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infinity_girl
April 4th, 2013, 08:06 AM
I seriously hate my hair. I have been trying to grow it for two years and it has hardly grown at all. On top of that it is just a stringy, not curly, not straight, dry at the bottom, oily on the crown mess with uneven length where bits don't seem to grow at all or break off. I don't know what to do. I really would love to have long flowing hair but maybe it is just not my destiny.

Can anyone give me advice on what might be wrong? I have tried so many different things in the last two years and they all seem to work for about a week before my hair reverts back to its stringy, messy, dry, uneven state. I am seriously thinking about chopping it to shoulder length but I don't know if there is even a point in doing that since my hair will still grow stringy and uneven. What on earth am I doing wrong? Do I just have really **** hair texture? Please help - I really don't want to cut my hair!

Here are two photos of my hair, one dry, one brushed with a tangle teezer;


Air dried;
http://i50.tinypic.com/210gcb5.jpg

Brushed with tt;

http://i50.tinypic.com/2pocua9.jpg

Emichiee
April 4th, 2013, 08:32 AM
Having that much of a hard time can be due to hormones.

Can you answer a few questions?
- how much hair do you shed a day?
- how is your menstrual cycle? Any pains, cramps irregularities?
- is your skin clear and balanced? Any dryness?
- does it seem you have damage while your bair is not obviously damaged.
- how much growth do you get?
- have you been on the pill ever?

My second thought would be thyroid, which is also hormones btw.:

- do you often feel extremely sleepy and/or brain foggy
- do your hands and feet get cold easily
- do you notice increased hair loss, maybe only once in a while
- Do you gain weight if you are not eating much
- is your body temp. below 97.8 F?
- is your skin dry? Possibly with acne?

Some basic things that would be good to know is your diet (maybe you lack something), lifestyle, hair care and products. Do you have any health issues, allergies, eczema or food intolerances? Any pregnancies?

Btw. your hair looks pretty healthy to me but if you have such serious problems growing something else might be going on. You seem to have many shorter bits that don't want to creep down.
There could be a few more problems going on but I want to see if it is one of these because they are common and can cause more problems.

I don't think it would be anything as insignificant as the wrong shampoo or brush, that does not cause hair not to grow unless you abuse the sh** out of your hair, which you are not.

Long_hair_bear
April 4th, 2013, 08:33 AM
Have you tried clarifying your ends? Or maybe change shampoos or conditioners?

I hope someone else will be able to be of more help than me. lol

infinity_girl
April 4th, 2013, 08:55 AM
Having that much of a hard time can be due to hormones.

Can you answer a few questions?
- how much hair do you shed a day?
- how is your menstrual cycle? Any pains, cramps irregularities?
- is your skin clear and balanced? Any dryness?
- does it seem you have damage while your bair is not obviously damaged.
- how much growth do you get?
- have you been on the pill ever?

My second thought would be thyroid, which is also hormones btw.:

- do you often feel extremely sleepy and/or brain foggy
- do your hands and feet get cold easily
- do you notice increased hair loss, maybe only once in a while
- Do you gain weight if you are not eating much
- is your body temp. below 97.8 F?
- is your skin dry? Possibly with acne?

Some basic things that would be good to know is your diet (maybe you lack something), lifestyle, hair care and products. Do you have any health issues, allergies, eczema or food intolerances? Any pregnancies?

Btw. your hair looks pretty healthy to me but if you have such serious problems growing something else might be going on. You seem to have many shorter bits that don't want to creep down.
There could be a few more problems going on but I want to see if it is one of these because they are common and can cause more problems.

I don't think it would be anything as insignificant as the wrong shampoo or brush, that does not cause hair not to grow unless you abuse the sh** out of your hair, which you are not.

I am hopefully getting a blood test tomorrow to check my thyroid.

I have some of the thyroid symptoms, for example, cold hands and feet (always), more hair loss recently, very low body temp. My skin is quite good, not too dry and not oily. I am 5'1" and I weigh 120lbs but I don't eat that much and I am not loosing weight.

My diet is fairly healthy. I eat very few carb and try and eat more along the lines of paleo diet (mostly meat, fruits, veg) although I do also eat some dairy produce. I use soya milk and I normally use splenda or stevia in my tea/coffee. I don't really exercise except taking my kids to school and back (about 2 miles round trip but only when they are not on holiday from school).

