Diffuse hair loss: its triggers and management

Cleve Clin J Med. 2009 Jun;76(6):361-7. doi: 10.3949/ccjm.76a.08080.


Diffuse hair loss can affect both sexes at any age. Anything that interrupts the normal hair cycle can trigger diffuse hair loss. Triggers include a wide variety of physiologic or emotional stresses, nutritional deficiencies, and endocrine imbalances. Loss of telogen-phase hairs is the most common. Hair loss during the anagen phase is usually caused by chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Finding the cause, or trigger, of the hair loss requires a thorough history and examination and will enable appropriate treatment. Patient education is key in the management of diffuse hair loss.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia Areata / diagnosis
  • Alopecia* / chemically induced
  • Alopecia* / diagnosis
  • Alopecia* / etiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diet
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
  • Female
  • Hair / growth & development
  • Hair / pathology
  • Hair / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Stress, Psychological