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Thinning of the hair

If you think your hair is thinning, although you do not have any real baldness, it is important to check that this is actually the case. Try the tug test, and remember that it is normal to lose 50–100 hairs a day. Sometimes, thinning of the hair can be entirely in the mind, as a symptom of depression.

Thinning of hair all over the scalp (rather than patchy baldness) can be due to various causes. In the case of mental or physical stress, it often occurs 2–3 months after the event. This is because at the time of the stress many follicles enter telogen (the resting phase) prematurely, and are then shed together at the end of telogen a few months later. In this situation, the hair loss usually recovers completely.
 
If you believe your hair is thinning, do not assume it is due to stress. See your family doctor, who will be able to rule out the common causes (such as thyroid deficiency and iron deficiency). Many drugs – not just those listed below – can cause hair loss, and the doctor will be able to check if this is a possibility. There may be several months? delay between starting the medication and the hair loss being noticeable.
 
Some skin disorders, such as eczema or psoriasis of the scalp, can cause thinning of the hair. Usually the hair grows again once the skin problem is treated.
 
Often no cause can be found. In some of these cases the hair will recover in time, but in others it remains thin.
 
It is important to keep thinning hair as healthy as possible (see looking after your hair for general recommendations). If there is no curable cause and the thinning is distressing, it may be worth trying Regaine. Bear in mind that Regaine will take several months to show any effect, and works in only a proportion of cases.

Some drugs that may cause hair thinning

  • Lipid-lowering drugs (statins, clofibrate, bezafibrate)
  • Anticancer drugs
  • ACE inhibitors for blood pressure or heart failure (ramipril, captopril, enalapril, lisinopril)
  • Calcium antagonists for blood pressure (amlodipine)
  • Blood-thinning drugs (warfarin)
  • Drugs for gout (allopurinol)
  • Antimalarials (chloroquine)
  • Drugs for epilepsy (valproate sodium, vigabatrin)
  • Drugs for Parkinson’s disease (for example, pramipexole, bromocriptine)
  • Anti-thyroid drugs (carbimazole, propylthiouracil)
  • Anti-acne drugs (isotretinoin)
  • Mood-stabilizing drugs (lithium, valproic acid)

Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Friday, February 26th 2010

 


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Comments on this article

Posted by Stephanie punch on 20/01/2014 at 05:31

I am on blood pressure meds have congenital heart failure and on coumadin 7mgs a day losing my hair what's could be the cause

Posted by Optional on 18/11/2013 at 02:16

in march I notice hairs stick out when I put my hair up. We thought maybe when I got my hair cut in late feb it happen then. I have numerous health issues and I was beyond scared all the time notice afew months later it was way worse. I had very thick long hair now it falls out at root and breaks. I hold front of my hair up u can see my scalp. Im scared and I hate it I don't know what to do. any help and advice would be great.

Posted by Optional on 31/08/2013 at 02:37

I am 16 .I started masturbathing when i was 12 ,now my hairs got thinner and i am always frustrated.My hair falls excessly .can you please suggest me how to recover.

Posted by Optional on 23/08/2013 at 01:36

I'm losing my hair all over, it's getting thinner and thinner it seems by the month. I guess it's the testosterone I'm taking for the last 16 years for hormone therapy.

Posted by John Kahen on 10/05/2013 at 01:37

Thanks for sharing the causes behind hair loss or thinning hair. One should keep in mind for hair loss prevention and get rid from this.

Posted by Optional on 29/04/2013 at 12:00

plis help me ma hair is weak and break dwn

Posted by Optional on 20/02/2013 at 02:54

i am suffering from hair thining since last four years and had lost about 50% of my hairs,i dont have any bald patches but my hairs have become very less dense ! as if they are shrinked or minituarized,what should i do to get my hair density back

Posted by Optional on 29/01/2013 at 01:42

Are hair loss problems caused by blood pressure medications permanent or temporary? I'm 21.