I think I have been shedding a lot more recently and I have a very sore, itchy spot on the top back of my head which I have had for about 6 months. I think my growth is less than 6" per year but hard to tell as my hair curls quite a bit. My periods are normal. I was on the pill about 25 years ago but haven't use anything since.

Do you think it is likely that it is due to hypothyroidism? But my hair has always been very stringy and I don't know what causes it?

MaryMarx
April 4th, 2013, 08:56 AM
Your brushed out hair reminds a lot of mine, but mine is shorter.
I'm pretty sure there's something going on with my thyroid, but it has not showed up on tests yet, and I can't seem to take the step to get it checked at another doctor. Will watch this thread.

infinity_girl
April 4th, 2013, 09:05 AM
Your brushed out hair reminds a lot of mine, but mine is shorter.
I'm pretty sure there's something going on with my thyroid, but it has not showed up on tests yet, and I can't seem to take the step to get it checked at another doctor. Will watch this thread.

I have had my thyroid checked before, at least 2 times and it always comes back "normal". However, on doing some research it seems there is actually a very big range of what is considered normal and here in the UK, doctors do only the very basic tests. Luckily this time I insisted that my Dr allow me to get checked for not just the thyroid hormone but a lot of different things to do with the thyroid and she agreed to it. Both my sibling and my mum are hypothyroid so it wouldn't surprise me if I was, especially since having my kids.

meteor
April 4th, 2013, 09:05 AM
I think your hair is fine and I like it!
There's some taper, so what? If you don't like the way it looks now, please try to keep it out of your way in a bun for a while. If you cut it now, you might regret it later. Especially since you are saying that your hair grows very slowly. Give it time.

Patience and avoiding impulsive use of scissors is the only necessary thing to have long hair.

Blood tests are a good practice for everyone! But especially if you suspect hormonal issues at play.

cathair
April 4th, 2013, 09:17 AM
It looks to me like your hair is naturally growing in a slight V-shape, mine appears to do this too. Could that account for some of the unevenness? I have trying to work out why this happens, I am coming to the conclusion it's maybe because I touch it more by putting it behind my ears and stuff, because it's always the bit that's dangling in something. Does your hair feel rougher at the front?

I was also wondering if you part you hair down the middle then pull it over you shoulders much? In the first picture it looks like your hair kind of springs back to that position and is making your hair look thinner than it is, I think that may be the curse of dark hair. It looks perfectly thick in the second picture. What was it like pre-LHC, are you growing anything out?

I don't think you hair looks messy, I love your untouched wurls :)

torrilin
April 4th, 2013, 09:18 AM
Your hair looks pretty reasonably curly to me. Curly hair tends to form clumps, and especially if you're used to the look of straight hair, the clumps can look weird. Stringy, dirty, rat tails, all manner of unflattering descriptions seem to spring to mind if someone wants straight hair and has curly. The combination of oily roots and very dry and crispy ends matches up well with curly hair too... often folks with curly hair have dry skin, and dry skin often reacts to strong cleansers by getting very oily.

The easy way to tackle the strong cleansers question is... use less shampoo. Don't wash every inch of your hair every day or twice a day (so if you wash all your hair twice a day, just cut back to 2 scalp washes a day to start). Just focus on the scalp, and on giving yourself a gentle scalp massage each time you shampoo. Pretty much everyone can get by with less shampoo that way. If you find that is working well over the next few months, you can try diluting your shampoo. The easy way to start that is take a small amount, lather it up in your hands and then press the lather into your scalp and distribute it via scalp massage. Add more lather if you need to.

Emichee's hypothyroid concerns are also good, and she's right that it sounds like more than just too much shampoo or the wrong shampoo. A lot of the time, hormone problems can all look a bit similar, so it *could* be other hormone imbalances too. Talk with your doctor about it for sure. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also act similar to hypothyroidism, so your doctor will probably want to rule those out just in case. Thyroid medication won't help much if you're anemic :).

Emichiee
April 4th, 2013, 09:31 AM
I am hopefully getting a blood test tomorrow to check my thyroid.

