Hair loss can be an anxiety-inducing experience. While it’s common to see a few stray hairs here and there, more frequent or bothersome occurrences could be a warning sign of a deeper condition.

I’m Dr. Clara Yu, a board-certified Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. I believe in a holistic philosophy and am committed to helping my patients both feel and look beautiful so that their inner beauty is reflected by their outer beauty. This was the inspiration when I created Beauty Cult, a place for patients to receive top-quality aesthetic services in a community-oriented, social and supportive environment.

Here are five signs that indicate it’s time to see a doctor about hair loss. Plus, what you can do to combat thinning hair.

1. Your Shower Drain Is Suddenly Collecting Clumps of Hair

It’s not unusual, and actually normal, to shed hair on a day-to-day basis. The average person sheds approximately 50-100 hairs each day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Shedding, however, differs from hair loss in that it’s part of the natural cycle of hair growth.

But, when you suddenly start to see clumps of hair, an excessive increase in hair loss or patchy hair loss, it’s time to schedule a consultation with a medical professional. Sudden hair loss often signifies an underlying condition that should be addressed by your doctor.

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2. You’re Taking a New Medication or Have Been Recently Diagnosed With an Illness

When our bodies fall out of balance — which can be related to a new medication or an illness — physical issues can manifest in both scalp and hair that result in accelerated hair shedding.

Medications such as beta blockers, prescription acne treatments and antidepressants may temporarily disrupt the hair growth cycle. Additionally, any testosterone-containing medications can also impact hair loss.

Other medical issues such as an overactive or underactive thyroid gland, anemia (iron deficiency) or autoimmune disorders can also lead to stalling hair growth, resulting in hair loss.

You may want to consider using a natural alternative, such as GRO Hair Serum, in tandem with what your doctor prescribes for you. The serum, which contains powerful phyto-actives that have been clinically proven to increase the appearance of hair density and reduce signs of shedding within as little as 90 days, should be applied daily for best results.

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3. You’ve Gone Through a Major Hormonal Shift

Hormones are responsible for so much within our bodies. They regulate many functions throughout your body and also are a key element in hair loss. According to the National Library of Medicine, 50 million men and 30 million women experience hormonal hair loss.

Of the five types of hair loss, the most common cause is hormonal, triggered by the fluctuations in hormone levels, including testosterone and its conversion into a molecule called DHT or dihydrotestosterone. DHT causes the hair follicles to shrink, which can alter the hair growth cycle and potentially shorten the hair growth phase.

And, as we age, hair loss increases; by age 70, it’s estimated that 55% of women will experience some sort of hair loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. This is often connected with menopause, in which estrogen levels plummet, in turn leading to changes in hair, including loss. Other hormonal events — think pre- and post-partum, along with pregnancy — can also alter hair growth cycles and the hair itself. Schedule a visit with your doctor to discuss alternatives in treating hormone-related hair loss.

4. Stress Has Taken Over Your Life

Stress is the culprit behind many physical issues, including those making their presence known in our skin, scalp and hair. If you’ve seen an uptake in your stress levels and suddenly, your scalp and/or skin is seriously itchy or irritated along with increased hair issues, there’s likely a connection.

Stress frequently results in sleep issues, which then leads to imbalances in our levels of cortisol. This can act as a catalyst for scalp sensitivity or irritation by reducing blood flow within the skin, cutting off the number of nutrients required for healthy hair follicles. You may want to add scalp wellness products like GRO Scalp Detoxifying Serum.

Regular exfoliation of the scalp can help eliminate pore-clogging buildup that can impact the hair follicles and hair growth. Try a scalp massager to work in the serum while it simultaneously promotes improved circulation and blood flow. In some cases of severe hair shedding, you may want to head to your dermatologist for a hair pull test to determine what exactly the “root” causes are of your hair loss.

5. You’ve Overhauled Your Diet

If you’ve recently started a new diet, nutritional shifts can have powerful effects from your tresses to your toes. The ever-increasing popularity of keto, paleo or plant-based diets, among others, can impact your overall health, including your hair — especially if you’re not getting the adequate levels of essential nutrients.

Here’s where the healing power of plants can help you take a natural approach in addition to following your medical professional’s nutritional advice. Bolster your daily intake of essential, natural ingredients, such as red clover, with a supplement like GRO+ Advanced Hair Care Gummies.

Doctor’s orders: The best hair Rx is to take a holistic approach to your whole body health by reducing stress, incorporating a balanced nutritional plan and maintaining regular appointments with your medical professional.

About Dr. Clara Yu

Dr. Clara Yu, Board Certified DO in Family Medicine, developed Beauty Cult as a supportive, fun environment for patients to receive the ultimate in injectables. Specializing in Aesthetic Medicine, Dr. Yu honed her craft over the past 10 years. As an advanced injection trainer, Dr. Yu has earned the distinguished title of Galderma Trainer and is also a private trainer in advanced techniques, including PDO Threads. Dr. Yu received her undergraduate degree from UC Irvine and completed medical school at Western University of Health Sciences.

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Disclaimer: Information in this article is intended for general informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician.