hair thinning

What Can Women Do To Stop Hair Loss - Dr. Judith ReichmanAn article came out today on MSNBC.com discussing women’s hair loss. I think the article provides a good overview of hair loss so I’m posting it here. The question asked to Today Show medical contributor, Dr. Judith Reichman was, “I’m in my early 40s and I’ve noticed sudden hair loss. I’m devastated. Why is this happening and what can I do?” (The original article can be found here) Here is her reply:

Women don’t expect to lose their hair (unlike men), so when it happens it’s extraordinarily traumatic. We normally have, on average, 100,000 hairs on our scalp. And as evinced by our changing hair lengths, roots and visits to our hairdressers, those hairs grow; in fact, 90 percent of our hair is actively growing at any given time. Hair is the second fastest growing tissue in our body after (I’d love for you to guess) … bone marrow. To keep its place on your head, your hair needs the right conditions. (Note I didn’t say conditioner.) You may find that you’re unexpectedly losing hair if you impose restrictions on hair growth or if your genes are such that continued hair growth is not in your destiny.

There’s a simple test you can do to help determine whether you are losing hair, it’s just thinning or you are damaging it by abusive hair products or pulling it too tight (which can occur with braiding). Pull on several strands of your hair — do they come out easily at the root? If so, it suggests that the hairs are indeed “shedding” and have gone into what we call an excess telogen phase.

To explain this telogen phenomenon, I must first go into hair physiology 101. As hair actively grows, it’s in the anagen phase. Each hair is connected to a hair shaft (or follicle), which remains in its secure position in the scalp for three to seven years before falling out and being replaced by a new follicle. Once the anagen phase naturally runs its course, there’s a two-week catagen phase, in which the hair follicle dies. The hair then goes into the telogen phase for the next three months, during which time it falls out. Normally we lose 100 telogen hairs a day, but in certain cases (and this sounds like your situation), many, if not most, of the hairs go into the telogen phase. This causes alopecia (balding). The condition of overwhelming telogen loss is termed telogen effluvium; the anagen to telogen ratio has gone from its normal 90:10 to 70:30 or less. If I do the math correctly, this means you lose at least 300 hairs a day, compared to 100 hairs. [click to continue…]

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Stacey's Hair Loss Story - Searching For AnswersStacey had posted this story as comment on this post, but I felt it should be a post of it’s own so I’m reposting her story here:

Hi, I found this web site today. I came in tears when I read this. I have finally found people who are going through the same similar problems as I am in my life right now. I am a beginner on this Hair Loss Adventure. Let me tell you my Story and maybe since you all been through more doctor experience then I have. You might be able to give me some Advise and Tips. At least, I hope you will be willing to help. Ok, Here it goes. :)

I was diagnosed with PCOS in Nov.of 2005, As well with border line Diabetes. ( Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) I was 23 years old. I am now 25. Doctors don’t know much about PCOS. They are still doing research on it. I did some looking up on it. ( Let me tell you what it is for those who don’t know: It’s where you have tumors that grow in your ovaries and can block and prevent your eggs from going through your tubes to make you become pregnant. As well as your body produces too much androgen and Hormones and your body could produce too little Thyroid Hormone as well. Which can cause you to have many Symptoms such as ad normal periods, No periods, No pregnancy, Diabetes, Heart disease, Heart attacks, High blood pressure, Excess hair, Acne, Skin tags, Early Menopause, Cramps from your ovaries, unexplainable weight gain, trouble losing weight, and so on and so on. There’s so far No Cure, Some Doctors say losing 20 to 30 pounds to get rid of the belly fat that maybe causing PCOS Or taking birth controls to help control the symptoms. (Which means slow down the process.) People can’t catch this by people who have PCOS. Everybody with PCOS are different. So, You may not get all the above symptoms. Doctors told me that the only way is to control the symptoms is through birth control pills and if I wanted to try to become pregnant is to take Metformin, If I have trouble getting pregnant. At that time, My hair was starting to receive in the front and lightly shedding.

Now, I have very little bangs And my hair is thinning from my bangs all the way back on top. [click to continue…]

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Female Pattern Balding – Hair Loss Story

by admin on October 8, 2007

I did not notice hair falling out, it just stopped growing and the dermatologist said it was female patter baldness and nothing could be done. I had take Prempro for 11 years without a missed day – per GYN to stop my periods. I was 50 at the time. Went through an extremely stressful divorce and work situation. I noticed the balding when I was about 59, and it has gotten worse…..my scalp showed through no matter how I tried to cover it. Since I was told I was not a good candidate for transplants, I got an epiphany. I went to a women who does permanent make-up and had her tattoo the areas (with a sort of light brown – I am blond) that aways showed through. It works quite well, but is very expensive and takes a long time to do. I had about 5 sessions of 1 – 2 hours. I was able to get novacaine after the first two-hour session, so the pain was managed. I still have some areas to cover, but it is a great improvement.There is no hair loss like this on either side of my family. I have taken some of the medications listed that cause hair loss, but what can you do if you need them? I am now 70 and hate my very thin hair, which used to be one of my best features.

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Hi -

Thanks for writing, I realize hair loss at any age is distressing, but I have to say you are so fortunate to have spent the majority of your life with hair and not dealing with the massive shedding and hair loss that many very young women experience today. For myself, I basically spent my entire 20′s in partial seclusion, feeling very sad and depressed, feeling like I’ve lost who I was… my identity. I wrote in the past post, “Hair Loss, Hair Loss Everywhere – What’s in the water?” that I would seal that deal immediately if I was told I could have all my hair back and then at 50 it would all fall out and I’d definitely do it for 60, even better. That would mean I’d get to have 31 more years of peace, of happiness, being out there and enjoying my youth. I feel I’m letting that slip away, losing my hair 8 years ago did that to me, but I work on myself all the time and trying to get past the whole idea of ” I am not my hair” and just trying to be positive.

