At RHRLI, we’ve seen clients who deal with all types of hair loss and there are several types of hair loss related to autoimmune diseases. We want you to know all about the relationship between autoimmune conditions and hair loss. And if you’re looking for a permanent solution to your hair loss or thinning hair, we have one. It’s called the ARTAS® system and it uses state of the art robotic technology to give you a fuller, healthier head of hair.
The mission of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases is to support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research; and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases.
Hair loss often occurs in patients suffering or recovering from a medical condition or illness. Amongst a growing list of issues and concerns, hair loss can then lead to additional stress and anxiety as the amount of hair loss becomes more prevalent and noticeable to others. Although there are a vast number of health issues that result in hair loss, some of the most common diseases include:
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of hims, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
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.
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.
During this procedure, surgeons remove a narrow strip of scalp and divide it into hundreds of tiny grafts, each containing just a few hairs. Each graft is planted in a slit in the scalp created by a blade or needle in the area of missing hair. Hair grows naturally this way, in small clusters of one to four follicles, called follicular units. As a result, the graft looks better than the larger "plugs" associated with hair transplants of yesteryear.
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.
What a helpful website, thank you ladies for sharing. I am 55 and am loosing hair by handfuls when I shampoo. I have been using Minoxodil extra strength for about 5 years and it was helping but not anymore. I also have been taking Nioxin hair vitamins and they helped for the first 3 years but not now. I am going to check out Dr Redmond like several of you recommended and head to Sallys for hair extensions also. Does anyone know of a good Dermotologist or Endo Dr. in Humble or Kingwood Tx area? Karen
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.
Spironolactone, an aldosterone antagonist with antiandrogenic effects, works well as a treatment for hirsutism and may slow hair loss in women with AGA, but it does not stimulate hair regrowth. Estrogen may help to maintain hair status in women with AGA, but it also does not help with regrowth. Few controlled studies have examined the many non–FDA-approved hair growth agents such as cyproterone acetate (not available in the United States), progesterone, cimetidine (Tagamet), and multiple non-prescription and herbal products. A full discussion of approved and unapproved treatments for AGA can be found elsewhere.6,7 In all forms of alopecia, hairpieces and surgical transplants can produce satisfactory results but are expensive.
I just began reading this post this evening. My hair loss began when I was 18, currently 29. No bald spots, but it just keeps getting thinner and thinner and thinner. I have been to many doctors as well. Every PCP and family doctor have been of no help. After four dermatologists I have given up on that as well. I went to Hans Wiemann (in the St. Louis area) that offers laser treatments and hair transplants. The whole appointment was such a sales pitch that I was so aggravated and felt worse by the time I left. I have also tried an herbalist, chinese medicine, and a nutritionist/chiropractor. I try not to think about it, I really do, but let’s face it, that’s about impossible. I know my problem is NOT genetic, everyone in my family has a full head of hair. I’m healthy in terms of exercise and diet, I don’t take any medications, smoke, or drink. None of the doctors have ever found anything with blood work or urine samples. If anyone can suggest a doctor, specialist, anyone that can help in the St. Louis or Chicago area, PLEASE do let me know.
When healthy hair is pulled out, at most a few should come out, and ripped hair should not be distributed evenly across the tugged portion of the scalp. In cases of alopecia areata, hair will tend to pull out more easily along the edge of the patch where the follicles are already being attacked by the body's immune system than away from the patch where they are still healthy.
One of the most significant concerns for patients following a diagnosis of cancer is the side effect of losing their hair. For many, especially for those who have experienced a full, thick head of hair throughout their lifetime, the thought of losing it can be devastating. Chemotherapy treatment owes its effectiveness to a variety of powerful medications which are designed to quickly attack the compromised, cancerous cells. Unfortunately, in addition to treating cancer, the medications also attack the roots of your hair. This can cause the hair to fall out very quickly, even in large clumps, or gradually over time. Some of the most common medications leading to hair loss include:
I’ve been to five doctors. Two of them made fun of me. Only one doctor was remotely interested in my hair loss. He prescribed propecia, mens Rogain, and told me to take 2600 ml of biotin a day. My hair is still falling out. I am almost bald. None would give me any tests to determine the cause (other than thyroid, which has been done twice). The doctors tell me it is hereditary. If they could see my family, they would know that is not true. No one that I know of in my blood line has lost their hair. I am beside myself. I barely leave the house anymore. I wish I could find some help somewhere.
Dr. Williams is an author, researcher, internationally renown hair surgeon, and lecturer in hair loss surgery and disorders. He is Diplomate of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery, Fellow of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery. He primary practices as a hair restoration surgeon and physician offering medical and surgical treatment for hair loss disorders for men and women. He has been practicing medicine, surgery, and cosmetic surgical care in Orange County since 1986 and a native and lifelong resident of Orange County. He completed his undergraduate premedical studies in 1980 at the University of California, Irvine; and a graduated from medical school in 1984 from the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California.
Alopecia areata: Researchers believe that this is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune means the body attacks itself. In this case, the body attacks its own hair. This causes smooth, round patches of hair loss on the scalp and other areas of the body. People with alopecia areata are often in excellent health. Most people see their hair re-grow. Dermatologists treat people with this disorder to help the hair re-grow more quickly.
