Hair Health: Surprising Reasons Your Hair Is Falling Out

Side effects from some medications may cause hair loss.

You’re on Certain Meds

Take another look at the side effects of the drugs you're taking -- hair loss may be on the list. Examples of such meds include blood thinners, acne medications high in vitamin A, anabolic steroids, or medications for arthritis, depression, gout, heart problems, or high blood pressure.

Many women experience hair loss after having a baby.

You Just Had a Baby

When you're pregnant, your hormones keep your hair from falling out as often as it normally does. That makes it seem thicker and more luscious. After you give birth, you lose the extra hair you've been hanging onto as your hormones shift again. Everything should balance out about 3 to 6 months later.

Low iron causes hair loss, weakness, brittle nails, and other symptoms.

You Don’t Have Enough Iron

Iron helps keep your hair healthy. When levels drop, so can your hair. You'll likely have other clues that low iron is to blame for your hair loss, like brittle nails, yellow or pale skin, shortness of breath, weakness, and a fast heartbeat.

Stress may trigger your immune system to attack hair follicles leading to hair loss.

You’re Stressed

Sometimes, large doses of stress can make your body's immune system turn on itself and attack your hair follicles. Lots of worry and anxiety can also pause your hair growth, which makes hair more likely to fall out when you brush.

Zinc deficiency after weight loss surgery may contribute to hair loss.

You’ve Had Weight Loss Surgery

You're more likely to deal with this post-surgery symptom if your zinc levels are low, but it's common to lose some locks after bariatric surgery. Your doctor may recommend a zinc supplement to help halt your hair loss.

Lack of sufficient protein can make hair fall out.

You Don’t Get Enough Protein

A body low on protein finds a way to conserve where it can, and that includes halting hair growth. About 2 to 3 months after that, hair starts to fall out. Adding more meat, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, and beans to your meals can pack more protein into your diet.

Hormonal birth control may result in hair loss for some women.

You’re on Birth Control

A body low on protein finds a way to conserve where it can, and that includes halting hair growth. About 2 to 3 months after that, hair starts to fall out. Adding more meat, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, and beans to your meals can pack more protein into your diet.

Stopping hormonal birth control can produce hair loss, too.

You’ve Gone Off Birth Control

Not only can starting hormonal birth control kick off hair loss, so can quitting. You'll probably notice a change several weeks or months after you stop.

Being too aggressive with shampooing, drying, or styling hair may cause it to fall out.

You’re Hard on Your Hair

Sometimes it's your styling routine that's to blame when your hair starts to break or fall out. Using too much shampoo, brushing or combing your hair when it's wet, rubbing hair dry with a towel, or brushing too hard or too often can all strain your strands and make them break. Two big cause of breakage include braids that are too tight and weaves that weight down the hair.

Heated styling tools can wreak havoc on your hair.

You Use Heat and Science on It

Daily use of blow-dryers, flat irons, and curling irons dries out your locks and makes it easier for them break and fall out. Bleach, dye, relaxers, and hair sprays can do the same thing.

Thyroid disease, autoimmune disorders, and other conditions may contribute to hair loss.

You Have Another Condition

Hair loss is a symptom of more than 30 diseases, including polycystic ovary syndrome, ringworm on your scalp, thyroid disorders, and autoimmune diseases. You can also lose hair when you have the flu, a high fever, or an infection.

Toxins in cigarette smoke may impair hair follicles and lead to hair loss.

You Smoke

Your hair isn't immune to the damage smoking can cause. Toxins in cigarette smoke can mess with your hair follicles and keep hair from growing and staying on your head.

Hair loss is common with the hormone shifts that occur in menopause.

You’re Going Through Menopause

The shifting hormones of it can ramp up shedding. It should go away after about 6 months. But if you notice your part widening, or hair loss at the top and crown of your head, talk to your doctor. You may have female pattern hair loss, which can be treated.

People who suffer from trichotillomania pull out their own hair.

You Pull It Out

Hair-pulling disorder, or trichotillomania, is a mental health condition that makes you feel like pulling out your hair from your scalp. It can be hard to stop, even when you start to get bald patches. When you have it, you may want to pull out your eyelashes or eyebrows, too.

Nutritional deficiencies from eating disorders may lead to hair loss.

You Have an Eating Disorder

Both anorexia (not eating enough) and bulimia (throwing up after you eat) can make your hair fall out, because your body isn't getting the nutrients it needs to grow and maintain healthy hair. These are mental disorders. They need to be treated by a team of mental health professionals, dietitians, and other medical specialists.



  1. Thinkstock
  2. Thinkstock
  3. Flickr
  4. Thinkstock
  5. Science Source
  6. Thinkstock
  7. Thinkstock
  8. Thinkstock
  9. Thinkstock
  10. Thinkstock
  11. Science Source
  12. Thinkstock
  13. Thinkstock
  14. Medical Images
  15. Thinkstock


  • American Academy of Dermatology: “Hair loss.”
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Skin Conditions During Pregnancy.”
  • American Society of Hematology: “Iron-Deficiency Anemia.”
  • Mayo Clinic: “Can stress cause hair loss?” “Trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder),” “Anorexia nervosa.”
  • The American Surgeon: “Hair loss in females after sleeve gastrectomy: predictive value of serum zinc and iron levels.”
  • American Hair Loss Association: “Oral Contraceptives.”
  • Dermatology: “Association between smoking and hair loss: another opportunity for health education against smoking?”
WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information