What Can Cause Extreme Hair Loss: In-Depth Analysis & Solutions

Medically reviewed by Dr. Bilal Khan M.B.B.S.
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

Experiencing hair loss can be alarming, but it's not uncommon. Hair loss can occur due to numerous factors, ranging from genetic predisposition to underlying health conditions or even certain lifestyle habits. Understanding the potential causes of hair loss is the first step towards prevention and treatment.

What Can Cause Extreme Hair Loss?

Extreme hair loss can result from several factors. These include genetic conditions like androgenetic alopecia, health conditions such as telogen effluvium, anagen effluvium, alopecia areata, and nutritional deficiencies. Medications, stress, tight hairstyles leading to traction alopecia, and birth control pills can also cause significant hair loss. In some cases, even environmental toxins can lead to hair shedding.

Digging Deeper into Causes of Extreme Hair Loss

Genetic Factors

Androgenetic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern baldness, is a common genetic cause of hair loss. Males tend to lose hair from the temples and crown of the head, while females usually experience thinning all over the head.

Health Conditions

Conditions like telogen effluvium cause hair to remain in the shedding phase, leading to increased hair fall. Anagen effluvium causes rapid hair fall during the growth phase due to chemotherapy, radiation, fungal infections, and autoimmune diseases. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that causes hair to fall out suddenly in small patches.

Lifestyle and Dietary Factors

Traction alopecia results from hairstyles that pull hair too tight, causing it to break. Nutritional deficiencies due to extreme diets too low in protein and certain vitamins, such as iron, can cause excessive hair shedding.

Medications and Treatments

Some medications, such as blood thinners, certain antidepressants, and even birth control pills, can lead to hair loss. Medical treatments like chemotherapy are also known for causing sudden and extreme hair loss.

Environmental Factors

Exposure to certain toxins, such as arsenic, thallium, mercury, and lithium, can lead to hair loss. Large intake of vitamin A or selenium can also be toxic and cause hair to fall out.


In conclusion, extreme hair loss can be caused by various factors. It's important to identify the cause to effectively address the problem. If you're experiencing extreme hair loss, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional who can guide you to suitable treatments or lifestyle changes. Remember, early intervention is the key to preventing further hair loss.

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Dr. Bilal Khan M.B.B.S. graduated from the Jinnah Sindh University in Karachi. He'll take the official medical licensing program in the US (USMLE) in September 2023. Bilal has a passion for research and has extensively fact-check and medically review articles under his name to make sure you have the most accurate information.