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View Full Version : Hair Shed & Thinning - Why did this happen to you? (And how did you fix it?)



Kae612
August 7th, 2018, 12:35 PM
My hair is approaching tailbone, and in the last week or so I've been experiencing a MASSIVE shed. Just handfuls are falling out every time I even touch my hair, brushing, washing, undoing a braid. So much loose hair. And I mean HANDFULS. Worse, I can see more of my scalp up front than I used to. My hair has been thick to start with, so overall volume isn't noticeably too different yet but when I braid it it does seem to be a bit thinner.

I don't really know why this could be happening, but I have some theories. I'm hoping if I hear a bit about other people's experiences, I might be able to narrow it down and try to address things.

I'm using dandruff shampoo to try to address my dandruff. Maybe it is harsh or I'm not getting it all off and it's causing this? I use Selsun Blue and Life Brand. I've been losing weight since April - but this only just started. And I've not lost weight quickly, only 35lbs since the start of April. But maybe a prolonged deficit? Recently I started taking a progesterone bc the doctor recommended because of my bad cramps. Maybe that? New thing, but I can't find any info on hair loss and progesterone-only birth control. I've never found any vitamin deficiencies whenever I've had blood tests, but my iron was on the low side of normal. Maybe it got lower? Does that relate? idk. I'm only 25 so I wouldn't expect age. I've also been wearing more stick buns rather than braids because it's hot out and maybe that's creating more tension on my hairline?

akurah
August 7th, 2018, 01:08 PM
I’m still recovering from alopecia areata (I have two bald patches). The dermatologist asked me a pretty big slew of questions, and while we cannot say with absolute certainty the cause, we’re pretty sure it’s stress. She’s treating it with steroid shots, and while the response is lesser than desired I am responding to the treatment.

Honestly if I were you, I would go to the doctor to actually get to the root cause. Anything we suggest could either do nothing or make it worse.

lapushka
August 7th, 2018, 01:42 PM
I'm using dandruff shampoo to try to address my dandruff. Maybe it is harsh or I'm not getting it all off and it's causing this? I use Selsun Blue and Life Brand. I've been losing weight since April - but this only just started. And I've not lost weight quickly, only 35lbs since the start of April. But maybe a prolonged deficit? Recently I started taking a progesterone bc the doctor recommended because of my bad cramps. Maybe that? New thing, but I can't find any info on hair loss and progesterone-only birth control. I've never found any vitamin deficiencies whenever I've had blood tests, but my iron was on the low side of normal. Maybe it got lower? Does that relate? idk. I'm only 25 so I wouldn't expect age. I've also been wearing more stick buns rather than braids because it's hot out and maybe that's creating more tension on my hairline?

Kae612, I would get a bloodtest done, to rule out shortages of iron (notorious for hair loss) and other lackings in nutrients.

If you have been losing weight and not getting all your nutrients - that would be it. Not a shampoo!

ETA: but I agree with ^^ akurah, go see your family doctor.

guska
August 7th, 2018, 03:48 PM
Also, make sure you get enough sleep. Lack of sleep, along with stress, worsened my shedding.

spidermom
August 7th, 2018, 05:15 PM
Every year around the end of summer/beginning of autumn, I shed a lot more hair than at other times of the year. It's just how the cycle is timed for me, but I never noticed it before I joined LHC and began to pay close attention to all things hair.

The year my father died, 2015, and I was stuck in Ohio (but live in Washington state) during the probate process, I shed so much hair that I was clogging the vacuum cleaner hose. It was astounding. In 2016, I grew in so many new hairs at once that my head resembled a dandelion going to seed. It looked weird to me to have so many short hairs sticking out at the top and long hair hanging out at the bottom that I got my hair cut and layered. I felt much better about how I looked then.

See a doctor if you can because many things can cause hair to shed more than usual, and the doctor can rule out health problems causing it. You are likely to have to do some detective work on your own, though. It can be a hard thing to narrow down.

lapushka
August 7th, 2018, 05:17 PM
See a doctor if you can because many things can cause hair to shed more than usual, and the doctor can rule out health problems causing it. You are likely to have to do some detective work on your own, though. It can be a hard thing to narrow down.

