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Hair Confessions: What Your Body Hair Says About Your Health

Dr. Asma Kanwal Jawad

2 min read

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The average adult human has 5 million hair follicles, out of which, only 1 million follicles are present on the head. The remaining 4 million are scattered all over your body, and, like all other external organs, reflect your internal health. In addition to your nicotine addiction and eating habits (which leave traces in the hair detectable with laboratory analyses, even years after one’s death), here are some other secrets your body hair might be trying to divulge:

1- An Autoimmune Disorder:

Common conditions like Alopecia Areata (loss of hair in circular patches), Alopecia Totalis (loss of all head hair) and Alopecia Universalis (loss of all head and body hair, including eyebrows and eyelashes) could be an indication of immune system misfires on hair follicles. Consult to a specialist because hair regrowth is temporarily possible with the use of systemic steroids.

2- Hormonal Imbalance:

Unusual hair growth on the face, above the belly button and on the upper back or chest may translate to ‘Hirsutism’, which is caused by increased testosterone (the maleness defining hormone) levels in females. Irregular periods coupled with hirsutism might also indicate Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, whereas accelerated and excess hair growth in male pattern areas within 6 months might also indicate a male-hormone releasing tumour in the adrenal gland or ovaries, or high insulin levels. Alternately, male-pattern baldness and coarseness of facial hair in menopausal women can also be attributed to increased testosterone and reduced estrogen.

3- Iron Deficiency or Thyroid Malfunction:

Noticeable loss of head and body hair outside of the regular hair loss cycles-either summer/winter or spring/autumn-might mean an iron deficiency or thyroid problem, especially in women with heavy periods. A thyroid test might be due, in the advent of rapid eyebrow-hair loss or coarse and dry hair-indicative of hypothyroidism. Although it should be noted that any hair loss caused by an iron deficiency should only be temporary and so long as you treat it promptly the hair should return.

4- You’re Aging:

Thinning and gray bodily hair is an indication of advancing age-when hair regrowth deaccelerates-specifically in menopausal women. However, early graying might be a result of vitamin B-12 deficiency or thyroid dysfunction. Aging is obviously completely normal and hair loss is just one of the side effects.

5- You’re Shaving Wrong:

Improper shaving or waxing of all body hair causes ‘ingrown hairs’ identifiable by red, swollen and painful bumps. In pubic hair, these ingrowths are more likely and much worse due to the hair’s coarseness and thickness, as well as the surrounding excess dead skin. Use an exfoliator while showering after pubic hair removal to wash away dead cells.

6- You’re Underweight:

Nutritional deficiencies in underweight and anorexic people are exhibited through fine bodily hair growth in unusual places, as well as accelerated hair growth in response to the lack or absence of body fat.

7- No Blood Circulation:

All bodily hair growth stops at certain lengths, where it remains until removed. However, halted growth on the lower parts of the body after hair removal might be due to a lack of blood circulation. Many of suggested getting head mass

8- Sulphur Deficiency:

Keratin, the defining component of healthy hair, contains sulphur bonds, which lose flexibility with age, resulting in hair breakage. However, premature brittleness and weakened hair roots have been linked with a Sulphur deficient diet; which also causes liver impairment. You can increase dietary sulphur by consuming kale, legumes, garlic and onions.

9- Medication Side Effects:

Some medications can have different effects on your body hair as unintended side effects and this varies person to person. Anti-depressants in particular can increase hair loss and usually stopping the medication solves the problem. But this may not always be the case and it is best to consult your doctor regarding the issue before you take any steps. Hair loss can also occur after surgery or due to a major amount of stress.

10- A Tumor:

In extremely rare cases it is also possible that you have a tumor as some tumors do impact the hormonal balance in the body. If you experience hair loss very suddenly and also see high testosterone and DHEAS levels, then it is possible that you have a tumor that is releasing testosterone. It is important to get proper testing done before jumping to any conclusions, a standard blood test will reveal both testosterone and DHEAS levels which should give you an idea of how likely this option is.

For a detailed analysis of your personal hair-health connection, visit a specialist. Book an Appointment with a top Dermatologist in Multan, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com. Or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your hair-related issues.

About the Writer:

Yashfa Marrium is a freelance writer and health enthusiast. You can reach her at yashfa1m@yahoo.co.uk.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Asma Kanwal Jawad
Dr. Asma Kanwal Jawad - Author Dr. Asma Kanwal Jawad is a Dermatologist practicing in Lahore. Dr. Asma Kanwal Jawad has the following degrees: MBBS, Dip. in Dermatology and has 12 years of experience. You can book an appointment with Dr. Asma Kanwal Jawad by calling us or using the 'book appointment' button. Dr. Asma believes that a glowing skin is more than beauty and is a reflection of a person's physical and mental health. Dr. Asma thus loves to write about dermatology articles so that she can help the people be and feel healthy.

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