Understanding Conditions That Cause Changes in Hair: A Comprehensive Guide

Hair requires care to look its best and grow out. Regular conditioning, applying serum for hair growth and gently brushing out tangles are all important for limiting breakage. However, some health conditions can cause hair changes even if you take excellent care of your tresses. Depending on the medical issue, you may experience thinning or even permanent hair loss.

Stress and Telogen Effluvium

Immense stress can cause a lot of health problems and can even cause you to shed more hair than usual. The following are common stressors associated with hair loss:

• Major surgery

• Psychological stress

• Severe infections

• Childbirth

Called telogen effluvium, stress-induced hair thinning usually resolves once you remove the stressor. It can take several months for your hair to return to its natural thickness, but it doesn’t usually require medical treatment. Some people may take hair growth supplements to help the process along or eat protein-rich foods to provide their bodies with the nutrients necessary for hair growth.

Autoimmune Disorders

There are a variety of recognized autoimmune disorders, many of which affect hair growth. Autoimmune conditions occur when the immune system attacks the body, including organs, muscles and connective tissues. It’s possible to have multiple autoimmune diseases at once, and they’re difficult to diagnose since many have overlapping symptoms.

The underlying cause of autoimmune disorders isn’t well understood; most are life-long conditions. However, there are ways to manage the symptoms, including hair loss.

woman washing her hair
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Alopecia Areata and Alopecia Totalis

Alopecia has entered public consciousness as celebrities such as Jada Pinkett-Smith and Viola Davis discuss their struggles. There are two types of alopecia: alopecia areata and alopecia totalis. The former results in patches on your head where hair won’t grow; the latter causes total loss of hair on the head. Both occur when the immune system attacks hair follicles.

Fortunately, alopecia on its own only affects hair and nails. There are ways to control the degree of loss, though there’s no known cure:

• Topical immunotherapy

• Corticosteroids

• Platelet-rich plasma

• Minoxidil

• Phototherapy


Lupus is a complex autoimmune disease that causes several serious symptoms:

• Memory loss

• Anxiety and depression

• Joint pain, swelling and stiffness

• Heart and lung problems

• Swelling of the face, arms and legs

Unfortunately, it can also cause hair and skin issues. Lupus is typically treated with a combination of medications:

• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

• Immune-modulating medications

• Topical medications

• Blood thinners

Diagnosis can be a long road, especially if patients don’t have a family history of autoimmune diseases. However, working with a rheumatologist can help people reduce the severity of symptoms and flare-ups. Lifestyle changes can also have positive effects:

• Eating a balanced diet

Getting enough sleep

• Exercising regularly


Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. While you can have hypothyroidism without having an autoimmune disease, it’s a common comorbidity.

In addition to hair loss, hypothyroidism produces the following symptoms:

• Dry skin

• Weight gain

• Fatigue

• Cold intolerance

Ultimately, health and hair growth have complex connections. Finding what works for you may take trial and error, especially if you have a medical condition that affects your tresses. Fortunately, there are ways to care for the hair you have. Take a look at Wellbel reviews and other products to build a routine that works for you.