Long Hairs, Short Hairs – Keeping My Mind Strong

by admin on April 9, 2008

So I am starting to go through a bit of a shed once again. Still not terrible and much better than the last 2 years, but a shed none-the-less. Here is my lemon into lemonade update. As most everyone probably knows who has followed my story, I lowered my synthroid dosage awhile back since I felt it was contributing to my excessive shedding. The shedding slowed down dramatically and I’ve been trying to enjoy each day that I don’t see a gazillion hairs laying in the sink after a comb through.

It has been probably a couple weeks now where I’ve noticed my hair starting to shed more and more. But I’m still doing okay, why? Because the hairs that are shedding are full length, long and strong terminal hairs. This is such an improvement for me. In the midst of my most horrible shedding time, my hair would shed all different lengths of hairs, one inch long, two inch, four inch, six inch, 1/2 inch and some that even looked the size of arm hairs. That would depress me to no end because I felt my poor hairs were not getting even the slightest chance at a decent hair life cycle. They were exiting my scalp way too prematurely, so any new growth would just fall out. Shedding long hairs, while not pleasant either, means that my overall hair cycle is improving and stabilizing. I least that is how I have decided to interpret it! It keeps my mind healthy and strong, and allows me to continue on with my days. So whether it is true or not matters very little, all that matters is what my mind believes. :)

Be positive, be positive, be positive.

Also, just a reminder, tomorrow (Thursday April 10th) is our first women’s hair loss support chat meeting at 6:30pm – 7:30pm PST. If you are interested in joining us, sign up in advance for an account in the network. http://community.womenshairlossproject.com/

You’ll need to login to your account tomorrow at that time and click on the “Chat” link in the top navigation bar. Hope to see you there!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellie April 9, 2008 at 9:34 pm

You are doing so many amazing things for so many women who felt alone in their suffering. What you wrote about the hair that is shedding makes a lot of sense. I just came from yet another appointment with a derm. He of course had no answers for me, except he finally said something I thought I would never hear a doctor admit. I told him I was on thyroid medication and was experiencing excessive shedding. He said that hair loss was a common side affect of thyroid medication becuase the only thing medication can do is keep our thyroid levels in the “normal” range. Thyroid medication cannnot mimick the body’s natural thyroid gland which fluctuates on it’s own when it is healthy, sometimes going up and down daily.
My hair loss began after starting thyroid medication and has not stopped since. I had such thick hair, you could never get your fingers through it and now I look like a wet yorkie. I love to read your story becuase I can sense your strengh and your pain from your words. I too have felt the same way. You are a good writer and I am sure brought many of our unspoken feelings about hair loss to life. I have been itching to ask you a question. Why did you start the propecia and then stop after one year? My doctor has me on an oc, spiro, and propecia. I am wondering if the medications do work, how I am I going to know which medication is working. Do they work better together? I find I can dizzy and lightheaded, nausous, and my boobs are so sensitive. I have only been on the meds for two weeks now, but I do not like the way I feel at all. Does your body eventually adjust? Anyway I am going on and on. I just wanted to say thank you for all that you do for us. Sorry my spelling stinks. Peace, Ellie

admin April 10, 2008 at 10:32 am

Hi Ellie, thyroid medication can definitely cause hair loss, it’s hard for some doctors, and even many people to believe that to be the case, but it is. If your hair loss started only after taking the thyroid medication, I definitely would look towards that as being the precipitating factor.

I stopped taking the propecia because I didn’t really feel like it was helping me, I felt the same about Rogaine. Also I was just so darn oily and and greasy. My skin was breaking out and I just looked a mess. I stuck with the aldactone 200mg and ortho tricyclen for about 8 years now. There was a point that I discontinued the use of aldactone, at the time I was only taking 100mg and felt like I didn’t know one way or the other if it was working and decided to cease taking it. A short time after stopping the med I just started shedding hair like crazy and it scarred me back on, this time I upped my dosage to 200mg.

I do think the medications work better together because they are all sort putting in their own thing toward fighting our hair loss. Also I believe aldactone (spiro) can tend to bring havoc to a the menstrual cycle, but by adding pill it stabilizes the cycle.

The problem as you have mentioned, is that by taking it all together you really don’t know what is working. It would probably be more ideal to add one thing at at time, though I didn’t take that approach myself.