I have some of the thyroid symptoms, for example, cold hands and feet (always), more hair loss recently, very low body temp. My skin is quite good, not too dry and not oily. I am 5'1" and I weigh 120lbs but I don't eat that much and I am not loosing weight.

My diet is fairly healthy. I eat very few carb and try and eat more along the lines of paleo diet (mostly meat, fruits, veg) although I do also eat some dairy produce. I use soya milk and I normally use splenda or stevia in my tea/coffee. I don't really exercise except taking my kids to school and back (about 2 miles round trip but only when they are not on holiday from school).

I think I have been shedding a lot more recently and I have a very sore, itchy spot on the top back of my head which I have had for about 6 months. I think my growth is less than 6" per year but hard to tell as my hair curls quite a bit. My periods are normal. I was on the pill about 25 years ago but haven't use anything since.

Do you think it is likely that it is due to hypothyroidism? But my hair has always been very stringy and I don't know what causes it?

From your answers it sounds more like hypothyroidism than female hormones, but hormones can also cause problems and only have a few symptoms, so it is good to consider it too.
I would suggest to read www.stopthethyroidmadness.com to make sure your doctor tests you right.
Kids and the pill don't seem to be a culprit. Unless you have noticed changes to your hair after pregnancy?
I am asking because often mothers are left with a hormonal imbalance (me!).

I would definitely get a few things checked. Also to see if you lack Vit. D. or iron.
If it is thyroid I would consider alternatives to synthetic thyroid first. If these work for you - great, if not there is still meds.
My thyroid has been normal since a detox, balancing my hormones and later taking raw thyroid supplement.

Do you visit any Paleo Forums? Paleo Hacks for example? If. Ot you can get some dietary advice there. Soy I would not recommend. The phytoestrogens can be a problem to hormones and thyroid.

Under 6in of growth a year is not slow. The average is 12cm.

It would be good to know how much you shed daily. Maybe you can wear up your hair for a day and count. 100 is not ad normal as we think.
The sore spot may be eczema or a fungus? Dermatitis? That would be a case for the dermatologist.

What are your previous thyroid levels? Some thyroid problems go undetected because of wrong testing.

Have you ever been tested for PCOS?
Stringy hair can simply be genetics, it separates in bundles instead of staying in one blob. I have it too.
Products can make it worse, like conditioner or certain dyes. I wash SO.

Hypothyroidism and hormonal problems can cause texture changes as in rougher, dryer or frizzier hair, more prone to damage, increased shedding, shortened terminal length, slow thinning, slowed growth.

infinity_girl
April 4th, 2013, 10:19 AM
From your answers it sounds more like hypothyroidism than female hormones, but hormones can also cause problems and only have a few symptoms, so it is good to consider it too.
I would suggest to read www.stopthethyroidmadness.com to make sure your doctor tests you right.
Kids and the pill don't seem to be a culprit. Unless you have noticed changes to your hair after pregnancy?
I am asking because often mothers are left with a hormonal imbalance (me!).

I would definitely get a few things checked. Also to see if you lack Vit. D. or iron.
If it is thyroid I would consider alternatives to synthetic thyroid first. If these work for you - great, if not there is still meds.
My thyroid has been normal since a detox, balancing my hormones and later taking raw thyroid supplement.

Do you visit any Paleo Forums? Paleo Hacks for example? If. Ot you can get some dietary advice there. Soy I would not recommend. The phytoestrogens can be a problem to hormones and thyroid.

Under 6in of growth a year is not slow. The average is 12cm.

It would be good to know how much you shed daily. Maybe you can wear up your hair for a day and count. 100 is not ad normal as we think.
The sore spot may be eczema or a fungus? Dermatitis? That would be a case for the dermatologist.

What are your previous thyroid levels? Some thyroid problems go undetected because of wrong testing.

Have you ever been tested for PCOS?
Stringy hair can simply be genetics, it separates in bundles instead of staying in one blob. I have it too.
Products can make it worse, like conditioner or certain dyes. I wash SO.

Hypothyroidism and hormonal problems can cause texture changes as in rougher, dryer or frizzier hair, more prone to damage, increased shedding, shortened terminal length, slow thinning, slowed growth.

