Jeni’s Hair Loss Story

by admin on October 14, 2007

Jeni runs a great blog on beauty and skincare called “Savvy Skin” and has contributed several comments on The Women’s Hair Loss Project. Now she is sharing her story. Here it is:

I’m 28, and I used to have really thick curly hair up until recently, and now I have probably half as much hair as before. I first started noticing that my part was really thinning back in September and I freaked out. After doing research, I first assumed that it was from the pill (ortho tri-cyclen) and I stopped taking it shortly after. I had been off and on it for over 10 years, but never really noticed any hair thinning before, or even the few times I went off it. I always lose a ton of hair (people always comment about my hair falling out all over the place), and I guess my hair has decreased over the years, but I never saw any baldness before Sept. My dad’s hair is thin on top, and my mom’s hair is thin now (but she has diabetes, is hypothyroid, takes a lot of medications, and eats terribly, so I don’t know if hers is AGA).

I first went to a dermatologist who said it could be AGA but couldn’t tell, and he just recommended Nizoral since he saw dandruff. Then I went to a general doctor who had no idea about anything, but she determined I was depressed, and suggested anti-depressants. I actually was really depressed (even before the hair loss), so I started taking anti-depressants, even though I was afraid it could make my hair worse. She claimed my hair loss was probably just because I was depressed and that it would grow back. I asked for all the various blood tests, and everything appeared normal. I started using Nioxin shampoo, Nizoral weekly, started taking a better multi-vitamin, attempted to eat better, including more iron and protein. For several months I‚ve also been taking Evening Primrose Oil, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Iron, & Flaxseed on my food.

Things not getting better, I saw Dermatologist Dr. Richard Strick at UCLA in Los Angeles because he supposedly specializes in hair loss. He looked at my scalp and said I definitely have TE (telogen effluvium) and that things should just get better eventually. He said I could use Rogaine to speed up the regrowth, or just wait it out. He seemed pretty sure of himself and didn’t suggest anything else. The cause of the TE remained elusive.

A few months had passed and it was time for a visit to the endocrinologist because now I was sure I had a low thyroid (despite the previous test coming out normal), because I still couldn’t determine the cause of my supposed TE. Both my parents are hypothyroid, and I have a lot of symptoms of low thyroid (low body temperature, high cholesterol, fatigue, depression, etc.), although I am actually pretty thin. The doctor did more tests, said my thyroid was normal, although on the low side, and said everything was fine and that I didn’t need to treat my thyroid with medication. Oh and my testosterone levels appeared normal, and he said I don’t have PCOS. My ferritin was around 40 I think, so against his advice (he said my iron was fine) I have been taking Slow FE iron pills ever since, and I think my ferritin has increased, but the other iron level decreased. He didn’t see anything wrong with my hair (but he himself is bald!) and also determined I was depressed and recommended anti-depressants! I actually do feel a lot better on the anti-depressants (Lexapro), and for a while knew I needed to get out of my funk, but it wasn‚t until this whole hair thing that I did anything about it.

Next I went to this place in Los Angeles called Regenix and there I got a free scalp analysis. I was sure they were going to just try to sell me on their products, but they did a pull test, and examined the hairs under a microscope, and then put this magnifying camera on my scalp to examine my hairs close up. The trichologist claims that he can help almost everyone that comes in, but not me!!! And that’s because he also said I don’t have AGA, and that my hair follicles are exactly how they should be. He was actually really helpful and very knowledgeable and reassuring. Whether or not any of this is legit is unknown to me, but just the visit alone was well worth it, and it made me want to study to be a trichologist as well!

Since Sept. my hair hasn’t really gotten much worse, but it hasn’t gotten better either. Lastly I went to yet another dermatologist because now that I’ve been off the pill for several months (I didn’t notice the dread shed from going off it), I have really bad acne, and went to get that dealt with. Good grief that‚s a whole other issue I’m trying to deal with now (I just bought this book, The Acne Cure and am trying that out)! That dermatologist said low iron can definitely cause TE, but he wasn’t real knowledgeable about hair loss otherwise.

Oh and this week I just bought Murad’s new hair loss shampoos and scalp treatment. Nioxin was ok, but I never felt like it cleaned my hair thoroughly. The final things that I’m wondering about as the cause to this are location and climate, and water! I think I’m grasping at straws. I moved to LA from San Francisco three years ago, and with all the pollution in the air here, I wonder if that is causing this, or at least exacerbating it. The water here smells like chlorine when I take a shower, and I can’t install a chlorine shower filter since my shower head doesn’t come off, but if I move I will definitely get one. Since moving here 3 years ago and leaving all my friends behind, and now working from home by myself, things are different, so I wonder if being depressed and isolated and having too much time on my hands to dwell on things is the answer to all this, or if its just the low iron, or who knows. I’m lazy and should exercise! My hair has yet to grow back since I can’t figure out the culprit. Maybe it is AGA. I know how painful this is, and I want to make it my mission in life to find a cure for AGA and chronic TE, and all hair loss!!!!

Update: I wrote this 4 story years ago, when I first really noticed my hair loss. My hair loss has not gotten worse since then, and when I look at pictures of myself then, it looks like it might even be slightly better. It seems to go in cycles, where sometimes I shed like crazy, and then it subsides, and starts all over again. After being off ortho tri-clycen for a year, I went on Yasmin bcp to help with my acne, and also because it seemed like it could actually help hair loss. I stopped taking Lexapro, the anti-depressant, because it was causing really bad leg cramps. I moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and the water here is has hard and chlorinated as that in LA. I am not depressed anymore, and had tried to put hair loss out of my mind because thinking about it was extremely stressful, and I realized I wasn‚t going to go bald overnight, so I wanted to see if forgetting about hair loss could cure me.

I had tried Rogaine for several months, but I saw no results at all, and luckily I don’t think it really caused any excessive shedding. I stopped using it without incident. Recently I’ve started taking a pill for excrutiating jaw pain (TMJ) and it is an anti-depressant called Amitripline. It’s been great for my TMJ, but I worry about its potential hair loss side effects. I’ve been considering buying the Lasercomb, or getting a job at a place that does laser restoration to see if that treatment has any validity. It’s still a struggle for me to eat more meat (to increase my iron and protein). Overall, despite losing half my hair, I feel lucky because it could be a lot worse (since I had thick hair to start with), and it’s only when I feel like my hair is shedding and thinning like crazy that I get motivated to try to find a cure. Luckily all of my skin care research has helped me cure my acne, and I started a website about skin care, and what I‚ve found actually works to achieve good skin. http://www.savvyskin.com

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Thanks for sending me your story Jeni! I encourage other women to also share their story, it feels good to put your story out there and have it be read by other women (you can read my story here) who are experiencing the same thing. We can all learn a lot from each other, it so much more than just finding treatments that work, we can learn how to be strong, how others have dealt with their hair loss situation and hopefully become better for it. If you want to email you story, send it to: women@womenshairlossproject.com

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

gypsy October 14, 2007 at 4:16 pm

jen i just read your story. it sound s familiar?????so di you ever find anything that works for your hair loss? did you ever get diagnose with a condition?jsut curious? they cnat tell me exactly why im loosing my hair either? some think one thing and others think another, its like a vicicous circle really? i sussspect TE but i can be wrong since im no doctor? let me know if you’ve found anything that works????
good luck!
gyspy

jeni October 14, 2007 at 4:35 pm

Hi, thanks for posting my story! I still haven’t really figured out what’s going on with my hair. I forgot to mention that I went to even more doctors after I wrote the story – another Dermatologist, another General Practice doctor, and three different Gynecologists. Everytime I needed to see a doctor, I’d see a new one, since I wasn’t happy with any of them. None of them had any clue about hair loss.

At this point I honestly don’t know if I have chronic TE, or AGA. For me, what started the hair loss could have been several things – being on the pill for a long time (even though I was never on one that was high in androgens), or not having a good diet (I used to eat a lot of sugar, processed foods, and bad carbs and hardly any iron, meat, or vegetables). Since I know a lot of women’s hair naturally gets thinner as we age, I am starting to wonder if that’s it. Since I don’t have any of the signs of AGA (miniaturized hairs, thinning mostly on the crown), I wonder if overall thinning can also be AGA. I’ve noticed a lot of my high school and college friends have slightly thinner now, so maybe it’s normal, but they were also on the pill for a long time.

Anyway, the only good news in all of this is that my hair is no worse than it was 4 years ago, and it’s probably slightly thicker. That could be from getting out of my depression, and eating better. I’m still not “cured” but I’m still working on trying to find an answer, and cure.

admin October 16, 2007 at 4:49 pm

Hi Jeni – Thank YOU for sharing your story. It’s great to hear that your hair loss hasn’t progressed for the last 4 years and is stable. After dealing with hair loss for so long I just want the shedding to stop and to just maintain what I have, to know at least I’ll have this…soemthing. The constant hair loss shedding makes me feel so vulnerable, not knowing if there is an end in sight, or if that end will be me with absolutely no hair.

When I first started to lose my hair 8 years ago I hoped and prayed it would ALL come back, I’m over that, I don’t expect it will ever return I just want to be able to look like a girl with “naturally” thin hair. That I can live with.

