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View Full Version : Shedding like crazy but not losing any thickness? I need your thoughts.



emilylightning
November 8th, 2013, 01:33 AM
ETA: I'd changed the title to "Shedding like crazy? But not losing any thickness [yet?] and for some reason it kept the original title? I was changing it while creating the thread... I'm really confused :confused:

I've looked at the other shed-related threads and I'm not seeing anything that will help my current situation :(

My hair seems to be falling out in handfuls. Trust me, I am NOT over exaggerating, I am having a measurably large shed. When I would run my hands through my hair before, I'd get maybe one or two hairs every time, now I'm getting anywhere between 5-15 EVERY TIME I RUN MY HANDS THOUGH MY HAIR!!!

My ponytail circumference is 3''. My shedding has been going on for at least a month if not longer, and my thickness has not changed. I have not found any bald spots. The circumference at the bottom of my hair is also 3''! It's really strange to me because ALL of the shed hairs I've been getting seem to be long ones!

My growth rate is still the same as usual.

Could this be being caused by my birth control? I've been on Sprintec [not tri, just spritec] for nearly a year now and I have not had any real side effects [until maybe now.]
Some say it could be seasonal, but wouldn't that have stopped by now?
I do have untreated mental issues such as anxiety, so could stress be a factor in this?

Whatever this is, I want to stop it before it becomes noticeable.

Flor
November 8th, 2013, 01:53 AM
Seasonal shed? Mine's been going for a bit more than a month now. If I remember correctly it usually slows down greatly by the end of November.

askan
November 8th, 2013, 04:56 AM
I'm also having a seasonal shed, I think, or hope anyway because then it's going to be over soon. Anyway, could it work to change washing products for a while? I've changed from CO-washing after reading that some people experienced that it made them shed more than usual (not sure if it has made any different yet).

I don't know about your birth control, have you heard anyone else with hairloss caused by Sprintec?
Side track: I have a copper IUD (just called "spiral" in Swedish) and I read just yesterday that it can upset your body's copper/zinc balance and cause a zinc deficiency, which can mean hair loss. I'm eating mainly vegetarian so I was a little worried. Can't we have any convenient contraception that leaves our health alone?!

I suppose stress could be a contributing factor. But isn't that also caused by the fact that the body uses up zinc during stress? Not sure about that though.

ETA: Feel free to correct me you know this zinc thing to be false. Don't want to be spreading myths!

Stray_mind
November 8th, 2013, 06:29 AM
It could be seasonal shedding. You wrote that your thickness doesn't change, so i suggest to keep watching the thickness and worry only if it's starting to decrease. :)

slynr
November 8th, 2013, 06:32 AM
I have been shedding more than usual as well. I was just thinking it might be increased seasonal shed.

Emichiee
November 8th, 2013, 07:14 AM
Just a word about "seasonal" sheds, I know they are common, but technically they should not happen and they are quite a mystery to science. Theories often suggest a change in Vitamin D levels plays a part and can show effct sooner or later.

Your shed definitely sounds like it is pretty bad. It is normal to barely show a difference after one month though. During my first hair loss episode (sig 09-10) it took three months to show a noticeable decrease and six months for my ends to disappear.
It also depends on how much you shed of course.

Stress due to anxiety could be a factor. But with hair loss imo it is good to look at everything because you might not have the time to wait it out (the hair keeps thinning). The first time I waited long before I got checked out and hoped it would stop on its own, but I wasn't lucky and there were health issues at play. I could have done something about it way earlier and really regret not doing something sooner. You could get some labs done like thyroid (with T3 and T4), prolactin, basic blood work to test for deficiencies, large hormone panel, and blood work to check for deficiencies or health issues in general.

If it is temporary it can stop after 3-4 months. It certainly should not exceed 6 months. If you are looking for the trigger think back about 3 months from where it started. Was it a stressful time?

chen bao jun
November 8th, 2013, 10:45 AM
I would get tested ASAP.
Some people always shed a lot, I'm one of them, I lose as much as you're talking about as a normal thing. So it doesn't change my thickness. But if there's been a change, and you know you weren't shedding this much before, I'd track it down ASAP. and do check out the birth control, definitely.
I personally don't think they will ever be able to invent a form of birth control that doesn't mess with your body, by definition birth control is 'unnatural' and therefore upsets a balance that your body is meant to keep itself in. Please note that I did not say 'wrong', I said 'not natural'. If we women would keep this in mind, I think we would be better prepared to question and better prepared to notice changes that happen when we are on it that are not good and also to do careful research. You CANNOT trust your doctor with this aspect of your health and just blindly follow what he/she says or recommends, they are taught to go by percentages, but you need to consider how you will feel if you turn out to be the 1% who is negatively affected by whatever and decide if you want to go with that risk.

