There are numerous diseases that can affect the hair and scalp. Hair loss can be caused by a variety of conditions. Diseases such as alopecia areata, anemia, male/female pattern baldness, and infections of the scalp can all cause significant difficulty and loss of daily well-being. Stanford Dermatology has established a special clinic focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders of the hair.
I have had hair loss for the past several years. I have seen both endocrinologists and dermatologists. I had one derm who was good, but I unfortunately moved. She put me on minoxidil 5% and spironolactone. I am now seeing and endo but he has me on Synthroid and I was very interested to read on this site that it can actually be a cause of hair loss! If anyone can recommend a doctor in Chicago i would appreciate it. I see there are 2 other people asking for recommendations but I haven’t seen responses to them. Thanks!
Try and find a doctor that seems to care about women’s hair loss, and understands the emotional devastation it causes. I don’t want my doctor to dismiss my hair loss, and I don’t want him/her to tell me it’s no big deal. It is a big deal and if your doctor makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, they he/she is not for you. If possible try and speak with the doctor by phone (believe it or not some doctors will talk to you on the phone first) and if the rules of the office don’t permit this then try and ask as many questions to the receptionist, such as, does Dr. X see a lot of women for hair loss? Does he order blood work? What does he usually prescribe for treatment? The reality of that last question is that their is no “usual treatment” every woman is different and hopefully the receptionist tells you something to that effect. I don’t want to see a doctor that prescribes Rogaine as his/her first line of defense even before making a proper diagnosis with blood work or any other necessary tests. I firmly believe you should not be walking out with a bottle of Rogaine the first day of your appointment. Sure the doctor can probably be able to tell if your hair is experiencing miniaturization, but what about the blood work to determine the causes? Rogaine may be the right treatment for you, but I’d like to know why.

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I’m interested in what took place 4 months before the onset of your hair loss (and others with telogen effluvium). For me, it has always been either a baby born or a course of antibiotics. Oral birth control can also cause a sudden change in the gut flora–as can pretty much any medication. Staph infections are another connection I think should be pursued. Some women don’t know they’re colonized with Staph but they constantly have dry, cracked (mild or severe) sores in their noses.
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Thank you for all your post. My daughter had extremely thick hair about eight years ago. It was so thick you could barely put it in a scrunchie. Her hair has been continuously thinning to the point that you can see through it. All the women in my family on both sides have extremely thick hair. We live in the north east and have seen several GP and a Dermatologist who act like there is nothing wrong. I work in the medical field and when I hear this I get so mad because I feel like they want to just brush of like no big deal. It is a big deal to all women no matter what ages. I have written done some of the post advise and will continue to look for an endocrinologist for her. Please keep me postes on any new developements.
Age-onset thinning, or “miniaturization,” refers to a progressive decrease of the hair shaft’s diameter and length. This happens at least in part because of androgens like dihydrotestosterone (or DHT), a derivative of the male hormone testosterone that causes hair follicles to literally shrink in diameter. This type of hair thinning is referred to as androgenic alopecia, and it occurs in an equal pattern all over the scalp. However, pregnancy, ovarian cysts, medications, emotional or physical shock, and birth control pills can all affect hormone levels, making it complicated to pinpoint the reason for hair loss. For example, polycystic ovarian disease can exacerbate androgens and manifest as thinning, in which case you could treat the condition and fix hair loss. Get your hormone levels checked to see if an underlying health issue is the root cause.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
Medications are available that encourage regrowth of hair. These medications, such as topical minoxidil* and oral finasteride, are not appropriate for everyone with hair loss. Hair growth medications work to varying degrees in different people, and only trigger complete regrowth in a minority of individuals. They work best for people who have smaller amounts of hair loss. Hair loss returns if you stop taking the medication. Finasteride is not appropriate for women who may become pregnant, as it can cause severe birth defects. Spironolactone, although not approved by Health Canada for this purpose, is a medication that may help women who are losing hair due to excess testosterone. Biotin is a vitamin that makes hair and nails stronger and is often used as an adjuvant therapy.
I am 31; as a child I had beautiful brown smooth hair with a hint of a wave. As soon as I hit puberty at 13 (1st period on my 13th b-day), my hair turned wavier. Same year, I remember looking down on my legs horrified at the hair I had developed. Only 1 thought came to me: “NOT NORMAL!” Body hair on women is a tricky subject, though, with media heavily influencing what’s considered ‘normal’. My mom, similarly hairy, just told me it’s genetic and normal.
I am 30 and am trying Rogaine and spironolactone but only stopped the loss and I want to try Propecia. I know about the side effects for a male fetus, but I have chosen myself that I do not ever want to create a child out of my body. I will adopt or foster, but have intense lockeophobia. I even agreed to sign a legal document saying such, but my doctor would still not prescribe me propecia unless I had had a hysterectomy. He said it was for safety reasons, but as far as I understand it the only safety issue would be to such a fetus that will not exist. So I am confused about his reservations.

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Physical stress can also be a cause for hair loss. Any kind of physical trauma surgery, a severe illness, an accident, even the flu can lead to temporary hair loss. This can trigger a type of hair loss known as Telogen effluvium. Hair loss usually gets noticeable 3-6 months after the trauma but once your body recovers, your hair would start growing back again.
Men, oh yeah, different ball game. Just think how much money is spent on prostate research and medication versus female cancers!!!!! This IS a male society, but just smile, that makes you feel better. Do not let this get under your skin. KNOW who you are with or without hair, you are one fabulous person, loving and shining your light on this world. Step into that, claim it, own it. Whoever is unkind to you, just love them, bless them and wish them well. They have a bigger problem than you, trust me. And the WILL bump into it one day and not know what hit them.
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Finasteride inhibits 5α-reductase type 2, resulting in a significant decrease in dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels.6 Studies have shown that, compared with placebo, 1 mg per day of finasteride slows hair loss and increases hair growth in men.6,7,9 Dosages as low as 0.2 mg per day result in decreased scalp and serum DHT levels in men, although the DHT levels may not correlate clinically with changes in hair loss.10


for the next 10 years i dealt with it. noticing my hair getting thinner with every passing year. a quick side note, my father is bald and my mother has always had beautiful, thick wavy locks. taking in to account that the supposed gene for hair is carried maternally, i was confused because my maternal grandmother who passed at age 86 had the most abundant set of thick hair i’d ever seen. it just didn’t make sense to me and only served to depress me more. my mother has since developed traction alopecia, due to her pulling her hair tightly back daily, for work, for years. she has since kept her hair short, but mine looks worse. back to where i left off. at 34 i decided to go to one of the hair restoration places. they took pictures and walked me through the process. it was an odd place, though. small, small place. one guy. said i was a good candidate. he showed me pictures of what my hair loss would possibly look like in another 10 years. i started sobbing. it felt more like a scare tactic than anything so i left, and decided against it, for the time being. still haven’t gone back.


Some of the skin disorders like lupus and sarcoidosis can cause hair loss. In case of lupus, the hair tends to get brittle and may fall out in patches. Lupus hairs or short, broken hairs usually appear above the forehead. Hair loss is not permanent in general here. Some individuals with lupus also develop a form of lupus known as discoid or cutaneous lupus that affects the skin. Scars that sometimes develop on the skin of the scalp may lead to hair loss.
A bathroom covered with loose strands or an ever-scrawnier ponytail can be startling but doesn't necessarily mean anything's wrong. By age 50, half of women will complain of hair loss. "As we age, overall hair density changes and individual strands become finer," says dermatologist Doris J. Day, MD. But just because thinning is natural doesn't mean you have to accept it. Here are 13 solutions to help you keep the hair out of your brush and on your head.
Testosterone replacement is becoming popular for men. Cotsarelis warns that this may accelerate hair loss. Propecia might help -- but because it prevents testosterone breakdown, it might affect the dose of male hormone replacement therapy. Cotsarelis warns men taking both Propecia and testosterone replacement to make sure their doctor carefully monitors their testosterone levels. 

About one-third of women experience hair loss (alopecia) at some time in their lives; among postmenopausal women, as many as two-thirds suffer hair thinning or bald spots. Hair loss in women often has a greater impact than hair loss does on men w, because it's less socially acceptable for them. Alopecia can severely affect a woman's emotional well-being and quality of life.
Some of the skin disorders like lupus and sarcoidosis can cause hair loss. In case of lupus, the hair tends to get brittle and may fall out in patches. Lupus hairs or short, broken hairs usually appear above the forehead. Hair loss is not permanent in general here. Some individuals with lupus also develop a form of lupus known as discoid or cutaneous lupus that affects the skin. Scars that sometimes develop on the skin of the scalp may lead to hair loss.
Telogen effluvium is a form of hair loss often associated with pregnancy, medication use, life stress, diets, or surgery. It results in a larger amount of hair cycling into the resting (telogen) state where the hairs are ready to fall out. This type of alopecia usually improves on its own after several months. While it usually resolves, it can become chronic without regrowth of hair.

Thank you Diana. If you find out any more information, I would appreciate it. I have a dermatologist across the street from the Skin and Cancer Institute. I’m still not sure who to start with, the dermatologist or an endocronologist. I left a message for my PCP today to see if she is comfortable working with female hair loss or if not if she could refer me to someone who specializes in it. I will let you know what I hear back. In the meantime, thanks for your support. Take care.


I haven’t seen any information about DHT blockers which I’ve read iis the leading cause of hair loss. It’s a “bad” hormone released that causes hair loss. Any comment or recommendations? One supplement to reverse DHT contains saw palmetto, which I’ve heard isn’t recommended for women. Totally stumped, depressed and irritated with so many suggestions that may or NOT work. Compassionately sending this message to all those suffering with hair loss….it’s totally devistating.
As mentioned above, an autoimmune response is commonly associated with hair loss related to alopecia areata. Patients who have this condition see their body’s immune system attack their hair follicles. The patient’s hair follicles become very small and hair growth begins to stop.  A major symptom of alopecia areata is patchy hair loss, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, which says patients often first notice the problem when they see clumps of hair on their pillow or in the shower.
What’s important to know: the cause of hair loss is specific to each individual, which is why it is so important to have a board-certified dermatologist examine, diagnose, and treat your condition. DR.DENNIS GROSS will review your symptoms, examine your scalp, perform a possible scalp biopsy, and/or order medical and blood tests if an underlying medical condition (like thyroid disease, diabetes, or autoimmune diseases like lupus) is suspected.
Though we think our hair is super important, our bodies consider it nonessential (read: we don’t need it to stay conscious). Other bodily functions, like breathing, are more pressing and get first access to the nutrients in our diet. Our hair gets the leftovers. Protein is your hair's best friend, so reach for healthy protein such as eggs and fish and avoid fasting or yoyo dieting. These can deprive your body of these essential building blocks for a healthy scalp and hair. Wild salmon, tuna and trout are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help provide moisture and prevent dry and brittle hair. Foods rich in B vitamins also help keep hair follicles healthy, decreasing the risk for hair loss. Fruits and vegetables, and beans and lean meat sources, such as chicken or turkey breast, are all great sources for vitamin B.
Each hair develops from a follicle — a narrow pocket in the skin — and goes through three phases of growth. Anagen (A), the active growth phase, lasts two to seven years. Catagen (), the transition phase, lasts about two weeks. During this phase, the hair shaft moves upward toward the skin's surface, and the dermal papilla (the structure that nourishes cells that give rise to hair) begins to separate from the follicle. Telogen (C), the resting phase, lasts around three months and culminates in the shedding of the hair shaft.

Greetings ladies, I am so happy I found this website. I have a 19 year old daughter who has been experiencing hair loss for the past 5 years. Throughout high school, she wore hair weave to camouflage what was going on. She is now a sophomore in college and wants to wear her natural hair. It is frustrating her because we don’t know why its happening. Does anybody know of a good endocrinologist in Chicago? Do you think treatments varies depending on ethnicity? She is African American.


Blow dryers, flat irons, and other devices: Frequent use of a blow dryer tends to damage hair. The high heat from a blow dryer can boil the water in the hair shaft leaving the hair brittle and prone to breakage. Dermatologists recommend that you allow your hair to air dry. Then style your hair when it is dry. Dermatologists also recommend limiting the use of flat irons (these straighten hair by using high heat) and curling irons.
Blow dryers, flat irons, and other devices: Frequent use of a blow dryer tends to damage hair. The high heat from a blow dryer can boil the water in the hair shaft leaving the hair brittle and prone to breakage. Dermatologists recommend that you allow your hair to air dry. Then style your hair when it is dry. Dermatologists also recommend limiting the use of flat irons (these straighten hair by using high heat) and curling irons.
Hello ladies, I’m 32 yrs old and suffering from hair thinning. My hair just seems to have stopped growing. It’s now half of what it used to be 2 years ago! GP did some extensive tests, nothing came out. Might be birth control (on Quasense for 2 years – hair thinning started after that) but can’t stop it (it’s the only BC that’s worked for my very horrible cramps). Anyway, any suggestions for doctors (dermatologists/endo/any other) in San Francisco Bay Area or somewhere in California?
What’s important to know: the cause of hair loss is specific to each individual, which is why it is so important to have a board-certified dermatologist examine, diagnose, and treat your condition. DR.DENNIS GROSS will review your symptoms, examine your scalp, perform a possible scalp biopsy, and/or order medical and blood tests if an underlying medical condition (like thyroid disease, diabetes, or autoimmune diseases like lupus) is suspected.
Men, oh yeah, different ball game. Just think how much money is spent on prostate research and medication versus female cancers!!!!! This IS a male society, but just smile, that makes you feel better. Do not let this get under your skin. KNOW who you are with or without hair, you are one fabulous person, loving and shining your light on this world. Step into that, claim it, own it. Whoever is unkind to you, just love them, bless them and wish them well. They have a bigger problem than you, trust me. And the WILL bump into it one day and not know what hit them.
Speaking of a new style: Don’t choose one that’s so high maintenance that it needs to be heat styled daily—the damage you’ll do with too much hot tool usage can leave strands damaged and fried, and breaking before it can grow to a certain length. Plus, thinner hair tends to break easier, so you want to avoid any extra damage-inducing practices at all costs. Make a conscious effort, too, to brush more gently, and use a moisturizing and reparative hair mask to hydrate hair and nourish the scalp—where hair gets most of its strength.

I just came across this website, I thought by chance but I think not! I have been having scalp pain, like my skull wanted to crack open. Then the tendersness of my hair folicals when the wind would blow. I started to loose lots of hair so went to my family doctor. All the test were done for Thyroid problems…all turned out what they call “normal”. Have you seen the wide range which is considered normal? How can this be when everyone is so different? I am loosing hair as I sit and write this message. The hair just gently falling onto my shoulder. I need to color my hair as it is time from the length of my silver roots but the last time I had my hair touched up, I thought I was going to die from the pain when the stylist tried to just shampoo the color off. Oh my God! Painful, painful. I used to be a stylist so you can imagine my shock when I was told it wasn’t my Tyroid!


Speaking of a new style: Don’t choose one that’s so high maintenance that it needs to be heat styled daily—the damage you’ll do with too much hot tool usage can leave strands damaged and fried, and breaking before it can grow to a certain length. Plus, thinner hair tends to break easier, so you want to avoid any extra damage-inducing practices at all costs. Make a conscious effort, too, to brush more gently, and use a moisturizing and reparative hair mask to hydrate hair and nourish the scalp—where hair gets most of its strength.

I am on Arava and my hair has become extremely coarse, frizzy, and tight tight curls in the back. The sides of my hair are pure frizz and the top is straight, with frizz. It used to be smooth and so easy to manage. Now it takes so long and it looks awful. Anyone find the same thing and anything that helps? I have tried so very many hair products, so has my beautician. She says it is like I have 3 completely different textures on my head.

I got really sick at the age 40, 2 years after my second child was born,I started losing weight,I went from 54kg down to 47kg,my skin was splitting on the backs of my legs,both my hands,I had blisters up my arms ,on the tops of my feet,migraines that would have me vomiting none stop for ten hours,then only to sleep for 2 days to recover,no doctors were interested,I saw 8 and they all wanted me on anxiety medication because I was going through a break up that was there answer to the way I was feeling.No one wanted to listen to me.Almost feeling like
Hi everyone. I started losing my hair about 6 months ago. First noticed about the size of a fifty cent piece gone from the crown of my head. (Don’t know why my beautician didn’t tell me about it) but went to a dermatologist right away. She started treatmentschool to the head. (Injected my bald spots with tiny needles) sorry at this time I don’t know what she injected it with, will ask next week as I go for another treatment. I also put Fluocinonide 0.05% solution on every night on every circle of hair loss. I have the treatments once a month.
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Because of its psychologic nature, the mainstays of treatment are counseling, behavior modification techniques, and hypnosis. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other medications for depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder may be used in some cases, although no medications are FDA-approved for treatment of trichotillomania.17 If a more moth-eaten appearance of hair loss is present and no evidence of hair-pulling behavior can be elicited, syphilis should be suspected.
Tinea capitis is a fungal infection of the scalp, usually caused by Microsporum or Trichophyton species of dermatophytes19 (Figure 11). It usually occurs in prepubertal patients. The most severe form of tinea capitis is a kerion, a fluctuant, boggy lesion with overlying hair loss. Tinea capitis can result in widespread hair loss with increased fragility of the hairs and frequent breakage. If fungal infection is suspected, a potassium hydrochloride slide or culture can be obtained. A Wood's lamp fluoresces several types of fungi; however, the most common fungus in the United States (i.e., Trichophyton tonsurans) does not fluoresce, lessening the value of this test. Treatment includes oral antifungal agents such as griseofulvin (Grifulvin), itraconazole (Sporanox), terbinafine (Lamisil), and fluconazole (Diflucan), with the newer agents having fewer side effects.20 Oral steroids may be necessary if a patient has a kerion, to decrease inflammation and potential scarring.

Before men or women invest in hair restoration, consultation and workup by a board-certified dermatologist experienced should be performed first to rule out other medical conditions that may trigger hair thinning and second to maximize medical therapy. Full medical therapy as prescribed and outlined by a board-certified dermatologist must continue in order to protect one's investment in hair transplant such as NeoGraft hair restoration.
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