21 and Have Been Losing My Hair For Years – Jessica’s Hair Loss Story

by admin on December 5, 2007

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…

******************************************

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. I write frequently about my thyroid issue I’ve been having, but long story short… I had my thyroid dosage raised twice in the last two years. Test results show that the increased dosage was needed and that my thyroid level with that higher dosage was normal, but it wasn’t. Not for me anyways. During those 2 years I experienced more shedding than ever in the 8 years of having androgenetic alopecia. I lowered my dosage despite what the tests said and I’m now doing a heck of a lot better. I hope it continues, only time will tell. The point is, test results are not always accurate and sometimes it takes working with a physician who is willing to accept that type of reasoning and work towards finding the possible trigger of your hair loss.

Normally red flags start popping up all over the place for me when I hear the words “birth control pills,” because that began the onset of my own hair loss and many other women’s. But in your case it seems to not have been a factor since your hair loss began prior to taking the pill. You suspect stress was the cause of your hair loss in your midteens and currently, and you may very well be right. Some women can experience chronic telogen effluvium from stress. Usually it is extreme stress, such as a death in the family or a traumatic event, but you could be more sensitive to just the daily stresses of life. I think the first thing you should do to consult a knowledgeable doctor who frequently deals with women’s hair loss to determine if your hair follicles are miniaturizing. Miniaturizing follicles point to androgenetic alopeca, aka female pattern baldness. Doctors can usually tell if there is miniaturization by using a densitometer, a hand held device that magnifies a small area of the scalp. Some doctors do scalp biopsies to determine the type of hair loss. I don’t know much about scalp biopsies because I’ve never had one, but several women on this blog have done them and found answers to their hair loss questions.

If I were you that is where I would start. First determine if it is just telogen effluvium or female pattern hair loss. From there you can begin to make educated decisions about how you will want to treat your hair loss. As far as working on the stress, I would highly recommend having body work (massage) done, acupuncture and perhaps try to fit in yoga a few times a week. Those things will definitely help you manage the stress you have and they help to put your body in a more healing environment which can only be positive. Don’t give up, it seems your journey to find the cause and treatment for you hair loss has only just begun and that you possibly have a lot of options. I understand the devastation hair loss causes, and my heart cries every time I read the stories of other women who are suffering from hair loss. You definitely are not alone, I’m always here to help answer any questions you have to the best of my ability and there are a lot of really knowledgeable, kind, supportive women on this blog that are always willing to help as well.

~Y

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle December 7, 2007 at 12:53 am

Hello Jessica
I understand what you are going through because I have been experiencing the same thing. My hair has alwasy been fine and began to fall out when I was only 15 and has been falling out even today. My hair is diffused and I can only wear my hair up in public, never down cause you can see my scalp. I am 27 now and have tried almost all the hair loss treatments out there. Rogain, Hair genesis, Revivogen, Herbal remedies, even Rogaine men. I have take countless vitamins and herbal pills and worry if they might have any long term effects. I understand how alone you feel cause I feel the same too. My hairloss has also consumed me and I am really depressed and embarassed it has even affected my marriage. Reading your post and others post has helped me feel normal again, like Im not alone or isolated. I just wanted to reach out to you and let you know your not alone. I have not come to accept completely what is happening to me but I feel this site has helped me get just a bit closer. Thanks : )