I definitely agree that (for sure with the weight loss) seeing a doctor is priority N°1. :flower:

funfetti
August 8th, 2018, 11:31 AM
i second the suggestions of a blood test and looking at your diet. i struggle with anorexia and when i have relapsed in the past, the first place i see damage is in my hair. NEVER underestimate how much a deficiency or two can completely mess with your hair's health!
my hair makes me feel pretty and proud, so i see it as a reason to make sure i am healthy and care for myself well. if you are noticing big changes in hair thickness, especially with other issues in your body, you should see a doctor. you deserve to be healthy! :)

Ilyem
August 8th, 2018, 11:59 AM
A few years ago I suffered from an eating disorder for a few months and for the following year or two my hair was falling out in such a massive extent that people were pointing out how I have lots of hair on my back. It was so embarrassing. Finally my hair is regrowing now but what I have learned is that nutrition is unbelievably important as well as handling it extremely carefully. I try to brush it only very lightly, never when wet and to keep it in protective styles virtually all the time.

lapushka
August 8th, 2018, 12:01 PM
i second the suggestions of a blood test and looking at your diet. i struggle with anorexia and when i have relapsed in the past, the first place i see damage is in my hair. NEVER underestimate how much a deficiency or two can completely mess with your hair's health!
my hair makes me feel pretty and proud, so i see it as a reason to make sure i am healthy and care for myself well. if you are noticing big changes in hair thickness, especially with other issues in your body, you should see a doctor. you deserve to be healthy! :)

Truer words were never spoken. I bordered on the verge of an eating disorder (anorexia) for 6 months (3 months I lost my period and that's when my mom noticed and shook me back into shape). I lost 1/3 of my hair from those few months alone.

LittleHealthy
August 8th, 2018, 05:35 PM
Also things like a stressful event, trauma, going under anesthetic, giving birth etc can cause a reactive shedding to happen, sometimes even several months later down the track!

Kae612
August 8th, 2018, 08:28 PM
A few years ago I suffered from an eating disorder for a few months and for the following year or two my hair was falling out in such a massive extent that people were pointing out how I have lots of hair on my back. It was so embarrassing. Finally my hair is regrowing now but what I have learned is that nutrition is unbelievably important as well as handling it extremely carefully. I try to brush it only very lightly, never when wet and to keep it in protective styles virtually all the time.

Thank you for sharing that! I’ll definitely ask about a blood test as well. I’m going tomorrow.

I will also add - I’m not anorexic or low weight in the least. My weight loss was intentional and I am still categorized as “obese” , and my blood has always been fine in the past, but no harm in double checking.

Kae612
August 8th, 2018, 09:14 PM
Also things like a stressful event, trauma, going under anesthetic, giving birth etc can cause a reactive shedding to happen, sometimes even several months later down the track!

Oh that’s interesting! I did have a health issue back in October where I was hospitalized for 4 days. I wouldn’t have expected anything to happen so many months later, but if so then that might be the most logical guess.

akurah
August 8th, 2018, 11:01 PM
Thank you for sharing that! I’ll definitely ask about a blood test as well. I’m going tomorrow.

I will also add - I’m not anorexic or low weight in the least. My weight loss was intentional and I am still categorized as “obese” , and my blood has always been fine in the past, but no harm in double checking.
Rapid weight loss, even when going at a rate approved by your doctor, will still impact your hair. It’s not just about anorexia like others are saying b

lapushka
August 9th, 2018, 05:21 AM
Rapid weight loss, even when going at a rate approved by your doctor, will still impact your hair. It’s not just about anorexia like others are saying b

Yep! Very true.

