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Thinning hair?

We expect some hair to fall out, but it you are finding clumps on your pillow or in your hair brush, this may be disturbing. Aside from hereditary factors, there are several health related reasons you are starting to see more of your scalp. Read on to see if you have any of these underlying causes.

Possible causes of thinning hair:

  • Thyroid issues: Thyroid hormones T3 and T4 develop hair at the root. When the hormones are out of balance hair regeneration will be disturbed and hair will gradually become thinner throughout the scalp. 

  • Iron deficiency anemia: Low levels of iron make it harder to transport oxygen in the blood. Your body carries oxygen to more important areas of your body and leaves the cells of your hair follicles without nourishment. You may see thinning at the hairline, middle, or crown of your head. 

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is an endocrine disorder that affects women, causing an increase in male hormones. The excess androgens have a negative impact on hair growth. Other signs of PCOS include irregular periods, acne, facial hair, and weight gain.

  • Autoimmune issues: Autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, alopecia areata, Hashimoto's are connected to hair loss. On occasion Crohn's and psoriasis may be linked to hair health. 

  • Hair loss can be noticed 3-6 months after extreme physical or emotional trauma.

In Chinese Medicine hair health is closely connected to blood, both in supply and circulation. Hair is considered an extension of blood, as it nourishes the follicles. Blood has a broader sense in Eastern medicine. For the body, blood nourishes and moistens all the organs, muscles, tissues, skin and hair. For the mind, blood is connected to mental activity, sleep, and emotions.

If there is a deficiency of blood you will see dryness (eyes, hair, skin, mouth, stool), muscle cramps, numbness, dizziness, palpitations, easily startled, insomnia, nightmares, and thinning hair.

With an issue of inadequate blood circulation there can be hair loss as well as symptoms of sharp, stabbing pain, areas with dark complexion or dark under the eyes, menstrual irregularities, chest pressure, and palpitations.

Supporting healthy hair:

  • Nutrition: Make sure to get enough protein (what hair is made of), B12 (red blood cell health), and Vitamin D (can promote new follicles) Vitamin A is important for hair growth, but too much has a negative effect on hair health.If iron is part of the problem increase animal bi-products or lentils and leafy greens. Iron is best absorbed if eaten with Vitamin C.

  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture can help increase circulation to the scalp as well as support treatment for underlying causes by calming an overactive immune system, balancing hormones, reducing inflammation (systemically and in follicles), and restoring overall balance to your body.

  • Essential oils: Massage diluted essential oils such as peppermint, rosemary, and lavender vigorously in to the scalp to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.

The herb he shou wu (Polygonium Multiflorum) is the "go-to" herb for thinning hair or premature aging. It is a blood tonic and additionally used for other aspects of healthy aging. 

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