I found that early on when I was taking aldactone that I would get very lightheaded and felt horrible when I stood up too fast from a chair. I was told to increase my sodium intake because the extra loss of sodium from taking the diuretic medication Aldactone (spiro) could cause that effect. I used to carry packets of ketchup (that is a heavy sodium condiment) and eat one when I got that feeling. Either that or a pickle. It seemed to instantly bring me back to life. Having been on it for so long I think my body just adjusted to it, now I no longer experience those moments of dizziness. I do however have the sensitive boobs big time whenever it gets close to my period. I definitely attribute that to the pill, but its no big deal really. They gynocologist solution is to switch me to another pill… no thank you, not interested in pill hopping and messing with my hormones a little more.

Definitely monitor yourself and how you feel, try taking in a little extra sodium when you feel blah. If you still have trouble you should definitely consult with your doctor again so he can readjust your dosage perhaps. Most importantly listen to your body, don’t take something you “know” in your heart is not feeling right. We know our bodies best.

Thank you so much for your kind words about the site. I definitely want to bring out the unspoken feelings of hair loss because it is what tends to isolate us. Feeling we are the only one suffering. Or in my case when I was 21, thinking I was the only 21 year old going through this.

We are having a chat online tonight in the network at 6:30pm – 7:30pm PST, would love for you to join us!

All The Best,
~Y

eldorado June 29, 2008 at 10:52 pm

Hi Ladies,

I had my doctor’s appt on June 23. I brought with me all the pertinent messageboard notes from this ‘project’ to emphasize the magnitude of this problem! (and so he didn’t think I was making it up or trying to be smarter than he was). I printed clinic studies by the American Dermatology Association, too.
My doctor was anxious to read about it so he sat down and read it right then! He wanted to keep the reports, too! Which was a sign he cared to learn about it.
He’s a caring Internist and never puts down your questions or makes little of what’s bothering you.
He pulled out my blood work and praised the results! It was a thyroid test and CBC.
He asked me about stress and anxiety and I had to tell him December was hell and my hair fell out almost 2 months to the day in February. (lost 2nd job in 4 months). I went into a panic and then sort of couldn’t get in gear to do something about it!! (except worry about ‘scenarios’of being a street person)
I did start part time work and my hair is growing back all over especially in the top and back of my head. It’s furry feeling when I touch it! My scalp is still Very sensitive and a little better but not ‘normal’ feeling. (still numb-ish on top and tingaly when I brush it).
I have to keep my hands away from it and quit tryin to check if the little hairs coming in are growning longer.
My doctor gave me an antidepressent to try and a list of foods to eat and vitamins to take. He wants to see if I can get over this in 6 months. But I’m counting in the last 4 months because that’s when the shedding started so I only have two more months left.
I feel okay doing it this way but pray it doesn’t go into the other T.E. (chronic). If it happened once why wouldn’t it happen again?
I wish you all everything good and am so glad to have found Woman’s Hair Loss Project on the web. I read here often and get inspired by some of you posts.
G’nite and take care,

Eldorado

katie February 17, 2010 at 6:16 pm

I want to write this post for all of those women and girls out there who may be going through hair loss with short hairs and are scared about what it means.

First of all, I can’t tell you what it really means, but I want you to know that my hair started falling out in March 2009, and I then spent an entire YEAR of my life consumed with worry, incessant worry, about what was happening. I am 30 years old, have always had fine hair, but the loss I was experiencing was more than normal – like, hair coming out all day long, in the shower, etc. , more than normal.

I went to two derms and an endocrinologist; the first derm said it was telogen effluvium because he did a pull test and looked at the hairs under a microscope. The second derm said it could be AGA or TE, not sure. My bloodwork was normal. I did not take any drugs for the loss. I did start taking biotin, and multivitamin. And I also started eating meat again after 16 years as a vegetarian.

In any case, what alarmed me the most in that year of crazy, mindless, obsessive worry were the short, weak little hairs that seemed to start falling out around October 2009. They had the bulb and everything, and there were more of them coming out than any other type of hair (i.e., strong, long). These hairs were anywhere in length from 3 inches to ones that were the same length and diameter as hair on my arm. Some were normal in diameter, but some were weak and very thin. I nearly went crazy with these; seeing too many on my sweater could send me all the way home, even if I had places to go. :( I counted them, I lined them up, I took pictures of them and pictures of my hairline. The sides of my head seemed to be the worst affected. I also noticed that I had a TON of little baby hairs growing all around my crown – way more than normal fringe hair – especially on the sides, and I was worried that these were falling out. Basically, I was worried that I was going through miniaturization and that this meant AGA.