Salmonberry
November 8th, 2013, 10:54 AM
I'm going through my regular seasonal shed right now. October/November are the worst months for it. That might be what you're experiencing. See a doctor just to be sure, but if there's no other explanation then it may just be the change in weather. Perhaps you're not seeing a decrease in thickness because you have new hairs growing in as the old ones are falling out.

lapushka
November 8th, 2013, 11:00 AM
It's the season for sheds, and esp. if your thickness isn't decreasing... why worry? You can lose up to 100 hairs daily! It's not abnormal (yet). I'd not focus too much on it, or stress about it. Only if it persists for months on end and your thickness decreases, then there's reason to get bloodwork done - although that never hurts.

jeanniet
November 8th, 2013, 01:21 PM
I have seasonal sheds in the spring, and while there may not be a scientific explanation for them, I have them every year (and the shed was the same when I was vitamin D deficient and then when it was corrected) and have for decades. But I have iii thickness and what you're describing (15 hairs) would be on the heavy side even for me. So while it could be seasonal, it seems unusually heavy for that, and if it's not something you experienced yearly, I wouldn't chalk it up to that. If you haven't been to the doctor lately, a blood panel is always a good idea at your age. We ran a blood panel on my son when he was 13 to check his vaccine immunities, and found out he was extremely hypothyroid with virtually no symptoms other than mild fatigue (and what 13 year old boy doesn't sleep late?) and some minor muscle twitching. Something may be going on without symptoms showing. I would also discuss your anxiety with him.

Emichiee
November 8th, 2013, 01:33 PM
I personally don't think they will ever be able to invent a form of birth control that doesn't mess with your body, by definition birth control is 'unnatural' and therefore upsets a balance that your body is meant to keep itself in. Please note that I did not say 'wrong', I said 'not natural'. If we women would keep this in mind, I think we would be better prepared to question and better prepared to notice changes that happen when we are on it that are not good and also to do careful research. You CANNOT trust your doctor with this aspect of your health and just blindly follow what he/she says or recommends, they are taught to go by percentages, but you need to consider how you will feel if you turn out to be the 1% who is negatively affected by whatever and decide if you want to go with that risk.

I agree with most of this. And birth control definitely contributes to hormonal imbalances that can affect your health and how you look long term.


I have seasonal sheds in the spring, and while there may not be a scientific explanation for them, I have them every year (and the shed was the same when I was vitamin D deficient and then when it was corrected) and have for decades.
That would make sense because the shed would stop months after it was corrected. It is good to keep in mind the length of the hair cycles, which is often around three months but can vary from 2-6 months. If the endocrine system is already out of balance, these cycles can be too. This would explain why some mothers shed hair even years after having a baby. Sometimes the body takes very long to find balance, and sometimes it will not find balance. Some women claim to have thinner hair even years post baby and that is why. Just an example :)


But I have iii thickness and what you're describing (15 hairs) would be on the heavy side even for me. So while it could be seasonal, it seems unusually heavy for that, and if it's not something you experienced yearly, I wouldn't chalk it up to that. If you haven't been to the doctor lately, a blood panel is always a good idea at your age. We ran a blood panel on my son when he was 13 to check his vaccine immunities, and found out he was extremely hypothyroid with virtually no symptoms other than mild fatigue (and what 13 year old boy doesn't sleep late?) and some minor muscle twitching. Something may be going on without symptoms showing. I would also discuss your anxiety with him.

I agree with that too. Better be safe than sorry. It really applies here, because it could be a health issue that has been manifesting for months and can progress while you wait it out. Take thyroid for example, with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis your body attacks your own thyroid. I personally would not want to risk destruction of my thyroid until it does not function on its own anymore.

jeanniet
November 8th, 2013, 02:40 PM
That would make sense because the shed would stop months after it was corrected.