Hi Emichiee,

I take quite a few supplements - omega 3 oil, MSM, biotin, sublingual vitamin d (just started) and occasionally zinc when I remember. I haven't looked at Paleo Hacks. Will give it a peek, thank you for the recommendation. Yes, I am thinking of giving up the soya milk as the more I read about it, the worse it looks. My hair grows very unevenly, for example I have a large patch at the back of my crown which is only a few inches long and has been like this for years, it just does not grow. I have other parts that grow slowly and the only bits that seem to grow long are the very bottom layer above the nape of my neck. The sore spot is getting worse. It disappeared for a while but has come back in the last week. I think it might be scalp psoriasis because I have this on my elbows but my husband said it is not red or flaky, it is just extremely sore and itchy in this one spot.

The doctor is doing the following tests;

electrolytes,
creatinine,
liver function,
calcium group
serum parathyroid hormone,
vitamin d3 level,
thyroid function test, TSH, t3/t4
thyroid peroxidase antibody level,
c-reactive protein,
fasting blood glucose,
full blood count,
ESR,
Serum ferritin,
vitamin b12,
serum iron level.

She said the labs might refuse to do some of them (we are in the UK - eye roll).

torrilin
April 4th, 2013, 01:33 PM
The fasting blood glucose is the standard diabetes test. It's very accurate for Type I diabetes, and problematic for Type II and gestational diabetes. And well, if you were Type I you'd know it. Or be dead. In Type II and gestational diabetes patients, a fasting blood glucose winds up as accurate as the finger prick tests diabetics use at meals... ie, not very unless you have a *lot* of careful test data. It's not a useless test, but it's probably not the right test either. The A1C test tends to give less confusing results in Type II diabetes cases. I'm not sure whether it's clearer for gestational diabetes too and some of the gestational diabetes disease mechanisms don't act identical to Type II. I have no idea what the NHS diagnosis standards are. In the US it's still very hard to get doctors to use the A1C test as often as it should be used.

For vitamins and minerals, I know there's a single test that can be done to cover a bunch of the options your doctor has listed. I'm sure there are accuracy issues with it compared to testing each one individually, but it may be easier to get the NHS to do the broader spectrum test.

infinity_girl
April 4th, 2013, 01:40 PM
The fasting blood glucose is the standard diabetes test. It's very accurate for Type I diabetes, and problematic for Type II and gestational diabetes. And well, if you were Type I you'd know it. Or be dead. In Type II and gestational diabetes patients, a fasting blood glucose winds up as accurate as the finger prick tests diabetics use at meals... ie, not very unless you have a *lot* of careful test data. It's not a useless test, but it's probably not the right test either. The A1C test tends to give less confusing results in Type II diabetes cases. I'm not sure whether it's clearer for gestational diabetes too and some of the gestational diabetes disease mechanisms don't act identical to Type II. I have no idea what the NHS diagnosis standards are. In the US it's still very hard to get doctors to use the A1C test as often as it should be used.

For vitamins and minerals, I know there's a single test that can be done to cover a bunch of the options your doctor has listed. I'm sure there are accuracy issues with it compared to testing each one individually, but it may be easier to get the NHS to do the broader spectrum test.

I don't think they are testing me for diabetes, mostly thyroid and certain vitamins.

torrilin
April 4th, 2013, 02:04 PM
And yet your doctor has a fasting blood glucose listed... I'd ask about it.

It's actually *right* to test for diabetes at the same time as you test thyroid function. Doctors talk about the hormone system, and a disturbance in one hormone will automatically cause changes in your other hormones. That's one of the reasons why hormone disorders can all look really similar. Pinning down the exact hormone that's gone wonky and how can be kind of tricky, and testing as much of the hormone system as possible can make it easier. If your doctor is trying to do this tho, I believe there are some tests missing. Not sure, it partly depends on what the NHS diagnostic standards are... and unlike in the US, the UK does really fairly well at working out best practices for testing and applying them. And hormone related stuff is hard! There are reasons we have doctors who specialize in it. I just know the diabetes bits well enough to nag my mother, and that's a really simplistic view.

