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.
Many medical conditions can cause hair loss, with thyroid disease a common culprit. Thyroid problems include both an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) and an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). Because hair growth depends on the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, abnormal levels of thyroid hormone produced by this gland can result in hair changes, along with many other side effects, if left untreated. When there is too much thyroid hormone, the hair on your head can become fine, with thinning hair all over the scalp. When there is too little of this hormone, there can be hair loss, not just on the scalp, but also anywhere on the body.
“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.
Re-growing hair: It is likely that the hair will grow back even without treatment. It may fall out again, though. Most patients lose their hair more than once before the disease goes away for good. Even people who lose all the hair on their scalp and body can have their hair grow back. When hair loss is widespread (lots of hair loss on the scalp and/or body), there is a greater chance that the hair will not re-grow.
Interesting. After reading these posts, I called a dermatologist in the Houston, TX area asking for an appt. and whether he prescribes medication for hair loss in women. I mentioned Spironolactone. He told the nurse that he does not, and that it can actually cause hair loss. This is exactly the frustration we all experience. You hear a different opinion from each Dr. and don’t know what the right answer is. If anyone knows of a good endocrinologist in Houston, please let me know. I’ve been losing hair for about 5 yrs (now 39 yrs) and have to use hair-loc extensions just to feel confidence when in public. I did not see much about Propecia in these posts. Have any women taken it w/ much success?
The pattern of hair loss, especially whether it is focal or diffuse, also may be helpful (Figure 1). The hair-pull test gives a rough estimate of how much hair is being lost.2,4 It is done by grasping a small portion of hair and gently applying traction while sliding the fingers along the hair shafts. Usually one to two hairs are removed with this technique. The hairs are then examined under a microscope (Table 2).
Leprosy (Hansen's disease) is a disfiguring disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium leprae bacteria. The disease is spread from person to person through nasal secretions or droplets. Symptoms and signs of leprosy include numbness, loss of temperature sensation, painless ulcers, eye damage, loss of digits, and facial disfigurement. Leprosy is treated with antibiotics and the dosage and length of time of administration depends upon which form of leprosy the patient has.
The main symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss. Hair usually falls out in small patches on the scalp. These patches are often several centimeters or less. Hair loss might also occur on other parts of the face, like the eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard, as well as other parts of the body. Some people lose hair in a few places. Others lose it in a lot of spots.
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.
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.
Hello all, it feels so good to know that I am not alone in this hair battle. I started noticing hair thinning at around 16 (I had ‘horse hair’ before (thick and strong) as my mom would call it). I chalked it up to the crash diet I did at 15 where I lost about 30lbs in about 2 months…since then my hair has gotten thinner and weaker over the years. I just turned 26 and this had been the worst year for my hair. I got married in Aug and some would say it could be the stress from that event but I say NO to that. I’ve had extensive blood work done…iron, testosterone, etc etc blah blah blah…EVERYTHING came back NORMAL! It seems as if nothing can help me! This last derm I saw today just told me to stick to rogaine, and when I asked about Provillus (these pills I heard about) he said he never heard of it and to try it and let him know! I have cried so much this year! I can’t even part my hair in the middle anymore because it’s so thin..and washing it? omg that’s an emotional rollercoaster on it’s own…my scalp is always so oily and the rogain is making it worst! and so ITCHY! AND FLAKY! What can I do now? who should I see? What makes this even more bizzare is that my acne now is worst than it ever was! I was skinny with lots of hair and clear skin in HS and now? It seems I can’t lose the 15lbs I’ve packed on and this acne stuff isn’t making it better! My husband isn’t much help because he doesn’t get it..I don’t know what else to do, someone please help me.
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.
You ARE the same inside, but you are also different… you’ve been through a lot and it is so difficult to to stay strong through this experience. I won’t even go into the hair stuff, because it sounds to me that this is not what your post is about. You need to get some really solid support and find something other than your hair to focus on. You need an awesome hair system…and support system. From there, I hope and pray for you, that you will be able to find happiness and balance in your life again. You are a glorious human…don’t doubt that for a moment!
I would like to encourage you to join the Network if you have not already. There are so many wonderful women in this beloved Network that would love to hear your stories. The emotional toll that hair loss can have on women can be devestating and knowing that we are not alone helps to set us on a firmer foundation as we walk this journey called “hairloss.”
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.
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.
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.
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.