Hi, I’m a 19 year old girl who has suffered major hair thinning. I’ve just discovered about this community/project a few days ago. Uptil now, this seems to be probably the most resourceful place I’ve seen.
I’ve been pretty desperate for answers.
As a child, my hair was extremely thick. However, as I grew up, my hair become progressively thinner. Two years go, I went on an unhealthy diet and I started to really notice that my hair was extremely thin (also, my hair was falling out like crazy). I thought that it was due to the fact that I didn’t get enough vitamins, so I started to eat healthily again. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, my hair only stopped shedding like crazy, but no new hair grew back to replace those I lost.
It has been 2 years, and my hair is still quite thin. Most people can’t see it, but I definitely can – especially when my hair is greasy or when I tie it in a ponytail (you can see my scalp very clearly).
I’ve read as much as I could on women hair loss, and nothing seems to really fit my symptoms. I took a blood test and it showed that my levels were perfectly fine.
After reading as much as I could, there were really only 2 diseases that sort of fit my simptoms.
1. Hypothyroidism – my mother has that
2. Androgenetic alopecia – my hair is thin all over my head and my hairline is not receeding.
However, the only thing that doesn’t seem to quite “fit” is the falling of my hair. My hair does not seem thinner than it was 2 years ago. I do not lose an excessive amount of hair (contrary to the many testimonies I’ve read). When I comb my hair after a shower, I would loose maybe 5-10 strands. In some ways, my hair loss seems proportionnal to the amount of hair I have.
I often get depressed because of the state of my hair – especially when I see my friends with thick hair and get to choose different styles of haircuts while I’m stuck to one. I can’t confirm with 100% certainty that my situation hasn’t worsen. From what I can see, it seems to have stabilized. But sometimes, when I look at old pictures, I start believing that it did in fact get worse. Afterwards, I panick and can’t sleep at night.
Does androgenetic alopecia have different “levels” of hair loss? I haven’t taken any medication to help, but I know for sure that I do not lose a crazy amount of hair. However, I am also certain that this is certainly not normal for a teenage girl to have so little hair (I now have less than 50% of the hair I used to have as a child, and from the top of my head, my scalp is pretty visible). From what I can see, I do, in fact, have new hair that grow, but not many.
I am so desperate for answers. Although you may not have any precise answers for me, I’d greatly appreciate your point of view on my situation.
Thanks for writing me and I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling with this. First things first, stop.. take a deep breath, let it all out and take a moment to reflect on how lucky you are that your hair loss has stabilized for the past two years. Losing 5 -10 hairs after a shower is remarkable, you’ll be the envy of all my readers
Having said that, I do understand your concerns and pain in having to deal with less hair than you had before. I must state upfront that I am not a physician and cannot provide medical information or diagnosis, anything I write is really just my opinion and knowledge gained from living with hair loss myself for the past 9 years (yikes that sounds like a lot). With that disclaimer out of the way I can continue on.
Diet and hair.
We often don’t think about the two going hand in hand, but nutrition and lack of it can certainly affect our hair positively and adversely. Anorexics and bulimics often times experience hair loss or a change in the quality and texture of their hair. If the diet was the cause of the hair loss, a healthy balanced diet could stop the hair loss and enable it to grow back, but it doesn’t always grow back to be the same as it was before. Nothing is 100% (especially when talking about women’s hair loss) and I’m sure that for some women, their hair does grow back in full and thick, but I’m speaking in generalities.
Your story prompted it me to do some searching online myself, since I was perplexed that your hair loss stabilized for two years without drug intervention, but that you did not experience any regrowth or thickening of the hair during that time. I did read that certain factors can trigger androgenetic alopecia (female pattern hair loss) in individuals who were already genetically predisposed to it. One of those factors is extreme malnutrition. This is news to me. I knew that altering your hormones by taking birth control pills could kick in androgenetic alopecia, but I did not know it could be triggered by a variety of other things as well.
Related Article You May Find Useful: Nutrition and Hair Loss – Is There a Hormonal Connection?
Consult a Doctor
If you have not yet been seen by a physician you really should make that your first step. It’s is true that many doctors take very little interest in women’s hair loss, but by discussing your particular situation with them they may be able to help shed some light and run a number of tests that can help to diagnose you. Dr. Sara Wasserbauer wrote a blog post in the Women’s Hair Loss Project Network titled “Hair Tests I Recommend”
Below are the tests:
T3, T4, TSH (for thyroid)
Ferritin (for anemia)
Total testosterone (PCOS, hormones)
CBC (multiple reasons)
ESR (autoimmune diseases)
She also writes, ” And I also check to see if the person has had recent high fever, stress, low protein diet (i.e. vegetarian), menopause, birth, medication changes, surgery.”
Another Related Article: Endocrinologist or Dermatologist? Which Doctor Should I See For My Hair Loss?
Does androgenetic alopecia have different “levels” of hair loss? I’d say heck YES. In my own experience and in speaking and interacting with hundreds of women with hair loss, androgenetic alopecia while it only gets one definition in the dictionary, can take on different forms for different women. Some women experience more thinning on the top, some more on the top and side of the head, some more on the side less on the top and some just overall equal thinning around the scalp. The rate at which the hair is lost varies from woman to woman, as I’m sure so does the rate of miniturization.
There is a female cashier I’ve seen over the last 8 years or so and I remember the first day I saw her. I thought wow her hair loss is so progressed and her ponytail seemed no thicker than the width of a pencil. I was certain that the years that followed would remove what was left of her already thin hair. I was at the early stages of my hair loss so I had mountains of hair compared to her, yet of course as all women with hair loss do, feared that would be my fate. Years pealed away and her hair has not changed, not one bit. It is the same gray and the same thinness as it has been since the day I met her. Make no mistake, this is a woman who suffered hair loss, its not “naturally” thin hair. But for whatever reason her hair loss halted and did not continue to progress, it didn’t get better either. But I guess my point is perhaps you are experiencing androgenetic alopecia at an extremely slow rate or perhaps it is something associated with your thyroid or iron. There really is no way for me to know that. While I know my words won’t be easy for you to swallow, I speak from the heart and from nine years of painful shedding and self realization: You are so incredibly fortunate that your hair loss has not have progressively thinned over the last 2 years since the initial onset. You really need to be so thankful for that. That is a really good sign and with a little more detective work and a good doctor by your side you may just uncover what is causing your hair to remain thinned.
Join The Women’s Hair Loss Project Network
The Women’s Hair Loss Project Network
( http://community.womenshairlossproject.com/ )has some incredible women, who are there to listen and share information and support with one another. Women’s hair loss is hard to deal with alone, I suffered alone for many years. It helps so much to interact with other women who understand.
Often times we forget to thank god for what we have right now in this moment. My hair is extremely thin, but I wish that I could just keep what I have right now, as thin as it is. I’d vow to never fuss or complain if I knew this was mine, ALL MINE and that the endless perpetual shedding would stop. I’m 9 years in and I am still losing, I still lost 60 hairs in the comb today. It seems every hair left on my head is on loan, so I guess I better make the best of it while I still have a little bit left
Linda, I know how hard it is, don’t give up. Start consulting with some physicians. Also there is no rule that you can only see one, so see several.
I wish I had more answers, and I sure as heck wish I could grow hair… I’d be sprinkling my fellow hair loss gals with fairy hair growth dust!
All The Best,
If anyone has any words for Linda, leave your comments below. Sharing is healing… I promise.