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What causes hair loss?

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Quick Answer

According to Mayo Clinic, the most common form of hair loss is pattern baldness, a hereditary condition affecting both men and women. The second most common form of hair loss, according to WebMD, is telogen effluvium, which results in temporary hair loss. It can be caused by severe stress, changes in diet or thyroid disorders.

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Full Answer

According to Dr. Phillip Ginsberg, male pattern baldness affects two out of three men and is caused by a gene that can come from the father or mother, notes the American Osteopathic Association. Symptoms of the condition include a receding hairline, thinning hair, hair loss around the crown of the head and the progression of hair loss in an "M" pattern. Although there is no cure for male pattern baldness as of 2014, finasteride and minoxidil can slow down or halt the progression of hair loss and even grow new hairs.

MedlinePlus notes that female pattern baldness almost never progresses to near total hair loss as it often does in men. Typically, the female form of pattern baldness causes hair thinning on the crown and top of the head and a widening part. As of 2014, the only approved treatment for female pattern baldness is minoxidil.

Telogen effluvium, which results in diffuse thinning, typically resolves itself once the underlying trigger is addressed, explains WebMD. For example, if a thyroid issue is causing the hair loss, treating the thyroid disorder should resolve the problem.

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