Causes of Hair Loss in Adults and Children

There are several causes of hair loss in adults and children, from hereditary hair loss or hair thinning, poor diet, hormonal imbalances, side effect of medication and disease.

Below are many factors that can lead male pattern baldness, thinning hair in women, and hair loss in children.

  • androgenic alopecia
  • nutritional deficiency
  • stress and anxiety
  • poor diet
  • diseases

The most common cause of hair loss in men and women is androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness in men or hair thinning in women.  While the most common form of male pattern baldness is found in the crown area of the head, women tend to suffer from thinning hair.  This is where the hair follicles go to sleep and stop producing hair.  As hair falls out, it is not replaced with new healthy hair.

5 Causes of Hair Loss

Androgenic Alopecia

Androgenic refers to the influence of androgens (male hormones), and genetic predisposition to balding.  While genetics, hereditary baldness or thinning hair are likely indicators of your developing hair loss, family history of balding is not always enough to predict that you will experience male pattern baldness.

Men and women produce androgenic hormones, Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), androsteinedione, and testosterone. For men, these hormones are produced the testicles and adrenals. For women, the  ovaries and adrenal glands are responsible for the production of hormones that control hair growth.  Exposure of DHT to genetically susceptible hair follicles, can lead to male pattern baldness or thinning hair, called ndrogenic alopecia. There is no exact age when male pattern baldness begins, but it can start in males as young as their late teens.

Nutrition Deficiency

Poor diet is one factor that can cause hair loss.   People with poor diets tend to eat foods high in trans fats, cholesterol and sugar that are devoid of sufficient levels of proteins, vitamins, minerals and nutrients that sustains and nourished the hair and hair follicle.  Poor nutrition can damage hair and hair follicles, or prevents efficient blood flow from nourishing cells in the scalp.

If the follicle “goes to sleep” or becomes blocked, this can lead to hair loss in men or thinning hair in women.  With the growing epidemic of obesity in children and adults, the lack of nutrition is leading to damaged or thinning hair at any age that can eventually lead to hair loss in men, women and children.

Stress and Hair Loss

If you are wondering if stress can cause hair loss.  Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic, says yes stress can cause  hair loss.  Stress itself does not cause hair loss, but rather contributes hormonal changes or disorders that result in hair loss.  Stress can lead to Alopecia areata, which is a condition where the white blood cells attach healthy hair follicles, causing the hair to fall out.

It may start as a spot of thinning hair, and can progress to noticeable bald patches on the scalp.   Another form of stress-induced hair loss is Telogen effluvium.  In this condition, stress causes the hair follicles to go into a resting period, and the hair may begin to fall out in clumps when washing or combing your hair.  A third form of stress related hair loss is a psychological disorder called Trichotillomania, in which the person can’t stop pulling hair out of their head, eyebrows, eyelids or other parts of their body.

Medical Conditions that Cause Hair Loss

There are several medical conditions that can cause hair loss.  This includes stress, anxiety, thyroid disease, low testosterone, diabetes and diseases.  People with liver disease, kidney disease and lupus can cause hair loss in men and women.  Adult women and teen girls can have hair loss due to a hormone imbalance called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Prescription medication come with side effects.  Some medications for depression, acne, pregnancy and hormonal imbalance can cause hair loss.  This is called drug induced hair loss, referred to as Telogen effluvium or Anagen effluvium, depending on the stage of the hair growth cycle the hair loss occurs.  One of the most destructive medications can cause hair loss is chemotherapy, which is used for the treatment of cancer.  Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that can lead to hair loss on the scalp and sometimes on the body. With this condition, the  immune system actually damages the hair follicles.   Alopecia areata can start as small bald patches and can progress to total baldness.

Trichotillomania and Hair Loss

Trichotillomania is a psychological impulse disorder in which a person pulls his/her own hair out.  The most common areas for hair pulling are the scalp, eyelashes, and eyebrows.  A person with trichotillomania cannot control or resist the urge to pull out his or her body hair.  symptoms of Trichotillomania that might occur with this disorder include:

  • A sense of tension before pulling hair or when trying to resist the urge to pull hair
  • A feeling of relief, satisfaction, and/or pleasure after acting on the impulse to pull hair
  • Presence of bare patches where the hair has been pulled out
  • Presence of other associated behaviors such as inspecting the hair root, twirling the hair, pulling the hair between the teeth, chewing on the hair, or eating hair (called trichophagia)

In children, this disorder affects both males and females.  In adults, this condition is more prevalent in women than men.  People may wear hats, scarves or wigs to hide the bald spots where hair has been pulled out.  The causes of Trichotillomania are not fully understood, but it is believed to be causes by biological and behavioral factors.  A doctor who suspects his patient has this disorder will generally refer the patient to psychologist, psychiatrist or other medical professional specially trained to diagnose and treat this type of impulse disorder.

How to Treat Hair Loss

Accept in cases where hair loss is due to chemotherapy or a medical condition causing a patient to pull or cut their hair, doctors will prescribe a hair loss treatment that will help regrow hair.  Please consult your physician or pediatrician if the hair loss patient is a child, or you suspect a medical disorder that is causing hair loss.

Ken Weiss

I am a blogger passionate about natural and holistic men's health. My blog is dedicated to natural and holistic cures for men's health issues. We have great articles and product reviews to help you learn and educate yourself on natural cures.

2 thoughts on “Causes of Hair Loss in Adults and Children

  • August 17, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Yeah I am really worried for my kids because I don’t want them to go bald. Is there anything I can give them at a young age?

  • April 21, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Heredity factors can be a real cause of hair loss problem. The most common of all types of hair loss problems is Androgenetic alopecia, which refers to the predisposition of baldness. However, the role of heredity in hair loss is not simple. The genetic propensity along with the prevalence of androgen hormone and ageing plays the significant role in developing baldness.


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