I never really stop to think how much effort I put into trying NOT to think about my hair loss and how exhausting not thinking about my hair loss actually is.
I avoid mirrors, strong overhead restaurant lighting, I turn the bathroom lights off before going in (in my house). I’d do it in public to if I didn’t think I’d get tons of grumbles and nasty comments from the women already in there. Ha! Unless they had hair loss, then they’d give me a high five. Typically when I need light I use softer lights that are sort of dimmed.
Up in the morning, early 5:00am start to the day. I shower and I comb my hair quickly trying to get past the torture. Shower is always fun pulling the hair out of all sorts of odd places including my deriere. Oops stuck between my fingers, rinse it off, rinse it off or paste it on the bathroom wall. Always fun to look at after. Comb, scoop, comb, scoop, hair into the toilet. I pull my hair back in a ponytail or up in a clip to avoid feeling the hair fall all day. However, (as thin hair ladies know) the clip can hurt since it sits so close to the scalp with none of that pesky “hair padding,” it can become quite itchy and bothersome, so I loosen it up to make sure it’s perfect and set for the day. Oops now my hair looks flat on the left side. Do it again…oops now it’s flat on the right. Oh my gosh I look like a human ice cream cone, with no hair on the sides and a little on the top, the shape of my head has me looking like a Mister Softee. Do it again, darn it now my gaping center part is shining for all the world to see. Hummm I don’t remember it being that thin before. Maybe I should use the blow dryer some more. Blow to the left, blow it to the right. Apply clip strategy again, ah this “style” is okay. My simple clip style takes longer than it looks, same for the ponytail. This hair over that hair, brush here, brush there, trying to maximize every strand. Volumizing shampoo, volumizing conditioner, volumizing spray, volumizing mousse, plump this plump that. Poof it’s still flat. Part my hair one millimeter to the left of its normal part, nope, one millimeter to the right, yes that’s just perfect. Now I can begin my day. I glance at my watch, I wonder what activities are left to do on this Saturday at 10pm.
Happy Sunday Ladies! [click to continue…]
I got up this morning, walked the dog, came home, fed the dog. Threw on some workout clothes and hopped down to the gym (garage). I put my earphones on, I turn the ipod on, and I started the treadmill. The first song queued up is one of my favorites, and it just puts my mind at such ease and makes me smile. The song only lasts three minutes and thirty five seconds, but that’s enough. Enough to put my mind in the right mood and enough to set my day up with possibility. I of course played the song over and over since I wanted to draw out as much serenity as possible I jogged along and felt content and… dare I say… happy. Sure my hair is falling out, it fell in the sink, it fell in my coffee, stuck to my sweatshirt, but I was happy. In that moment I felt right.
I think we need to take more time for ourselves, to do the things we enjoy and remind ourselves of living. It’s way to easy to obsess about our hair loss and worry about the future, but in doing so, we so frequently miss out on today, the beauty around us, the beauty within.
So now I know you are dying to know what song I was listening to. Well here it is for your listening pleasure (just click on the play button below) and your three minutes of freedom:
“Put Your Records On” By Corinne Bailey Rae – Best 0.99 cents I ever spent on iTunes!
Wishing you all a beautiful and HAPPY Friday!
Enjoy life, enjoy freedom, enjoy being you.
I am so mad at you, and hurt by you for what you have done to me. I sit here in my pajamas and robe, crying uncontrollably from your selfish desire to leave. Have you no consideration for me? For my life , for my sanity? For 21 years you deceived me, tricked me into a false sense of security thinking you would be with me for life. What did I ever do to you? Was it lack of appreciation?
Now for 9 years you let me try to do different things to win you back. I gave you all sorts of things…. I even prayed for you and meditated for you! And what do you do? You tease me. You stay for awhile then run away. Stay, then run away. Now you’ve almost taken all of your things and left. What am I left with? An emptiness and wonder for what I will do without you.