Posted by Lama on 07/01/2013 at 01:25

J dnt knw why my hair us falling everyday nd getting thin..plz giv me ideas.

Posted by DR Woods on 26/12/2012 at 07:23

Hair loss and dandruff are common problems. The reasons can only be identified through proper treatments. Effective Treatments slows or reduce hair loss, stimulate partial regrowth or replace damaged hairs. So approaching hair specialist would only be a permanent solution for all types of hair loss. http://www.hairsite8.com/htdocs/woods/paulv.htm

Posted by tell me why on 14/12/2012 at 09:49

hey! I m 16 years old losing 300 or more hairs a day,it is not genetic ,i tried everything but it doesn't stopped.please suggest some way to control it

Posted by pardeep hanspal on 26/10/2012 at 03:56

i am very worried abt my hair because its very thin and i am not able make my spiky hair...please tell me any solution to thicken the hair

Posted by Optional on 29/09/2012 at 05:53

Ok so im 13 and iv been depressed recently coz of certain things that have happened . To me my hair feels alot thinner than it use to be and looks abit thinner. Is there anything that i can do to make my hair thicker again ?

Posted by Optional on 11/05/2012 at 05:11

my hair fell out due to chemical alopecia leaving some hair that is still thinning. how do i get it to stop falling out

Posted by Optional on 10/05/2012 at 12:06

i am 22 .i am loosing my hair from last 7 years , even i am loosing my eye brows and eye lashes too. I read many articles and came to know that the reason for my hair loss is over masturbation which i use to do daily once some times twice and stress for reason that i masturbated too much and i am going to die its an illusion for me when i was 15. I got lot of dandruff in my hair and eye brows too. i lost my hair totally and my eyebrow are almost fallen. is there any medication to regrow my hair please help me.

Posted by HELP on 23/04/2012 at 01:38

I have had psoriasis for 5 years now, but it has been under control. February 2012 it suddenly flared up very bad, i kept having to go to the doctors and get scalp solutions, medicated shampoos and scalp ointments. April 2012 I finally found a treatment that completely got rid of the psoriasis within 2 weeks (bare in mind that i had been using a different treatment prior to that) i have stopped using the treatment 10th April but as my situation was so bad that my hair has just been falling out for months(since Feb, and since i have stopped the treatment) leaving bald patches on my scalp.. as you can imagine this is a traumatic experience. I have noticed a few tiny hair regrowth, but my hair is continuously shedding, about 200-300 possibly more a day! my hair is looking thinner by the day! i am so self-conscious about this.. How and when will this stop!?? PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME PLEASE HELP IF ANYONE KNOWS A SOLUTION FOR HAIR LOSS PLEASE HELP!

Posted by Optional on 21/12/2011 at 12:51

i had a very bad stressful shock when i was 39 and since i have anxiety and feeling down and noticed my hair getting thinner. i also notice grey hair alot appearing and this is also making me feel like old. will my hair grow back in my 40s?

Posted by Optional on 19/11/2011 at 01:41

i am 16 and nd several months ago i had bleached black out of my hair :( FOUR times in 3 days then about 6 different dye jobs in a period of 3 months between beccause the color was ORANGE finally i said screw this im oging to go back to brown well now 7 months later my hair is uneven choppy and THIN will it grow back ? i dont know why its still falling out i have been taking care of it basically no heat or dye i also have been very depressed i do not leave my house AT ALL because of it , and also other reason its not damaged forever is it ??? :(

Posted by Optional on 09/10/2011 at 04:30

I have been losing hair since I was in my early 40's. My hair now is very thin, white and I take Warfarin for artierial fibulation. The dose is 5mg per day over a six year period. My pro-time (blood test) comes in at a normal 2.4 to 2.8 each month I'm checked. However, I continue to loose hair. Will anything else help to stop the loss? I'm 78, my Dad had thin hair on top of head, like me, but he died at the age of 65, so that issue is not available. Thanks

