Underlying Medical Factors of Hair Loss

Underlying Medical Factors of Hair Loss

Aside from genetics, female hair loss can result from a variety of medical reasons.  This blog post

looks at a few of those causes, from the general to the more specific, including postpartum and menopausal hair loss.

Underlying medical factors

In women, many medical conditions may cause hair loss, including the following:

o       A variety of autoimmune diseases

o       Thyroid disease

o       Weight loss caused by severe starvation, dieting or eating


o       Iron deficiency

o       Medication use (especially oral contraceptives, beta blockers,

Vitamin A, thyroid drugs, tranquilizers and sedatives, Coumadin and prednisone).

As someone experiencing hair loss, I suggest and evaluation and consultation from a trichologist or dermatologist to make sure that no underlying skin conditions are contributing to the hair loss.

They may require a different treatment and may require a biopsy to rule out the presence of certain skin diseases like diffuse alopecia areata.  Your family physician can do required blood tests for the various diseases that may be present.

Blood tests check the following common contributors to female hair loss and can help rule out some identifiable medical conditions:

o       Antinuclear Antibody (ANA): Used to test for lupus or other

autoimmune diseases.  This test is either positive or negative and further testing may be required if the initial screening tests are positive.

o       Iron: Levels serum iron, total iron binding capacity (TIBC),

and ferritin deficiencies in iron.

o       Estradiol: This sex hormone indicates the status of ovarian

output.  This hormone reflects the status of a woman’s ability to ovulate.

o       Luteinizing Hormone (LH): This sex hormone indicates the

status of ovarian output a woman may be in her overall aging process.  When she ovulates, this hormone stimulates the production of eggs.

o       Free testosterone: May help the doctor understand a

woman’s ability to convert testosterone into estrogen.  Most testosterone is bound to proteins in the blood and the free testosterone is easily converted into estrogen.

o       Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG):  Level indicates the

status of male hormones.

o       Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH): Level indicates the

presence of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

o       Total testosterone:  Largely bound to proteins in the blood.

It is imperative to understand that even after a medical condition has been corrected, hair loss may still persist possibly because of a “change” in your genetic makeup that occurred when the medical insult happened.  After the hair loss starts, it may be difficult to remedy this.  The hope is that your hair loss will slow down after the medical condition is treated or cured and any deficiency of overall hormone balance is corrected.

Earlier, I mentioned that we would cover the general to the more specific, including postpartum and menopausal hair loss.  Check out the continuation of this article next week.  Until then, have a blessed week!

Wishing You the Best in Health and Life!

Stephanie Anderson

Trichologist/Natural Health Professional

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