You can lose hair from a single patch on your scalp or all over your scalp. Rarely, you lose all your body hair.
It's normal to lose 50 to 100 hairs every day, as new hair grows and replaces old hair
Having a baby, losing a lot of weight quickly, taking certain medicines, having a serious illness, and going through other physically or mentally stressful situations can cause hair loss
Twisting or pulling out your hair Hair-Pulling Disorder (Trichotillomania) In hair-pulling disorder, people repeatedly pull their hair out, resulting in hair loss. People with hair-pulling disorder may feel tense or anxious just before they pull their hair out, and... read more is another cause of hair loss—people may not notice they're doing it
It can be bothersome to lose your hair, but hair loss may also be a sign of a serious health problem
Sometimes medicine can help regrow your hair, depending on what caused the hair loss
What causes hair loss?
The most common cause of hair loss is male- or female-pattern baldness.
Male-pattern baldness starts at the forehead or top of head and spreads toward the back
Female-pattern baldness starts at the top of the head, and hair just thins out rather than leaving a bald patch
Male- and female-pattern baldness runs in families. It can start as early as your 20s and gets more common as you grow older.
In men, hair is usually first lost at the temples or on the top of the head toward the back. This pattern is called male-pattern hair loss.
In women, hair is usually first lost on the top of the head. Typically, the hair thins rather than is completely lost, and the hairline stays intact. This pattern is called female-pattern hair loss.
Other causes of hair loss include:
Alopecia areata Alopecia Areata Alopecia areata is the sudden loss of patches of hair without any of the obvious causes. Your hair falls out in patches for no clear reason Alopecia areata is common and happens most often in... read more , an autoimmune disorder Autoimmune Diseases The immune system is your body's defense system. It helps protect you from illness and infection. The immune system usually attacks invading bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. With an autoimmune... read more in which your body's immune defenses attack your hair follicles by mistake
Hormone imbalances, such as women who have too many male hormones or take anabolic steroids Anabolic Steroids Anabolic steroids are synthetic (man-made) versions of testosterone that are used to increase muscle size. Anabolic steroids are hormones that promote muscle growth and increase strength and... read more for bodybuilding
Nutrition problems, such as not getting enough iron Iron Deficiency Iron deficiency is a common cause of anemia, a condition in which the number of red blood cells is low. Iron deficiency usually results from loss of blood in adults (including bleeding from... read more or zinc Zinc Deficiency Zinc deficiency has many causes, including various disorders, alcohol use disorder, and use of diuretics. People lose their appetite and hair and may feel sluggish and lose their sense of taste... read more
Physical stresses, such as a high fever, surgery, a major illness, sudden weight loss, or pregnancy
Mental stress, causing you to pull out your hair
Injury to your hair follicles, such as from burns or radiation therapy, tight braids or rollers, chemical hair relaxers, or hot combs
When should I see a doctor for hair loss?
See a doctor within a few days if you have hair loss and you:
Are feeling sick or unwell
Are a woman and notice signs of hormone imbalance, such as a deeper voice, hair growth in unusual places, irregular menstrual periods, and acne
If you have hair loss but no other symptoms, see a doctor when you can.
How do doctors treat hair loss?
If there's a health problem causing your hair loss, doctors treat that problem. They also treat hair loss with:
Medicine for male and female pattern baldness, which can take 8 to 12 months to work
Hair transplants to move hair follicles from a hairy area of your scalp to your bald area