Just to clarify, my seasonal sheds are not obviouslyrelated to the D deficiency. The D deficiency is a relatively new thing (diagnosed about two years ago and seems to be related to aging) and didn't show on prior blood panels. The seasonal shed has been a regular yearly occurrence for 20-30 years at least. I also used to have a lesser shed in the fall, but that seems to have tapered off in the past few years, which could be related to menopause. For the most part, I have a very steady shed pattern that has remained consistent for years, other than childbirth, and despite periods of poor nutrition and very high stress. I'm not sure why it's so consistent, though.

Emichiee
November 8th, 2013, 02:50 PM
Just to clarify, my seasonal sheds are not obviouslyrelated to the D deficiency. The D deficiency is a relatively new thing (diagnosed about two years ago and seems to be related to aging) and didn't show on prior blood panels. The seasonal shed has been a regular yearly occurrence for 20-30 years at least. I also used to have a lesser shed in the fall, but that seems to have tapered off in the past few years, which could be related to menopause. For the most part, I have a very steady shed pattern that has remained consistent for years, other than childbirth, and despite periods of poor nutrition and very high stress. I'm not sure why it's so consistent, though.

I am really not sure either why many shed consistently during the same time of the year. Like I said, even science does not have an explanation for it really. Only theories.
I would like to know though.

One thing to keep in mind with levels of all sorts is that they can fluctuate. So when blood work is normal at the time it does not mean it was perfect a while ago. With things like Vitamin D or a lack of iron all it takes is for the level to drop once, which already sends a certain amount of hair into the resting and later shedding phase. It really sucks though because it seems there is a very high risk to have a shed. :shrug:

Nature however only has a certain amount of growth cycles reserved for your head of hair (25-30 during your life time), so it seems that very frequent shedding would lead to thinning later in life and that the shed hairs won't regrow at some point.If one sheds yearly that equals 25-30 years of life.

My grandmothers have a full head of hair at 86 and 83 and they never even recall having gone through a shed. It would certainly be interesting to find out but I doubt there are a lot of Seniors past 80 on here :-)

jeanniet
November 8th, 2013, 04:33 PM
So far I've maintained the same thickness, more or less. It could be a tad less thick than when I was in my teens/early 20s, but not by much, if any. My mom is 82 and still has a thick head of hair. In fact, it's probably thicker than it was when she was younger and coloring/teasing. My aunt (her sister) on the other hand, did have thinning hair at the same age, but it was heavily dyed and permed, so I think that had something to do with it.

I was actually pretty surprised that my D deficiency didn't show symptoms in terms of hair shed, but then as I said my son was quite hypothyroid (TSH over 13) and had no apparent hair loss either. It may be that women are more strongly affected by thyroid in terms of hair.

emilylightning
November 8th, 2013, 04:56 PM
Thank you all for your helpful words! I think the next time I go to the doctors [which may not be for a while but I could get another appointment scheduled in between] I'll ask for another blood test to be done just in case.
I had one a few months back but that was before this shed started so the results from that [which came out as a perfect bill of health] wouldn't tell me anything, lol.

I hope that this shed slows down soon, before it becomes problematic. If I'm lucky it's just a seasonal shed and it'll be over soon ♥

ETA: Another thing that's been going on in my life is that I've been very tired lately. I should be getting plenty of sleep, I go to bed at 12-1 am and wake up at 9 am. I seem to be requiring more sleep these days. If that means anything, please let me know.

Emichiee
November 8th, 2013, 07:30 PM
ETA: Another thing that's been going on in my life is that I've been very tired lately. I should be getting plenty of sleep, I go to bed at 12-1 am and wake up at 9 am. I seem to be requiring more sleep these days. If that means anything, please let me know.

It could mean lots of things. Thyroid problems can cause this as well as a deficiency in a key nutrient like Iron, having low Vitamin D levels, or even not consuming enough good fats (actually for me eating enough good fats from raw butter, fatty fish, nuts, avocado and coconut oil really solved my fatigue problem that I had for over ten years ;))

jeanniet
With thyroid and all other conditions it does not have to show in your hair. Some people are very ill and have fantastic hair. This is also due to certain functions of the body not having been affected by the illness.
Vitamin D is actually a hormone so if you were not shedding it could mean that you are not very sensitive to the hormone fluctuations triggered by lack of Vitamin D.