How did I ever depend on you so much? You logically seem so insignificant, yes I SAID it, insignificant! What do you do? You just sit there, waiting to be tended to and pampered. I have other things more precious than you. Health, Sight, Hearing, Legs, Arms, and Heart. I know you’ve made up your mind already, and that there is nothing left I can give you to stay. So I guess I should work on moving on as well. But… if you want to stay, I’ll gladly take you back! So let me know at the next shampoo, k?
Mind, Body, & Soul
I am just about to head out the door, but I wanted to make a quick post about my exciting new way to comb my hair. I’m always looking for new ways to avoid having to constantly be smacked in the face with the fact that I’m losing my hair every time I comb my hair after a shower. It is pure torture to just stand there and watch the hair fall like strands of spaghetti from my head. The darn hair is gonna fall whether I look at it or not, and when I’m going through a heightened shedding period I’d really prefer not to watch. I need CONTROL. I’ve done the “blind comb” where I’d sit on the bed with a towel around me and comb my hair without a mirror, then I’d pick up the towel (not looking of course) and take it outside…shake shake shake.. and I’m all done! No hair loss. Crazy huh? Okay it gets even crazier.
I’m so frustrated with the fact that I’m still going through these shedding periods and I truly don’t have a lot left to lose. So about 20 minutes ago I was standing comb in hand, wet hair, and staring at the sink. It was like a duel out of an old western movie. I glanced at the toilet, I glanced at the sink and back to the toilet. The hair is gonna end up in the toilet anyways so why don’t I just shorten the trip! I squatted around the toilet and comb my hair, the hairs fell right in and I flushed them away. I don’t know if I lost one hair or 200 hairs! Oh sweet harmony that felt good! I mean seriously, really liberating.
What makes dealing with hair loss so hard is the lack of control, the feeling of the inability to do anything to make those hairs stop falling out. The helplessness. These little things give me back control. And instead of watching my hair fall out of my head, a feel a sense of relief and I go out and enjoy myself at the movies. Whatever helps you get through the day.
So I am starting to go through a bit of a shed once again. Still not terrible and much better than the last 2 years, but a shed none-the-less. Here is my lemon into lemonade update. As most everyone probably knows who has followed my story, I lowered my synthroid dosage awhile back since I felt it was contributing to my excessive shedding. The shedding slowed down dramatically and I’ve been trying to enjoy each day that I don’t see a gazillion hairs laying in the sink after a comb through.
It has been probably a couple weeks now where I’ve noticed my hair starting to shed more and more. But I’m still doing okay, why? Because the hairs that are shedding are full length, long and strong terminal hairs. This is such an improvement for me. In the midst of my most horrible shedding time, my hair would shed all different lengths of hairs, one inch long, two inch, four inch, six inch, 1/2 inch and some that even looked the size of arm hairs. That would depress me to no end because I felt my poor hairs were not getting even the slightest chance at a decent hair life cycle. They were exiting my scalp way too prematurely, so any new growth would just fall out. Shedding long hairs, while not pleasant either, means that my overall hair cycle is improving and stabilizing. I least that is how I have decided to interpret it! It keeps my mind healthy and strong, and allows me to continue on with my days. So whether it is true or not matters very little, all that matters is what my mind believes.
Be positive, be positive, be positive.
Also, just a reminder, tomorrow (Thursday April 10th) is our first women’s hair loss support chat meeting at 6:30pm – 7:30pm PST. If you are interested in joining us, sign up in advance for an account in the network. http://community.womenshairlossproject.com/
You’ll need to login to your account tomorrow at that time and click on the “Chat” link in the top navigation bar. Hope to see you there!
Hi there. I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am to find this site. After 2 years of suffering in silence, I found reference to you on web-med. My lucky day! I cried at the compassion and sympathy that I found on the very first page. Thank-you!
My hair loss started after I had some children sleep over that had lice. I didn’t suspect lice until my head had itched for 2-3 months. I thought that I was having a re-action to shampoo or conditioner. Then, I put a fine tooth comb through my hair and big ole honkers fell out. Disgusting! I did not use toxic chemicals to get rid of them or I would have suspected that. I used tea tree oil, lavender oil, etc and left them on my head under a shower cap for a week and I combed out the eggs with a nit comb. At about this time (coincidence?) I started to lose my hair. I went and got a perm to feel better and even more fell out and broke off. I thought that my loss was lice and perm related, but it just kept falling out. I went to a MD and she took ferriten and thyroid test. Ferriten was low and she was convinced that was the cause. I begged her to take aggressive action to get to the bottom of this, but she said no, that any other Doc would think ferriten.
