stress

21 and have been losing my hair for years - Jessica's Hair Loss StoryI 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…

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Dear Jessica,

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…]

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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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Stress Related Hair Loss - Anna's Hair Loss Success StoryHi Everybody –

I just want to share my story with all of the women who experienced stress related hair loss. I started noticing that I was loosing my hair when I moved to a different state to pursue a completely new career. I was so stressed with my job, my new home, my family life that I ignored that problem. Until I went home (I’m originally from Poland) and my friend asked me what’s up with my hair and how come I don’t have as much hair as I used to have. I realized that I did have much less hair to play with and every time I combed/ washed or styled my do I was loosing tons of it.

I noticed hair everywhere. My car seat, my coat, everywhere. I panicked when I noticed bald spots on the side of my head. I started taking vitamins for hair, using the best available shampoos and conditioners but that didn’t help a bit. I was loosing more and more hair. I couldn’t wear my hair down, I had to wear ponytail styled carefully so the bald spots wouldn’t show. I went to a doctor (dermatologist) four times and she couldn’t help me. I mean she completely ignored my problem and told me to use Rogaine!! I was furious with her, because I already did my research I knew that my hair problem was stress related. It wasn’t genetic so Rogaine was a completely wrong solution. I tried couple other doctors, but they were as ignorant as the first one. All they could think of was Rogaine and maybe a hair transplant.

My hair problem lasted 3 years. Sometimes I would be loosing less sometimes more, but the fact was that I had less and less hair on my head. I went back home (Poland) and I went to a dermatologist there. She ran lots of tests on me (yes, we have universal health care, It didn’t cost me anything) and suggested that I should try aminexil treatment. I did. I’m on my fourth week of the treament and it works!!! My hair stopped falling out. I loose maybe 5 (!!) hair when I wash it. Before I would loose tons, sometimes a chunk the size of the golf ball (200-300 hair probably). [click to continue…]

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