Many people are plagued by the embarrassment of hair loss. This problem doesn’t limit it self just to one gender but rather can present in both males and females and can do so at almost anytime in your lifetime. Most of the types of hair loss have causes that are out of our control – such as genetics, medications we must take for other health situations and other health conditions. But there are a few that we can affect some control. Traction Alopecia is one of them.
Simple Definition of Condition
Traction alopecia, simply defined, means stress hair loss. When the hair shaft is tightly pulled and secured, it creates scalp stress and potential damage to the hair follicle. The excess tension placed on the hair shaft by tightly braided corn rows, pigtails or other tightly woven hair styles can, over time, loosen the hold by the hair follicle on the hair shaft and cause it to be shed prematurely. If the hair shaft is shed too many times, it will not grow back.
Other Causes of This Type of Hair Loss
Damage to the hair follicle can also occur when we over use coloring dyes, bleaching solutions, permanent wave solutions and straighteners without regard to the health of our hair follicle. Over styling with blow dryers, flat irons and the like can also cause damage to the hair follicle and the hair shaft cuticle (the outer layer of the hair shaft). When this happens, the hair appears dry and dull and brittle, breaking off easily.
Other Types of Hair Loss
Traction alopecia is by no means the only type of hair loss, though it is one over which we have some control. Certain medications can cause hair loss. These medications include, but are not limited to, anti clotting drugs, cholesterol lowering drugs, non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), drugs for menopause and birth control as well as antibiotics. Generally speaking, for most of these medications, when the drug is discontinued, the hair generally grows back. However, this is not a guarantee in all cases.
If you take any of these medications, and you are experiencing unexplained hair loss, consult with your medical doctor to see if any of these medications could be the cause. If so, do not stop them on your own but work with your doctor to find a more suitable substitute.
Genetics is probably the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women. If you are losing your hair or have thinning hair, look at your family members and past generations to see if there is a similarity. If so, you will likely have no control over the thinning hair you are experiencing. You may wish to look into the various hair replacement options.
Here is a list of other hair loss or thinning hair causes, most of which are out of our control:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Prescription drugs
- Chemotherapy drug
- Radiation exposure
- Physical trauma to the scalp
- Hair loss following childbirth
As you can see, some of the above causes are controllable while others are not. The diseases and autoimmune disorders, chemotherapy drugs and radiation exposure, poisons and the hair loss after childbirth are the ones that we will have the least amount of control in regard to prevention or modification. We do have choices in the areas of nutritional deficiencies, stress and physical trauma to the scalp. Hair loss can be a serious issue on levels more than just physical appearance. Don’t let unexplained hair loss go unaddressed by your medical doctor.