be the primary cause of hair loss and involves a change in the person’s body chemistry, other medical conditions that result in similar changes to a person’s biochemistry have been cited as causes. Among these conditions is a malfunctioning thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is an internal organ that assists in regulating hormone levels throughout the body.
Women who begin menopause or peri-menopause can have an overactive or underactive thyroid condition. In many cases, this imbalance can be treated with prescription drugs to minimize its effects.


Diseases are also a cause of hair loss. One disease that is specific to hair loss is alopecia areata, which causes the body's immune system to directly attack the hair follicles over the entire body. The condition is visible when smooth, round patches of hair loss appear on the affected person. Though the direct cause is not known, alopecia areata has been found more often in men and women who have other autoimmune diseases such as Celiac disease or psoriasis.

Sometimes the effects or a disease, such as scarring, are attributable to hair loss. Lichen planus and certain types of lupus are other autoimmune diseases but do not directly affect hair loss. However, the hair loss occurs where the disease leaves scar tissue, and hair growth cannot take place in scar tissue.

Medical treatments

In discussing the medical conditions that can cause hair loss, it also has to be considered that prescription medications which are used on a temporary or permanent basis, or medical treatments themselves can have hair loss as one of their side effects. One of the more commonly known side effects of chemotherapy used to treat cancer is hair loss.

Patients who have had a heart attack or other heart dysfunction often are prescribed medications such as beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors, either which can cause hair loss.

The specific side effects of drugs prescribed by your doctor should be discussed at the initial consult, but in cooperation with your regular doctor to determine if the drug in question is actually the cause of any hair loss.


Though not as common, there are psychological reasons why hair loss can occur. These conditions do have a cure in most cases, so it is important to consider these reasons when going for an initial consult for hair replacement. An open and frank discussion with your doctor about all the possible reasons for hair loss can bring to light a more permanent, and less expensive, solution to the problem.

The possibility of a physical or emotional shock being the cause of hair loss has been recorded. Sometimes it is only a general thinning of the hair but in severe cases can even result in permanent hair loss. The degree of shock may not be significant, as the effects will differ from person to person. Research has attributed a death in the family as a cause as well as an event that seems rather insignificant, such as a high fever.

When hair loss is experienced, and there does not appear to be any genetic or disease related cause, psychological events need to be considered. Physical manifestations of psychological problems resulting in hair loss are usually the most obvious to the doctor. One clear example of this is a hair pulling disorder (Trichotillomania). While not restricted to the scalp, a hair pulling disorder is a mental disorder where people uncontrollably and literally pull out the hair from various parts of the body. In the discussion of hair transplantation, the result of this disorder is unpatterned, patchy bald spots to be visible on the head.


In mentioning the final possible cause of hair loss, it seems contradictory that it should be included because it is a cosmetic reason! Yes, certain hairstyles can result in what is known as traction hair loss. This type of hair loss is the result of pulling hair too tightly when styling. Two examples of this are when fashioning a ponytail or creating cornrows.

Knowing the cause of hair loss may not mean that you can take any action to prevent it. But being aware of the potential causes will allow you to have a more realistic view of the possibility of future hair transplant treatments.