I call that “hair loss maturity.” Over the many years I’ve had hair loss I’ve become a lot better at coping and adapting to my thinning hair. It still makes me miserable, but I just deal with it better than I did back then even though I had MORE hair back when it all started. With that hair loss maturity I no longer have those early thoughts of “if all my hair doesn’t grow back how can I live.” I’ll live just fine, I don’t have that hair greed anymore. I just want to have enough hair to be able to style and look normal, without bald spots and bald streaks and parts popping out all over the place. Just enough thats all.

~Y

jeni November 4, 2007 at 3:14 am

I forgot to mention that the last Dermatologist I went to said I had Seborrheic Dermatitis. I don’t really have any symptoms of it, but he said my scalp was inflamed. It is characterized my an inflamed scalp, oily hair, dandruff, and in severe cases, it can look crusty or scaly. I use Neutrogena T-Gel off and on (but not a lot). I tried Nizoral, but that made a lot of hair fall out after each washing, so I prefer the T-Gel. Apparently this disorder can negatively effect your hair because excess sebum is produced, which blocks your hair from growing properly. But if you control the disorder, your hair can grow back. I will use the T-Gel more often. It just makes my hair look really flat.

Just thought I’d let you know! Between that, TE, low iron, and a low thyroid, and not eating a lot of protein, it’s a wonder I have any hair.

Lisa November 6, 2007 at 7:46 am

Wow Jeni even though we have different situations I really feel I can relate to your hair loss story. I too was diagnosed with depression/anxiety before any of this has happened. I have been off and on anti depressants since I was 15 (Zoloft, Effexor rx) and I just turned 27. Currently I am on Wellburton and I don’t like it. I may try Lexapro too.

Before I became pregnant my doctor told me my iron was on the low side but not to worry. She said I could take supplements if I wanted to but I never did.

I wonder if anyone has heard of the supposed “new range” in diagnosing thyroid problems. From what my doctor and most labs say it’s .5 to 5.0. I have been doing some research and some studies supposedly are showing that for you to feel normal and not have symptoms your thyroid should be in the .3 to 3.0 range. Mine was a 4.28 and I have many symptoms of a thyroid problem but they keep sayings its “normal”.

jeni November 7, 2007 at 7:21 pm

Lisa,
I’m not an expert at thyroid problems, but 4.28 does sound high to me. I have heard of the new range, and I personally would go by that. Also, there are so many symptoms of hypothyroid, so I would check to see how many other symptoms you have as well, since that can be more telling than the actual number your test tells you. If I don’t feel comfortable with a doctor, or don’t feel like I agree with what they’re saying, I usually find a new one.

I was on Wellbutrin for a few days, but it made me extremely anxious. Lexapro worked fine me, except it caused my legs to constantly feel exhausted – like I had run a marathon! Otherwise it caused no other side effects. Once I started my Yasmin birth control, it somehow has worked better than antidepressants for me, so I haven’t needed them since.

Lisa November 8, 2007 at 12:30 pm

Thanks for the feedback Jeni. I just made an appointment with a new doctor for my primary care. I actually had the clinic that I currently go to send me blood tests from March, July and Sept. for my tsh. My tsh in March was 2.10, July 2.48 and Sept. 4.28. I am not a doctor but to me that sounds like a pretty drastic jump.

Also I went to acupunture for the first time for stress etc. the other day. I highly recommend it. I felt great when I got out of there.

Whether my sitution is something temporary or perminant it made me realize alot about myself. It sounds crazy but I am seriously considering going back to school now to be come a nurse to help others in times of need. There are just to many nasty doctors out there.

Oh and all of you rock!!!!!!!!! :)

julie November 8, 2007 at 9:10 pm

I so much appreciate this website. Whenever I do research on the internet I do not know how many of the stories are fabricated or truthful. I am new to this site, one week, and I am encouraged by what I am reading. I have been losing my hair since I was 33 and it has progressively gotten worse over the years. When I talk to people I see them looking at my head instead of into my eyes and it hurts and makes me feel like running and hiding. My daughter is 27 and I see her hair has thinned a great deal over the past 2 years. I hurt for her too but do not want to make her feel self conscious. I live in WA State and wonder if anyone knows of any good doctors in western WA that will deal with woman’s hair loss. I have had blood test done for thyroid and iron and my counts are fine. My grandmother on my father’s side had thin hair also. I use minoxidol %5 solution and take vitamins from provillus. I started this product 3 months ago. Has anyone had any success with any prescribed solutions or know of any stylist in Western WA that can aid me with styling. I appreciate your willingness to share your struggles with something we have to face everyday. Thank you

janine November 28, 2007 at 7:38 pm

I have read your accounts and I can relate. At this point I have lost at least 60 – 65% of my hair. The front and the crown is the worst. It’s difficult to style it, but most people can’t tell how bad this condition is for me. I grew up always having a very thick, healthy, very long, glorious head of hair. That started to change drastically. When I was around 18, I started taking anti-depressants and took them for several years after that. Also, around that time I was diagnosed with severe food allergies and dust allergies (for which I had to take allergy shots for the dust allergy.) I eventually quit eating most of the food I was allergic to and also got off the anti depressants. My hair never returned to what it was, but it became thicker over a 2 or 3 year period, to where it became actually kind of beautiful again. That is until about 6 months ago. Now, I had been off anti-depressants until about a year ago. I started on Wellbutrin XL. I found out that it (and most anti depressants) can causes massive hair loss in a number of women and it will continue even months after stopping the meds. Well, I stopped taking the meds about a month or so ago. I was feeling really good and not depressed and I really still need to take medication for depression, but I can’t deal with any more hair loss. So I don’t know what to do about my depression, since I can’t take medications. It’s been extreme hair loss and horrendous, which makes me even more depressed. I just wanted to share with you ladies that I have found through my years of going to doctors and research and trial and error, that for me, this unexplained hair loss has been caused by two things: severe food allergies (like milk and eggs) and also anti-depressants. By the way–about food allergies, I found out that the body attacks the hair follicles, killing them, because it thinks the follicles are a foreign invader or toxic. Instead it is the food that a person is allergic to. That is why the hair never returns, the hair follicles are killed.

Good luck to all of you! I wish you the best. *Hugs*

Anne December 3, 2007 at 7:33 pm

Hello Jeni. Problem sounds all too similar. I have been on the same oddessy. My problem started with a change from my doc of my thyroid medicine. Levoxyl. He lowered the dose 1.25 to 75. Kept telling me that had nothing to do with hair shedding. Internist do not know thyroid so get a specialist or homeopathic. A couple of things I’ve learned. And it was one tough learning experience.The last two years about destroyed me. Your TSH may not show a problem for years when it is off. Go to a holistic Doc. They know more about this than endo’s unfortunately. Start taking Lugol’s iodine. A couple drops a day with evening primrose oil. 1500 per day. This helps to stop the shedding. Get thyroid med or at least seaweed from health store. This will stop the inflamation and hair loss. Get rid of the sea salt and get salt with iodine. Do not take Synthroid as it makes hair shed in some, maybe many. A T 3- T 4 combo is best. Healty diet, exercise, calm down. Take your basal temp under your arm for ten minutes with a mercury thermometer. If basal is low repeatedly, you are hypo. Read Brody Barnes Missing Diagnosis. Modern Med cannot decide what is the correct TSH. Med Community changed scale from .5-5.0 to new range of .3-3.0.They are playing with our lives and it stinks. Get active don’t take these guys nonanswers. Look around. This is happening to way too many women. With lack of iodine in our diet and a medical community that doesn’t get it, there are too many women tired, depressed, aching, itching,losing hair like I’ve never seen before. Too much sea salt. No iodine in the bread anymore but bromine which blocks iodine absorbtion. Get salt with Iodine. Use it only for all salt uses.There is sea salt with iodine too. Armour Thyroid is a good combo drug but Docs have decided Synthroid is end all be all. It is not. It makes hair shed. Read Mary Shoman at about. thyroid. Hope this helps. My Doc was such a goof, he told me lot of people loose hair get over it.This was a family frien so i was getting good attention just the medical community off on thyroids. Get a woman if you can. They are much more sensitive and understanding to this issue. But take those basal temps. Go armed with records. Do not take no. Keep on it.Use a gentle shampoo. kerastase has protein. do not shampoo not too often as Hypo has already made the scalp dry and scaley, itchy. 1 0r 2 times per week shampoo with calming conditioner. Good luck. Let us know how you do.

Petey January 23, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Anne is right on!!
I have had the most help from my holistic Doc!! I was told by several other docs to deal with the hair loss, it could be a lot worse!

I am taking a Thyroid support with iodine, primrose oil and a lot of other natural supplements. Things are slowly starting to get better for me. all my Throid tests show normal, but body temp is low. Love my Holistic doc! She just keeps researching to help the hair loss……never has she told me to just deal with it!!