Emichiee
April 4th, 2013, 02:44 PM
Diabetes is not completely impossible.

torrilin
What single test is that, that also tests for lack of minerals?
I keep coming across info that suggests we all lack minerals for the same reasons we often lack vitamins - change of the soil overy a very long time and foods not being as nutrient dense. So it would be interesting to test. I know Dr. Wallach suggests to supplement with Minerals.

infinity_girl


I take quite a few supplements - omega 3 oil, MSM, biotin, sublingual vitamin d (just started) and occasionally zinc when I remember
All these are good. Also important could be ferrous iron (there are differences), a lack of zinc can cause problems, calcium, magnesium...the list goes on :rolleyes: Because one can lack A LOT of vitamins, I am searching for a great multivitamin at the moment with the right doses (some are dosed l o w ....) and ingredients. I have also been looking into mineral supplements. There seems to be a great brand, but 100 USD for three months really is a lot, and I have not read enough about this to be sure it is necessary to buy exactly that. Often there are more affordable ways.

Vitamin D3 is a very important hormone made by our own body with, for example, sun exposure! One easy fix is to get a decent amount of sun, but NOT to burn...makes sense? Sun is important, and a lack of it just as bad as too much sun.
BUT, some people have trouble absorbing and making enough Vitamin D, plus there is not a lot in food. So supplements are a good idea. One can take up to 10 000 IU of Vitamin D, but more then that is not regarded as safe. There is no danger of ODing on 10 000 IU since our body can make up to 50 000 in a day. I carefully tested raising my Vitamin D and my doctor did a few lab tests on the higher dose. I was still very much in the normal range.


My hair grows very unevenly, for example I have a large patch at the back of my crown which is only a few inches long and has been like this for years, it just does not grow. I have other parts that grow slowly and the only bits that seem to grow long are the very bottom layer above the nape of my neck. The sore spot is getting worse. It disappeared for a while but has come back in the last week. I think it might be scalp psoriasis because I have this on my elbows but my husband said it is not red or flaky, it is just extremely sore and itchy in this one spot.

That is a clue!

Psoriasis (and dermatitis and eczema) is an autoimmune disease.
Psoriasis is also an indicator of a severely leaky gut (thats how we develop the autoimmunity in the first place), with a very high likelihood of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). It is also very commonly linked to a gut-brain connection problem with inflammation and autoimmunity targeting skin cells. There is a complex interplay between a leaky gut, a stressed body, loss of insulin and leptin sensitivity, mood issues, food sensitivities, and the inflammation that manifests as psoriasis. Basically, if you suffer psoriasis, chances are your gut, your immune system and your hormones are all really messed up.
Source: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/04/modifying-paleo-to-treat-psoriasis.html

I am looking into gut issues too and modifying my diet accordingly, since Paleo is often not enough and some other foods have to be cut out, at least for a while to promote gut healing.
Prior to that I regulated my hormones, liver enzymes, hair loss, PMS and more doing a detox with herbal supplements (of which some balance hormones). For my thyroid I took Raw Thyroid supplements and it is completely normal now (my levels improved some during the detox already).

The way you describe your hair growth sounds very much hormonal. Our hair is often the first thing to go bad, since the body focuses energy on other parts of your body, and compared to that your hair is not important.
Imho it is good that you are looking into it now. My hair has made me aware of pretty much every health issue I rid myself of ;) Your health can only improve and your hair will follow.

Since you mentioned some thyroid symptoms earlier: if fatigue or sluggishness is one of them, have a quick look at your (Paleo) Diet: 1. Do you eat enough good fats, also saturated fats? 2. Do you eat enough good carbs? 3. Is your protein intake balanced? (to high is not good either), do you most often avoid problematic foods like Grains or dairy? Are your cosmetics Paleo?

