Rapid Hair Loss. HELP!
I'm new here. I have been searching the internet for 3 months for ways to help myself and I've seen my GP and a dermatologist about my sudden hair loss, neither of the doctors have done a THING to help.
By chance, I found this forum, so here's my story. I hope you'll read through it and provide whatever help you can:
I'm female, 38, and have always had A LOT of hair. In October of 2009, I randomly began having menstrual problems I've never had before...it became very erratic and very irregular - something I wasn't used to. After seeing numerous GP's, OB/GYNs...I came away with nothing. Tests were done left/right, but no one knew what was wrong with me.
January of 2010: My OB/GYN decided to put me on birth control pills (BCP) to control my cycle. I have never been a fan of BCP, as I don't react well to them. But I was desperate, so I decided to try it (Ortho Tri-Cyclen).
March 2010: The pill helped my menstrual cycle a bit, but I noticed I was suddenly losing masses of hair in the shower. I have long hair, to the middle of my back, and it's thick/wavy. But suddenly, I started to lose hair and since this experience was so new to me, I freaked out and told my OB/GYN that I knew it was related to the BCP and that I was going to discontinue the meds once that particular pill cycle ran out. She didn't agree with me, but I didn't care. I wasn't about to lose hair over this.
The cycle of the pill was over in 2 weeks and I got off the BCP. Within 2 weeks, my severe hair loss stopped and things went back to normal, as far as my hair was concerned.
April 2010: But my menstrual issue was still a problem. So I saw an endocrinologist who thought that perhaps I was having a slight case of hypothyroidism which may have been causing menstrual irregularities. For anyone who's an expert/interested, my normal TSH levels were 3.69 at this point in time. So in April 2010, I was put on 0.25 mg of Levothyroxine (generic of Synthroid) and my menstrual cycle responded. Yay, I thought...this is going to work.
May 2010: The doctor ran lab work for my TSH and noticed that my levels hadn't really changed that much (TSH 2.99), so she determined that perhaps she needed to up my dose, so we went to 0.50 mg of Leovthyroxine. All was still well...
June 2010: She ran lab work again and noticed a slight decrease in my levels (TSH 2.66) and said, obviously I needed thyroid help because my TSH was changing so little. She upped my dose again, this time to 0.75 mg Levothyroxine. I was a bit concerned about the dosage increasing, but since my menstrual cycles were at least 50% normal now, I thought...okay, I'll go with this for now.
July 2010: With the most recent medication increase to 0.75 mg, I started to notice sudden and severe hair shedding. It first was most noticeable in the shower. By late July, when I'd take a shower and wash my hair, I'd have to clear out the drain of hair THREE TIMES in one go. OMG, that's too much hair loss. I went back to the doctor and expressed my concerns to her, and she said, "You have so much hair, I'm sure it'll be okay...and it'll even out. Just hang in there.
August 2010: I barely hung in there through this month and literally watched masses of my hair going down the drain...day after day. My once thick, dense, wavy hair started to get thin, brittle, and flat! I was freaking out and stressed beyond belief. I started to wear my hair in low-ponytails to hide the thinning hair on the top/sides of my head. At this point, I was ALSO put on Metformin (500/1x-day) because an OB/GYN "specialist" thought I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) without running ANY tests to determine this.
September 2010: By now, I was extremely stressed over my hair loss. I didn't even recognize myself in the mirror anymore, as I had such thin hair...but more than that, it still kept coming off by the handful! Since my doctor wasn't listening to me and since my situation was only getting worse, I decided to wean myself off the Levothyroxine, bit by bit, until I was no longer taking it at all. I felt that was the culprit here. I have read hair loss is a side effect of this medication....but now I'm not sure if that is all??
October 2010: I have now also stopped taking Metformin, because I can't know if that isn't causing hair loss (I've read online that it does do so for some, so forget that!). I have now also been completely off Levothyroxine since late September (nearly 1 month), and my hair loss has decreased. Or has it? My hair texture also changed SO MUCH on this medication that my once THICK strands are now fine and so, so thin and fragile! So I'm not sure if my hair loss has subsided, or I just don't have as much hair to lose. I saw my doctor in early October, and she was shocked at my hair loss. It's THAT noticeable. Yesterday (Oct. 20, 2010) I went to see a dermatologist who supposedly works with a lot of hair loss patients. To make a long story short, she said yea, you've lost a lot of hair, didn't have solutions for me (but "let's wait 3 months and count the hair that you lose), and didn't offer to run ANY lab work to test for possible underlying causes, even though I asked. I asked if I should use Rogaine and she said I could get that OTC, but it was up to me. She mentioned supplements (biotin, etc), which I've been taking religiously for the past month since my hair went to hell, anyway. And she basically said, "don't worry" and showed me the door.
So here I am, once again crying myself to sleep at night...and even while in my office alone, and I'm not sure what to do.
I've tried to the "hair pull" test on my own over the past 3 weeks...and sometimes, it's 5-6 hair per hair pull...and sometimes just 1 hair (maybe a total of 6 on my entire head). In the shower, the drain is not getting clogged as it used to be, but some days there's more hair loss...and some days, less. I wash my hair every day - always have, but I use very gentle shampoo, and condition every other day. I notice that when I condition my hair, more hair falls out.
I also read through research online that the shampoo Nizarol has been helpful for others in stopping hair loss as it kills DHT on the scalp, so I've been using that 3x/week...even though it's a dandruff shampoo and I don't have dandruff. But if it will stop the hair loss, FINE.
But now I don't know how to make my hair grow back, or if it WILL grow back. The sides of my head are embarrassingly sparse. It even looks like I have receding hairline in the front and sides of my head. My head feels cold now all the time (because it's always been covered in MASSES of hair, so this thin mess is all new to it, I guess).
I don't know what to do. I don't know who else to go see about this, and I'm so at the end of my rope, my mood has plummeted to an all-time low and I'm now suffering from depression/anxiety. I'm even taking 1 mg of Ativan daily, to calm myself down, since I'm sooo anxious about this hair loss issue that I'm constantly breaking out in a sweat whenever I pass a mirror.
If there's anyone here with some information, advice, a good doctor, some hope (like my hair WILL recover now that I'm off meds??)...please speak up.
I have attached two pictures (sorry, they're both with my camera phone).
The 1st is BEFORE the Levothyroxine...about May 2010.
The 2nd photo is AFTER...taken Oct. 14, 2010 (1 week ago)
Originally Posted by Spex
Yes, it's horrible and I think it affects women's self-esteem a lot more (not to generalize, but I believe this to be true).
Female loss is just as devastating as male hair loss and in fact i can relate to your situ as my sister has had issues with her hairloss about 6 months ago and its started to cause her some real anxiety.
II know stress is no good..however, I've given it 3 months to stop falling out and all it did was instead fall out in clumps. Now I can't help but FEEL the weight of my hair gone from my head; it feels like forgetting one shoe while walking in the rain or something...it's a very odd, very AWARE sensation that I can't help but feel every waking minute.
I recommended that the FIRST thing to do is try so very hard to stop constantly assessing it and running fingers thru it - basically leave it the hell alone and try not focus on it as this only creates a negative cycle.
Unless some doc (or someone here) gives me alternatives to stop potential DHT's on my scalp, I'll dump that smelly shampoo on my head 3x a week..because I don't know how else to stop this.
I would say defo not go with Nizoral as its harsh stuff and basically go back to basics in my opinion as i informed my sis.
I'm on biotin, Evening Primrose Oil, Flaxeed Oil, Super mutli-vitamins, B-complex AND B6/B12, magnesium, calcium, folic acid (I can't take iron), Vitamin D and Vitamin C. That's all I do is take mouthful of "supplements"...so what's MSM? And I will have to get fish oil.
Get on some omega 3 fish oils, MSM , Vitamin B complex, biotin and try for a 3-4 month period take your mind off it and then try to reassess the situ.
Yes, so I'm finding out..
Stress is a killer and its destructive.
But shouldn't I get tested for allergies, or thyroid (now that I'm off meds), or Lupus, or any other autoimmune disease that might have had such a devastating effect on my hair so quickly? If there are underlying issues that aren't being recognized, waiting 4 months is 4 months less hair...and I don't think I'd survive that.
Once you can HONESTLY say right i gave it 4 months+ to gain a control and fuelled my hair naturally - then things might be a little more positive.
It's good advice; I'll do my best.
I wish i had the answer but this is the advice i gave my own sister and recently she is starting to feel MUCH bette about her hair.
Did your sister's hair grow back to its former thickness, btw?
I am not a Doc. And i know very little about Female hairloss unfort. I found this for you - (yep my sisters hair is getting back on track):
Medical causes of female hair loss:
Apart from genetics, female hair loss can stem from a variety of medical causes. This section looks at those causes, from the gen- eral to the more specific, including postpartum and menopausal hair loss.
Underlying medical conditions In women, many medical conditions may cause hair loss, including the followin,Thyroid diseas, Anemi, Iron deficienc, Weight loss induced by severe dieting or eating disorder, Medication use (particularly oral contraceptives, beta-blockers, vitamin A, thyroid drugs, tranquilizers and sedatives, Coumadin, and prednison. A variety of autoimmune diseases
As a woman experiencing hair loss, you should first be evaluated by a dermatologist to make sure that no underlying skin conditions are contributing to the hair loss. They may require a treatment dif- ferent and may require a biopsy to rule out the presence of certain skin diseases like diffuse alopecia areata. Your family doctor can do the required blood tests for the various diseases that may be present. Dermatologists are the best to hone in on a diagnosis.
Blood tests check the following common contributors to female hair loss and can help rule out some identifiable medical conditions:
ANA (antinuclear antibody): Used to test for lupus or other autoimmune diseases. This test is either positive or negative and further testing may be required if the initial screening tests are positive.
Iron: Levels serum iron, TIBC (total iron binding capacity), and ferritin deficiencies in iron.
Estradiol: This sex hormone indicates the status of ovarian output.
FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone): This sex hormone indi- cates the status of ovarian output. This hormone reflects the status of a woman’s ability to ovulate.
LH (luteinizing hormone): This is a sex hormone indicates the status of ovarian outputa woman may be in her overall aging process. When she ovulates, this hormone stimulates the production of eggs.
Free testosterone: May help the doctor understand a woman’s ability to convert testosterone into estrogen. Most testosterone is bound to proteins in the blood and the free testosterone is easily converted into estrogen.
SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin): Level indicates the status of male hormones.
TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone): Level indicates the pres- ence of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
Total testosterone: Largely bound to proteins in the blood.
It’s important to note that even after a medical condition has been corrected, your hair loss may still persist perhaps because of a “switch” in your genetic makeup that’s turned on when the medical insult occurs. After the hair loss starts, it may be difficult to turn off this switch. The hope is that your hair loss will slow down after your medical condition is treated or cured and any deficiency of your overall hormone balance is corrected.
thats the cause of concern for most of us... even i had full head hear...few months ago..no..i dont dare to look myself in the mirror...please help ..can DHT could cause such a rapid hair fall
I know it's been quite a while since you posted this,but when I started having hair loss and my Dr suspected there might be some hormone issues he sent me to a Endocrinologist not a Dermatologist as I thought I would be referred to.Maybe it might help to see a Endo?
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