Robin Flamish January 24, 2008 at 6:22 am

Hi Jen,
Needed to say, your story sounds familiar to alot of us. Mine too. Again, the first thing doctors want to do is throw you on the antidepresant routine. I have always said….. NO SHI_ I am depressed , my hairs falling out and now you want to put me on medication . Doctors are lazy and get rebate checks or something for pushing the dope thing. While I will agree that these are sometimes needed, they have become the easy waty to treat everybody. When I grew up it kinda reminds me of the days when moms thought enemas where the cure all. I remember my mother chasing me around the neighbor hood with that white rubber bag! UUUGGGHHHHH! If I had an earache or headache or whatever. It was the bag treatment. Today we laugh about it. Now any thing rubber flips me out. I no this sounds redundent, but you need to stop stressing. Try the natural approach with chinese vitamins for hair, a good Iron supplement, amino acids and copper supplements twice a week. You need to ask about these things. Dr. Kingsley from New York has put me on this regimen and my hair loss has dramatically decreased. I also mix my own tonic and spray it 2 times a day. If you would like the recipe let me know. As I have stated I am seeing great results. Eat 6 times a day small meals, stay away from caffeine and eat a well balanced diet. De stress and if you can afford it a massage as often as you can. Another thing is deep relaxation breathing. STRESS KILLS YOU IN MANY WAYS! hope to hear from you. Love Robin

Petey January 29, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Hi Robin,

I would love to have the recipe for your hair tonic! I am always open to new things! By the way…would you mind giving your age? I am 49 and feel a lot of my problems are hormonal, just curious if you are experiencing some of the same things.

Robin Flamish January 29, 2008 at 7:15 pm

Hey Petey,
Sorry I haven’t been back on this site for the last two days, here goes the recipe I take a bunch of fresh rosemary….when i say a bunch a big handfull, two cups water and fresh ginger root peeled and chopped, needn’t be real small. Find some lavender heads (flower) and throw them in the pot and bring to a boil and then simmer. I use a whole fresh ginger root from the food store and I buy the lavender heads at the health food store. About half cup of heads. Simmer and cool. Put in a spray bottle and do it twice a day. I let it dry and try not to get it on my hair so I dont have to shampoo twice a day. After it dries in the scalp it does not leave any residue, in fact it smells nice from the lavender. If I may add…. Everyone who comes to this site should purchase a copy of The Truth About Womens Hair Loss By Spencer David Kobren. It is a must have, and has recipes for the natural approach. Also visit http://www.hairandscalp.com (Dr. Kingsleys) is a Trychologist from New York. These two gentlemen have helped me tremedously! I believe in them with all my heart. I went 15 years and finally found someone who listend with a caring heart. Hope this serves you well. Remember STRESS IS YOUR ENEMY! LOVE ROBIN

Robin Flamish January 29, 2008 at 7:26 pm

Anne,
I had to jump back on and say “YOU GO GIRL” the holistic doctors are the best approach… I say try this first, then go to the others. Holistic doctors arent all about prescriptions …. I admire you and Dito every thing you said! Love Robin

SPIRIT DEMERSON March 2, 2008 at 7:41 pm

From what I have read, in cases where low serum ferrutin (below 40)is a culprit in hair loss and thinning, serum ferrutin has to get up between 50 and 80 to trigger regrowth. That’s really hard when you’re starting from 18 like I am. I take three slowfe iron pills a day and at last check I was only up to 40 after a few months of religious pill popping. I need to get my iron way up and it needs to stay there if I’m going to regrow hair but I fear it’s not safe to take too many iron pills so I’m hoping the 3 a day will get me higher and maintain a higher level for a while. I have also been using the laser comb as directed for almost a year now. I didn’t see results from that alone so I added a strong minoxidil solution to the routine about 6 months ago. Still no regrowth. According to my derm, my scalp biopsy showed that I am “genetically predisposed” to alopecia but I don’t know what that means. I know the women on my dads side tend to go almost bald between the ages of 30 and 50. I think if I have the genetic predisposition, I’d better make sure I do everything I can to fight or delay the inevitable. It’s frustrating and expensive and impossible to know if anything is really working or not but at least I’m trying! I also think the nuvaring is bad if only because in my case, I had lots of breakthrough bleeding and long periods which would result in losing iron…hormonally I’m not sure what it does.

Dottie March 4, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Spirit,
I have also been reading the research on ferritin levels and hair loss. I have actually read some reports that say that 70 is the minimum ferritin level for women trying to achieve regrowth, and heard from a trichologist that 125 would be optimum. The same trichologist also said that in the first 3-4 months of iron supplementation that it would not be unusual for your ferritin levels to drop even lower as your bone marrow begins to grab up all the newly available iron on your system. I think 6 months to a year was what he said it could take before you have a noticeable difference in your ferritin levels. I think that you should stick with the dosage that you are currently taking and give it a little more time. Getting from 18 to 40 in a few months is wonderful! You’re on the right path.

Alice March 5, 2008 at 10:08 am

Hi Dottie,
Where did you hear about needing a ferritin level of at least 70 for regrowth to occur? Do you know how reliable this info is?
When I went to the doctor about my hair loss (which I should add, I feel I am tackling early) they seemed quite nonplussed – I guess because I haven’t got big bald spots (but as you’ll all know, a woman knows when her hair is thinning).
They sent me for an iron test and my ferritin level was 9, and I was surprised that the doctor was so laid back about it. I know 20 is the very minimum but he simply said 9 was ‘on the low side.’ It seemed very low to me!
He gave me 200mg iron supplements to take once a day and told me to take them for 2 months. He didn’t tell me to come back for a repeat blood test to check for improvement, just said – come back if you’re still worried.
From what I understand, regrowth can take a lot more than 2 months, and if it’s true that ferritin needs to be around 70 for this to occur, I have a long way to go.
Now I’m not sure whether to continue taking the tablets beyond the 2 month period, or maybe go back to consult with another doctor. Does anyone have any advice?!
To be honest I’m not convinced the iron is what’s causing my hair to thin – I fear it may just be genetic and I’m fighting a losing battle.

Dottie March 6, 2008 at 8:38 am

Alice,
The first research article I ever read on ferritin levels and alopecia in women was in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Here is the link if you would like to take a look at it yourself.

http://www.nature.com/jid/journal/v121/n5/full/5602007a.html

I was impressed by how the researchers went about screening the study participants and generally how thorough they were in their investigation. The researchers found that women with AGA and TE have ferritin levels which fell “on the low side”, even though they were within “normal” levels. This article lead me to look even further for answers. Several articles later I noticed that many researchers were recommending 70 as the minimum for hair regrowth. Then I found an Australian trichologist who recommends higher levels. Here is his website.

http://www.hairlossclinic.com.au/

Check out the articles on his site. He gives great recommendations for length of treatment, etc. I would never hesitate to take copies of articles in to my physician to educate them along with myself. If you still aren’t getting the answers that you want, by all means get a second opinion!

I think it is wonderful that you are being proactive in preventing further hair loss! I ended up having to take a photo of myself in high school (my profile photo) in to my doc to get him to understand that this is NOT the hair that I was born with.

Blessings

Jackie March 27, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Wow, reading this really hit ‘home.’ I also am originally from San Francisco where I always had long, thick, beautiful blonde hair. When I moved to Los Angeles over ten years ago, I noticed it really beginning to shed. At the first place I lived, I remember huge clumps coming out in the shower; it was truly terrifying. I thought that it must be the water there, but at my second place, same thing. I lived in the [San Fernando] valley for a while and it seemed to be a bit better for my hair. I had also started smoking and drinking coffee regularly around this time and thought that this may be the culprit, but when I quite smoking, my hair loss actually got worse temporarily, probably from stress. Then I quit drinking coffee as I thought that may finally be it, but still no noticeable change. I always collected a ‘ball’ of hair when I left the shower, and I could feel it running down my ankles when I rinsed my hair. There was always tons of hair on my bathroom floor and on my rugs; I cleaned it up all the time, but between myself and my Persian cat, I went thought quite a few vacuums! Luckily, I genetically have a lot of hair, so I was never bald, I just had about 2/3 of the amount of hair I had when I was younger. When I braid my hair, all the hair I’m am working with is about the size of the one of the three sectioned pieces that I used to have, if that makes sense. My family members all talk about how different my hair was when I was younger, and I actually don’t mind that, because at least I know I am not imagining it! I have much less volume to my hair now, and when I wear it long, it becomes very stringy. I have had all my blood work done and it always comes back normal, the thyroid tests always came back negative and my basal temperature is always normal. I had pain on my left lower abdomen once a couple years ago, and when I went in to my gynecologist, they discovered that I had ovarian cysts, but they did not diagnose me with PCOS, they just put me on birth control pills. I felt afraid to take them because my mother had developed blood clots from taking them in the 70’s even though this was from a much higher dose of estrogen. Also, I wanted to see if I could get my body working normally first. I went back to the PCOS specialist for some follow up blood work, but this was all very expensive because of high insurance deductibles…needless to say my tests have not ever been completed, partly because the only cure they were offering me was to take the pill, and also because they did not think I had PCOS to begin with. I have always been really slender and I have good skin (thank goodness!) so I do not fit the profile of someone with a major hormonal disturbance. I just had the hair shedding problem and a slight heart arrhythmia from drinking too much coffee, so that may or may not have anything to do with hormone levels anyway.

