It is perfectly normal for people to shed 50 to 100 hairs per day. This generally doesn't cause noticeable thinning of scalp hair because new hair is growing in at the same time that hair is shedding. However, hair loss occurs when this hair growth cycle and shedding is disrupted or when the hair follicle becomes destroyed and replaced with scar tissue. Female pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is the most common form of hair loss in women. This occurs gradually and is caused by genetics (from either side of the family), age, and the action of a specific male hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone is found in lesser amounts in women and it preys on the hair follicles, preventing them from receiving vital nutrients for proper hair follicle growth, leading to the hairs shrinking, and resulting in a shorter lifespan. Interestingly, DHT does not need to be elevated to generate hair loss. Estrogen, when lowered as commonly seen in menopause, creates a change in the ratio of male to female hormones, giving an edge to these male hormones. Compounded with the sensitivity of DHT to the hair follicles, heredity can affect the age at which a woman begins to lose her hair, as well as the rate of hair loss and the extent of baldness.
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.
Well, I got the news yesterday – at 61, vital and as healthy as anyone could possible ever wish to be, yep, hair thinning on the vertex and allopecia of the eyebrows, the latter are almost gone. It started probably 10 months ago, still donot know exactly why, but laser skin therapy on my face and arms for those liver spots may have triggered it. I went to see Dr. Shelly Friedman here in Scottsdale, AZ. His assistant is very, very knowledgeable and extremely empathetic and friendly. Long and short: no cure, no idea where it really comes from. BUT, now there is laser therapy, the so-called Laser Cap, FDA approved etc. You put it on 3x/wk for 45 min. at home, you purchase the cap, and within 3 months your hair really becomes fuller and actually it already starts to grow back within 4 weeks. That would be a good solution for the head. You will have to continue doing this for the rest of your life, or until the scientists have found a different solution.
Minoxidil (Rogaine, generic versions). This drug was initially introduced as a treatment for high blood pressure, but people who took it noticed that they were growing hair in places where they had lost it. Research studies confirmed that minoxidil applied directly to the scalp could stimulate hair growth. As a result of the studies, the FDA originally approved over-the-counter 2% minoxidil to treat hair loss in women. Since then a 5% solution has also become available when a stronger solution is need for a woman's hair loss.
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.
I am 20 and have been losing hair since I was 17. It is such a confidence killer. I really do miss my beautiful thick and black hair. Now my hair is thin and a bit gray as well. I only think of it sometimes…but I used to be so depressed i can barely get out of bed. Whenever I am talking to someone, I always wonder if they are looking at my hair. I am currently using Rogaine for Women…it worked one summer when I was following the regimen religiously. However, I am so bad with routines, so now I try to remember to put it on my scalp morning and night. I recently also started to take Shen Min Hir Nutrients…not sure if it works yet. Does anyone have any advice? I really want to get a hair biopsy but I don’t know how. The places I called offered scalp analysis to prepare for hair transplants…which is not something that I am considering. I also saw 2 derms, one didn’t know what was wrong and only offered Rogaine as a solution, and the other said it is androgenic alopecia. I think I might have hormonal problems, but really not that sure. My scalp is always oily and so is my skin. Before my hairloss, I had really itchy scalp. Now it’s still oily but I wash it every other day. I also dye my hair to hide the gray. Sometimes I just feel so ugly and depressed in thinking about my hair. Beautiful hair is the only thing that I want back.
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.
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.
Current evidence suggests that alopecia areata is caused by an abnormality in the immune system that damages hair follicles. This particular abnormality leads to autoimmunity, a misguided immune system that tends to attack its own body. As a result, the immune system attacks particular tissues of the body. In alopecia areata, for unknown reasons, the body's own immune system attacks the hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation. Biopsies of affected skin show immune lymphocytes penetrating into the hair bulb of the hair follicles. Alopecia areata is occasionally associated with other autoimmune conditions such as thyroid disease, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. The diagnosis or treatment of these diseases is unlikely to affect the course of alopecia areata. Sometimes, alopecia areata occurs within family members, suggesting a role of genes.
Aside from the falling hair, I’m also experiencing bouts of arrhythmia. There are instances when my heart would beat slowly and it feels like it’s going to break my ribcage. It’s hard to breathe and I get dizzy. Do you think these are related? I don’t want to go to another doctor yet because I haven’t researched yet and because of my many disappointing experiences with them, I would never dare to consult with one without knowing anything.