Mich

Chrissy January 8, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Hi there

I am 33 and have started to lose my hair. I only noticed it and then when I went to the hair dresser he pointed it out to get a blood test to make sure I have all my essential vitamins and minerals. I had a really stressful situation in that my nephew, his girlfriend and their baby lived with me, not by my choice. Anyhow, they were disrespectful, didn’t clean up and I was always under a state of constant stress. I also have hypothyroidism. I went to my primary care where she raised my dosage from .112 to .125. I have only been on this dosage for the last three weeks and am praying that it makes a difference. I read in Reader’s Digest, Dr. Oz, from the Oprah show said that for women who lose their hair, you should go see an endocrinologist. I did and I, like you, was told all tests were normal. My options were rogaine, birth control and another pill but I don’t remember the name of it. I have to do another test, called the cortisol test which I have to get around to doing. My primary care was no help. She offered to send me to a hair loss specialist but he doesn’t take any type of health insurance. I am not rich and cannot afford to spend thousands only to find out nothing can be done. Not one doctor, including the dermatologist and or endocrinologist took a biopsy of my scalp. I am going to try different doctors until I get to the bottom of it. If it is just female pattern baldness then I will live with it but I am afraid there may be more issues going on health wise and someone is missing something somewhere. Funny enough, the endocrinologist didn’t even look at my scalp. My advice is to keep trying. I also read somewhere that women who are losing their hair should eat five ounces of protein a day, take a multi-vitamin, exercise (as it relieves stress) and get sleep. Honestly sleep is something I have not been getting as I am seeing someone who works late hours and like a dope I would stay up until 1am talking to him and having to be up for work at 5 or 6 am and only getting a few hours of sleep. The relationship was also stressful. Sorry for digressing. But that has since change. Anyhow, I just want you to know that you’re not alone. Actually female hair thinning is more common than you know. I live in New York City and in the last few weeks have seen about 4 – 6 women on the NYC Subway system with thinning hair. Not that it makes it better, but at least we know we’re not alone.

All the best to everyone.

Ky March 15, 2008 at 11:28 am

Hi, I’m a 27yr old male and had an episode of hairloss from emotional stress (telogen effluvium) at one point in my life

I noticed that his helps to a degree when recovering:

-Avoid feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, and awe. Do not watch any emotional draining films or awe inspiring films.

-Try to have as much laughter, love, happiness, joy as possible but anything that sheds a tear avoid (e.g whether sadness, heartbreak or awe)

-If not then try to be emotional neutral as in zombe like. This to puts less stress on your system and gives it a chance to recover

-Exercise, get lots of fresh air, and lightly massage your skin/body to promote circulation and healing.

-I’m not sure that showering frequently with shampoo helps but I read somewhere that shampoo can help remove sedum build up which allows nutrients to reach the hair shaft

Goodluck

admin March 18, 2008 at 8:28 am

Hey Ky,

Thanks for sharing your suggestions. Curious about your hair loss from emotional stress. Did it all grow back?

~Y

Ky March 19, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Hi admin,

Once the emotional stress ended it grew back fairly quickly to the same amount as before at about three months give or take a few weeks. Depending on how long your hair is and your daily nutrition, you should see noticeable improvement and increased thickness at around three months or more.

Sometimes if recovery isn’t complete, it can recur on an intermittent basis if you don’t keep an eye on your stress levels. One episode may have little or no effect, but it can be subtle and different events can add up without you knowing until it’s too late. After you fully recover, experiencing these negative emotions shouldn’t be a problem as long as they don’t become too overwhelming or consistent. When my body was stressed I usually had frequent aching chest pains, a tingling, burning, or itching scalp, and strong burning sensations in my stomach.

I also noticed that most of my hair loss was far worse after a shower, experiencing a stressful thought, having a lazy inactive day at home, and after waking up in the morning. I read somewhere that the inactive hairs fall out due to new hair growth, so I guess hair shedding can either be a sign of recovery or additional stress

Robin Flamish March 20, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Just wanted to say I completely get what you are saying, I suffer from the same type of hair loss along with female pattern balding. It can be totally devastating especially if the stress is on a regular basis. That is why I say….. low stresses keep the tresses. The mind body connection is REAL!

nasim August 14, 2008 at 12:06 pm

hi
i am 28.my hair is very thin and it has been begun to loose for 3 years.i am very sad about this problem.i had a blood test.i dont have any hormonalproblem.now i use finastride pill,but my hair has not changed.please help me.
best regards
nasim

Mary October 9, 2008 at 9:27 am

Hi! I feel so sorry for any woman going through hair loss. I have been dealing with hair loss a little over 2 years. It has thinned so much, I now keep it pulled up. My hair loss began after i had my second child. I also went to the doctors and a dermatologist. Really no help. It could possibly be from child birth, I really dont know. Since I have had another baby. I wish it would just stop falling. Even my eyebrows have thinned. But all blood work came back normal, so pretty much I too am at a loss. If my is from childbirth (which is called telogen effluvium) shouldnt it have stopped from now. My third baby will be a year old next month. I hope everyone recovers from thrie hairloss. God Bless!!!

Christy January 19, 2009 at 10:38 pm

Hey!

I think this is great having a place where girls can come and talk about hair issues, it always feels like such a huge secret. I’ve been losing my hair since I was 13, I am now 21 and I wear a hair piece/wig. I found that doctors never helped me and any tests I had done showed nothing was wrong. What I began doing, and at times I feel like it was too late, was I got into natural medicine. I went to a homeopathic doctor when I was 17 and began treatment. To my surprise my hair-loss stopped. Since then I’ve been in and out of finding my own herbs, things that make my scalp feel good, and on top of it all I eat extremely healthy and take important vitamins and minerals. But I still can’t make hair “re-grow”. Its so stressful. I feel that the hair I have and my scalp is very healthy now. I believe in restoration, don’t get discouraged by people telling you it will never grow back. I just can’t figure out what I am missing. One day though ladies, I will figure it out. Just remember to stay positive, love the bit of hair you do have, and take care of it the best you know how. The answer will come from you. : )

Kay March 2, 2009 at 7:50 pm

I’ve done a lot of reserch on the net. But I’m afriad I don’t have much choice on what to do. I’ve been through some huge ordeals all pertaining around guys. I’m 18 turning 19 in may and it is just embarrassing leaving hair all over my boyfriends house. I go through a lot of stress and was once in what I think may have been depression. I used to have thick beautiful and fast growing hair in high school, after one party when I got raped I also had to endure being pregnant, I was in a constant state of stress but even happiness because I planned to keep the child. However I lead a very unhealthy life style and spent the majority of my pregnancy not unaware of it. plenty of alcohol, one – two meals a day and major stress and i notice a clump of hair in my shower thats equivalent to a small kitten. I cant even pull my hair into a pony tail because im so ashamed at how thin of a pony tail it is! I want help I want to know what to do. my guess is that its chronic, permanent, and it adds to the stress I already have so how am I supposed to calm the heck down??
I can hide it with my hair down and thicking products. But the other day I caught my boyfriend staring at my head and im terrified at what he may be thinking.

kim May 3, 2009 at 1:30 pm

I started losing my hair 3 months after the birth of my son. I was 27 years old then, I am now 40. I have very little hair now. I wear wigs to work,and I’ve changed. Once happy go lucky-now tries not to cry everyday. It has changed me as a person,and in turn changed my relationships.He has stayed with me this far,but I see myself going bald soon.What then?I can’t stand looking at me. Nothing has changed in 13 years.Same advice, same so called treatments,and worse-same avoidance. No one in the medical field knows and/or cares about this issue. I really want my hair back.I don’t have any money,but at this point I would take out a loan for a cure!

Jessica October 23, 2009 at 6:42 am

I just started birthcontrol about a year ago, and I have been noticing that m hair falls out more heavily these days. It has been bothering me for some while so I decided to get on here and find out if it was some nutrient imbalance or along those lines. I had no idea that birhtcontrol could aid in hair loss. Is there any chance, of there being something you can do to stop hair loss even though you are on birthcontrol?

B January 1, 2010 at 3:34 am

Hi,

My dad pointed out that he could see my scalp the other day at the back of my head. I remember my ex boyfriend pointing out to me that i was losing some hair at the top/middle point of my head when I was about 18 (i’m not 21) but stupidly I ignored it because i couldn’t really see it, and just figured it would grow back. I stopped using products and just stuck to head and shoulders shampoo and conditioner and started using my straighteners a lot less and not as intensely (if that makes sense – just the ends of my hair).

So since my dad pointed this out to me the other day, I’ve looked in a two-way mirror and am absolutely horrified (not to mention terrified) of how much hair i’ve lost…I just broke down in tears and now it’s all i can think of. I love my hair so much and it’s always given me confidence as I’ve always had issues with my weight. Anyway, after much deliberation, I’ve figured out ways of concealing the thinning but i’m terrified that i’m going to lose more and then i won’t know what to do. I’m worried that it’s going to get worse at the front and then i won’t be able to cover it at all.

I’m going to the doctor on Monday and am hoping and praying that it’s something that can be fixed easily like my diet or additional stress or something. I just can’t deal with not knowing how much is going to fall out…I didnt notice the hair loss because i don’t generally shed hair – and i’m extremely careful not to pull it too hard when washing or brush through it when wet. I’m really scared about this, I’m only 22 and I’ve not even started out my life yet.

If anyone can offer any comforting words or advice, i’d be so grateful. I feel so alone right now and feel like i can’t talk to anyone about this.

Thankyou x

Christie January 9, 2010 at 7:37 am

Hi , My name is Christie im 22. I always had fine hair but it was thick on top and I was always able to make cute styles on it. I started taking low estrin 24 and took it for almost 14 months . my hair grew thicker while on it but then i started to notice my hair thinning and getting split ends. and then when i would take a shower it would fall out in gobs and the whole crown of my head is see threw i have to cover it with a comeover and I always used to wear my bangs back. I went to the doctor and of course all test were normal . and then i went to the derm. Just threw rogain at me and some shampoo that dosnt work . the rogain made my hair fall out alot more and bald in the front. the websight says just keep using it and eventually the hair will grow back thicker then before but so far no new groth. At first it made my hair grwo back really fast but then the hair fell out alot. I also take a multi , biotin 5000iu, omega3s,iodine,nuhair vitimin,and right now i just started taking vitex chaste tree Ive read that it regulates hormones and gives you lighter peroids in edition it helps supress acne . You Ladies should google it for more info. Im not sure if it works but at this point im willing to try anything. My hair balded for a short time after my daughter was born but that was 5 years ago and atleast then i knew what the problem was now im lost. They have no answers for us . Their doctors we depend on them for answers . Instead of throwing raogain or steroids at us they should be finding a cure for it. Im consumed by this . I dont even feel pretty anymore.

Christie January 9, 2010 at 7:49 am

Oh and i forgot to add that ive been on rogain for 3 1/2 monthes and I dont think you guys should use it . I dont think its good for us to use a chemical product that goes through are scalp and into the blood stream the rest of our lives. Also the hairloss has slightly tapered of the past 2 weeks but I still loose like 30 hairs in the shower and like 20 when i brush and it would be ok only no new hair is growing in its place . I get really worried that the hair on the crown of my head will not grow back and ill be stuck with a bald spot 4 ever . Nothing helps and I dont like taking so many vitimins but as woman We freakout cause We think who will ever find us attactive now and I look at other woman with full heads of hair and despise them and wish and prey to god to have hair like theirs . Im also a thick girl and feel like Im not the beatiful boluptuious girl i used to be . Can somone give me any advice It would really help. Also i stopped taking birth control on dec 29th 09. I got iud . I will never take those pills again. Ibeleave any woman who takes birth control is at risk of hairloss . at first i switched to orthocyline for a moth and i gained 8 pounds in 3 weeks it didnt stop the hairloss and i had my period for 2 weeks oh and my boobs got huge and made me feel fat lol.

Sue March 26, 2010 at 5:26 pm

I’m seventeen and i’ve been losing my hair for a couple of years now. I went to a dermatologist who said i simply had androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness in women. She then refered me to an endroconologist who discovered that my cortisol and testosterone levels were almost double what they were supposed to be. I don’t exhibit any signs of an adrenal tumor and I don’t have any “male characteristics” so she is going to run a test to see if she can put me on medication to hopefully slow down or stop my hair loss. For anyone dealing with this problem who has not yet done so, i recommend going to an endroconologist or a specalist because it might not just be hair loss, as in my case. Consider getting your hormone and thyroid levels checked out because through this process i found out that they can greatly affect hair loss and other symptoms, and can usually be treated with a perscription. I can definately relate to all of you because i know what it feels like to look at yourself in the morning and have your hair, or lack of, be all that you see. Even though other people say you look fine or that they don’t notice it, i think it starts to wear on a person. To all of you dealing with this problem, just don’t give up, i’m glad i didn’t.

