Hair Loss

Although having a full head of hair is not essential for physical functioning, hair loss can have mental, emotional and social impacts on both men and women. Naturopathic medicine aims to get to the root cause of excessive hair loss and prevent any further loss.

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Most people will lose on average 50 to 100 hairs per day, as a part of the normal hair lifecycle. Hair loss becomes a problems when hair does not grow back or loss is occurring more rapidly than normal.

If you notice more hair on your pillow, in your hairbrush or are experiencing thinning hair or bald spots, it may be time to get to the root cause of your hair loss.

Hair loss has many causes and it can affect all ages and genders.

Types of Hair loss:

Androgenic Alopecia (hereditary hair loss)

Hereditary hair loss is the most common cause of hair loss and can occur in both men and women. This type of hair loss can be attributed to androgen receptors in the hair follicle. Androgens(testosterone, DHT and DHEA) are hormones that have important functions in both males and females including regulating hair growth.

What makes this hair loss hereditary? Studies show that variations in a specific gene (the AR gene) can lead to increased androgen receptor activity in the hair follicle resulting in hair loss.

In women, hormonal imbalances and menopause can contribute to androgenic alopecia.

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a form of temporary hair loss that usually occurs after something stressful or traumatic happens. Typically this type of hair loss will occur months following something mentally, emotionally or physically stressful, for example surgery or losing a job. Someone who has Telogen Effluvium will notice hair thinning or rapid loss of hair that is temporary!

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata occurs when the body's immune system attacks your hair follicles by mistake. This type of hair loss often presents as round bald patches and occurs suddenly.

Hair loss related to medical conditions or medications

Many Medications such as blood thinners or chemotherapy agents can result in sudden hair loss. Additionally, there is an established connection between thyroid health and hair loss, as hair follicles are direct targets of thyroid hormones. Thus, those with thyroid dysfunction may present with hair loss

Hair loss caused by nutritional problems:

Deficiencies in Iron and Vitamin D, as well as over consumption of Vitamin A can present with hair loss.

Studies show that Iron deficiency can lead to the development or the worsening of female pattern hair loss, especially in women who are premenopausal.

Treatment of Hair loss:

Through history, physical exam and sometimes laboratory testing naturopathic doctors will establish the root cause to the hair loss. From there treatment can include:

  • Optimizing thyroid function
  • Supplementing and/or improving iron absorption
  • Regulating hormones including estrogen and progesterone
  • Lowering levels of testosterone, DHT and DHEA (aka androgens)
  • Regulating and improving stress levels
  • Balancing the immune system
  • Addressing nutritional deficiencies