Where I’m at now is: I eat a mostly raw food diet and don’t drink coffee for the heart murmer, just green and black tea which is much milder. I’ve read that a mostly raw food can help almost any body imbalance, so I practice this but I do not eat raw vegan per say—-I also consume some cooked animal protein and raw dairy. The result is that I feel much happier, healthier, and far less depressed than I used to, and I do shed less, but I still do not have glorious head of hair I once had. I just began to use a sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) free shampoo to see if that works, but no major difference yet. I tried taking saw palmetto but that made me dizzy. This ’hair quest’ is all very time consuming, and I go in and out of reading about it—I just came across this site. What I’d really like is to move on—with a full head of hair! I just want a long reasonably thick braid down my back of my natural, God-given hair. I’m hoping that isn’t too much too ask! I will keep everyone posted on my progress. Some things I’d like to do is: visit a dermatologist once and for all, just to see if my hair pull is normal if I have time (but I do NOT want to take Rogaine!) finish getting my blood work done, (but I DO NOT want to take birth control) continue with my mostly raw food diet, continue to drink less caffeine, continue to be happy and productive in other ways in my life (this is the first time I’ve blogged about my hair journey!) continue to exercise and keep a positive attitude that my hair will become thicker again! I’ll post again in about four months and let you all know how I’m doing!

maria April 12, 2008 at 12:22 pm

hi ive been loosing my hair for 19months now. about four months ago i went to see a derm and i had a biopsy done the results say that i have consistant telogen effluvium. does that mean chronic te? well my hair is still falling very weak and easly blucked. i uesed to have a head full of hair and now i barely have hair left. i cant straightened my hair like i used to cause it’s so very thin. iam so depressed about this iam very scared of going bald, im not far from it at all. ive been using rogaine for five months now but no results my derm also percribed me shampoo with steroids but no help. is there anyone who suffured from te and grow their hair back??

amy June 16, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Hi,
I just turned 40 and noticed my hair shedding every where. I just wonder if hormome changes can do this to hair?

miriam fauth June 23, 2008 at 2:51 am

hello, it helps to read other womens stories, as it is consuming and tiring, watching hair fall out, noticing my scalp showing through, feeling rain hit directly onto my scalp,picking hairs off my arms all day…….and people will say, “your hair looks ok “, or “if you were really losing hair you would be bald by now ”

I have had hairloss for nearly 4 years, and i do think about it all day, but i try not to.
not knowing what is causing it is what causes most stress, and i do believe stress adds to the spiral of not recovering.
i have not tried anything topical as i firmly believe what needs balancing is something internal.(apart from natural herb shampoos )
i do believe docs in the field do cash in on our emotional states.
but , there is some good advice, Dr Kingsley first made me aware of ferritin levels, and it should be 70.
dr tony pearce in australia (i did an online consult)does very detailed blood work (even though he found nothing with mine), made me aware of copper levels.
i really want to learn more about adrenal fatigue.
so , do we just deal with it, thank God for everyday we still have hair, and thank God for what we are learning through this .
I try to.
It is supportive, for us to read eachothers stories, i know that.
from miriam

Rhonda July 23, 2008 at 1:29 pm

I think my iron supplement has definately helped me. I use a prescription form which doesn’t have the intestinal side effects of the over the counter iron. I am not sure what my actual current number is. My doctor regulates it, and either says it is fine or on the low side. She orininally had me taking it 3 times a day, but has now cut me down to once. I think I will check on the actual number to see if it is just on the low side of normal or high. Right now I am going through a terrible shed. I had my second child 4 months ago. I lost most of my hair after the birth of my first child. Starting around 3 months. I had to wear a wig for over a year. I was told at that time that I was anemic. I took iron throughout my last pregnancy and was hoping I would not lose my hair again since I was on the supplement. I have been shedding for one month now, but am still hopeful that it won’t be as bad as last time. You can see my scalp at this time, but I am good with styling my hair so hopefully most people don’t notice. I went ahead and ordered a wig since my sister is getting married in Sept. and I don’t know if my hair will have stabilized by that point or not. I also have female pattern balding which is unrelated to my current shed. The little hair I have on the sides of my head does not grow past about 2 1/2″ . I wondered if Rogaine would increase the growing cycle of these hairs or not. I am really tempted to try it, but I am undecided if I want a third child or not and don’t think I would chance taking Rogaine durning a pregnancy. Has anyone taken Rogaine and then stopped to have a child and then come back on? Also, I was wondering if there could be a connection between hairloss and Chron’s disease which I was diagnosed with about 7 years ago. I have to undergo colonoscopies about every other year. I have wondered if the anethesia they use could contribute to hairloss. I am suppose to have another one soon, but have been putting it off. I have found reading other women’s stories so helpful. I think women’s hairloss is not treated as seriously by the medical community as it should be.

joelle October 12, 2008 at 2:27 am

Hi for all….
im a french woman…and i wish if i can know better english….maybe i can describe my story better….
i have 27 year old, and really now i have just half my hair or less….
i used to take anti depressions for 6 years….i took maybe 7 kind of anti depressions…..
i noticed my hair is falling down from 2 years….and becoming worse….my doctor said u should not stopped them but i give up from my hair loss…it fall more than 100 per day!!!!!!!!!
now i stopped taking anti depressions from 3 monthes but still falling like before!!!!!!!!!!!! i went to lots of doctors and made a lot of blood test and all its normal!!!
please and please i just want to know when it will stop falling????and if will grow again or not????
and thank you very much .

Rita November 12, 2008 at 10:52 pm

Hi All,

I am 36 and had great hair for the first 30. My hair started falling out and I think I lost half of it by the time I really took it seriously. I ended up having problems with low thyroid. The TSH was in the normal range, but most doctors don’t know that anything above 2 is hypothyroid. For me, taking thyroid medication is what is finally making a difference. It took 5 months to notice a change for the better. Be careful with what the doctors tell you about your thyroid levels. Most are out of date on this. Even a small change in thyroid function can have devastating effects. Aim to have your TSH in the 1-2 range and you’ll start seeing the difference. My story is very much like all of yours, but I think I found the answer. I hope I found it for some of you also. Good luck ladies!
Rita

Jackie December 23, 2008 at 12:46 am

Hi All!

I just wanted to report that giving up coffee was really a huge factor in my hair health. It really depends on your genetics, of course, but for me, switching to a couple cups of green or black tea seems to have dramatically decreased the shedding for me. This could be attributed to lower stress levels overall of course, but I think excess caffeine consumption (even a couple cups of coffee per day) can upset hormone levels and cause shedding as it did in my case. I think anyone who is experiencing hair loss issues should consider cutting back or eliminating caffeine from their diet altogether. Some other possible hair builders – omega 3 supplementation, reduced grain/carb consumption (lower carb, not NO carb ;), reduced sugar consumption, plenty of fresh water, more yogurt and dairy products (if you can tolerate them), more green vegetables, and eggs and fish seem to have dramatically increased hair growth for me. This is probably from improving my health overall of course, but I have witnessed way less shedding in the shower since implementing these dietary/lifestyle changes – sometimes I have no shedding anymore at all! I seem to notice right before my period, shedding increases a little, also it seems to increase a bit in the summer months, but this is much more minimal than it used to be. I encourage everyone to eat as healthy as possible, eat more fruits, agave nectar, raw honey and stevia instead of refined sugars, eat healthy protein, get a bit of exercise and your hair will grow in long and flowing again!! The last thing I am going to try in my quest for luminous hair health is to eliminate caffeine altogether, I am hoping that gives my hair more youthful shine, and helps to increase the thickness even more, but as I said that is the final frontier. I hope everyone has the time to read through this post and follow some of these suggestions. We should all have a healthy, beautiful head of hair well into old age! xx :))

Beth December 23, 2008 at 7:25 am

Jackie–That is great advice and i totally agree…in my case, I overdid the healthy thing, to the point that I think it wreaked havoc on my body, and has expressed itself in the form of hairloss. I was a vegetarian, iron deficient, and running long distances pretty much everyday, plus really stressed out at work…so, I am still being healthy, but not overdoing it.
How long did it take for your body to adjust to your lifestyle changes?? It hasn’t been very long for me since giving my body a break and taking iron supps (2 months…)
Thanks for any info :)
BETH

qa April 12, 2009 at 11:29 am

I recently found a great chemical free tea tree shampoo – which really helped me grow stronger hair –its from the Made from Earth product line called the Tea & Protein Herbal Shampoo….it actiallu has wheat proteins in it and that’s what makes my hair look so full after I use it.

The directions say for the shampoo to work – you have to leave in your hair for 2 – but I usually do it for about 5, since my hair used to be so thin. But 5 minutes really works for me cause I can see a major difference in how thick my hair is…

Even my husband comments on how my hair felt better – and he never notices anything! I recommend it for all healthy women out there who want better full hair.

Yuki April 18, 2009 at 4:28 am

Hey Jeni,
Reading your story it was as if i had written it. I also had very thick curly hair. As i kept going to doctors and researching i also reached the conclusion that among others the main reason is seborroic dermatitis. The disease goes in cycles, it gets worse with change in climate, water(as for example when u moved), and seasons. My hair condition gets better when i go home and worsens when i get back to Germany where the water and climate and food is different. As i kept reading and talking to my dermatologist also your digestion had a lot to do with it. It seems that my body dosnt process food very well. Drinking a glass of fresh carrot juice every day, i think it helped. Using anti inflammatory cream regularly also helps. I also had lower iron levels and even though my thyroid was fine, the level of hormone wasnt right. Just today i read that diffuse hair loss was also associated to inflammatory bowling disease and hemorrhoids, so i will have to get checked for that as well :). So all this problems that i have combined, i also am surprised i have any hair left :).

