Your hair can say a lot about your overall health. Hair thinning is common and can be an indicator of underlying health problems. While shedding around 100 hairs a day is normal, some people may shed much more than this. Which can be considered “hair loss” or “excessive shedding”.
Stopping hair thinning involves finding and treating the root cause. Many instances of excess shedding and hair loss are caused by an underlying health issue. If you’ve noticed your hair isn’t feeling as full as it used to, or you’re noticing areas of sparseness especially when getting your hair cut — this article is for you.
Here are a few possible health-related reasons why your hair is thinning.
Table of Contents
It may be a sign of thyroid disease
Thinning hair and overall hair loss are common symptoms of thyroid imbalances.
Thyroid dysfunction can either be on the “overactive” or “underactive” side of the spectrum. Overactive, aka hyperthyroidism, is the overproduction of thyroid hormones. Underactive, aka hypothyroidism, is the underproduction of thyroid hormones. Both sides of the spectrum can cause hair thinning. Commonly, hair loss can happen to those with untreated or severe thyroid disease. Once the imbalance is corrected, hair loss tends to stop.
It may be a sign of hormonal imbalance
A huge culprit of hair loss is androgenic hormones. If these hormones are out of whack, it can cause a whole host of unwanted symptoms.
Excess androgenic (male) hormones might trigger androgenic-related hair loss. This type of hair is called androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness. This hair loss is common in both men and women.
If you’re dealing with hair thinning, it might be due to a hormonal imbalance. There are androgen blocking medications that can help put a stop to this type of hair loss.
It may be a sign of nutritional deficiency
Eat your greens, ladies, and gentlemen. Having a nutritional deficiency can result in hair loss. When it comes t healthy hair, some important nutritional players are iron, vitamin D, zinc, and selenium.
(However, over-supplementation of selenium could cause hair loss so be careful.)
If you are lacking in these vitamins and minerals you might deal with hair thinning or hair loss.
In the US, it’s very common to be deficient in vitamin D. We spend so much time working and relaxing indoors, which has caused a national vitamin D deficiency. It’s said that 42% of Americans are vitamin D deficient.
Additionally, iron deficiency is the world’s most common nutritional deficiency and is directly linked to hair loss.
You could be going through menopause
Menopause can cause many hormonal imbalances and fluctuations that can cause hair thinning. Menopause results in lowered production of both estrogen and progesterone. When this happens, hair growth slows down, and over time, the hair thins. This change might also cause androgens to rise, which can wreak havoc on hair follicles.
Often, iron deficiencies are prevalent in pre-menopausal women, and this deficiency can cause hair loss.
You’re under a great deal of stress
Yes, stress can cause hair loss.
This type of hair loss is called telogen effluvium. This condition causes hair follicles to prematurely go into a resting telogen phase.
After the telogen phase, the next step in the hair cycle is shedding. So if much of your hair is forced into a resting phase, it might prematurely shed — causing hair loss.
Normally, each hair follicle is on its own individual schedule. Some are in the resting phase, and others are in a growing phase etc.
Stress-induced telogen effluvium disrupts the natural rhythm and can cause premature shedding.
You could have a protein deficiency
Not eating enough protein can result in brittle hair, hair breakage, hair thinning, and hair loss. This is because hair is mostly comprised of proteins. So not consuming enough protein may compromise the integrity of your hair.
If you have a protein deficiency, you might also notice you are fatigued, losing muscle mass, and cuts and bruises might take longer to heal.
Depending on your weight, an average adult requires 40 to 60 grams of protein per day. You can get protein from animal products, tofu, beans, nuts, seeds, veggies, and protein powders.
Your hair is speaking to you! If your hair is brittle, breakable, thinning or not growing — the cause might be an underlying health condition. Hair loss and hair thinning can be treated and hair can be restored by treating the root cause.