With diffuse hair loss, the cause of the loss occurs about 2 or 3 months before the actual hair loss. This is because an internal imbalance, such as a high fever or anemia, cause many of the growing hairs to pass prematurely to the resting “telogen” phase. The hair remains in this place in this phase for about 2 or 3 months and THEN falls out.
A case in point is that of a patient who suffered excessive hair loss 3 months after experiencing a bad bout of food poisoning in Asia. The hair loss occurred 3 months after the food poisoning and he patient did not connect the two events.
Diffuse hair loss can be divided into two areas depending upon whether the problem will correct will correct itself; temporary self-correcting diffuse hair loss is caused by such events as food poisoning, whereas permanent diffuse hair loss is associated with medical or nutritional imbalances which must be treated before the hair loss recovers. We will now discuss these two general areas.
Temporary Self-Correcting Diffuse Hair Loss
The following are common causes of temporary diffuse hair loss:
1. Cessation of pregnancy
3. Fevers that give rise to a temperature exceeding 103°F. Problems such as pneumonia, measles, influenza and scarlet fever may initiate such fevers.
4. Dieting or a change in diet. Included here would be a quick loss in weight due to dieting.
5. The taking of any form of medication. Sometimes, it is difficult to know whether it is the drug itself or the problem for which the drug has been prescribed that is causing the hair loss. In most cases, the hair recovers quite normally once either the body has adjusted to the drug or the drug is no longer taken. Medications that are used for the treatment of cancer often interfere with the growing activity of the hair. The hair loss or hair breakage that results will only stop after the cessation of the drug intake, at which timothy hair will recover quite normally.
6. The cessation of medication intake. The body experiences as much change when you stop taking medication as when you start taking it so diffuse hair loss may be the result. The cessation of birth control pills will often give rise to a temporary diffuse hair loss. The “day after” pill can do the same, as can changing from one birth control pill to another.
Two important points to note with this type of hair loss are:
a. The hair loss will begin 2 or 3 months AFTER the event causing the hair loss, and
b. No treatment is required to stop the hair loss. It will stop after 2 or 3 months and the hair will return to normal after about 6 months.
Remember, the hair is very sensitive to anybody imbalance due to its fast rate of growth, so hair loss can follow the slightest body imbalance. Also what causes diffuse hair loss in one person may not cause it in another person.
Permanent Diffuse Hair Loss Until Correction of the Causative Problem
The most common causes of this type of diffuse hair loss are mineral deficiencies, anemia, and hormonal imbalances. We will deal with hormonal imbalances first.
The Endocrine Glands, Hormones And Hair Loss
Hormones are liquid secretions of the endocrine glands which influence our actions and feelings. The glands are small bodies. The sex glands, thyroid, parathyroid glands etc are all endocrine glands. They produce hormones into the blood circulation that circulate throughout the body and play a major role in regulating how we function.
An over or under-production of a specific hormone will give rise to an imbalance within the body. Often, the signs and symptoms of a hormonal imbalance are obvious, such as fatigue, excessive facial hair or weight changes. However, a slight imbalance might only be reflected in the hair - its growth, texture, loss - and, if caught in the early stages, might save a lot of problems later on.