Well, 6 months later ferritin is normal and I am still losing hair. I have lost at least 1/2 of my previously very thick and beautiful hair. My scalp is very visable and I even bought a hair peice. I wear it in a pony at the top of my head, but suspect that won’t go on for long as it is becoming very obvious.
I finally got the MD to give me a blood test(which I have to pay for because my insurence will not pay for alopecia!). The results of the 4 hormones were pretty normal. Prolactin. testestarone, FSH and DHEA. These were the ones that she wrote for me. I wanted others, but she said no. I needed to find another avenue, so I am now going to do an indepth siliva test which will show a comprehensive view of my post menopausal hormone profile, and not through this Doc. I now know that I need to go elsewhere. Next I will probably go to a dermatoligist to get a scalp biopsy and whatever. [click to continue…]
About a month ago I went to the Dr. because I noticed a severe increase in the amount of hair I was losing in the shower and when I brushed my hair. I am an active duty military member and I don’t know about ‘civilian’ Dr.’s but the one’s on base just seem to shrug off any medical condition as stress related these days. She actually said to me “I used to have really thick hair too; sometimes our hair phases get interrupted and it’s nothing to worry about.” I took a blood test to check my thyroid and she said it was ‘normal’, which to me means nothing because I’ve never had a thyroid test before so how does anyone know what my ‘normal is?! I don’t know if the Internet helps my plight as there seems to be almost an over-abundance of information out there and it’s sort of overwhelming me at the moment.
I just want to know what’s going on. I feel so helpless and I am usually such an in-control person that this is killing me. It started about 3 months ago; I lose about 200 hairs everytime I wash my hair and another 100 or so when I brush it. I am not on any medication and am completely healthy otherwise, no birth control, no nothing! I am honestly to the point of being afraid to touch my hair. I have short hair dark hair and it’s really beginning to be noticeable where my part is. I hate wearing a wool coat because I shed all over the back and collar!
I hate being so obsessed with something that has never been an important part of who I am. I never took more then a minute with brushing it and putting some gel in it. Whereas I used to complain about how thick it was, I am wishing I could go back in time. My partner tells me it’s going to be fine and there’s nothing noticeable but I can tell and it’s driving me nuts. I even started seeing a counselor to try and relax a bit and began taking pre-natal vitamins. (A pregnant friend thinks I’m overreacting and that it’s normal. Only problem is I’m not pregnant!) My mother, grandmother and even great-grandmother still have beautiful thick heads of hair so I don’t know what’s going on. If anyone has any advice or anything, I just feel so out-of-control right now. I just finished reading Taylor’s story and compared to her I feel like a real wuss. =(
Thanks for taking the time to share your story. I feel like there must be something that is causing your hair to shed at an accelerated rate. No birth control and no medications certainly eliminates a big section of the reasons why women’s hair begins to fall out. You didn’t indicate whether or not you’ve recently (over the last 6 months) experienced something traumatic or an extreme stressful event. Stress still is, and can be a possible cause of telogen effluvium (shedding) although I think often times it gets the bulk of the blame when the real cause is something else.
You also hit the nail right on the head when you indicated that your “thyroid” test is normal. What is normal? It’s not like we have been getting our thyroid tested annually since we were born. I’ve had my fair share of issues with thyroid and it’s primary treating medication, synthroid. Doctors frequently dismiss concerns about hair loss since it isn’t something that can “kill” you. I’ve actually been told that. My opinion on that is that it can certainly kill our spirit, and who we are. Sometimes we lose ourselves as we begin to withdraw more and more because of our hair loss. I frequently hope I’m bigger than that, not to let something like hair loss take such control over me and my life. But it already has, now I’m trying to get it back. [click to continue…]
I’ve read some of the other women’s stories here and felt compelled to share mine. I am almost 28 years old and am experiencing some hairloss. Today was the first day I actually talked about it, and cried about it with somebody (my mother). I have been too embarrassed and depressed about it to talk with anybody else. When you look at my hair I don’t think that I look like I am balding, but I lose so much hair every day and I know that my hair used to be so much fuller. I feel like it is going to keep getting worse and I am very worried.