What I want to say is that for the most part, the short hairs have stopped falling out. My hair may have gone through some TE phase for a year (probably from going off BCP in December 08), where it fell out for 8 or so months, and then the new hairs that came in were weaker, smaller, not ready to return to their natural cycle. Now, as of February 2010, I have no noticeable thin spots, my hairline looks the same, the short hairs still fall out from time to time, but mostly it’s back to normal shed.

I guess my reason for posting is just to give those women and and girls out there who are experiencing short hairs falling out, something to read that might give them hope, that short hairs falling out don’t necessarily mean that you’ve got a pattern hair loss on your hands. I know I read this exact page about 140 times during my worst bouts with worry. So be strong, understand that your body is going through something, and try to redirect your thoughts. I know how hard it is to do that, but everything’s going to be ok. One more thing – I have a problem with anxiety, stress, worries. This doesn’t help with hair health. Do what you can to calm yourself and be compassionate to yourself.

Andrea June 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm

It has helped me to read this, honestly, because I just found another short hair that didnt even make it to the one -inch marker and it’s gotten me worried. Yes i have those thinner ones, this was a short, healthy thick one but I always think it’s my fault that maybe I pulled them out from playing with my hair or combing, etc. I have had high shed for four years, which has gotten better, but like you said, any little stress/anxiety triggers it again. I will try to stay hopeful that they can grow back and that is it not always AGA. Again, too I notice more of this on the sides, temples. Thanks for sharing.

April July 14, 2013 at 8:42 am

I have had the year from haites and back!! Misdiagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis due to joint pain and rise in antihistone antibodies, I was put on prednisone and plaquenil, lost my appetite and lost 10lbs in one month (I am a little person, so that meant alot!). But, the awful hair shedding started about the same time. I lost about 50% thickness of my long, dark, curly hair :(. This was way worse than any joint pain I may have had. I got a second opinion about the RA from an internal medicine doctor who said I was misdiagnosed (thankfully!) I also have been on thyroid medicine for about 10yrs. and, in the past have felt best with my TSH on the low end of normal, however, with the hair loss, I decided to go down on the dose. I got a new job and have been staying busy. The joint pain is all but gone. The hair loss is better, but certainly not back to normal thickness. Initially I lost tons of longer length hair, then short ones. They now they still do shed, probably equal amounts of long and short, but not at the amounts they did. I, too worry when I see those short, fragile hairs and try hard (and IT IS hard!) not to obsess about them anymore. Dermatologist checked for AGA, which turned out to be negative, and started me taking Biotin Forte and iron tabs (Bifera is easy on the GI tract). I am chalking it up to stress and those nasty medications!! So, it has been a whole year of a recovery process. Things are better with the hair (not so much the stress!), but I am not sure the hair will ever be back to “normal.” However, now I can live with it and get on with my life. I feel healthy 99% of the time, am eating healthy and taking the right supplements (also take a whole food supplement, high dose turmeric with black pepper and Premarin (hysterectomy years ago)). So, I feel I am doing ALL I can do to give my hair its best chance at survival. That is the best I can do. Am hopeful that another year will make a difference. We shall see!! In the meantime, I will enjoy my life and deal with things as they come the best that I can. After all, we cannot do better than our best, right? Thank you for sharing your stories. I have visited this site a gazillion times during the past year and thought now is my time to offer a contribution!! It is very, very helpful to share tips and concerns with others who are in your “boat!”

Paige July 10, 2014 at 9:45 am

I too am finding lots of short hairs falling now with the long hair. I have been shedding for several years, and despite having a healthy diet, taking multi vitamins, and also trying Vivisal, nothing seems to stop the shed permanently. I had a mirena coil for 5 years, but my hair was still thick for the first 2 or 3 years during that time, later on it began to thin, although at first, I tried to ignore it, as we all know stress can make things worse. When I had the mirena removed, I hoped the hair loss would settle, but 2 years on, and it hasn’t. I thought viviscal had worked, as after being on it for several months the shedding lessened, but a month later it worsened, and is now as bad as ever. My Dr said my blood tests are normal, although whats normal for one, may not be normal for another, so who’s to know what normal is?! I started Angelique hrt 8 months ago, as I had begun to have hot flashes, and my Dr said I was peri menopausal. It’s such a horrible time, and it has a dramatic impact on ones self esteem when a womans hair is so important to her sexuality. I feel depressed, and insecure, and although my husband is lovely, I find it very hard to go out now, and try to stay in, as my confidence is at rock bottom. I know GPs are busy, and hair loss is not life threatening, but it has such a severe impact on a woman’s life, surely more help and research is needed?

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