“Once that hair has stopped shedding, it does regrow, at a rate of about a centimeter a month,” said Dr. Senna, who suffered from the condition after each of her pregnancies. She shares photos of herself with patients, to show she can sympathize. In one, her entire frontal hairline clearly is growing back in. “If I’d used a treatment, I would have thought it was a miracle drug,” she said.
Sinclair Scale: The 5-point Sinclair Scale is a modified visual grading scale. Grade 1 is normal. This pattern is found in all girls prior to puberty, but in only half of women age 80 or over. Grade 2 shows a widening of the central part. Grade 3 shows a widening of the central part and thinning of the hair on either side of the central part. Grade 4 reveals the emergence of diffuse hair loss over the top of the scalp. Grade 5 indicates advanced hair loss. This grade is uncommon, occurring in less than 1% of women.
Hello. Chris, I am so happy that you made an appt to see Dr. Redmond. How did it go? I really hope it helped. i have been on treatment now for almost 3 months. Dr. Redmond told me to be patient, that things could take a year to improve, but I do feel mostly that things have stabilized. In my work (i am a physician) I have seen alot of sad cases in the last few weeks. Young patients with major illnesses, some possibly incurable and fatal. It has made me really sad. It has also made me realize that regardless of what is happening to my hair, I have to try and be happy. I have to be thankful that I am healthy and have wonderful family and friends. Not that it is a consolation, but for us, our illness is on the surface and not life threatening…unless we make it by the psychological part. Thank you for everyone who has contributed to this website so that I can deal with the psychological part better. I am doing research into wigs now and will let all of you know when I have more info. Supposedly there is a soap opera star who was bald at 14 and has been wearing wigs for a long time. She has made a line of wig’s I think called Amy’s presence. It seems that she has led a happy life despite her hairloss. Once I found out more, I will let you know. I know its not a cure, but at least it is a remedy. One day at a time, I know we can all get through this. Be well.
My hopes and prayers are for all of us… that somewhere a doctor, an organic chemist, SOMEONE… ANYONE… will care enough to actually research this. Thank you, all of you, for your tears, suggestions and sharing. I WILL NOT WEAR A WIG… WHAT LIES BEHIND US, WHAT LIES AHEAD OF US, PALES IN COMPARISON TO WHAT IS INSIDE OF US. WE ARE STRONG, VIBRANT… WE WILL PREVAIL.
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.
About 2 years ago I lost approximately 50% of my hair and the quality went from thick, strong, straight, healthy hair to thin, weak, frizzy, kinky dry hair that not only sheds but breaks and flakes off pieces at my ends. My skin has become very dry and my nails have become weak also. I went to an endocronologist that put me on 125mg spironolactone which had been increased slowly over a period of a year. He also decided he wanted to give me a layered approach by adding on 2 other medications over a year, one was Glumetza ER 500mg twice a day and Actos 15mg once a day. He said my DHEA was a little high and that these drugs used for off label treatment would help grow my hair back. My hair stopped falling out and a little grew back but the quality of my hair was still very sickly almost like someone on a chemo drug. I was concerned about my liver and stopped taking the drugs, unfortunately my hair started shedding again.
You are what you eat – and that’s true for your hair as well. A diet containing mostly whole foods, especially the skin of plants such as cucumbers, potatoes, peppers, and even bean sprouts are rich in the mineral silica and contribute to hair strength. Foods like lean meats are high in iron and are essential to the protein-based, building blocks of hair growth.
decrease in your blood Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels. Finasteride can affect a blood test called PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) for the screening of prostate cancer. If you have a PSA test done you should tell your healthcare provider that you are taking Finasteride because Finasteride decreases PSA levels. Changes in PSA levels will need to be evaluated by your healthcare provider. Any increase in follow-up PSA levels from their lowest point may signal the presence of prostate cancer and should be evaluated, even if the test results are still within the normal range for men not taking Finasteride. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you have not been taking Finasteride as prescribed because this may affect the PSA test results. For more information, talk to your healthcare provider.
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.
Family history will often tell the doctor what type of alopecia a person has. Occasionally, a punch biopsy may be necessary to determine the type of hair loss. Looking at plucked hairs under a microscope can help to tell the difference between alopecia areata and androgenic alopecia. Other tests might be done to check for autoimmune diseases like lupus that can accompany alopecia.
“While nutritious eating isn’t going to bring your hair back by any means, eating plenty of protein-rich foods and healthy fats can make the hair that you still have look thicker and shinier.” Skimping on the B vitamins in particular can interfere with the formation of hair cells and, therefore, hair growth. The best sources of Bs are protein-packed foods like chicken, fish, eggs, and pork, as well as leafy greens such as spinach. (These foods are also good for melting belly fat, so it’s a win win).