What I noticed is that I still got brain fog because I was still ingesting/absorbing small amounts of wheat etc. here and there. So I made sure my cosmetics are free of things, and I made sure to eat strictly Paleo, unless it is a no Paleo day.
I think it is better than frequently eating small amounts of X, because it will constantly be in your body. If you eat mostly clean, your body will forgive you a cheat day. I have found that for me dairy and rice are the least problematic, but wheat and gluten I avoid for a month or more and only make an exception for something special :). This way I stay clear and energetic in the meantime.

infinity_girl
April 4th, 2013, 03:21 PM
Diabetes is not completely impossible.

torrilin
What single test is that, that also tests for lack of minerals?
I keep coming across info that suggests we all lack minerals for the same reasons we often lack vitamins - change of the soil overy a very long time and foods not being as nutrient dense. So it would be interesting to test. I know Dr. Wallach suggests to supplement with Minerals.

infinity_girl


All these are good. Also important could be ferrous iron (there are differences), a lack of zinc can cause problems, calcium, magnesium...the list goes on :rolleyes: Because one can lack A LOT of vitamins, I am searching for a great multivitamin at the moment with the right doses (some are dosed l o w ....) and ingredients. I have also been looking into mineral supplements. There seems to be a great brand, but 100 USD for three months really is a lot, and I have not read enough about this to be sure it is necessary to buy exactly that. Often there are more affordable ways.

Vitamin D3 is a very important hormone made by our own body with, for example, sun exposure! One easy fix is to get a decent amount of sun, but NOT to burn...makes sense? Sun is important, and a lack of it just as bad as too much sun.
BUT, some people have trouble absorbing and making enough Vitamin D, plus there is not a lot in food. So supplements are a good idea. One can take up to 10 000 IU of Vitamin D, but more then that is not regarded as safe. There is no danger of ODing on 10 000 IU since our body can make up to 50 000 in a day. I carefully tested raising my Vitamin D and my doctor did a few lab tests on the higher dose. I was still very much in the normal range.



That is a clue!

Source: http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/04/modifying-paleo-to-treat-psoriasis.html

I am looking into gut issues too and modifying my diet accordingly, since Paleo is often not enough and some other foods have to be cut out, at least for a while to promote gut healing.
Prior to that I regulated my hormones, liver enzymes, hair loss, PMS and more doing a detox with herbal supplements (of which some balance hormones). For my thyroid I took Raw Thyroid supplements and it is completely normal now (my levels improved some during the detox already).

The way you describe your hair growth sounds very much hormonal. Our hair is often the first thing to go bad, since the body focuses energy on other parts of your body, and compared to that your hair is not important.
Imho it is good that you are looking into it now. My hair has made me aware of pretty much every health issue I rid myself of ;) Your health can only improve and your hair will follow.

Since you mentioned some thyroid symptoms earlier: if fatigue or sluggishness is one of them, have a quick look at your (Paleo) Diet: 1. Do you eat enough good fats, also saturated fats? 2. Do you eat enough good carbs? 3. Is your protein intake balanced? (to high is not good either), do you most often avoid problematic foods like Grains or dairy? Are your cosmetics Paleo?

What I noticed is that I still got brain fog because I was still ingesting/absorbing small amounts of wheat etc. here and there. So I made sure my cosmetics are free of things, and I made sure to eat strictly Paleo, unless it is a no Paleo day.
I think it is better than frequently eating small amounts of X, because it will constantly be in your body. If you eat mostly clean, your body will forgive you a cheat day. I have found that for me dairy and rice are the least problematic, but wheat and gluten I avoid for a month or more and only make an exception for something special :). This way I stay clear and energetic in the meantime.

Emichiee, I have had psoriasis for years and have tried EVERYTHING to clear it from steroids, dead sea minerals, changing my diet, Chinese herbal medicine, nothing has cleared it permanently.

I do not have brain fog and I feel quite well in myself, have quite a lot of energy (although I am quite lazy :)) and I certainly no longer have that afternoon drain that starchy carbohydrates gives you. I think I eat quite well, I am not strictly paleo since I have two little children and a husband and don't have the time or money to make different meals for us all but I try to stick to it 80% of the time. I don't drink alcohol or smoke, I sleep well (when my kids let me) and I am fairly clued up on alternative health and read lots of books as it really interests me (the thyroid idea came from The Mood Cure book).

I just feel like my hair has been like this for as long as I can remember and everything I have tried has only been a temporary crutch. Something is giving me dry, brittle, inconsistent hair growth and texture and I don't know what it is.

By the way, have you tried looking at i-herb for your supplements? Even with postage from the US, this is normally so much cheaper than anything you can buy in the UK or Europe?

jacqueline101
April 4th, 2013, 05:39 PM
Are you sure it's not a product issue. Something you're using causing issues.