Kae612
August 9th, 2018, 06:38 AM
Rapid weight loss, even when going at a rate approved by your doctor, will still impact your hair. It’s not just about anorexia like others are saying b

Yeah I’ve definitely heard that too, but it wasn’t rapid either. I’ve been losing less than 1lb/week, which is usually considered pretty safe. All the safe estimates are 1-2lb/week. But maybe I’m just unlucky and that was enough to trigger it lol.

lapushka
August 9th, 2018, 07:47 AM
Yeah I’ve definitely heard that too, but it wasn’t rapid either. I’ve been losing less than 1lb/week, which is usually considered pretty safe. All the safe estimates are 1-2lb/week. But maybe I’m just unlucky and that was enough to trigger it lol.

If you are losing hair, and you are losing weight. 1+1=2; just look no further. I would do a blood panel with your doctor and see what gives. Good luck. :flower: You never know!

Kae612
August 9th, 2018, 10:32 AM
If you are losing hair, and you are losing weight. 1+1=2; just look no further. I would do a blood panel with your doctor and see what gives. Good luck. :flower: You never know!

Thank you! I’m seeing her later today but gosh do I feel silly. It feels so surface/vain lol. It’s not like I’m in pain. I’m worried she might just dismiss it as normal or something because I don’t have bald patches to point to.

Margarita
August 9th, 2018, 10:45 AM
My hair got a lot longer, i have reached 14''(Past shoulder) length, and im happy enough it got longer, however this length is not the one i desire, i desire to reach the Classic length. Once my hair grew past my shoulders, sometimes i can notice hair shedding, sometimes bad hair shedding like last week. Last week when i washed my hair, i couldnt believe how much hair i lost. I washed my hair today, and literally my hair shed was A LOT less! Thankfully, i dont have any hair thinning, my roots are thick and my hair is naturally wavy, besides i make it even curlier with mousse so, it seems thicker( i had very thin hair in the past, now my hair is medium :) ). I only brush my hair when i have to wash it. So, excess "old" hair shed. I keep using castor oil and i guess thats what fixed my hair somehow. I've heard diet has an important role, health, genetics, and exercise. Good thing i stopped dying my hair!

Dee94
August 9th, 2018, 11:09 AM
I've noticed my hair shedding quite a lot lately. I'm not sure if it's the normal amount or not. I never really paid attention to my hair before, like I do now, so, I also have no idea if maybe its always been like this? But, every time I brush, there is always quite a bit of hair in the brush. It's also hard to tell if I am losing too much or not because my hair is already VERY thin... and I'm not exaggerating when I say very thin. There aren't any bald spots though (not yet at least). I haven't found anything to stop or slow it down yet though. I've had blood tests done before, because my hair wasn't growing (before i knew, it was actually chemically cutting) and all the blood work came back normal. I'm hoping me taking on this hair journey, my hair will start growing and being good again.

lapushka
August 9th, 2018, 03:17 PM
I've noticed my hair shedding quite a lot lately. I'm not sure if it's the normal amount or not. I never really paid attention to my hair before, like I do now, so, I also have no idea if maybe its always been like this? But, every time I brush, there is always quite a bit of hair in the brush. It's also hard to tell if I am losing too much or not because my hair is already VERY thin... and I'm not exaggerating when I say very thin. There aren't any bald spots though (not yet at least). I haven't found anything to stop or slow it down yet though. I've had blood tests done before, because my hair wasn't growing (before i knew, it was actually chemically cutting) and all the blood work came back normal. I'm hoping me taking on this hair journey, my hair will start growing and being good again.

Dee, my mom has i hair too. She, this week, washed it (Tuesday) and then she roller-sets it and it lasts her weeks; then it goes straight and she wears it until it's time to wash next (which can be a month to 2 months later, like this time). Her head is dry, and doesn't produce sebum, she went to our internist for it and he told her to wash the least possible. When it starts to get a little itchy from build-up (hairspray mostly), she washes it. She combs it out daily and loses a lot of hair as well.

They say if you're in the 100-150 range that you're good. You'll have to keep an eye on it, and as long as it doesn't get thinner or you lose chunks or get bald patches, then that is your normal shed rate.

