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What's Causing My Hair Loss?

What's Causing My Hair Loss?

Hair shedding is a normal part of the hair growth cycle, but for millions of Americans, excess shedding leads to noticeable hair loss — even balding. That includes about 80 million women and men with hereditary hair loss that’s “passed down” from their parents and grandparents.

It’s true, plenty of A-listers have embraced the bald or balding look as a style choice. But for the millions of men and women who have unwanted hair loss, the effect is something entirely different. In fact, losing your hair can take a direct hit on your self-confidence, regardless of your gender, age, or celebrity status.

At ENT Specialists, our team offers hair-replacement surgery using state-of-the-art techniques to help men and women restore lost hair and improve their confidence. The first step in treating hair loss is understanding what’s causing it to happen.

Common causes of hair loss

A surprising number of issues can cause or contribute to both permanent and temporary hair loss. Scheduling an evaluation is the only real way to know for sure what’s causing your symptoms.

Heredity

Also called male-pattern baldness, androgenetic alopecia is also very common among women. In men, hair loss begins at the temples and moves backward, creating an “M” shape. Eventually, hair loss moves to the crown, often moving back along the scalp and causing partial or complete baldness.

In women, androgenetic alopecia causes thinning hair all over the scalp. The hairline usually stays put, and total baldness rarely occurs.

Hormones

Changes in hormones — especially estrogen — are another relatively common cause of hair loss, especially in women. Some women find their hair is thinner during pregnancy, but hair volume returns in the months following childbirth.

Many women entering menopause find their hair is thinner than it used to be, and they may notice areas where their scalp shows through. As with hereditary hair loss, this type of hair loss is permanent, but it can be treated.

Diseases

Skin diseases, like psoriasis, can cause hair loss that’s usually “fixable” once the underlying disease is treated. Thyroid disease and fungal infections can also cause hair loss. 

Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that’s caused by an autoimmune disorder. In this type of hair loss, your immune system mistakenly attacks your hair follicles, preventing them from producing hair. If you have alopecia areata, hair loss occurs in one or more patches.

Medication

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are common causes of hair loss. While most people know many cancer therapies cause hair loss, other medications can cause hair loss or thinning, too, including some anti-depressant medicines and blood pressure medicines, as well as drugs used to treat arthritis and heart disease.

Hairstyles

Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by tight hairstyles that put a lot of pressure on your follicles. Tight braids and cornrows are common culprits. Hair loss may also be caused by some hair treatments, including those using hot oil and harsh chemicals. 

Stress

Extreme stress can also cause hair loss, which is usually associated with overall thinning of the hair. Because of natural variations in the hair growth cycle, you may not notice the thinning until several months after the stressful event. In most cases, hair growth returns to normal over time.

Hair-replacement surgery

Our team offers several types of hair-replacement surgery at our practices in Salt Lake City, Murray, Draper, Tooele, and West Jordan, Utah. The most common type of hair-replacement surgery uses hair grafts taken from the very back or sides of your scalp. The surgeon removes a strip of hair, then divides it into tiny hair grafts before replanting them in your scalp.

Some patients benefit from a different technique called skin flap surgery (or scalp reduction surgery). In this procedure, a small area of the balding scalp is removed, and a section of hair-covered skin is moved into the area and sutured in place. 

Tissue expansion is a newer type of hair-replacement surgery that uses tissue expanders to gently stretch an area of the scalp with normal hair growth. This new skin growth can then be used to repair a balding area.

Don’t let hair loss take a toll on your self-confidence. Book an appointment online or over the phone, and learn how the team at ENT Specialists can help.

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