I’m going to see an endocrinologist, a trichologist, a hematologist and a gastroenterologist and maybe this Dr. Redmond. I’m done with ‘hair loss experts’ pushing cosmetic surgery and trying the all around approach. My insurance is crap, but….Anyway, thanks all for your stories and knowing I’m not alone in hair loss and the fight against disinterested medical establishment. xxx
I have been amazed and appreciate alot of peoples’ comments and experiences on hair loss. I recently found out that i have PCOS through an endocrinologist. I went in for an infertility consultation. Still working through that. I do have thinning hair on the top of my head and my hair has become really dry in general. I have type 4b/4c hair (kinky/tightly coiled). With PCOS you have to treat each symptom. I am wondering, if i am focused on infertility right now, am i also able to check in with a dermatologist and treat both? It seems likely that the answer is no. Just curious if anyone is going through this or has gone through this and can give any helpful advice.
Men may also experience some sexual and emotional side effects while taking it: In a study published in the June 2011 issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Dr. Michael Irwig of George Washington University found as many as 92 percent of test subjects reporting problems in the bedroom. The study also reported that “the mean duration of finasteride use was 28 months and the mean duration of persistent sexual side effects was 40 months,” meaning that side effects lingered long after subjects stopped taking the pill.
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.
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.
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.
But you must start these medical therapies before you lose all your hair. McAndrews likens it to brushing your teeth, in that both are preventative measures. “The sooner you start doing it, the better at slowing down this aging process,” he explains, adding, “Is toothpaste perfect? No, you’re still getting tooth decay with toothpaste, but you’re slowing down tooth decay.”
What I hate most is how I feel about myself. As others have shared, I don’t want to wash or fix my hair any more than I have to for fear of lossing even more hair, thus I don’t want to leave the house. I also don’t like that most health care professionals give you a standard excuse for the hair loss: you’re getting older, hair thins; it’s hereditary; or the worst one..it’s due to stress! I wasn’t stressed until I pick a clump of hair from the shower drain or my hairbrush daily!
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).
Iron supplements. Iron deficiency could be a cause of hair loss in some women . Your doctor may test your blood iron level, particularly if you're a vegetarian, have a history of anemia, or have heavy menstrual bleeding. If you do have iron deficiency, you will need to take a supplement and it may stop your hair loss. However, if your iron level is normal, taking extra iron will only cause side effects, such as stomach upset and constipation.
I too have suffered from hair loss, more noticebly over the past 2 year, although it first started 10 years ago. I am 39 female and always had a full head of hair. Now, my hair has gone dry, dull and and has lost it volume. I have been to my Dr and have had test done, however everything has come back ok. i.e. my hair los was not found to be down to any internal deficiencies hormones, nutrient levels, diseases etc , so now my Dr is referring me to a dermatoligst to see if the problem is due to the skin on my scalp. However it maybe advisable if you havent already, to visit a licesend Trichologist, this is someone who specifically deals with the scientific study of the health of hair and scalp, and would have a more thorough knowledge about your hair than any GP and by conducting a hair analysis, can identify your hair loss problem. I intially visited, and it was he who suggested I go along to my GP and ask for specific types of tests. However, he also informed me for some cases there are conditions that can be cured, but with other, it could simply be that hair loss pattern is heriditary which can occur in both male and female ( this does not necessarily need to come from your parents or grandparent, it could come from family gene from generations back, that so happened to show up in you generations later!). In this case, the frank truth is little can be done. However there are different topical treatments, and people do not have to go to the extreme of hair surgery or even having to wear undignified wigs. Below is a link to a product called Toppik which I have used. Basically it small fibre which are made from the same fibres as natrual hair, which use sprink onto your hair to cover bald and thinning areas. It adds body, volume, and makes your hair ‘magically’ appear full regardless of the lenghth of your hair. Its not expensive, and also come with conditoner and shampoo to give your hair that added volume, even to the most thinnest of hair. I hope this will provide some solution and even comfort to those experiencing hair loss. The link is below – Good luck
Minoxidil: This medicine is applied to the scalp. It can stop hairs from getting thinner and stimulate hair growth on the top of the scalp. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved minoxidil to treat hair loss. It is the only hair re-growth product approved for men and women. A dermatologist may combine minoxidil with another treatment.
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Alopecia areata tends to occur most often in adults 30 to 60 years of age. However, it can also affect older individuals and, rarely, young children. Alopecia areata is not contagious. It should be distinguished from hair shedding that may occur following the discontinuation of hormonal estrogen and progesterone therapies for birth control or the hair shedding associated with the end of pregnancy. There are a number of treatable conditions that could be confused with alopecia areata.
A separate study, published in Skin Therapy Letter — a professional reference site for dermatologists — found that women also benefit from using the more potent 5 percent minoxidil treatment. “Patient-reported improvement in hair volume and coverage appears to be greater with 5 percent minoxidil foam,” reads the report. Plus, because the 5 percent treatment is stronger, women only have to apply it once a day to get the same results as they would with the 2 percent treatment applied twice daily.
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?