Posted by Kerry on 21/04/2011 at 10:18

I'm so concerned and very worried about my white, caucasian daughter. Her hair started to thin 12 years ago when her son was born and got worse, 1 year later when her daughter was born. I know her hormone levels were affected as she breast-fed them both for several months. It's remarkably thin on the top of her head and so very scarce that she's dying her normally brown straight hair a lighter colour to make the balding hair less noticeable. I don't think colouring the hair or using chemicals is helping. She had taken the contraceptive pill prior to her children being conceived. She had an IUD coil (with hormones) after her daughter was born 11 years and now has an hormonml implant as contraception. She has always been a restless sleeper and has never slept for a full night. She recently lost her father in Jan 2011 and her hair is falling out even more. There seems to be no regrowth. 12 years is too long for this to have gone on & she won't see her doctor! I hope you can help to restore her hair naturally as it was so beautiful & thick & glossy & healthy when she was little and up until she had her 1st child 12 years ago. My late mother lost all her hair due to throid problems and radium treatment many years ago but my daughter's hair is far worse. I fear she will go completely bald later in life as she has may years left before she becomes menopausal and would face hair thinning as part of the ageing process. She is robust, healthy and eats a well-balanced diett.Thank you.

Posted by Jo on 11/03/2011 at 04:00

Im shedding 30 hairs in the shower, and a few more brushing, Its not coming out in clumps, but its more then usual. My hair looks so thin,its driving me mad... I have been to the doctors, and had blood tests, which showed my Ferritin to be low... Is this whats causing my hair to look and feel thin? When will i see an improvement? Im taking 2 x 200mg Ferrus sulphate (last few week) and seen no improvement

Posted by kunal on 07/12/2010 at 12:02

well i donno what happened to my hair they were so much a month ago now they are scanty no bald spot but scanty i was dieting for about 5months what can be the reason of my thinning of my hair

Posted by Optional on 30/11/2010 at 08:06

could someone suggest me,im 22 my hair is thinning on front part..

Posted by Optional on 09/08/2010 at 04:33

my hair is fallig out alot and has gone thin,i am scared i will losse i all,help !!

Posted by Optional on 23/03/2010 at 03:23

I am very surprised that the Dr. listed ace inhibitors and calcium channel blockers as reasons for hair loss. If anything the beta blockers are the most common cause for hair loss, such as Atenolol, etc.

Posted by Lisa on 12/01/2010 at 12:46

Hi my name is lisa, i am 14 and i am asian. I got my hair straighten perm and i had huge hair loss and dryness. I wonder if my hairloss would grow back and if the perm would go away..help!

Posted by chanade on 07/01/2010 at 10:16

PLEASE HELP ME my hair is thinning at the back of my hair there is also a bold patch at the back of my hair its fulling out in strands and im soo scard im going to end up with no hair it seems to be getting warse i been to my gp who did a thyroid test and it was ok !!!!!! what can i do

Posted by khan on 11/10/2009 at 12:23

i am loosing hair

Posted by Anonymous on 02/10/2009 at 03:07

I am going through my change since the age of 21. Premature ovarien failure . I have been taking Lival HRT and i have notice hair loss at the front of my hair and on the crown. What can i do to cure this?

Posted by sally on 09/09/2009 at 09:19

i am 41 and started getting grey hair from the ageof 17 i have had to dye my hair for over 10 years now. recently i have noticed a sudden thinness in my hair where my scalp is very visible this is causing me to be very distressed. Not surwhy this has come about or what to do

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Fascinating facts

We each have about 100 000 hairs on the scalp

It is normal to lose 50-100 hairs from the head each day

Each hair on the head grows for about 5 years before being shed

Eyebrow hairs grow for only 10 weeks

Scalp hair grows at a rate of about 1 cm (just under half an inch) a month

A survey has shown that about 7.9 million men and 1.6 million women in the UK have hair loss problems

Each year, American men spend about $900 million on efforts to regrow hair

In the USA and UK, there has not been a bald President or Prime Minister since the television age began

In Old Master paintings, saints are often depicted as bald

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