Common ailments

Hair loss

I’m a 27 year old woman and I’ve recently noticed that I’m losing vast amounts of hair in the shower and my hair is becoming very thin. Admittedly, I’ve been under a lot of stress at work recently but I’ve also heard that the contraceptive pill can cause hair loss. Is this true?

 

It is normal to shed up to 100 hairs a day but if you’ve noticed that you’re losing large handfuls of hair then there may be an underlying problem. There are many different types of hair loss with different causes and symptoms and the pattern of hair loss often indicates which type of hair loss it is.

Sudden hair loss can come as a shock but don't panic. Most of the time, hair loss is a temporary manifestation of your physical or emotional wellbeing. Weight loss, low iron levels, a poor diet and stress, along with thyroid and hormonal imbalances, can all cause hair loss. Very often, if nutrient levels are low it will be expressed through the condition of your hair. To begin with, you might therefore benefit from taking a supplement containing zinc, selenium, Vitamin B12 and iron.

Stress at work will also undoubtedly be taking its toll on your hair so it may be worth discussing the source of your stress with your line manager perhaps, or think about taking a few days annual leave to help you unwind.

If you are taking a contraceptive pill then it is possible that this too is having an effect your hair. Research has found a link between thinning hair and progestogens - the synthetic form of progesterone found in the pill.

Any type of hair loss can be distressing so you should see your GP if you’re worried about it. You’re GP should be able to diagnose your type of hair loss by examining your hair and will be able to discuss possible treatments with you.

 

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