Cycles of Growth :Our hair growth is identified to be following three phases during its life, namely anagen, catagen and telogen. Anagen is the phase that lasts from two to five years and this growth phase is terminated by extreme interruption between hair shaft and nourishing papilla. This interruption lasts only for a few days and is called the Catagen Phase. The next three months the hair rests and this period of resting is called Telogen Phase. After this resting period, the hair falls and in its place a new hair growth cycle begins.
Causes of Hair Loss : The primary cause of loss of hair lies in the genes, the genetic endowment and is irreversible. There is also loss of hair due to the Chemo therapy, treatment of infection by ingesting chemicals or drugs into ones biological systems. The other supplementary factors are stress, poor diet and personal hygiene, physical illness, environmental issues like pollution etc. Lets see each one of the causes in some more detail
Genetics :We all carry genes from our parents in equal proportion. If anyone of our ancestors has had permanent hair loss it is carried forward to our lives also and hence irreversible. This is called Patterned Baldness, more pronounced in males and hence the common Male Patterned Baldness or MPB.
MPB :This legacy that one inherits is most common in young males but also known to affect the middle aged people. Early detection is important and to date there is no known medical cure to this ailment. Good scalp cleaning and nourishing is important. Generally speaking, around twenty five percent of men under 30 years of age and sixty six percent of them over 40 years of age experience male patterned baldness. It starts the process by thinning the top of the head or the hairline and recedes further towards the crown. In some cases the loss is more pronounced around the crown.
Pregnancy and Related Issues :The hormonal status undergoes marked changes during pregnancy and some of these lead to growth of hair. This is due to the fact that the Anogen phase of growth is more prolonged. However, after delivery the hormonal balance is restored to its erstwhile levels and the prolonged Anogen phase is induced into Telogen phase after completion of which the hair is lost. Therefore when a woman loses large amount of hair after about three months of delivery, there is no need to panic. This loss is temporary and after a month or so it will return to normal levels, new hair follicles replacing the old ones. A similar situation is true in the cases of abortion and when under treatment with female sex hormones or with the contraceptive pills and the treatment is suddenly withdrawn.
Fever and Other General Illnesses :A typhoid patient, after passage of about three months after the fever, tends to lose excessive hair. High fever due to other causes such as dengue, viral or low fever but prolonged as in tuberculosis or recurrent as in malaria can also lead to excessive hair loss.
Emotional Stress : Emotional stress can also lead to hair loss irrespective of the factor related to the stress. The factors can be as varied as work place, exam phobia, love affair, marital discord or of losing near and dear ones &ndash; the hair is induced in to the telogen phase prematurely.