Kae612
August 9th, 2018, 04:51 PM
Just to update, the doctor is checking my Iron, B12, and Thyroid. If they come back normal we are going to stop the medication I'm on. I also asked some weight-loss internet people and they think my math is terrible and I'm losing closer to 2lb/week, which is much faster than I thought/was aiming for and could also account for it. So thanks guys! And I guess I was kinda wrong about the weight loss not being so likely - could totally be the thing.

lapushka
August 9th, 2018, 05:22 PM
At least some things are getting checked. I asked my doctor to check vitamin D as well the last time I had blood drawn, which was pretty recent. :)

Kae612
August 9th, 2018, 06:23 PM
At least some things are getting checked. I asked my doctor to check vitamin D as well the last time I had blood drawn, which was pretty recent. :)

Yes, I think it's a good set. It's too bad I missed this before I went in! Although they did draw 3 vials for this, and taking more vitamin D/a multi shouldn't be too difficult to do anyway. I find getting blood drawn SO upsetting (I breathe heavily and today I ended up biting my other arm because it was taking SO long) I'm glad it ended when it did!

Wendyp
August 9th, 2018, 06:28 PM
You need a good doctor to do a really broad spectrum blood panel, check for nutrients all the major organ function, thyroid, and your hormones. Find a functional medicine expert if you can. Sooo many things can cause hair loss.

Kae612
August 9th, 2018, 10:19 PM
You need a good doctor to do a really broad spectrum blood panel, check for nutrients all the major organ function, thyroid, and your hormones. Find a functional medicine expert if you can. Sooo many things can cause hair loss.

How do you ask for a broad spectrum blood panel? It seems like every individual thing needs it's own vial of blood. I would have any left for myself! XD

Also you think Iron, B12, and Thyroid isn’t enough?

lapushka
August 10th, 2018, 04:59 AM
How do you ask for a broad spectrum blood panel? It seems like every individual thing needs it's own vial of blood. I would have any left for myself! XD

Also you think Iron, B12, and Thyroid isn’t enough?

Over here they do a full panel (most important things overall, in general) and they only take a few vials.

CrowningGlory
August 10th, 2018, 01:47 PM
How do you ask for a broad spectrum blood panel? It seems like every individual thing needs it's own vial of blood. I would have any left for myself! XD

Also you think Iron, B12, and Thyroid isn’t enough?

Low iron was responsible for my hair falling out by the handful. I hope you get answers soon. I know how distressing this is. And yes,if you've lost 35lbs since April (well done!) I think you're looking at closer to 2lb/week loss.

Kae612
August 10th, 2018, 07:19 PM
Low iron was responsible for my hair falling out by the handful. I hope you get answers soon. I know how distressing this is. And yes,if you've lost 35lbs since April (well done!) I think you're looking at closer to 2lb/week loss.

Thank you, yes I had to have someone point that out to me because math :/ haha or I would never have known. I've started taking a multi as of today anyway, so if it is iron or another vitamin hopefully this will start to help.

Kae612
August 16th, 2018, 09:45 PM
Good news re: hair loss (maybe) is that my Thyroid, B12, and Iron are all normal. So after this package I'm going to stop my medication and then see if that helps. I may still try to take the multi. It's probably good for me even if my levels aren't low.

I was at the dentist today and they take your BP and mine was low tho for some reason. Weird. Anyway.

If stopping the medication in a month, and upping my calories & taking the multi doesn't help I may ask for other tests. However, I was told that trauma/stress can cause hair loss 6 months + after an Event, and I was hospitalized about 10 months ago. So it could be that, and have nothing to do with the medication or calories, and that's hard to check. The best I can do is just work on this I guess.

I'm not getting that massive shed anymore, but the front is noticeably thinner now, and that hair along the hairline seems brittle and any gentle tugs seem to cause hair to fall out at the root. I can also feel some tingling on that area of the scalp, which seems ominous.

If I do experience more thinning, is there any styling or cuts etc that would be recommended, from those of you who've experienced this? I wasn't so nervous before because it wasn't so noticeable, but now it's getting there and it seems to be continuing. My hair is almost at hip (and I wanted to aim for classic :/ ) but if it'll help offset it I might cut it shorter. But idk if that would make it worse?

akurah
August 16th, 2018, 10:22 PM
Don’t cut it yet. If you discover the root cause and get it sorted within the year, you’ll probably be kicking yourself for cutting.

