Causes of baldness

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Updated: 1/14/2003 2:30 pm
Most baldness, both in men and women, is hereditary and is determined by your genes and hormones. However, there are other factors throughout your lifetime that can also contribute to baldness. Certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs, ranging from cholesterol-lowering drugs to common heartburn medications, can cause temporary or permanent hair loss as a side effect. With some products, the odds of hair loss are minimal, while with others, you'll more than likely lose your hair. Certain medical procedures, such as chemotherapy or X-rays, may also result in hair loss. It may also occur because of certain illnesses, such as a prolonged fever, cancer, diabetes, and diseases of the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands. If you're a woman going through pregnancy, menopause, or other conditions in which there are many hormonal and other bodily changes, you may also experience some temporary hair loss. If you're malnourished or have specific vitamin deficiencies you may lose hair not only on your head, but all over your body. A correlation between excessive sebum (SEE-bum) in the scalp that clogs hair pores and hair loss caused by consuming animal fat, also has been noted. In those cases, switching to a lowfat diet can help slow hair loss. For more information about why you may be losing your hair, contact a health care professional.

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