Question: What is the normal cycle of hair growth?
Answer: There are three stages in a single hair follicle’s life cycle: growth phase, transitional phase, and the rest phase.
Question: Are all hair follicles in the same stage of growth?
Answer: Different hair follicles are in different periods or stages of their growth. The number of hair follicles lost in a certain period is normally equal to those gained.
Question: Are there are any specific vitamins for hair growth.
Answer: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, the B Vitamins, Zinc, and Selenium are all important for hair growth, but be careful, too much of a good thing can have the opposite effect as it has been shown that too much Vitamin A can actually lead to stopping hair growth or causing a mild amount of hair loss. Therefore it is best to simply take a good multivitamin but not take any vitamin to excess.
Question: In women, what is the most common reason for temporary hair loss?
Answer: The most common cause of temporary hair loss is a condition called Telogen Effluvium; a condition where a physical stressor (and sometimes a psychological stressor), causes most of the hair follicles to enter the same terminal stage of growth and to fall out in a short period. The good news is that there is usually complete recovery after the stress is removed.
Question: What are some of the stressors that can cause this condition of hair loss?
1. Crash diets with weight loss in a short period are notorious for leading to this hair loss condition, therefore you should eat healthy and if weight loss is desired, do so with a healthy diet and exercise.
2. Certain medications can lead to this temporary hair loss condition, including oral or implanted birth control (or the stopping of an oral birth control), and as already mentioned an excess of vitamin A. If you are on a medication and experiencing sudden hair loss it is best to see a physician.
3. Some life changes can lead to temporary hair loss; Pregnancy, menopause, and at times moderate to severe psychological stress.
Question: Are there any serious diseases which can lead to sudden hair loss and/or changes in the hair quality?
Answer: Yes, the most common are thyroid conditions, either an under active or overactive thyroid. High fevers like those experienced with Dengue Fever, and various acute and chronic infections can lead to hair loss. It is best to see your physician if you are having any sudden hair loss associated with any prior or current changes in your health.
The good news is that most hair loss in women is temporary and reversible.