Medical Conditions That Hinder Hair Growth

African American woman natural hairStruggling to grow long, luscious locks? Bogged down by breakage, split ends or sudden hair loss? When it comes to hair growth, there are three cycles: regeneration, degeneration and the rest cycle. Unfortunately, at times, these cycles can be disrupted by conditions that both slow or cease growth altogether. While many are self-inflicted (too much heat, ladies) others are entirely internal.

In fact, per a 2013 study, roughly 6 million women suffer from hair loss, a condition believed to be a male exclusive issue. One study of 1,008 women also found hair loss in almost a fifth of women aged 30-49, a quarter of women aged 50-69, and 28 percent of those aged 70-79. Meanwhile, the American Hair Loss Association adds that women “make up forty percent of American hair loss sufferers.”

As with most health woes, several factors can contribute to stopping hair growth as well as hair loss. Here are four common medical conditions that could be the culprit.

Alopecia: Described as the thinning or loss of hair, there are two types of alopecia: scarring and non-scarring. With scarring, hair follicles are destroyed. Thus, sufferers may experience a receding hair line, large circular patches of hair loss, thinning eyebrows, lashes and pubic hair as well as inflammation of the scalp. With non-scarring alopecia, hair loss is caused by certain medications, pregnancy, iron deficiency and severe stress, but can be reversed with proper treatment.

Hair Shaft Disorder: Usually hereditary, this disorder is characterized by hair that is dry, brittle, coarse and riddled with split ends. Skin abnormalities may also present themselves. Per the University of Maryland Medical Center, this condition is also caused by over processing the hair, i.e. relaxers, color and heat.