ThereIsHope August 13, 2009 at 7:49 am

” saw Dermatologist Dr. Richard Strick at UCLA in Los Angeles because he supposedly specializes in hair loss. He looked at my scalp and said I definitely have TE (telogen effluvium) and that things should just get better eventually. He said I could use Rogaine to speed up the regrowth, or just wait it out. He seemed pretty sure of himself and didn’t suggest anything else. ”

********************************************************************The same thing happened to me and I was so depressed after and felt rather hopeless b/c he’s supposed to be one of the premier expert. However, I have learened since then that dermatologists don’t seem to have a solution for horomally related hair loss and the endocrinologists and integrative doctors do. I am still playing around w/ my hair loss issues, but these doctors do not make me feel so hopeless as I used to feel w/ dermatologists. I took T3 for a while and it worked wonders on my hair, BUT it made me extremely breathless b/c it made my heart race so we have since played around w/ the t4/T3 combo, Aldactone and Metformin. We’re still working on the right combo dosage and now I have dandruff for the first time in my life and irregular periods which causes PMS symptoms twice per month instead of one, but my skin is clear, my weight is under control b/c my hair loss seems to be from too much androgen and testosterone w/ many PCOS symptoms and we are trying to lower that. So it’s a game of dosage right now. However, I’m getting help instead of simply being told to get Rogaine or a wig which was devastating b/c there was nothing else for me. Remember Tom Hank’s character from Philadelphia, “Every problem has a solution.” Just go try them out and go to doctors who will help you until you find one.

StillWaiting December 31, 2009 at 11:50 am

Hi Everyone,
I am reading all these posts and breaks my heart to know so many other people have been through the depressing hell I have been through over hair. I started shedding a ton of hair when I was in an abusive marriage and had a complete emotional collapse with a lot of depression and anxiety. My hair fell out all over the place and clogged the drains for almost a year. Then that slowed down and some started growing back. Then, my scalp started burning when I left my husband…two years later we are now divorced, but it is very bitter. I am no longer depressed, but have a lot of stress/anxiety over finances, a crazy ex, all of it. I hear the burning scalp is from stress and it has been on and off (mostly on) for 2 years now. For the last 2 years, my hair no longer falls out in handfulls, it comes out more slowly, but doesn’t regrow! THAT is the bigger problem. So, I have almost no hair left…literally….and will begin wig shopping soon. The hair that IS growing back is wierd…some of it very thick and wirey…like kinked but not curly! NOT normal for me! And all the new hairs fall out very quickly…most have a tapered tip indicating they are fairly new hairs that have never been long enough to have even been cut…and my hair is very short now (had long hair my whole life before this and I am in my late 30’s). I don’t know if stress causes THAT but just have no other explanation. Tired of this. I tried the Rogaine, not much help so stopped. I remember that when I saw my hair growing back a couple years ago, I had was about 3 months into an exercise program. I stopped and so did my hair regrowth. I hear that working out is really good for stress. So, that is my plan of attack now. De-stressing. I have ordered guided meditation CD’s for relaxation, I am going to TRY to afford a massage every two weeks and I am going to work out regularly. Also hoping to find a job soon to ease financial stress. My type of hair loss….slow but no regrowth….IS also form of stress enduced Telogen Effluvium. I also saw Dr. Strick at UCLA like many of you, he told me I definitely had TE, but from what I am reading, I am wondering if he is telling EVERYONE that! I wish I could make a hundred bucks to spend 5 minutes telling a person they are too stressed and have TE and he does it without doing a scalp biopsy or even looking into my hair. I am sure he is really good, I just hear over and over you all saying he told you you had TE and it will grow back eventually, and none of you seem to have had that happen…just like me. Sigh. Oh well. My iron is fine, my B12 is fine, I take Omega 3-6-9 every day, I don’t have lupus or PCOS, my thyroid is fine. I don’t take anti-depressants, BCP’s or any meds at all so THAT is not causing it. I have been to endocrinologists, dermatologists, psychologists…for 4 years! Now, I am going to hit the gym and see what happens! I pray God blesses ALL of you in the New Year and new decade! My prayer is that the hair will regrow for ALL of us here and that this can all be just a bad memory. Until then, we will cope, de-stress, and find a way to be happy despite it all. Much love and compassion for you all. XOXO

helpforyourhair January 28, 2010 at 9:52 am

Hey Ladies-
I have a couple of insights for you. One is about the cause of TE/hair loss and one is about the treatment for any hair loss. Hope it helps.

Just want to let everyone know about something. Medications cause telogen effluvium. In a major way. I cannot speak to OCP but I have taken 75% of antidepressants and other psychopharm drugs and let me tell you a lot of them cause massive hair loss. Doctors either don’t know about this awful side effect or will not admit it. Unfortunately it’s hard to know which ones will do it for you specifically. Tricylics are supposed to be the worst, those are the older ones like ELAVIL. For me the worst hair loss drug has been wellbutrin. And 75% of my hair has fallen out with it on two separate occasions (with an interruption of a couple years). That doesn’t mean that Wellbutrin will do it for you, but I suspect if any of you take these type of drugs and have massive hair loss it is the drug that is causing it. I can’t explain why chemically, but believe me. Stop the drug, take care of your hair and it will return.

My experience regrowing my hair from this experience was GREAT once I found the right thing to take. I had no hair left, it was dry, brittle and generally looked like S@it! I regrew it back super long, shiny and gorgeous to the point that people started to talk and comment about it. My secret: BIOTIN in high doses, EVERY DAY. I do not believe you need to take an expensive hair loss supplement.

I take 10,000mg of Biotin every day and I regrew my hair beautifully. Biotin is a B vitamin and is known to help the body with hair, skin and nails. I buy the nature’s valley brand at CVS and take two every day in the morning. Wait about two months and assess.

As far as regrowth shampoos, I wouldn’t put too much stock in them from my experience as health of the hair/nails is from the inside out. I would recommend SULFATE-FREE products especially shampoo. You can buy a good one at a health food or beauty supply. This is important as you don’t want to wash your delicate hair with harsh chemicals. I like SuddsFX and Enjoy but they are a bit pricey -I think the health food store sells a brand called Nature’s Gate Biotin shampoo that is also sulfate free and cheaper than the salon versions.

Please don’t stress your hair by overwashing, overdrying and do not use a flat iron! Treat it like fine china. Wait 2-6 months and you will be better. I promise!!

Cheers,
your friend in hair obsession

RJ August 10, 2010 at 10:14 am

In my quest to be healthier, I mostly cut out dairy products, eggs, and red meat. I also began running for exercise about 30 miles a week.

Well, flash forward to five years later, and I noticed that recently my hair was beginning to shed like crazy. I’m talking I feel as though I have half the head of hair I used to have, with a couple total nickle-sized bald spots to boot!

I also discovered that my ferritin level was low, and I was really feeling like I had low to no energy some days

Anyway, I began doing several things. I started taking ferrous gluconate 324 milligrams once a day to help boost my ferritin. I began taking a supplement by Jarrow called B-Right, which is a complex of B vitamins, and I also began taking a separte supplement by Jarrow which is just B-12. Well, those things helped my energy to return, but my hair was still shedding. So I decided to incorporate dairy, eggs, and red meat back into my diet (particularly the dairy and eggs). I’m somewhat lactose intolerant, so I make sure to take “Fast acting Dairy Aid” by Rite Aid before consuming dairy.

Do you know that once I re-introduced dairy into my diet, my shedding stopped cold!! I’m talking I went from shedding a fistful of hair with each weekly washing to just losing a little thumb-sized amount. And I know it is the dairy working because once I went a couple weeks without dairy, and the shedding started again. Then I resumed dairy, no more shedding.

Anyway, the things I’ve listed above have helped me, and I just wanted to share them with you all in the hopes that perhaps you too will benefit.

linda April 2, 2011 at 3:33 am

I got diagnosed with thyroid problem about 14 years ago. I had a bald spot in thecenter of my scalp. The original doctor told me the hair would grow back. The doctor who did the surgery nor the primary did not encourage me to further my medical condition. There was no recommendations for medicines other the prescribed thyroid med. I am 62 now, same condition, a few times I thought it was growing but it was hopeful wishing. At present I did get an appointment with no follow up with a dermatologist, and on my second attempt his PA found psorasis of the scalp, recommended Derma Soothe an ointment for that condition that is rubbed in to the scalp. Nothing. She did/PA/ did say possibility of something or not. I am just overwhelmed with this whole thing. I have always had hair until this condition/thyroid/ appeared. The thyroid was taken out due to wrapping around my vocal cord. I was happy about that,and no signs of thyroid cancer. Yet now, 2011, and reading about others I worry that I got the run around, and that medical conditions for women go under the belt so to speak. I am taking a supplement primrose when I take my vitamins. It was suggested to take due to what has been recommended works outside the body, while the supplement works inside. I wear wigs now, they are costly, pretty but not my hair. The rest of the hair grows with no issue. I did think being Afro American could lead to not helping but medical conditions, some, are not due to race it happens. I need help. I am so unhappy, have been for years with this condition. Thank you readers, and professionals for seeing that this issue is very hard to deal with.

pOKERFF June 7, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I’ve suffered from significant hair thinning in the past two years and being a female in my early twenties, I naturally became very self-conscious. I used to lose handfuls of hair after washing with shampoo and conditioner but since my hair tends to get oily very quickly, I had to wash it everyday. After adapting a strict vitamin regime and cutting down stress, the extreme shedding subsided…but for some reason, no matter what high quality strengthening/organic/expensive product I used, my hair was so limp, thin, and grew so slowly that I kept it short, thinking I’ll never have long yet healthy looking hair again.