Christina August 10, 2010 at 4:14 am

Hello everyone. I’m 15 & I have just stumbled upon this page. I have been losing so many strands of hair for the past 4 (ish) months its not even funny. I ignored it at first, but now im beginning to relaize that im going bald :( i dont know what to do. I’ve always had beautiful long blonde hair and its always helped with my confidence. I don’t have any bald spots yet. but you can kinda see my scalp a tiny bit at the back of my hair where my double crown is. im mostly noticing it in the front, and where my part is. My dad is to thank for all of this.. He started losing hair very young & My brother started losing hair at 15/16 and its destroyed him. He always wears a hat. & has no self confidence what so ever. I never thought i would start losing hair hair too though. My brother told me it wouldnt happen because im a girl & its in the male side of the family. but im thinking hes wrong. I havent been to the doctor yet.. but it sounds like theres no cure anyway. :'( i mean.. i still have alot of hair but my family doesnt have a ton of money to spend things to try and keep it from falling out. im thinking im gonna lose alot more hair before something works. possibly even all of it. :( i dont know what to do.. im just falling apart here. ive been crying all night. i feel SO ugly.

JT September 12, 2010 at 9:15 pm

I have the same problem. My hair started falling out on the top when I hit 18. I am 27 now and just go with the buzz cute. I am about to order from Sephora this Rene Furterer line which other men and women claim does wonders for fine hair and stops hair loss. I’m going to give it a try. Look into it yourself also. Thanks for the tip on Rogain, I also considered that, but trusted my gut not to buy it.

Tamara March 31, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Hi everyone.. Reading all of these stories really causes me to cry. I’m 19 and I’ve been losing my hair since I was 10.. My hair is very very rly.. I started wearing my natural curls when I was about 16 and it helped my hair to grow longer… but my hair keeps thinning more and more.. I understand that depressing feeling. I love my hair.. it’s so different which is why I would still be depressed if I had a hair transfusion because I don’t think I would be able to fuse hair that is exactly like mine. My mom has thin hair.. and all of her sisters.. so if its in my genes I just want to know how I can stop it.. everytime I get out of the shower I feel so depressed because curly hair strands fall all over my body and everywhere in the shower, clogs the bath tub and over loads my brush.. a horrid funeral every day goes on in my bathroom everyday.. I’ve been looking up reasons and there are so many, stress, too much or little copper, low amounts of amino acids, genetics, high sodium, improper hormone balance, and lacking of.. nutrients, vitamins.. I don’t know if this helps anyone.. it didn’t help me but it gave me a start to my journey on getting my hair back :(

Tamara March 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm

By the way.. my really curly hair gets tangled and knotted easily which probably contributes to the loss.. I have no clue what to do about that :(

Ashley June 17, 2012 at 10:40 am

To everyone on this site, look into PCOS. I was diagnosed when I was 20. Now, after being at a healthy weight for 3 years, I am 10 lbs heavier and my hair has been falling out for 6 months. I have always shed but this is not normal. WEll, all my labs are normal but I have pcos. When I take bc pills I gain weight but I take them every few months because without them I can’t have a period. And I read that a normal woman who takes the pill can start hair loss. Or if you are healthy and stop it, it can do the same. My problem is the pcos. I’m overweight, I can’t lose weight easily (even worse because I’m short), I don’t have periods, and my hair is falling out. Oh and I started getting acne and worse hair growth. PCOS is the devil. Ask your doc for an ultrasound or a test for pcos. At least then you will know it’s hormonal. Oh and I forgot to mention that many women with pcos are diagnosed with depression or bipolar. OF course, if you are losing hair then depression could naturally result but they could coincide biologically.

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