If you were to think of hair loss as a musical, Queen would be featured in the opening scene.
Can you hear it?
Bass guitar … Bada dun dun dun … da-dun-dun dun-da-dun … “Another one bites the dust.” The music plays on as single hairs fall to the ground one by one. Each little hair biting the dust.
“Baby Come Back” by Player is sung with tearful passion, begging lost hairs to return to their rightful home. That leads right into “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye” by Patty Loveless.
Sarah McLachlan chimes in with “I Will Remember You.” And the tears start to flow. You’re in a grieving process now. You must experience a few of the stages of grief.
Next, you’re angry. Soooo angry. No more sappy sad songs. Here comes NSYNC with a little JT action as they sing “Bye Bye Bye.” You are nobody’s fool. Crying over hair loss is for sissies!
You. Are a warrior. You are a survivor. Gloria Gaynor blasts onto the scene with an all-time favorite, “I Will Survive.” Yesss!!! You will survive. And you declare this as your anthem because hair loss cannot kill you.
Your hair loss musical is over. And life goes on.
Ohhh, but that’s not your life. Your life comes with an encore. And this particular encore came with not one, not two, but balls of hair. Who better to deliver this encore than Miley Cyrus singing “Wrecking Ball?!”
Your hair is not falling out by the strand. It is falling out by the clump.
It’s not natural. It’s not funny. It’s scary. Bald patches are no joke. Something is most certainly going on with your hair and it isn’t good.
What on earth is going on with your hair?
Why is Your Hair Falling Out in Clumps?
To be blunt, we don’t know why your hair is falling out … let alone why it is coming out in clumps. There is quite a list of reasons to explain hair loss in women.
Hair loss happens every single day for all of us. It is typical to lose anywhere from fifty to one hundred strands of hair on a daily basis. That’s just everyday shedding.
Your hair goes through a natural growth cycle. Hair follicles produce hair that grows for a certain amount of time and then falls out. When that hair falls out, new hair grows in that follicle to replace it. That is a healthy hair growth cycle in a nutshell.
When the hair is falling out in clumps, that is nowhere near a normal, healthy growth cycle. More than likely, some type of medical condition is happening to you.
An unexpected stressful event can happen, health issues that require dietary changes, medications, or medical conditions can all be blamed for losing hair by the handful. If this is you, and you are worried because you are losing your hair in patches, make an appointment with your doctor. If you want to know more, please keep reading.
Does Hair Loss Mean You Have Cancer?
More than likely, you are not losing your hair due to cancer. Your hair loss is probably due to one of the things we will mention below. It is extremely rare for you to have the type of cancer that would cause hair loss, such as Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Are You Losing Hair in the Shower?
Are you? If you are, it is totally normal. Most people have hair that sheds in the shower as we scrub our scalps and run our fingers through our hair. It should not come out in clumps or patches. That is not normal.
Let’s get down to the main point.
Your Hair May Be Falling Out in Clumps for the Following Reasons:
Anagen Effluvium: The reason it is referred to as anagen effluvium is that it interrupts the anagen phase of the hair cycle. (This is the growing phase of the hair cycle.) Basically, hair is being lost while it is still growing in.
This particular kind of hair loss is quite often caused by various medical treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The hair will initially fall out in clumps, but eventually, fall out all over the scalp. The good news is that the hair will usually grow back after the treatment has been completed.
Telogen Effluvium: The telogen phase of hair growth is when the matured hair stops growing. Telogen effluvium forces your hair into this stage of the hair growth cycle much too quickly. So it causes the hair to stop growing and then makes them fall out prematurely. It is a disorder of the scalp that makes your hair thin and fall out in clumps.
The jury is still out on the exact causes of telogen effluvium. It is most widely understood to occur because of emotional or physical stressors. Other suspected causes are major infections, medications, dietary deficiencies, hormonal fluctuations, and infections.
A telltale sign of telogen effluvium is that the hair falls out a few months after the stressful event has taken place. That’s because it takes time for the hair that has quit growing to fall out.
Fortunately, the hair will normally grow back without treatment if the underlying cause of the stressor is handled. Your doctor should be able to help determine the reason behind your telogen effluvium and give you a plan for solving the problem.
Alopecia Areata: The condition of alopecia areata is otherwise known as spot baldness and it causes patches of hair loss. Unfortunately, it can also be responsible for the loss of hair on any area of the body.
If you have diffuse alopecia areata, you will lose all of the hair on your head. If you have alopecia areata monolocularis, you will lose your hair in specific areas. You can expect the patches to be about one inch in diameter. These patches may cluster together making the bald spots much larger.
