Hair loss and hair thinning is always difficult to deal with. When you see clumps disappearing from your head and into your hairbrush, it can leave you feeling vulnerable and exposed. Many women use their hair as a kind of protector; the idea of being without that protection is difficult to fathom.

In the vast, vast majority of cases, the reasons for your hair loss or thinning will be entirely normal and nothing to worry about. However, on occasion, it may be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as.

1) Thyroid Disease (Under Or Overactive)

Your thyroid is a small gland at the base of your throat. It controls hormone function; hormone disturbances are strongly related to hair thinning and loss. If your thyroid becomes over- or underactive, then you could see the results on your scalp.

2) Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune condition that attacks the hair follicles. It’s one of the lesser-known autoimmune disorders, but no less distressing from those who suffer from it. The condition differs from standard alopecia — which does not usually have a biological cause — and is usually diagnosed after consulting with an internist.

3) Stress

If you’re experiencing a significant period of stress, then you may notice your hair thinning or that you’re losing more hair when brushing. Having this happen can be stressful — which hardly helps matters. If you think stress might be the cause, then it might be wise to seek a therapist who can help you work through your issues.

4) Birth Control Medications

Thinning is more likely than outright hair loss if your birth control is the culprit. In some ways, that’s a positive; you’ll find it easier to use tape in hair extensions and weaves, so you can give yourself some volume and length back. However, it’s harder to detect than outright loss, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for any signs of thinning if you start a new birth control method.

5) Anemia

Characterized as a deficiency of red blood cells, anemia is among the most common conditions in the general population — but it can be annoyingly difficult to detect. Hair loss is actually one of the most recognizable symptoms, so even if you otherwise feel fine, this is an avenue to investigate.

6) Vitamin B Deficiency

The B complex vitamins can bring forth all manner of unpleasant side effects if you are deficient in them. Symptoms include weakness or numbness in the extremities and extreme fatigue — and, of course, hair loss. If any of these symptoms sound familiar, then speak with your GP. This is especially important if you’re a vegetarian, who are more susceptible to B vitamin deficiencies due to their meat-free diet.

If you suspect one of the above might be responsible for your hair woes, then look at the related symptoms and consult your doctor. There’s nothing wrong with asking for conditions to be ruled out, and most of the above will be detected on standard blood tests. There’s no harm in asking your doctor’s opinion if you think something is amiss.