Hair is so much more than what we see on the surface. It is not 'dead' and it certainly isn't superficial or one-dimensional. Intrinsically linked to identity, including ethnicity, culture and gender. Not to mention creativity and expression, hair has a profound impact on our lives. Beyond the aesthetics, your hair can provide insight into your overall health and well-being. Research shows that changes in your hair's look, texture, or thickness can be signs of underlying health conditions.
Here are different things your locks reflect what's happening inside your body.
You are extremely stressed
Excessive physical or emotional stress, like that associated with injury, illness or surgery, can cause one of two types of hair loss:
- Telogen effluvium. With this less severe type of hair loss, the hair stops growing and lies dormant, only to fall out 2 or 3 months later. Then it grows back within 6 to 9 months.
- Alopecia areata, and involves a white blood cell attack on the hair follicles. With this type of hair loss, the hair also falls out within weeks (usually in patches), but can involve the entire scalp and even body hair. Hair may grow back on its own, but treatment may also be required.
Your thyroid isn't functioning properly
Thyroid conditions can cause hair loss if they are severe and go untreated. Common thyroid conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease are autoimmune disorders, which can sometimes result in hair loss. Having autoimmune thyroid disease in particular also puts you at greater risk for alopecia areata—excessive and rapid hair loss in specific parts of the scalp that can advance to baldness and also affect other parts of the body, like the eyebrows. Most cases of thyroid-related hair loss are temporary and treatable.
Hair loss could mean you have an infection
A number of infections and illnesses can lead to hair loss. An infection that causes a high fever, a fungal skin infection and bacterial infections like syphilis can all be responsible for balding or thinning hair. Treating the underlying infection can restore hair growth and prevent future hair loss. So your first step is to seek medical attention for the primary health problem.
You have an iron deficiency
Iron deficiency anemia is a condition that occurs when a person does not have enough iron in their body, or their body cannot use iron properly. While severe iron deficiency anemia can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain, some people also experience hair loss.
You have a skin condition
Most scalp conditions lead to hair loss or some type of skin rash. Many are hereditary. Malnutrition or infection can also cause scalp conditions. The treatment and your outlook depend on the condition that’s causing the scalp problems. Check with your dermatologist to see if you have a skin condition, such as a Follicle infection or Seborrheic dermatitis could be causing your hair loss. Many are treatable, and your hair loss may be reversible.
You're going through menopause.
Hair loss is another common occurrence during menopause. During this time, the body goes through numerous physical changes as it adjusts to fluctuating hormone levels. Many women have unpleasant symptoms during menopause, including hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia. Hair loss is another common occurrence during menopause. Research suggests that hair loss during menopause is the result of a hormonal imbalance. Specifically, it’s related to a lowered production of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help hair grow faster and stay on the head for longer periods of time.
You're overdoing your intake of vitamin A
Vitamin A is necessary for good vision, and it also aids in the reproduction of cells. Cell reproduction is essential for several bodily processes, including hair growth and maintenance. Also, because vitamin A acts as an antioxidant, it also safeguards your hair follicles against damage caused by However, because this vitamin is fat-soluble, your body stores the excess you take in, which can lead to toxicity, and the symptoms of this include hair loss. The recommended dietary allowances, or RDAs, for vitamin A are 900 mcg or 3000 IU for men over age 19 and 700 mcg or 2310 IU for women over 19 who are not pregnant or lactating.
You're not getting enough protein.
Each and every cell in the body requires protein. One of the many important functions of protein is to aid in hair growth. When there is an insufficient amount in the body, the growth cycle may be altered to ensure that other vital functions continue. This can lead to dry, brittle hair and eventual thinning.
A final word before we go
A lot of us go to great lengths when it comes to getting that look, the special cut and colour for our hair. But while you busy spending lots of time and money on this, it's important to take a closer look at what your hair might actually be trying to tell you.