Please understand I am not at all dismissing your concerns and I really do understand hair loss and how it would affect anyone who becomes afflicted with it, but I thought I would point out how fortunate you have been. Your tattoo idea was extremely creative, and I’m glad to hear you are happy with the results, but there also are less invasive ways to conceal the scalp. There are several products are on the market today that are actually a sort head make up that serve as a scalp cosmetic concealer. Two that I am aware of our DermMatch and Toppik. DermMatch and Toppik Scalp Cosmetic Concealer

Also, you are right when you talk about some of the drugs listed on the “drugs that cause hair loss” list, what can one really do when they have to take a certain medication? It is also important to note that while these drugs can cause hair loss, they are not necessarily the cause of hair loss for a lot of women. I am sure there are plenty of women and men who take these medications without experiencing hair loss as a side effect. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that since you took some of the drugs listed that that is what spawned your female pattern baldness.

A lot of women begin to experience hair loss for the first time post menopause. [click to continue…]

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Drugs That Can Cause Hair Loss

by admin on October 3, 2007

Drugs That Can Cause Hair LossI was asked if I could provide a list of a drugs that can possibly trigger hair loss. I would like to start the list off with my current nemesis, Synthroid. Synthroid is a common medication that is prescribed to treat hypothroidism. Apparently it is a pretty common side effect to experience hair loss from it for those individuals who are sensitive to the medication. I’m sure there are plenty of women taking the drug with no adverse effects to their hair, but it should not be overlooked as a possible contributing factor to your hair loss. The listed “side effects” section on drugs.com it indicates that the hair loss is “usually temporary,” and the “special warnings” section indicates that “it is temporary,” well is it or isn’t it? Of the several doctors I’ve spoken with they have confirmed that it does cause hair loss in some individuals, and not the temporary kind, at least not until the problem with the medication is resolved. Just as a low thyroid (hyopthyroidism) can cause hair loss so can an overdose of the medication Synthroid. The following are signs of over stimulation:

Abdominal cramps, anxiety, changes in appetite, change in menstrual periods, chest pain, diarrhea, emotional instability, fatigue, fever, flushing, hair loss, headache, heart attack or failure, heat intolerance, hyperactivity, increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, irritability, muscle weakness, nausea, nervousness, palpitations, shortness of breath, sleeplessness, sweating, tremors, vomiting, weight loss.

You do not necessarily need to be experiencing all of these symptoms to have an overstimulated thyroid caused by your thyroid medication. I put it out there so that you can have this knowledge in case you begin to notice hair loss after starting the medication or having your dosage raised. That is another factor to keep in mind, if you have recently had your dose raised after years of being at a certain dosage level, it is possible that the increase in dosage was too much for you body. You should talk to your doctor or seek another opinion from an experienced and knowledgeable physician, an endocrinologist may be a good choice.

So without further ado here is the list of drugs that can possibly cause hair loss, also note this is not the complete comprehensive list, just the more common ones known. [click to continue…]

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A Shower In The Dark - One Of My Hair Loss RitualsLike I mentioned in another past post, one of the things I do when I’m struggling a lot with my hair loss (such as now) and the shedding is so extreme, is that I shower in the dark. I waited yesterday for the night to come so I could shower. I can’t bear to see the hair falling out all over the place and stuck between my hands, it is too much torment for myself. Needless to say I also comb my hair in the dark as well. Quickly combing through what is left my hair, scooping up the pile that fell out, and making a beeline straight for the toilet where I put to rest my fallen hairs. It didn’t overly depress me as it sometimes can, I guess my mind was a little stronger yesterday. That is just how it goes. Some days I’m stronger with my hair loss and others I am so wrought with depression and sadness. I am thankful for the stronger days, I pray for more of those days all the time.

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The daily hair loss grind – ugh

by admin on September 7, 2007

Today is a better day as far as my general outlook. It’s not because my major hair loss shedding episode has come to an end, it is better… just because. I got up, put my hair in a ponytail and decided to not spend each minute of the day focusing on my present hair loss situation. The good days come and go, I take each day as it comes.

I just finished cleaning up the kitchen, which by the way I have no idea how two people can use what seemed like 30 pieces of silverware since 7:00pm last night when I last cleaned the kitchen. By the looks of the kitchen you would think I was running a catering service, but I digress. Anyways, as I was cleaning the kitchen I was reminded of one of the many horrible things about going through a massive shed. No matter how hard you try to get on with your day you are constantly reminded about your struggle because your hair is EVERYWHERE. It’s on the counter, it’s on the sponge, it’s in the sink… if I pick up a splenda packet off the floor 9/10 times there may a piece of my hair attached to it because my hair is all over the floor as well. It’s usually not visible when I’m standing looking down at the floor.. well sometimes it is, but often not. Fortunately for me my hair and the floor are pretty similar in color. But it never fails, more often than not when I reach down for a paper I get a hair with it. How lovely. right? The other day in the car my fiance dropped something on the car floor, picked it up and what do you know my hair is with it. It’s on your clothes, even the clean ones hanging in the closet, in the bed, on the couch… am I leaving anything out? I’ve not touched on the obvious.. the shower.

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