Diffuse hair loss can affect both men and women at any age.
Diffuse hair loss must be understood as a certain type of hair loss pattern. It is easier to identify diffuse hair loss in males since it has a particular pattern of hair loss or thinning of hair occurring in different spots of the head. Under diffuse hair loss in males, hair thinning can happen all over the head and almost equally in all proportions, the only exception being the back and sides where hair loss does not happen as much.
Loss of telogen-phase hairs is the most common in diffuse hair loss type. Telogen hair loss or telogen effluvium is a type of scalp disorder resulting in thinning or shedding of hair. It is recognised as a temporary hair loss problem since telogen effluvium results in hair-thinning or hair shedding because your hair is in the telogen (resting phase).
Causes Of Hair Loss:
Diffuse Hair Loss In Males and Females
Diffuse hair loss in both males and females can be a direct result of emotional stress, physiological problems, and nutritional deficiencies. However, finding the causes of hair loss is a clinical procedure which needs a thorough examination and complete history of an individual to understand and treat diffuse hair loss.
Some of the common reasons for hair loss include:
Malnutrition is among the many common causes of hair loss. Many a time, anemia has been diagnosed as an incidental finding while investigating diffuse hair loss pattern. Likewise, many deficiencies such as vitamin B 12, vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin E are known to cause hair loss.
Various hormonal disturbances can be among the top causes of diffuse hair loss.
Thyroid – In hypothyroidism, there is less thyroid production due to an underactive thyroid gland which leads to loss of scalp hair and thinning of hair. On the other side is hyperthyroidism, which leads to overproduction of thyroid hormones and results in rapid hair loss. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can result in diffuse hair loss in males and more commonly in females.
Adrenal Hormones – Cortisol hormone (the stress hormone) level increases in response to stress. Whatever be the cause, extended stress levels lead to high cortisol levels, which can adversely affect the hair growth cycle. Extra cortisol also means reduced immunity, a decrease in metabolism and cell regeneration, mental stress, etc., all affecting the hair growth cycle. Thus, stress can become one of the prime causes of hair loss as it creates a biological base of diffuse hair loss regrowth.
In females approaching menopause, hormonal causes of hair loss are common. Diffuse hair loss regrowth can also occur during pregnancy.
Certain metabolic disorders or loss of electrolytes (minerals and trace elements in the body including calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphate and chloride) can also become one of the main causes of hair loss. Mineral replenishment can pave the way for diffuse hair loss regrowth. In short, anything that disrupts normal hair cycle can result in diffuse hair loss in both males and females.
Many therapeutic agents when administered are known to cause hair loss, such as-:
- Cytostatic Drugs
- Antithyroid drugs
- Hypolipidemic agents- used for increased level of cholesterol
- Retinoids- used in skin treatments
- NSAIDS- Painkillers when abused
- Oral contraceptives
Several autoimmune disorders like SLE, RA, and Psoriasis are main causes of hair loss due to lesions involving the scalp or therapy with cytotoxic drugs. Long-term management of hair loss is essential to enable diffuse hair loss regrowth.
Acute Or Chronic Disease Related
Any illness causes hair loss either as an immediate effect or sometimes even after three months of the illness. A phase of telogen effluvium is seen after three months of illness which are known as the magical three months.Stress can cause an unexplained bout of hair loss due to hormonal and metabolic changes that come with it. It can set in a vicious cycle where the stress is caused due to hair loss and it further worsens the hair loss.Stress due to a hectic lifestyle can lead to overproduction of cortisol (the stress hormone). It can further lead to hair loss. Stress produces high levels of testosterone and adrenaline. However, it is not the high level of testosterone which should concern you. Of importance is how much of the high testosterone is converted into DHT (Dihydrotestosterone). DHT is the more active form of testosterone and is five times stronger in effect than normal testosterone. Mostly hair plucked from male scalp test positive for DHT.
Diffuse Hair Loss Regrowth
Diffuse hair loss due to various health reasons is a reversible condition and early intervention can lead to regrowth.