Being able to maintain the hair's thickness makes sense with a low amount of shedding. I used to be an ii/iii with my ponytail being close to 4 inches. With the frequent sheds I have had since giving birth I can maintain a ponytail circumference from 31.-3.3 inches, even having shed every three months since earlier this year. So I think as long as one does not shed a ton you can just maintain at a certain thickness.

emilylightning
November 8th, 2013, 10:03 PM
I find a thyroid problem hard to believe because I'm very thin and thyroid problems tend to make people gain weight...?
Although I know absolutely nothing about the thyroid and medical stuff connected to it, as I am not a doctor! :lol:
I am taking a daily multivitamin, and I do sometimes forget to take it, but not often. However, I unfortunately do not have a very healthy diet. Thanks, poverty! :mad:

Flor
November 9th, 2013, 12:01 AM
I don't see seasonal shed as any sort of problem, because while I do consistently shed more in months of October-November, it's still within 150 hairs a day and during other months of the year, it's usually a lot less than that. And by February my head is full of new growth sticking every each way. So whatever's been shed is getting promptly replaced.

And I also don't believe vitamin D has anything to do with it, because a) I start supplementing in September (best way to avoid colds in fall/winter months) and b) hair I'm shedding now has gone into telogen stage in July/August, when there were still plenty of sunlight and natural vitamin D produced.

I think people should be more careful about spooking others with health issues diagnosis (based on very little data available). While seasonal shedding is a common and normal occurrence, acute stress about "something's wrong with me, I'm going bald, I gotta get tested for everything!" can do some real damage.

MonaMayfair
November 9th, 2013, 06:43 AM
I find a thyroid problem hard to believe because I'm very thin and thyroid problems tend to make people gain weight...?
Although I know absolutely nothing about the thyroid and medical stuff connected to it, as I am not a doctor! :lol:
I am taking a daily multivitamin, and I do sometimes forget to take it, but not often. However, I unfortunately do not have a very healthy diet. Thanks, poverty! :mad:

Thyroid problems DON'T always make you gain weight. I'm also naturally slim, probably underweight, and one of my symptoms when I was diagnosed hypothyroid (in addition to hair loss) was losing even more weight. It IS common to gain weight with an under active thyroid, but it certainly doesn't happen to everyone.

jeanniet
November 9th, 2013, 11:01 AM
I don't see seasonal shed as any sort of problem, because while I do consistently shed more in months of October-November, it's still within 150 hairs a day and during other months of the year, it's usually a lot less than that. And by February my head is full of new growth sticking every each way. So whatever's been shed is getting promptly replaced.

And I also don't believe vitamin D has anything to do with it, because a) I start supplementing in September (best way to avoid colds in fall/winter months) and b) hair I'm shedding now has gone into telogen stage in July/August, when there were still plenty of sunlight and natural vitamin D produced.

I think people should be more careful about spooking others with health issues diagnosis (based on very little data available). While seasonal shedding is a common and normal occurrence, acute stress about "something's wrong with me, I'm going bald, I gotta get tested for everything!" can do some real damage.

Actually, at her age a complete blood panel should be done just as a baseline anyway. That includes cholesterol levels, liver, thyroid, etc. as well. I did this with both my kids at the same age. Even if everything is perfectly normal, you have something on record and that can be quite valuable if a health issue comes up in the future. And as I pointed out, it's quite possible to have a health problem and not have significant symptoms anyway.

lapushka
November 9th, 2013, 02:57 PM
I think people should be more careful about spooking others with health issues diagnosis (based on very little data available). While seasonal shedding is a common and normal occurrence, acute stress about "something's wrong with me, I'm going bald, I gotta get tested for everything!" can do some real damage.

I don't think anyone is "spooking" anybody. These urges for thyroid checks and blood panel counts are only mentioned because people lived through it, were it was discovered too late, also because of a seemingly innocent thing as hair loss. That doesn't have to mean that anything serious is going on, however, shedding can have so many different reasons. And esp. when someone isn't losing thickness, there is little to no reason to worry that much. It's all up to the OP to think it through and do what's best in her situation.

prettyinpink
November 9th, 2013, 06:52 PM
Do you have other signs of low thyroid, such as thinning eyebrows, unable to tolerate cold, dry nails. It could be thyroid, the birth control, or it may be anemia

prettyinpink
November 9th, 2013, 06:56 PM
One more thing I almost forgot. Theres a home test to see if your thyroid is low. You just take your temp in the morning (something like that, try googling home thyroid test) Also try scratching a gold ring on your face. If the line it leaves is black, that means your anemic. Its not totally accurate though. Good luck!