Oily scalps are also prone to hair loss/thinning so I needed a gentle but effective cleansing and clarifying shampoo. I must say Made from Earth Tea & Protein Shampoo (which is organic) has SAVED my hair. I used to have the longest, thickest head of hair just 2-3 years ago and this shampoo has stopped the thinning/shedding & makes my hair so much thicker that it might just look like it used to in a few months…

Aubrey October 12, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I have been shedding lots of hair for about 2 months. Luckily my job required me to get a annual checkup with PCP, so I found out I have hypothyroid. Have also had issues with low energy, depression, weight gain on and off for all of my adult life (I am 31 now). I have avoided BC pills since college because I thought the hormones were interfering with my mental health. I have only used IUD or natural method since and have one now, and had my first baby 10 months ago (also had a couple issues with pregnancy – low iron, subchorionic bleed, and preeclampsia). I had “normal” hair shed from postpartum I thought, because it was at the right time and stopped after a month or so, nothing serious. then it started again a few months later and I am freaked because it won’t stop, and occasionally I have so many hairs from one swipe in the shower…I notice my part is thinner and you can see scalp. I had thinnish hair to begin with so I am worried before long it will be really noticeable, right now it looks thin but okay, but as other people have mentioned, the stress of hair loss is enormous. It is like nightmare where it just keeps happening and what do you do? This is like part of our DNA to freak out without a solution. The stress can’t be helping anything! And I have stress elsewhere- being a FT working mom, and family tragedies, and my job is stressful this time of year.
I am hoping thyroid medication (I am on Armour for about a month) and better diet and supplements will help the hair loss, and maybe the weight (I gained 55 lbs in pregnancy, and only lost half of that still 10 months later, and was 20 lbs overweight to begin with), and overall the low energy and depression, hey give me all you got! But I realize it may not be a cure all. Oh, I also have moderate acne which seems hormonal, it flares up before my period then calms down, and is focused on cheeks and chin not oily areas. I am considering starting BC for hormonal balance but nervous about interaction with Armour and hair issue. Anyone have experience like this? It all seems that hormones are key for me. What experiences with holistic docs has helped for you or with endocrinologists?
Thanks, and be strong everyone! We are more powerful by helping each other.

Allison October 27, 2011 at 8:16 am

Hello Jenni,

My name is Allison and I also live in Las Vegas. I have been suffering from hair loss for almost 20 years. I turned 40 in February and have noticed a significant increase in hair loss over the past 6 to 9 months. I have never had any blood tests, and am finally ready to see an endicronologist. I wondered if you had any recommendations of one to see in Las Vegas? I feel so lost! I also wondered if you knew of any good wig stores here, although I think you mentioned that you were surprised there weren’t that many here. I wondered if maybe things had changed since you wrote that?

CAROLE November 20, 2011 at 10:36 am

I’M ALSO IN VEGAS, ACTUALLY HENDERSON. I’VE BEEN TO SKIN & CANCER AND A LOCAL DERMATOGIST WITH NO ANSWER EXCEPT AGE. I’D APPRECIATE YOUR RECOMMENDATION ON A QUALIFIED VEGAS DOCTOR. MANY THANKS…CAROLE

dave December 8, 2011 at 7:32 pm

If you look at
http:// http://www.drugs.com
and search nizoral, you will see that one of side effects though not frequent is ALOPECIA.

Caroline September 7, 2012 at 6:18 am

Hi Jeni,

I am wondering, how is your hair doing now? Any signs of regrowth and less shedding?

Okay so this is going to be long, but I think you really should read what I have to say.

I have a problem with hair loss as well. I’d like to mention 2 possible triggers for my hair loss, which I KNOW can be cured, as hair loss does not run in my family. Everyone has a head full of hair.

I believe it was either an emergency bc pill I had taken a couple of times or chemical damage from a bad hair dye I used.

Unfortunately, I can’t go to the doctor about it, because I don’t have insurance. I lose more hairs some days than others. I started to think that it might be something I’m eating. Well, for one thing, when I went I was seeing my doctor at the time I had insurance, I was told I was severely anemic. I have been taking iron supplements for a month so far. I heard that it takes about 2 months to get it back to normal.

The problem is that even though I have been on iron supplements for a month, (and taking 3 daily as the doctor recommended) Lately, I am mainly noticing shedding of miniaturized hairs, rather than my normal hair. Also I get this certain itching sensation, and when I scratch on that part of my scalp, a miniaturized hair will fall out nearly every time. I am still confused as to what the itching means. Is it sign of regrowth after the loss of a dead hair?

On a side note, my hair was falling out rapidly at one point (mainly normal hairs). Also, when I would use shampoos like head & shoulders or anything with a lot of chemicals, it really would aggravate my scalp and would give me a burning sensation. I resorted to this shampoo called Yes To Carrots! It really works wonders by soothing my scalp like nothing else. Additionally, a month ago I started taking an herbal supplement called Evening Primrose Oil. Many articles I’ve read recommend it for hair growth. I have also read that Emu Oil, when applied to the scalp, will help with hair growth. Remember, in order for anything to work you have to be consistent with it, and in the end you will be happy that you had the patience of it.

Okay, so here’s the strange thing, and main reason why I am posting. Are there any foods that you know you might be allergic to? This is important, as this all goes back to diet, since what you eat is reflected on your skin either negatively or positively.

I am severely allergic to milk, not lactose, but milk itself, particularly the protein produced in cow milk. My allergy doctor had told me to stay away from milk, but never mentioned anything about cheese. Eventually I started to notice a strange reaction when I would eat pizza or anything with cheese, and said I can have anything with milk as long as it’s baked. She sure was wrong. I would get a sort of hive/rash on either my leg or back, and it would itch like crazy. Also, I noticed a crazy increased amount of hair loss of my NORMAL hairs and my scalp would be very irritated, when eating foods with cheese consistently. I quickly made the connection and realized I need to stay from all milk products completely.

Currently, I feel that I am in the process of recovering, as I have singled out many factors that have influenced my hair loss and have had some positive results in terms of reduced hair loss and no more scalp burning and irritation ever since I stopped using chemicals on my scalp.

Also, did you know that sodium laurel sulfate found in many top shampoos, can cause hair loss by clogging hair follicles? That I discovered after I read up on it.

So my conclusion is that there may not just be a single factor affecting your hair loss. Certain things can trigger or worsen it. It can be multiple things from anemia to fungus and even allergies.

Also, it is very important to take multivitamins daily, especially the vitamins that are good for hair growth. And stay away from drugs or foods that you know have a side affect of causing hair loss. This will worsen your symptoms.

Lastly, DIET DIET DIET DIET! I’m going to keep stressing this. Try to stay away from too many processed foods or foods high in sugar.

I hope this helped. And I hope we can all find a permanent cure to our hair loss one day. I am still on this journey and keep discovering new things and get more and more answers everyday as I research. Thus far, the outcomes have been positive. And I have a good feeling about my hair condition, I see improvement headed my way as well as hopefully a head full of hair once again! Stay positive! =)

Joyce September 7, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Thank you Caroline for mentioning food allergies. I have lost about half my hair, not in clumps, just all over, in the last 3 -4 weeks.

Was at the Drs’ today and they are testing for thyroid. But 2 months ago I had a very severe allergic reaction to eating (not handling) mangos. I went to a walk in clinic as it was Saturday and my whole face was red, swollen – my right eye was swollen shut, left one was not far behind, my tongue was slightly swollen and my throat was a little sore. The clinic said I was beyond their treatment me and sent me directly to the hospital 2 blocks away.

I was put on 3 I.V.’s one after the other: Nexium for the throat, benedril (an antihistamine) and a steroid, as I recall it was prednisone and observed for 5 hours after the i.v.’s finished. Sent home with benedril tablets, 2 to 4 a day ‘as needed, and steroid tablets to taper, which I did quickly.

Today the Dr said that it was well documented that severe food allergic reactions like I had (basically I was starting to go into anaphylactic shock) could cause hair loss such as I had, as can the treatment (antihistamines and steroids in amounts such as an I.V. contains).

Still I am anxious about the thyroid test, a maternal aunt and my brother were both dx’d with thyroid issues. My aunt with hypo and my brother with hyper. So it’s obviously a concern.

Now, if it is caused by the serious allergic reaction and its treatment, he said I will likely loose some more hair and it will then begin to grow back.

I must say that I am have been on Lexapro since Nov. 2010 (my husband was dying from a brain tumor and I was the caregiver – high stress both physical and emotional for 2 years, until about June of this year (2012).

Could it be stress? who knows. But I will say that about this same time last year I lost 1/2 my ‘private’ hair which has not grown back (who cares there?), and at that time I just said “no” to stressors. It was surprisingly easy..after what I’d been through it was pretty easy to look at whatever was getting me ‘going’ and decide that nothing was really worth getting riled up about.

I put on a cheery face, made it a point to be very pleasant and kind to literally everyone (my sweet husband was naturally this way). After a few months I found I was pleasantly happy inside for the first time in a very long time.

After my husband passed last year, for quite a while I just didn’t feel feminine. That took a lot of work (and a lot of lovely bras from Soma and a new (but small and ‘financially efficient’) more stylish wardrobe.
And now this happens! Just as I was beginning to feel better inside and out.

I hope that last didn’t sound selfish. And, I’ve stopped the Lexapro just in case. I’ll manage without that.

Thank you for your patience to anyone who has read all of this.

And if any more of you have good, ‘it grew back’ stories… that would be nice for all of us.

Joyce

p.s. “stylish’ clothes = not buying only those things that ‘go with everything’ (like I used to do) It does help!

iprincess706 March 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Hi Jeni,
I, too, have been suffering from hair loss since I was 20 years old with mild bouts of acne, and then, when I turned 34, it was like the flood gates of hell had opened up. I am now 41, and my hair loss has become uncontrollable. I even became a vegan, and with mild success. The hair, skin and nails are the body’s helpline. They tell you how your body is coping internally. My skin still battles acne, my nails get pitted and have white spots on them and my hair is broken and falling out in clumps which sucks because I never really had thick hair to begin with. I definitely have something going on internally which medical science has failed to diagnose.

My vegan nutritionist has started me on maca root powder which tends to naturally balance hormones, and my diet has become very, very strict to that of a diabetic’s diet. I consume no sugar, artificial sweeteners or flour, at all, and basically live on fruits, vegetables and quinoa.

I have been tested every which way for my thyroid for the past 10 years, and it is normal which I beg to differ because I have every single symptom.

I have been tested every which way for B-12 deficiency which is also very, very common to hair loss, and not just limited to vegans or vegetarians, most omnivores suffer from B-12 deficiency, but Dr’s never do the correct testing for it. There are several specific test that need to be done to test for that which include both blood and urine.

From what you describe, it is the birth control pill that had ruined your thyroid. My vegan nutritionist is adamant about the discontinuation of birth control pills. She, herself, had her thyroid ruined by the pill, and lost a ton of hair. Since becoming a vegan, her hair has all regrown and her thyroid is fixed. You may want to check out her website. She is the most knowledgeable person I know. http://www.vega-licious.com/about-vegan-recipes-nutrition-fitness-reverse-hypothyroidism-naturally/detailed-story/

I have never, ever, in my life been on birth control, so my case is a little bit harder to diagnose. It seems as though I may have a pre-diabetic thing going on and a severe sensitivity to sugar and flour. I notice if I eat strictly and very clean, my hair loss is minimum. I am a work in progress, but I do hope to find an answer soon.

Donna February 28, 2015 at 7:36 am

Hi Jeni Loved ready your story I to started losing my hair in hand fulls after having a hair color and then perm about two weeks apart Alot of restoration products and it came back in then about 6 months ago it started coming out in handfulls again My temples actually went bald This time I had had no hair color or perm I was ready to go out and buy a wig Then I remembered that my mother swore by Roagine so I started using it twice a day and all of my hair is feeling in Still needs some more length but no bald spots The only thing is that I read that once you start using it you cannot stop or the hair will fall out again

Ashley July 15, 2015 at 2:23 am

After reading Jenni’s story and many of the other comments on this blog, I noticed several common denominators between my own hair loss saga and the rest. I am 29 years old and my shedding has been ongoing for 7 months. I too have hypothyroidism (specifically hashimoto’s, an autoimmune thyroiditis) and assumed my medication was off but after numerous switches in dosage and type of thyroid supplement, had no change in hair loss and my thyroid levels were “perfect” after each test according to my endocrinologist. My dermatologist diagnosed me with telogen effluvium after a scalp biopsy. Another commonality was that I moved from Louisiana (a very hot, humid climate) to northwest Arkansas (basically in the mountains) 3 years ago when I got married. I wonder if it’s stress/depression from being away from my friends and family or an actual environment factor, like something in the air or a mold in my house that my body’s reacting to? I eat very healthy and have tried a multitude of diets to see if a food intolerance was causing my hair loss but found no difference. I exercise about 4-5 times a week but not excessively. I am technically underweight (my doctor’s diagnosis) but eat more than my husband does, I just try to stick to mainly unprocessed foods with lots of veggies/fruits, lean protein, yet I still indulge in normal foods so I’m not starving myself. I have tried just about every multivitamin and supplement on earth and again, found no change. The only other major health issue I’ve had is chronic stomach trouble stemming from a surgery I had when I was 24 in which a small portion of my colon was removed. I have been seeing a gastroenterologist and was tested for celiac, parasites, etc and he found everything to be normal so I don’t feel like it’s a malabsorption disorder that’s preventing me from getting proper nutrition and thus causing hair loss. Plus my blood tests have come back showing my iron and other vitamin levels within normal limits. Basically, I don’t know what to do next. I cry everytime I shower because the hair loss won’t STOP! Has anyone else had problems with irritable bowel or an environmental change like moving? I wonder if this is potentially affecting things other than just my thyroid disorder which is allegedly under control. Thanks!

Deb G August 6, 2015 at 6:29 am

Hi,
I went through a similar thing, but my hair loss started after a hysterectomy.
I think I went to 15 different hormone specialist in 2 years costing me thousands of dollars. This is what I learned.

Initially my hormone loss was causing the hair loss. A drop in Estrogen. I went to a specialist in NY who put me on 100 mg of Spironolactone and got my Estrogen levels up to 100. At this time I also did the lazer comb and 5% rogaine which I do to this day. This brought back my hair for a few years.
I started losing hair again after a few years. Found out I had low thyroid. They put me on thyroid and cholesterol meds which made me go practically bald in 2 months. Needless to say I went off them. A doctor put me on selenium 200 mg and Vit b2000. For several years I had lots of hair. I accidentally went off these and I had massive hair loss. What I didn’t know is that these 2 vitamins help your thyroid turn T4 to T3. I had a questionable thyroid problem.
I just went to a new Doc who is great. I probably have hashimotis and am going off Gluten, Dairy and Soy. Yes for life. Its difficult but I would rather have my hair. The hair loss is slowing down but it will take a while.
Lazer combs do work I have one.I have a dhl.comb. For a long time I didn’t
need to use it but I am starting that again also.
Rogaine does work. Extreme cases need 5%.
I had a genetic test done about hair loss. My marker was in the middle(19), meaning my hair loss is not being caused by genetics.
I am 5.3 and weigh 140. Just to give you an idea of meds etc.
I take Hair vitamins( trunenature is good and am trying Hair essentials)
biotin 2000 helps
saw palmetto
Vit b
Omega 3
sporonolactone .25
selenium and recently Fo-ti and evening primrose. Really curious about the Fo-ti
Vivelle dot 1.0 (estrogen)
Progestrone.
iron
probiotics

I have acid reflux and it is very difficult for my body to absorb nutrients. So that is why all the vitamins.

Medications( cholesterol, thyroid etc) and birth control pills can really mess with your hormones, the underlying cause of most hair loss. Exteme stress can also do it. Everything is related. It is like a circle . All body parts are connected.
I have been going through hair loss cycles since 2005. You never get use to it, but it seems the underlying problem is really sensitivity to foods. General doctors do not deal with fixing you, they just give you a pill. You need to go to a functional medicine doc or one who knows how to heal the underlying problem.I hope this helps others who are going through this.
Best Wishes.
Deb G

Alexa October 22, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Did you by chance get the gardisil vaccine for hpv? I am 28 and shortly after receving the vaccine I encountered hair loss. I had long thick hair, but after vaccinated I began losing and significant thinning. I also was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, 6 months after receiving the vaccine.

Ashley November 7, 2015 at 6:54 am

I want to update everyone: I had a huge discovery that is hopefully the explanation of what’s been causing my hair loss. I realize that this is very specific to my case but hopefully it helps other people reading this to look at their environment as a potential cause for their hair loss.

So here’s what happened. I was previously diagnosed with chronic telogen effluvium from a scalp biopsy. It has been 10 months of unexplained and unrelenting hair loss with no underlying medical cause. I work at a dental office and was discussing my health issues with a co-worker, who reported very similar symptoms (most notably the hair loss). As we were talking, something clicked andd we both questioned whether or not it might be something in the office that was contributing to our hair loss. Low and behold, we found a huge issue with some of the dental equipment that regulated the amount of a certain type of gas we use very frequently in the office. The regulators were broken and/or not turned on, so all the workers were being exposed to much much higher levels of this gas, which is known to cause health problems. Although it doesn’t cause harm to the patients who were transiently exposed to it, it can have MANY health effects on those who are chronically over-exposed to it everyday (ie: the workers). We have fixed the problem and although I have not seen an improvement as of yet with the hair loss, I have had improvement with other symptoms and am optimistic that I’m on the road to getting my body healthy again. Again, I know most people on this blog probably don’t work in a dental office and it’s unlikely that a chemical leak is the cause of everyone’s hair loss; however, I wanted to share my story because it taught me to 1) talk to people about the problem – you never know what information someone else might have that could help you out and 2) don’t ignore your environment as a source of the issue – I never thought my workplace was unsafe until I dug deeper and started asking questions. Stay healthy and hope this helps!