When you have alopecia areata your hair follicles produce hair that becomes finer and finer until eventually, those follicles fail to produce any hair. Alopecia areata is the result of the immune system specifically attacking and impairing your hair follicles.
The cause is mostly unknown, though we do know it is somewhat due to our genes. You could pretty much say it runs in the family. Without a cause, it’s hard to treat and remedy.
Alopecia areata sufferers can sometimes grow their hair back … only to find themselves dealing with it all over again and causing even further damage. If it should stop, you can try different treatments for regrowth.
This condition is very frustrating because there doesn’t seem to be any means of preventing recurrences. So, you may have your hair grow back in only to suffer from another bout of it and you have bald patches again, or you are totally bald.
Scarring Alopecia: Well, this sounds daunting. Scarring alopecia causes patches of hair to fall out. It is likely that the hair will fall out in much bigger areas than just patches. Scarring Alopecia occurs as a result of inflammation in the scalp which destroys the hair follicles, leaving scar tissue in place of those follicles.
The root cause of the inflammation that ruins hair follicles and replaces it with scar tissue remains unknown. Luckily it doesn’t appear to be genetic. So, it isn’t passed on from generation to generation.
It is very challenging to treat scarring alopecia. The scars irreversibly damage the hair follicle. Nothing can be done about that. However, if the condition is discovered quickly, then taking anti-inflammatories may do the trick for preventing the destruction of more hair follicles.
Please be aware that if you are experiencing soreness and itching accompanied by abnormal hair loss, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. You may even want to make an appointment with a dermatologist.
What Might be at the Root of Your Hair Loss?
Emotional and Mental Health
As odd as it sounds, anxiety and depression can be associated with losing your hair. The stress that leads to these mental health issues is what causes major bouts of shedding. This shedding can be pretty extreme when the stressor is present for a long period of time.
When you have experienced trauma, one of the results can be hair loss. This trauma can be either physical or emotional. The loss of hair may not occur for several months following the traumatic event. Your hair may thin or come out in clumps.
Overly Tight Updo
Loosen those ponytails! Wearing tight ponytails for days on end is not good for your hair. When you wear tight ponytails or braids on a regular basis, you are actually pulling your hair out by its roots. You may notice chunks of hair missing around the areas where the hair was pulled too tightly.
Don’t panic. We’re not saying you cannot use heat on your hair. However, some of you may be using extremely hot styling tools on your hair regularly. Guess what? You are damaging your hair!
Too much heat too often results in the hair breaking off. You wouldn’t put a flame directly on your hair, right? That is basically what you’re doing. And this damage can be so severe that it takes years to correct and repair.
Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid. (Many of us over forty know exactly what this is because we take medication every day to remedy it!) Many times, this shows up during pregnancy.
You may not notice it in your hair at first. Your skin just may seem like it is getting itchy and flaky. So you apply extra lotion and hope it gets better. Then you notice that there seems to be a ton of hair circling the drain of your shower.
Your hair is coming out like crazy and your hairline more closely resembles an older man’s receding hairline. Yep. You have two bald spots in your hairline.
It may seem like a no-brainer. Clearly, pulling your own hair out would result in bald spots! This is not that kind of hair pulling. We do not mean looking in the mirror and going on a quest for gray hairs to seek and destroy.
Hair pulling can be a coping mechanism to deal with anxiety and it typically starts during childhood. You do it without even thinking about it. When this is done for years and years, your hair easily falls out.
You can also have regular hair pulling that is completely unintentional because it is being snagged underneath your purse strap or backpack. If you carry a purse or backpack daily and your hair is caught underneath it, you are more than likely pulling your hair out and weakening the hair follicles so it just comes right out.
You must eat a well-balanced diet in order to get the nutrients needed to grow healthy hair. Iron deficiency leads to hair follicles and a scalp that doesn’t receive the proper supply of oxygen. A lack of oxygen may result in handfuls of hair.
Other nutrient deficiencies can also lead to a noticeable loss of hair. For example, low levels of B12 can also cause hair loss. To truly determine if you are vitamin deficient, you’ll need to have a blood test done at your doctor’s office.
Several medications can lead to bald patches. That’s a lovely side effect of cholesterol meds, birth control, diabetes meds, and blood pressure medications. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking meds for any of these reasons and have been experiencing hair loss. It may be time for a change!
If your hair is falling out in clumps, please don’t suffer in silence. See your doctor, discover the reason behind it, and find out if you can reverse your situation!
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Remember: Please Take Care of Your Hair and Don’t Forget to Take Care of You!
Is your hair falling out like crazy? Are you finding large hairballs every time you shower? What are you doing about it? Share with us below!