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Hair loss can have multiple causes - Ogden Clinic provided source, Standard-Examiner 8/26/2014

(Standard-Examiner) OGDEN -- A person loses about 50 to 150 strands of hair each day.

But if you're starting to notice more hair on the floor, in the shower or in your hairbrush, it might mean a health problem.

“"Hair loss can have multiple causes,” said Greg Reeves, a physician assistant at Ogden Clinic Dermatology. “The most common cause is genetic and hormonal, leading to male and female pattern hair loss, also known as androgenic hair loss. This type of hair loss shows in about 50 percent of people over the age of 50.”

Other causes can include an autoimmune disease called alopecia areata, childbirth, surgery, hair holders, mineral deficiencies, fungal infections, Lupus, anemia and stress, said Reeves and Dr. Johnnie V. Cook, a family practitioner at Intermountain Health in Layton.

“The most common form of hair loss is called male or female pattern hair loss and is a genetically predetermined condition,” Cook said. “In male pattern hair loss the area of loss is in the front and the vertex. In women the area is more a global top of head loss.”

Reeves said stress plays a significant role in hair loss.Hair loss from the stress of childbirth or surgery however, will resolve, and hair will usually grow back. There is also a condition called Trichotillomania, a psychological disorder in which a person pulls out one's own hair.

According to WebMD, the average adult has around 100,000 to 150,000 strands of hair, which is made up of a protein called keratin, produced in hair follicles in the outer layer of skin. As new hair grows, at a rate of around six inches per year, old hair falls out.

Instead of watching your hair fall to the ground, there are some things you can do to help. First of all, see your doctor to rule out any health concerns.

Propecia (Finasteride) is a medication which decreases the active version of testosterone, Cook said. It has been found to be a bit more effective than Rogaine (minoxidil) which improves blood flow to the scalp. The combination of both works better than either alone. Hair transplantation where small areas of hair in good growth areas are moved to areas needing better coverage also can be quite effective.

“Almost every cause of hair loss can be helped or at least slowed using biotin supplements and topical 5 percent minoxidil foam or liquid,” Reeves said. “These are over the counter and we routinely ask patients to start these treatments while a cause, if any, is being investigated. These two basic treatments have been to shown to at least hold the fort.”

Yale University School of Medicine also released the results of a new study in which a rheumatoid arthritis drug helped a man with alopecia universalis grow a full head of hair. The drug seems to turn off the immune system's attack on hair follicles that occur with the condition.

Some other things you can do to help your hair is to eat lean meats, nuts, beans, fish and leafy greens, massage your head in the shower to improve blood flow and cut back on styling tools such as hot irons, blow dryers and elastic bands to hold the hair in a ponytail.