MonaMayfair
November 11th, 2013, 06:56 AM
I don't think anyone is "spooking" anybody. These urges for thyroid checks and blood panel counts are only mentioned because people lived through it, were it was discovered too late, also because of a seemingly innocent thing as hair loss. That doesn't have to mean that anything serious is going on, however, shedding can have so many different reasons. And esp. when someone isn't losing thickness, there is little to no reason to worry that much. It's all up to the OP to think it through and do what's best in her situation.

I totally agree! I started noticing changes in my hair - it felt thicker, got wavier then started shedding badly - in the January, and I didn't get tested until the end of October. I did have other thyroid symptoms, but they're so random and seemingly unconnected (for someone who knows nothing about the thyroid I mean) that I didn't put any of this together.
If I'd got tested 10 months earlier, I might not have lost so much hair (over half of it) And when they DO put you on medication it has to kick in and the dosage might well need to be adjusted, so that's more months of hair loss.
Knowing what I know now, I'd advice ANYONE to get to the doctor at the first sign of excessive shedding. They might very well not be able to tell you why it's happening (as I know from reading hair loss forums, some people never get an answer - and never stop shedding either) but if there's something that can be done to help, you should look into it asap

And also remember that not everyone gets ALL the symptoms of anything. Lots of people have thyroid problems with not hair issues at all. Some people will have one or two of the symptoms, others will get the lot!

spidermom
November 11th, 2013, 07:10 AM
I seem to shed a lot in late summer some years. When I kept track of thickness in the past, I noticed that circumference would range between 3.8 and 4.2, so I decided it was nothing to worry about.

Angelicblaze
November 11th, 2013, 07:16 AM
My hair sheds pretty regularly. My thyroid was checked, for a different reason, not hair loss, and it came back fine.

Anything hormonal makes me shed like crazy. I shed during my cycle changes and if I take anything that affects my hormones, from bc to prednisone. I stopped anything hormonal and now it's just during my body's natural cycle that I notice an increase in shedding. Actually this is how I knew I was pregnant with my last, normally I shed heavily for about 2 days around ovulation, but I shed heavily for like 2 weeks, and I knew before I was able to test just on the shedding alone.

I lost lots of hair going on hormonal bcp, but after a year it seems like it'd be regulated, unless you missed some doses, then that would make sense. If it continues, like the others said go to a doctor. Hope it levels out and you find the cause.

Northerner
November 11th, 2013, 06:51 PM
I am slightly anemic according to my August blood test and I just tried the gold ring test. No black line.


One more thing I almost forgot. Theres a home test to see if your thyroid is low. You just take your temp in the morning (something like that, try googling home thyroid test) Also try scratching a gold ring on your face. If the line it leaves is black, that means your anemic. Its not totally accurate though. Good luck!

r00ski
November 11th, 2013, 08:32 PM
I find a thyroid problem hard to believe because I'm very thin and thyroid problems tend to make people gain weight...?
Although I know absolutely nothing about the thyroid and medical stuff connected to it, as I am not a doctor! :lol:
I am taking a daily multivitamin, and I do sometimes forget to take it, but not often. However, I unfortunately do not have a very healthy diet. Thanks, poverty! :mad:

Thyroid problems can go either way. You can either have a hard time gaining weight or a hard time losing it. If you are extremely thin you may have an overactive thyroid.

Also iron deficiency may be a big factor in shedding. My ferritin levels are low and I lose a bit of hair regularly because of it.

Flor
November 13th, 2013, 03:11 AM
I totally agree! I started noticing changes in my hair - it felt thicker, got wavier then started shedding badly - in the January, and I didn't get tested until the end of October. I did have other thyroid symptoms, but they're so random and seemingly unconnected (for someone who knows nothing about the thyroid I mean) that I didn't put any of this together.
If I'd got tested 10 months earlier, I might not have lost so much hair (over half of it)

Err, there's a difference between shedding more for a month in FALL when it's known to happen to a lot of people and waiting 10 months of nonstop excessive shedding and loosing half of the hair before getting tested. I'm not advocating ignoring symptoms and never going to doctors. But I know people who get panic attacks from worry about their health based on minor concerns and quickly develop psychosomatic issues when presented with a possible diagnosis on internet. That's why I said people should be more careful diagnosing one another based on very little data available.