I am in a relationship with the love of my life and I am afraid that if I continue to lose my hair he will not be attracted to me anymore. The worst part is that I am obsessed with my hair. Some of the other women have mentioned being obsessed with it and constantly touching it and looking at it in the mirror. It is so frustrating. When I wear it down I find hairs everywhere, on my shirt, on my boyfriend’s shirt, on my pillow…it is never ending!! I also find myself looking at other women’s hair and comparing mine or being envious of theirs (especially if they are older than me and have a thick head of hair). I’ve even gone as far as trying to keep count of how many hairs I am actually losing per-day because I am still doubtful that this could be happening to me, but I have to face the facts, the thin hair I have now is a far cry from the beautiful full head of hair I had when I was a teenager. I think it has been a gradual loss, but the past two years it seems to be falling out more and more. I started taking the generic BC pill for Ortho-tri-cyclen a few years ago and I am wondering if it could be from that. I want to stop taking the pill, but I am afraid I will get pregnant and then my hair will really start falling out from stress!!
I now have some doctor’s names that I am going to call and try to have some blood work and tests done, but I am afraid that there is nothing that can be done for me or that I will start taking things that will make my problem worse. When I spoke with my mother tonight, she said that she started to shed a lot of hair around my age too. In a way it makes me feel better because although she has thinner hair, she does not look like she is balding. Maybe my hair is just naturally thinning out. I don’t really know what to think, but I am going to be contacting some doctors and trying to get answers. I really feel the pain of the women (and girls) on this site and it does help to be able to talk to someone who understands what I am going through. I feel like everything is going so good in my life, but it can all come crashing down if I start to lose hair and suffer from low self-esteem.
Dear Maria –
I am really glad that you were able to open up to your mom and tell her how you are feeling and how your hair loss is affecting you. The fact that your mom relayed to you that her hair began to thin around your age, but yet she still has maintained enough hair to not look like she has hair loss, is a really really good sign. It is not uncommon for women’s hair to gradually thin as they get older, it becomes an issue when it isn’t gradual at all, but very rapid and sudden. [click to continue…]
I think I started noticing my hair loss when I was mid-teens. It was not that big of an ordeal at the time, seeing as I knew I was a stressed and busy teenager (I was busy at school ALL of the time). However, as the years rolled by, I began to lose more and more hair. I am now losing hair at an exponential rate and I have no idea what to do about it.
My hair is very thin at the crown and sides of my head.. so thin that I can EASILY see my scalp. I try to hide it, but I really have nothing to hide it with, save a hat. I have gone to a doctor and a dermatologist, and all bloodwork is normal and I have no skin problems which would cause this. I was on birth control once when I was 18 or 19, but that really didn’t cause me to lose any more hair than usual. I am at a loss.
I am usually not one to care about these kinds of issues, but it has consumed my thoughts to the point where there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t want to break down and cry. I know that my lifestyle is not helping, but I can’t really change it without changing my career goal. I am a full time student and I work part time as a lab assistant. Outside of school, I spend a lot of time studying for the MCAT and doing other school work.. all signs point to stress, but I don’t know what to do about it. It would really help if there was someone to talk to or if anyone has any advice. I feel like I am falling apart…
I am curious to know if the doctors you’ve seen were able to offer you any type of possible cause for your hair loss? Women with hair loss frequently get back blood test results that “falls within normal range.” I know how unhelpful and frustrating that is because we want to point to something on paper as the identifying cause then work towards fixing it. Blood test results being categorized as “normal” gets to me, because what is “normal” for me may not be normal for another 29 year old and vice versa. So perhaps there is something there for all of us that seems to be consistently getting overlooked by physicians. [click to continue…]