Laura December 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Hey everyone, this is my first post but I’ve been reading all these forums for a while now. To make the story short, about two years ago I got off of birth control after being on it for almost 10 years. I was 25 at the time and it was about October of 2013 when I began noticing hair loss. Clumps of hair coming out in the shower and finding it all over my bed and pillows. I immediately knew something was wrong but everyone else just thought I was crazy and couldn’t tell. But I could. Months went by, hair loss continued. It was hard to wear my hair up or down because of how thin it got on the sides and right at the top of the back of my head. My middle part also got a little wider as well and my hair just wasn’t as shiny and healthy as it used to be. Also, when it first started happening, my scalp was VERY itchy and oily even after I washed it and sometimes I got these little pimple like bumps that had a little white dot that would come off if I scratched it. Fast forward to about March when I went to a dermatologist. He coldly told me it was AGA and even when I explained it statted after getting off the birth control, he denied it having anything to do with it. Did blood work and a biopsy, came back AGA and said my blood work was fine except a little low ferritin levels and high levels of free testosterone. Gave me minoxidil and some kind of cream for the melasma I all of a sudden developed over my top lip (making me look like I have a mustache) and shoved me out the door. I had already gotten back on birth control, Loyryna, because my Gyno of course told me it would help and was completely baffled why it was happening to me. It disgusts me that no doctors have any real idea of why this occurs as a result of birth control or just deny any correlation. Anyways, the pimple like dots slowly stopped..over the past two years the shedding has decreased, but I don’t see any regrowth, leaving me with very thin spots in the back still. I went to another dermotologist for a second opinion who was much nicer, looked at the same biopsy results, and actually disagrees with the other Doctor (who is supposed to be the best of the best) and said it looks like TE. When I first got off of birth control pills I was getting over a horrible breakup, I mean I was completely depressed over that, and I also just started a new job at the time as well so yes, I was stressed. But by this time I had found a great new guy, I loved my life, I had every reason to be happy but I couldn’t…because of my hair. He told me to take biotin supplements and increase my calcium intake and start praying more. I did all of the above. I tried to focus on living my life normally, but as you all know, it takes over your mind and is a constant thought. It’s been around 2 years, and I’m still on birth control (figuring out a way to wean off of it for good), shedding is still not as bad as it was, but still no regrowth. Also, my scalp is still SO itchy. That’s basically why I’m writing this post. Did any of you experience an intense itch on random parts of your scalp? Even like a crawling sensation? It drives me nuts especially when I’m in public because I feel like it’s so noticeable. I also think it occurs more in the thinner parts of my scalp. Is this normal in AGA? I’ve tried Ketoconazole shampoo, etc. but the itch is persistent. I’m currently using a natural shampoo, Dr. Bronner’s, so I don’t damage my hair further with chemicals, but I am curious if I should be wondering if it’s more of a scalp infection? Or does the itching mean the hair follicles are shrinking? I am emotionally a mess and cry myself to sleep far too many nights. I know you ladies know the feeling and I want to thank you all for sharing your stories because I know I’m not the only one waking up to this nightmare every single day. It’s shallow I know, but until you experience yourself, you have no idea what kind of impact it has on your life and self esteem. That was meant to be short haha and believe it or not that is the shortened version! Thanks for listening!

Kelli January 16, 2016 at 2:43 pm

Dear Laura,
I had hair shedding and itching too.
I put a filter on my shower which cut out the chlorine in the city water.
My scalp stopped itching, as well as body, and my hair is slowly growing back.
My hair shedding was hormonal as well.
I have hope that your hair will grow back.

DolineK February 14, 2016 at 5:50 am

Hi Deb G,

My story is very similar to yours. I had a hysterectomy and my hair has completely fallen out on top. I have gained 60 lbs and am on hormone replacement with under active thyroid as well. I have massive symptoms of hypothyroid and all the doctors I have seen will only put me on the lowest amount of meds and I still have all the symptoms even though my blood work comes back normal. Can’t lose weight no matter what I do and I’m balding on top of my head. I have seen at least 15 doctors and none have really helped. I live in NY as well. I would really appreciate the doctors name that you used for your hair loss in NY. I am feeling desperate and really down at this point. Thank you for sharing

Carrie April 13, 2016 at 8:12 am

hi-i have a similar story as well to others about the hair thinning. i used to have long thick wavy hair. now there are so many bald spots that are noticeable and some are if i just lift my hair and you can see them. it’s awful although i know it could be even worse and at times it gets a little better and right now it’s worse and i don’t know why! i just started taking biotin 4-5 days ago and my hair seems worse which i have no idea if the biotin is making it worse or if it’s just a coincidence. but now i am scared so i am going to stop taking the biotin. also, i tried nioxin in mid december for about 5 days and i very stupidly was applying it wrong! i was leaving the conditioner on my head as like a leave in conditioner! yes, i realize how stupid that was now! my scalp was on fire!!!! and ever since then, my hair thinning is sooo much worse and lots of balding areas! but i thought after 4 months that things would be a little better but they are getting worse! i was already having the thinning issues before december which made me try the nioxin. but i think i made it much worse!! i have been having these thinning issues for almost 4 years and this is the worst ever! anyone else try nioxin and it made it worse? i realize how i was using it probably made it way worse for me but will my hair ever grow back or did i fry my scalp forever?? ugh! help! thanks!

Granny6 August 26, 2016 at 11:57 am

My hair started falling out many years ago, perhaps 8 to 10 years ago. I had lots of hair before the loss and now it is so thin. I became hypothyroid maybe 2 or 3 years ago and take Armour thyroid 180 mgs. My hair started falling out well before I was diaganoised hypothyroid and my hair continues to fall out mane even more after taking thyroid medication for 2 years now. BTW, you can get a book called stop the thyroid madness which will guide you to find a doctor who will give natural dessicated thyroid meds and will treat you by symptoms over test results.

I am anemic (ferritin about 8 last checked several months ago) but working on building back up my ferritin count with nettle loose tea made by decoction not loose tea bags. But I was still losing hair when my ferritin was up to 60. I’m not on any perscription meds except the Armour natural dessicated thyroid. I’ve also tried rogain and it didn’t work. I’ve tried hair loss shampoos. I’ve had my hormones checked and I’m not high in testosterone and I don’t have PCOS. I’ve tried months and months of B vitamins and biotin and lots of other different hair supplements including inositol (both kinds), which is called the alopecia supplement, as well as powered grass fed bovine collagen. Nothing has worked.

I’ve search and searched the Internet. I’ve spent hours and days reading all I can for a cure. The best I’ve come up with that I’ve not tried yet but will is three different things. I’m going to try one at a time to see what works giving it 3 months to see improvement. One is stinging nettle tea. Not tea bags but buying loose nettle leaves and also the nettle roots from mountain Rose herbs. You drink at least a quart a day plus make up,some to rinse your hair with after shampooing and leave on to dry. Read more about it from a search of “Maria Treben herbs and hair loss”. I bought all three of Maria Treben books. She is a famous herbalist. Herbs can heal all kinds of health problems. She used fresh herbs but it’s hard to find those now so you can buy them dried in bulk. I’ve started with this and it’s been about 3 weeks now and I feel the hairs lost per day is slightly less by maybe a third. There is now no hair in the drain after shampooing. And less hair in the sink and floor after brushing out after shampooing. I am now using honest company baby shampoo and conditioner in the vanilla orange and it smells like a creamsicle. It has no SLS in it and the conditioner is great on the tangles so less pulling out of my hair. Nettle tea also build up your blood if you are anemic.

If the nettle tea does not work I found a homeopathic remedy from an Indian homeopathic man named Joe De Livera and you can do a search for his web site by typing in his name and the word hair loss or “joetherapy.” But Joe recommends using Johnsons baby shampoo with his homeopathic therapy but it contains SLS so I decided to find a baby shampoo that did not have SLS and that’s the honest company baby shampoo. I need conditioner so I buy their baby conditioner and it’s the best conditioner I’ve ever used. I tried other SLS free baby conditioners and they were horrible and did not get out the tangles in my hair after shampooing.

The last thing to try is diatomaceous earth but it must be FOOD GRADE. It is suppose to stop hair loss and grow hair amoung other things. Most people take it to get rid of parasites but apparently it also seems to stop hair loss as well. I’ve used it before for weight loss and I did not have the degree of hair loss I have now but did not realize it at the time I was using it several years ago. I’m not sure if it worked for hair loss or if my hair loss was just as accelerated at that time a few years back when I was taking it.

I live in the San Francisco Bay tea and don’t know the degree of the clorine in the water so I’ll try to get a shower filter. BTW, if you are hypothyroid stay away from floride which is in most toothpaste (try Tom’s floride-free) and mouthwash and some bottled water and city tap water, depending on where you live. Also stay away from coffee. Both coffee and floride work against your thyroid medicine and can cause your medicine dose not to work completely. Smart Water brand bottled water does not have floride in it but there are a few others. They don’t say on the bottle of spring water or purified water, you have to call the company to ask if their bottled water contains floride. Seems unfair not to list it on the bottle.

If I use all theses three possible remedies at the same time then I won’t know what is working and what is not or if all three work then I won’t know which works the best. Why should I have to use and pay for more that what works.

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