When our bodies are sick or if it is dealing with a problem, it sends out signals that there is an issue it's having trouble with or something that needs attending to. These signals are often called symptoms. They can be subtle, as in the case of “feeling” under the weather, or they can be drastic, as in the case of suddenly going bald. In fact, sudden hair loss is usually a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
There are several reasons why a person can begin losing their hair all of a sudden. Many of them are quite treatable and simply involve a doctor's attention.
- Chemical Exposure: certain chemicals can cause hair loss by exposure alone. One such example is thallium acetate. It is sometimes used in ointments and creams.
- Fungal Scalp Infections/ Mycotic Infections: there are several types that can cause hair loss. Most occur because of very sensitive or an unhealthy scalp. They are often mistaken for something else, like acne or a rash, until closer inspection by a doctor.
- Hyperthyroidism: the overactive thyroid can affect the hormones of the body and trigger hair loss. This type of hair loss usually begins in the front of the head and so often, men think they are starting go bald.
- Hypothyroidism: easier to spot than hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism can also trigger hair loss, but the hair loss begins in the back of the head.
- Ringworm: another form of fungal infection, it usually causes bald spots or patches, which is (often) how sudden hair loss starts.
- Sebaceous Cysts: when left untreated, these can cause hair loss. Particularly large cysts are something to worry about, not only because of the hair loss but because of the fear that the infection may spread.
- Stress: temporary, but frightening, losing one's hair due to stress is a big signal from the body to relax and take better care of itself. Those who are affected are often dealing with many different types of stress and push their body to its limits.
- Trauma: just as some traumatic experiences can turn hair white, others can kill hair completely. Luckily, like stress, this is usually temporary.
Sudden hair loss happens to both men and women. Many of the above mentioned underlying conditions are not gender specific, although some of them are more likely to occur in certain genders because of outside factors. Remember, experiencing sudden or dramatic hair loss is not normal. See a doctor immediately.