Eta: has a dermatologist looked at your scalp yet?

zashin66
August 19th, 2018, 10:42 PM
Nothing seems to be showing but I'm very scared something might. I have been through so much stress this year. I was congratulating myself that there didn't seem to be too much fallout but I spoke to soon as I'm now dealing with shingles and can't work. Besides the pain burning and itching of the shingles. Sigh.... I'm will just be so depressed if my hair falls out or gets thinner ....I guess it would be called a shed ....I have been on Valtrex for one week. Does anyone know if that can cause hair to fall out?

Kae612
August 21st, 2018, 09:03 PM
Don’t cut it yet. If you discover the root cause and get it sorted within the year, you’ll probably be kicking yourself for cutting.

Eta: has a dermatologist looked at your scalp yet?



No, although I might investigate that route. My vitamins & thyroid is all fine, etc. But my scalp is hurting in the area this is happening. Hair still seems a little too loose. If it’s srill the case a month after I’ve stopped the medication maybe it’s time to check that out.

Kae612
August 25th, 2018, 09:35 PM
Update: increasing calories is going well. I seem to have set off the hunger machine. Not reigning it in much. Still losing, slower I think though. Happy scale is rounding it to 1.3lb/week now instead of 1.7lb/week, so I think that’s a good sign.

However nothing else is good. My hair is continuing to fall. It seemed to have slowed but I just washed it and I got so so so much hair. I think my total hair volume is now about half what it was. It feels so small in my hands. Starting to get a little scared tbh. My doctor is on vacation for a month and I was going to see her to investigate some autoimmune things that might cause hair loss when she came back. But now I think I should go see someone sooner. But idk if a walk in clinic would care.

I’m not sure it’s the calories anymore. I’ll probably stay at the higher levels because it’s more fun - more food yay! But my theory is either it’s the delayed post-traumatic from my hospitalization last fall, or a Serious, Scary disease. ��

This might not be relevant to anyone I’m just freaked a little.

Kae612
August 30th, 2018, 12:31 PM
Don’t think anyone really is interested but I did end up cutting my hair. The falling hair was creating a massive matted tangled mass that was extremely difficult to brush out. I could no longer really do anything with my hair and it was generating a lot of anxiety. The falling hair was absolutely everywhere, in addition to the handfuls id get brushing or washing that I could wrap around my palm and put in the trash, loose hairs would get all over my sheets and on my legs and it was just. I couldn’t deal with it. ��

nikittyy
September 21st, 2018, 05:08 PM
I have always had baby fine thin hair, and abused it by straightening it every single day without using heat protectant for years. I also took accutane recently, which caused even more hair loss. I'm not sure how to combat this either and it's frustrating and upsetting.

TarsusIV
September 21st, 2018, 09:48 PM
I lost about a quarter of my thickness after an onset of extreme stress and iron deficiency. It's better now that I'm on an iron supplement, but the stress keeps returning which makes it fall out again. (I also don't eat well, so that's part of the issue). I'd recommend having some bloodwork done just in case!

AutobotsAttack
September 22nd, 2018, 01:49 AM
Idk. Recently I’ve been experiencing a lot of shed hairs. More than I ever have. Stress would be the main culprit.

I’ve taken to just getting my anger out. Yell for a few seconds, deep breathes, tell off whoever decided to irritate me, etc.

Granted I’m not a mean person, but this new job I have, if you don’t defend yourself they try to walk all over you. School has been a big stressor, but I’m passing all of my classes so I’ve just accepted that I should do my best and keep moving forward.

Hailwidis
September 22nd, 2018, 11:58 AM
I can really sympathise with you all... My shed started 2 years ago, when I was 23. I lost more than a third of my thickness in 6-9 months. After that the shedding slowed or stopped, but to be honest I have completely lost the sense of what my 'normal' is. My ponytail thickness feels pathetic, I can't do any of the updos I liked anymore, and I had to chop off more than 20 cm over time because my ends got so thin and lank.

