The average scalp has approximately 100,000 hairs and most people lose about 100 hairs each day, according to Medline Plus. Minor hair loss is a normal part of the hair-growing cycle. Each hair lives about 4.5 years, falls out and is replaced in about six months. If your hair is falling out in clumps, certain lifestyle practices or changes may be to blame, but consult a physician to rule out underlying medical conditions.
Pregnancy And Hormones
A rise in estrogen levels during pregnancy interrupts the normal hair-loss pattern and causes you to retain more of your hair than you normally would, explains the American Pregnancy Association. After giving birth, the hormone levels return to normal and the excess hair may fall out all at once. This hair loss is temporary and usually stops after about three to four months. A drop in estrogen levels related to discontinuation of birth control pills, menopause or miscarriage can also cause hair loss.
Poor nutrition can play a role in hair loss. The American Academy of Dermatology explains that hair growth enters the resting phase to help conserve protein when your diet is lacking the nutrient. Visual hair loss appears within two to three months and will usually reverse when protein levels increase. Iron deficiency can also lead to hair loss. Vegetarians and those with eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, are at a greater risk for diet-related hair loss. AAD recommends that vegetarians eat a diet rich in nuts, beans, seeds, spinach and iron-fortified cereal to get the recommended amount of protein and iron.
Hair Pulling Disorder
Trichotillomania is a disorder that causes a compulsive need to pull your hair out of your head and other parts of your body, according to MayoClinic.com. The exact cause is unknown but it may result from a genetic mutation or dopamine and serotonin abnormalities in the brain. The disorder usually surfaces in adolescence but can occur at any age. It is usually a lifelong condition, although psychotherapy and anti-depressant medications may help.
Sudden emotional or physical stress, such as that caused by the death of a loved one or rapid weight loss, can cause you to lose up to three-quarters of you hair, explains Medline Plus. This condition is called telogen effluvium. It can occur for weeks or months after the stressful event. Hair loss typically stops within six to eight months and starts to grow back.
Hair Styling And Treatments
Instruments and processes used to style and color your hair wreak havoc on hair follicles and can lead to hair falling out in clumps. The AAD explains that frequent or improper use of bleach, dyes, permanents, relaxers, gels and sprays can cause hair breakage. The heat from blow drying and flat ironing can leave hair brittle. AAD recommends limiting use of hair treatments and allowing your hair to air dry as often as possible. Hair clips, pins and rubber banks also weaken the hair and cause breakage when worn too tightly, as can styles like ponytails and braids that pull on the hair. Wet hair is more susceptible to breakage than dry hair so style your hair when it is dry if possible.