You may have drawn a brush through your hair and noticed a lot more shed hairs than usual, or maybe you found a concerning amount on your pillow after waking from a restful night. Your first thought may be of thinning hair, but it is actually typical to lose anywhere between fifty and one hundred strands of hair a day.
Some people go through a period of excessive shedding. This could be a response in the body to trauma or a hormonal change. The effect is often temporary, as shedding differs from hair loss and stops after the period of change dies off. These changes can be some of the following:
- Giving birth
- Going through stress (anything from short term to long term)
- Losing twenty pounds or more
- Recovering from an illness, especially after a high fever
- Recently undergone an operation
- Started or stopped taking hormone-altering medications
More often than not, people in these situations see excessive hair shedding a few months after experiencing the change. For example, someone who has just lost twenty-five pounds rapidly may experience the shedding for two months after rather than just as the weight was lost.
If you have longer hair and do not brush it out daily, you may notice that your hair sheds very easily onto clothing if your hair is let down. This is also not a cause for worry. It is normal for unbrushed hair to shed gradually, but the fallen strands will remain on your head until friction is caused by rubbing against clothes or pillows. It seems like more hair is falling out, but it is merely leftover, dead hair escaping.
Hair loss is different in that the hair stops growing back. This can be caused by more than genetics, but by outside influences as well. The most frequent causes of hair loss are:
- Hereditary hair loss
- Drugs or other treatments with this side effect
- The compulsion to pull hair
- Hairstyles that pull hair constantly or too tightly
- Harsh hair care products
- Immune system overreactions
Hair loss differs from excessive shedding since hair loss will continue until the cause stops altogether. Undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments, for example, often cause hair to fall out and stop growing entirely until treatment is over.
Often, hair loss can be caused by seemingly nothing. This is usually a sign of hereditary hair loss, and it will not improve unless you take action, and consult a professional about your situation. There are plenty of treatment options available for many different types of hair loss, even if it is not genetic. If you don’t take action, the hair loss will likely not stop. There are different patterns in loss depending on gender. Women will typically experience gradual thinning in the hair while men commonly develop a receding hairline or a growing bald patch at the top of the head.