I can tell that I have regrowth because I have lots of short hairs sticking out and blowing around my face, but I doubt I'll ever get my thickness back at this point. It's been really difficult and I just couldn't face posting here anymore when everything was going to hell with my hair.

I was never able to figure out what caused it. My GP didn't care at all. He agreed to have me get a bloodtest for iron, vitamin B and thyroid hormones (there's a strong tendency for thyroid issues in both sides of my family) but all of these were within the normal range. I did have a very stressful episode that summer and have increasingly been dealing with stress and anxiety, so everyone seems to agree that was the most likely cause for the initial shed. My GP didn't want to dig deeper than that.
At first I naively thought it was my shampoo that didn't agree with my scalp as the start of the shed coincided with my testing a new shampoo, but I've tried many different ones since and they didn't seem to have much of an influence on anything.

Tldr: why did this happen to me: I don't know, but probably stress. How did I fix it? I tried different shampoos but that didn't seem to have any effect (and was therefore likely not the root cause); with time the shed slowed down, maybe even stopped. I can't really tell.

Arciela
September 22nd, 2018, 02:40 PM
It happened to me when I bleached my hair (and then roots only) for about 8 months back in 2016. My whole household was commenting on how my hair was *everywhere* and I was like yeaaah that's just normal! No...turns out it is not normal lol. Bleaching made me lose most of my thickness and I was left as a ii instead of iii. Instantly I stopped bleaching back in May 2017 and since then my thickness has returned and then some, I am iii again, and my circumference is over 5" again. I was so scared at all the damage the bleach did and it really made me realize that stuff is bad news!

At least stopping the bleach and growing it for a solid year helped it regain its thickness..even though its only APL now, its getting there :flower:

lapushka
September 22nd, 2018, 03:57 PM
It happened to me when I bleached my hair (and then roots only) for about 8 months back in 2016. My whole household was commenting on how my hair was *everywhere* and I was like yeaaah that's just normal! No...turns out it is not normal lol. Bleaching made me lose most of my thickness and I was left as a ii instead of iii. Instantly I stopped bleaching back in May 2017 and since then my thickness has returned and then some, I am iii again, and my circumference is over 5" again. I was so scared at all the damage the bleach did and it really made me realize that stuff is bad news!

At least stopping the bleach and growing it for a solid year helped it regain its thickness..even though its only APL now, its getting there :flower:

I had about enough of bleach when I saw someone next to me at the hairdresser's go through a full bleaching process (she had a pixie). When the hairdresser ran a comb through, it's like a lot of it just detached at the root. Horrible to witness!

sophia_
September 22nd, 2018, 05:42 PM
I experience moderate seasonal shedding around March, but I don't seem to lose too much thickness from that. My mother lost a lot of her hair when she was about 20 years old, so I hope I can avoid that.

bekstamonkey
September 24th, 2018, 06:50 AM
I experienced a massive shed prior to my long hair journey, when I still had dreads about 10 years ago. Actually, the super-thin roots (which had never occurred with previous sets of dreads) was the reason for me cutting them off, and ultimately beginning my long hair journey. My shedding has been impressive since then (pulling massive amounts of matted hair out of my brush each week, would fill the bristles to the very ends), blood work all fine, doctors were all kinda dismissive of my thinning due to not losing clumps or having bald spots...although I still have ii thickness, once upon a time it was quite easily iii.

I knew something was wrong, but nobody seemed interested. I tried every 'remedy' I could find - castor oil, peppermint oil, caffeine, onion, various creams and lotions and shampoos, inversion and massage, etc etc etc. It took ten years to finally get a diagnosis of lupus. The rash that I'd also carried permanently on my arms the last ten years seems to have revealed the cause of my thinning hair. I've been on Plaquenil a month and my hairbrush (cleaned out two weeks ago) is STILL almost empty. I've got baby hairs all over my scalp!

Hailwidis
September 24th, 2018, 09:30 AM
I'm so happy to hear you have finally got to the root of your shed, bekstamonkey! It's a shame it took doctors so long to find the cause. Wishing you lots of regrowth and recovered thickness! :blossom: