In either sex, hair loss from androgenetic alopecia occurs because of a genetically determined shortening of anagen, a hair's growing phase, and a lengthening of the time between the shedding of a hair and the start of a new anagen phase. (See "Life cycle of a hair.") That means it takes longer for hair to start growing back after it is shed in the course of the normal growth cycle. The hair follicle itself also changes, shrinking and producing a shorter, thinner hair shaft — a process called "follicular miniaturization." As a result, thicker, pigmented, longer-lived "terminal" hairs are replaced by shorter, thinner, non-pigmented hairs called "vellus."
I want to say that all of you are very courageous and sharing. I appreciate everything I have read here. Thankfully, I am starting out in a slightly better position – I still have a fair amount of hair left. I started with a HUGE amount of hair. For the last 6 – 12 months, I have been losing handfulls of hair in the shower every morning, then some more when I comb it out, then a bit more when I put styling product in it, then just a bit more during the day. The shower is the huge hit, though. I’m 37 and on a ton of medication – synthroid, neurontin (an amitryptiline derivative), anti-depressants, and a host of pain medications for a degenerative back problem. I brought my hair loss up to a doc around the time it started, since I was already on synthroid, he re-tested my levels, and said everything was fine. My hair structure has always been on the thin side, but there was just so damn much it didn’t matter – now there is a lot less. What used to take upwards of 20 minutes to dry with a dryer, now takes 5. I’ve been worried about it for quite a while, and didn’t know what to do. I started my on-line research today with hair extensions and stumbled on this site. I am encouraged that I’m starting my search for an answer relatively early in my hair loss journey. I have some great advice and questions to go in to see my doc about. If anyone has any recommendations for the Boise, ID area for a dermatologist and endocrinologist, I would really appreciate it.
So in closing, I echo my initial sentiments that I would always suggest seeing more than one doctor if possible. Look for one that is not only knowledgeable but one that also cares. Hair loss is not the same thing has having a blackhead removed from your back and requires more sensitivity and emotional understanding on the part of the physician. Ask a lot of questions and do your own research, even after receiving your “diagnosis.” Doctors are people and make mistakes too, this is your body and you have to be comfortable with the treatment.
have something to say that sounds alarming: I came to the Texas to live 10 weeks ago from the UK. Within only 2 weeks of being here my hair started falling out dramatically, I would lose around 500 to 700 hairs every time I washed my hair, this would also include hair lost through blow drying as I got to the point I would sweep it up off the floor too. Before I left the UK my hair was beautifully silky and shiny and looked so healthy. Over the following 8 weeks the hair loss worsened to the extent I started getting so dramatically thin all over the top of my head that I got myself into a panic every time I would do out as I didn’t want anyone to see me this way as I am quite an attracted woman 38 years of age. My periods are normal and my health appears good, just now I am suffering from depression because of this. The point I am making here is, I never had this in my life before, sure I have had bouts of hair fall from stress but never has it ever got to the point I can no-longer go out ever. I see so many things about this on the TV here in Dallas always advertising women’s hair loss? I also see too much of this on the net also from the US that now I am really getting worried about ever coming here and if this continues I’m going to leave the US and never come back. The people here are so lovely so please don’t get me wrong just that my health and my hair come first. I have visited the US many times and been to many States over the recent years from California to FL to Chicago and each time I come over I start to lose my hair. Bit this time is the worst ever! When I Skype my family back home they are shocked of course and we are all wondering if it is the food chain, the water, the air, pollution, I mean it’s got to be something right? I also spent years over in Brasil and also Lima Peru but never had anything like this, in fact my hair got even better over there than from when I was in the UK last. I’ve got a strong suspicion the doctor’s over here know more than they are letting on and have done for a long time but just making money out of peoples misery. I saw a doctor here who did some blood works and charged me $800 and he didn’t even do a hormone profile or (Ferritin) as checking iron is a total waste of time, Ferritin is the end response of iron absorption. Checking iron in the blood is what is floating around and not what has been absorbed. He wanted to then send me onto an Endo who wanted to charge me another $400. for a consult plus she said anything from $600. for additional blood works. I Lima Peru I can get 10 x more blood works done for no more than $120. Be cheaper for me to get a return flight and have all the tests done over there. Sorry to say this but, the US is a total rip-off when it comes to this sort of thing. Everyone back home thinks the whole thing stinks and sounds very suspect. If my hair gets any worse I’m defo going leave and most likely head on to Lima for a while and then go set my roots in Brasil. I really wanted to be here in the US as I have so many lovely friends over here and could really see a future for me here. I am gutted. Anyways I’m going to do some research to see if I can find a good Endo myself as well as a dermatologist. Maybe it is all to I do with all the nuclear testing they did years ago? they say radiation remains for a 100 years and what with weather conditions, wind, rain, crops, livestock, water supply? Now we have phytoestrogens and now we have this other thing to worry about frankenfoods. Us women have a more complex hormone system than males and this has got to wreak havoc on our endocrine system our glands and of course our hormones. I believe whatever is causing this must be doing something to us internally that is the cause. So lotions and potions working from the outside is not the answer or a permanent solution. I think something is disrupting us from the inside and screwing with our hormones be it thyroid, sex hormones or whatever. So stop sugar drinks, artificial foods and water from plastic bottles, microwave foods and start to clean up your health from the inside and perhaps try find organic meat, vegetable, fruit, fish suppliers. Maybe little more costly, but far cheaper than giving the money to a bunch of quacks? I guess thank goodness for European rules and regulations on food compared to here. Like to hear peoples thoughts.
I’m 42 and I noticed my front top and sides thinning about a year ago – a lot coming out when brushing after washing. I went to the doctor who happened to be African-American (I’m caucasion) and she actually asked me if I wore “corn rows” a lot! Needless to say, she was worthless and just prescribed me something for dandruff, which I do not have! I went to an endocrinologist to see if my thyroid or menopause was the problem – tests turned out honky dorie! Now I can see through the top of my head when the sun shines on it (scar-y) and I’m having to cover over the temple areas with sweeps of hair from the other side (interesting, the right side is much thinner). I will say that I’ve gone through hell and back with a mentally ill young adult but if it was stress, wouldn’t it have come out quicker than just in the last year (I’ve been dealing with his illness for 7 years now)?? I’ve heard that sometimes it takes 2 or 3 blood tests and doctors to finally see that one has thyroid problems. Is this the experience of others, and would I be throwing my money away by seeing my general practitioner?
Playing around with your haircut can sometimes mask the issue, so talk to your stylist about a style that will add volume and bounce, making hair appear thicker. Simply shifting your part can work wonders, and changing up your color can help, too. Light reflects more off lighter hair, so the color provides less contrast between the hair and the scalp, concealing any empty patches. Additionally, a light perm or wave will give hair more body and make it look thicker, and frequent trims will help prevent breakage.
The loss of hair can be sudden, developing in just a few days or over a period of a few weeks. There may be itching or burning in the area before hair loss. The hair follicles are not destroyed and so hair can re-grow if the inflammation of the follicles subsides. People who experience just a few patches of hair loss often have a spontaneous, full recovery without any form of treatment.
Certain medical issues can also impair hair growth. An overactive or underactive thyroid gland can cause hair loss. So can iron deficiency. When women go through menopause and their estrogen levels fall, their hair often begins to thin. Many women also lose some hair a few months after giving birth because of the hormonal changes the body experiences.
Also, re: the Proscar, I think that it may already be helping some as I think my shedding may be tapering off a bit more. I am losing a few less hairs Per day now. Maybe? I don’t know, but I am trying to stay positive!! I have no real regrowth. Just wisps, extremely fine hair, almost hard to see. Kind of transparent. I am not expecting miracles, but trust me…. THe moment I feel I have any true results to share with you girls, I will definitely be posting them! There aren’t many success stories out here. We need more. I guess people don’t come out here as much if they are experiencing good things w their hair?
Certain medical issues can also impair hair growth. An overactive or underactive thyroid gland can cause hair loss. So can iron deficiency. When women go through menopause and their estrogen levels fall, their hair often begins to thin. Many women also lose some hair a few months after giving birth because of the hormonal changes the body experiences.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease, where a person's immune system attacks the body, in this case, the hair follicles. When this happens, the person's hair begins to fall out, often in clumps the size and shape of a quarter. The extent of the hair loss varies; in some cases, it is only in a few spots. In others, the hair loss can be greater. On rare occasions, the person loses all of the hair on his or her head (alopecia areata totalis) or entire body (alopecia areata universalis).


The topical sensitizers, diphencyprone or squaric acid dibutylester, have been used in those suffering from recalcitrant alopecia areata or those with more than 50% hair loss. The goal of treatment is to create an allergic contact dermatitis of the scalp. This alteration in the immune response occasionally is accompanied by hair regrowth. The efficacy of the topical sensitizers has been demonstrated in both young children and adults, but it probably works less than half the time. Recent success using oral janus kinase inhibitors, including tofacitinib, ruxolitinib, and baricitinib, have been shown to be efficacious in severe, extensive alopecia areata in adults, but long-term therapy has potential side effects. The durability of response to these medications is variable, and most patients experience recurrence of hair loss after discontinuation. Perhaps topical therapy with these types of drugs may be available in the near future.
I want to first write that I am not a fan of hair transplants for women, I personally think that most women with androgenetic alopecia are NOT candidates for this procedure. Having said that, I get emailed all the time from women looking for a good hair transplant surgeon. If you are deadset on having a consultation, please visit the International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons. The IAHRS (http://www.iahrs.org) is an organization that selectively screens skilled and ethical hair transplant surgeons. Read my thoughts about hair transplants here.
Happily divorced in 2006. Coming up to my 52nd birthday, my hair is thin and fine, my hairdresser just shakes her head. In pictures all you see is scalp with a faint nimbus that is what’s left of my hair. Lost my job in December. When I interview, no one looks me in the eyes… they talk to my nearly naked scalp. So here I am, wanting to date and find work, and feel constantly judged because of an outward manifestation of something that’s happening inside of (what appears to be) a healthy body. It looks like I’m on chemo, or at the affect of some kind of some huge illness or medication… and shunned. How much of my self-image is subliminally dictated by my lack of hair… working on that with my therapist. LOL!!
“The most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is androgenetic alopecia, which is genetic pattern hair loss,” explains Dr. Michael B. Wolfeld, a board-certified plastic surgeon and an assistant clinical professor of plastic surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The root cause of this type of hair loss is dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a byproduct of testosterone that shrinks certain hair follicles until they eventually stop producing hair.
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.
Alopecia areata affects people of all ages including young children. It produces circular patches of hair loss that appear overnight. More patches appear over time and eventually about 5% of people affected lose every hair on their body. This includes eyebrows, eyelashes and even nose hairs. In some people, hair grows back, either in the same place or on a previously unaffected part of the scalp or body.
Alopecia areata, also known as spot baldness, is a condition in which hair is lost from some or all areas of the body.[1] Often it results in a few bald spots on the scalp, each about the size of a coin.[2] Psychological stress may result.[2] People are generally otherwise healthy.[2] In a few, all the hair on the scalp or all body hair is lost and loss can be permanent.[1][2]

Thank you for everyone who read and responded to my original post! Thank you Pilar for the reference! After seeing the doctors I mentioned and with time lapsing after quitting A-Ret (generic Retin-A) the IMMENSE scalp pain went away. My dermatitis also eventually cleared with aspirin masks (pulverized aspirin 2-3, honey and water) and much more frequent (and unfortunately stripping) shampooing with natural formulas.
Harklinikken (“hair clinic” in Danish) inspires great loyalty. Four out of five users come as referrals from satisfied customers, said Lars Skjoth, the company’s founder and chief scientist. The results are certainly compelling. After four months of daily application — that is, working the tea-colored tonic into the hair section by section, then letting it sit on the scalp for six hours — most users regain at least 30 percent of lost density, and some as much as 60 percent, according to company figures.
×