Some medications can trigger hair loss. Hair loss is a well-known side effect of chemotherapy treatment for cancer. But some common medications may also lead to hair loss, including anticoagulants that thin the blood, high blood pressure medication, gout medication, antidepressants, and birth control pills. By switching to a different medication under your doctor’s guidance, you can usually stop this kind of hair loss. Your lifestyle, especially one characterized by high-stress levels, not getting proper nutrition, and significant weight loss can play a major role in your health and the health of your hair. Although experts don’t know the exact process, there is a clear relationship between high levels of stress and hair loss.
Just as pregnancy hormone changes can cause hair loss, so can switching or going off birth-control pills. This can also cause telogen effluvium, and it may be more likely if you have a family history of hair loss. The change in the hormonal balance that occurs at menopause may also have the same result. “The androgen (male hormone) receptors on the scalp becoming activated,” explains Mark Hammonds, MD, a dermatologist with Scott & White Clinic in Round Rock, Texas. “The hair follicles will miniaturize and then you start to lose more hair.”
Beyond that, things get more controversial, with some doctors saying there's inadequate evidence for other treatments. Saxena thinks there is enough scientific evidence to support some of the alternatives and recommends them to patients. But they are not for women on tight budgets. There's Nutrafol, a "nutraceutical" that costs about $80 a month. Women can also get injections in the scalp of platelet-rich plasma made from their own blood. The first four treatments cost about $2,000 at Saxena's practice in Fort Washington or Lansdale. Maintenance injections, done every three to six months, cost $515 each. Women can also buy Theradome, a light-emitting helmet, for $895 online. Saxena, who has hair loss herself, said she has had the injections and currently uses minoxidil, spironolactone, and Nutrafol.