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View Full Version : Feeling discouraged...another major shed.



amantha
May 20th, 2012, 04:06 AM
I just need to rant and commiserate with people who understand how much this upsets me. My doctors brush me off every time I bring up the fact that my hair is shedding a lot. They just go, "Huh....that's weird" and then move on to another topic.

My last major shed ended roughly in January after going on for about 8 months. It was due to severe iron deficiency. I lost about 1/3 of my hair during that period. So I was really excited when the shedding all but stopped. My hair even went through a growth spurt and a lot of it started growing back in too. My iron levels are still low, but they have increased quite a bit since then. I take my vitamins religiously.

Then in March I started noticing that I was shedding a lot of the baby hairs that had started to grow back in after my last shed. And then I noticed in April that my hair hadn't really grown very much if at all. And now for the past two weeks my shedding has increased gradually with each wash and the hair at my temples is thinning. The shower I took tonight was the worst I've ever seen it. I lost over 300 hairs in the course of 3 days (time since my last wash) in the shower and during detangling. They were a mix of long hairs and short baby hairs. That amount is not even close to normal shedding for me. I had only been shedding maybe 20-30 hairs during each shower before this. Now every time I run my fingers through my hair, several more shed hairs come out.

I'm just really bummed out about this. My hair thinned out significantly during my last shed...I can't even fathom how bad it's going to get this time. I know it's just hair.....but....my hair! :(

There are several reasons why I think this might be happening but I really have no idea which is the culprit:

1. Almost exactly two months ago I had a severe allergic reaction to a pneumonia vaccine that I got. Within minutes it felt like someone took a baseball bat to my arm...and by later that day my arm swelled up and got hot and I was very dizzy. Not even two days later I also developed a 101.5 degree fever and a rash that spread from my arm across to my chest and back. I had to go to the ER and receive intravenous antihistamines. The fever passed about 24 hours later. I read online that high fevers can cause hair loss weeks to months later. So maybe that's it?

2. Since February my PCOS symptoms have recurred and gotten worse, despite the fact that I'm on a high dose of birth control. I saw my doctor last week, who tested my testosterone levels and they were the highest they've ever been. They're about 2-3 times higher than they should be for a woman my age. They're higher than they were even when I wasn't on the pill. I know hormonal problems can cause hair loss too. So maybe that's it too?

3. I've been fairly depressed and anxious for several months because I recently graduated college and I'm trying to find a job. I have found one but I didn't get it until last week. So the stress has been accumulating for months. Maybe that's it too?

I just feel really discouraged because once I got the last shed under control, a new one is starting. This is coupled with the fact that my PCOS is back in full force and it's the worst it's ever been and I've been dealing with weight gain, bad skin, and a whole multitude of other unpleasant symptoms that make me feel gross. And now my hair is falling out....again.

Has anyone else been through multiple sheds back to back before? Any advice on how to end them quickly? I do take MSM, but clearly that isn't helping anymore. Can't take Biotin because it gives me awful acne.

If you read through all of this, thank you.

vamq
May 20th, 2012, 04:26 AM
First of all, I am really sorry to hear this, and I hope things will get better for you soon :(

It's a good thing that you still visit a doctor about this. I think your iron level may have something to do with this, but you stated before that things got better, so I doubt it, but it might just make the shedding worse. If I am correct, too much testosterone can cause shedding, but I am not an expert. Isn't this something you can ask your doctor about?

In my opinion, on the long run I think stress is causing a lot of the shedding as well. I have had a major shed starting in July last year. They checked all of my bloodwork because a lot of weightloss was involved as well, but they couldn't find a thing so it must have been stress. I must note that I developed an anxiety disorder around the same time.
My weight is stable now and my stress is far less than last year. My hair is not falling out as badly as before. But even now, I notice that small amounts of stress that wouldn't have an effect before (e. g. exams) triggers a shed. (I'm going through one as we speak, it has been lasting for a good month now). It's like my body "needs" less stress to start a shed.
Maybe this is the case with you too? This sounds like it will never end, but it will get better. Even though I still shed crazy amounts, there is more hair growing back in. In the end, I'm sure I will get a lot of my thickness back. If the job was your main stressor, things will probably get better but it may take a good while :)

longhairdream
May 20th, 2012, 04:39 AM
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millyaulait
May 20th, 2012, 04:54 AM
I'm so sorry, amantha. I know how you feel - I go through awful, awful shedding & I can't figure out why.

I would really ask you to find a new doctor, and tell them just how much this is upsetting you & that you want to walk out of the doctor's surgery with something getting done about it.

They can run more blood tests, especially hormone tests as you have PCOS. Are you medicated?

I hope you can get this under control - there are things that doctors can do so you must *push* them to treat you. That's what they are there for so don't leave without a fight! :flower:

summergreen
May 20th, 2012, 06:00 AM
Hi amantha, I feel for you. I have had multiple sheds; since the post partum shed after my daughter was born it seemed to become my hair's default setting when anything was going wrong.

I agree that you need to get your doctor on side about this, look for a new one if necessary.

I would also suggest seeing a homeopath. I have had success stopping sheds with this. I would try to find one who also has some training in conventional medicine - my homeopath is a qualified pharmacist and I trust her completely.

MsBubbles
May 20th, 2012, 09:19 AM
:grouphug: I'm so sorry to hear about your re-shedding. I agree with those who have said to see a new doctor, and also a homeopathic one. You might feel less frustrated and helpless if you are taking action towards finding out some answers. It gets expensive even going to an office visit/consultation, but who knows, maybe you will be lucky and find a wonderfully caring and knowledgeable doctor who wants to actually help you?

Why are you on a high dose of birth-control?

I have also read that fevers can cause shedding. I hope it's not true for only a few days' worth of fever! I had a 102 degree fever for 4 days back in March, so am watching carefully 4 months from then to see if I will get another shed and undo all that has grown in from last fall.

amantha
May 20th, 2012, 10:55 AM
Thank you all so much for your responses! I really do appreciate it. :blossom:

I still can't help but feel a little heartbroken over this shed. I'm just hoping it doesn't last forever like my last one did. I even remember in March consciously thinking, "ok...if you start shedding in a couple of months from now...DON'T PANIC...it's because you had that fever from that allergic reaction." But here I am panicking, because I don't think 101.5 is that high of a fever...and it only lasted about 24 hours. I've read that fevers in the range of 103+ degrees are considered high and can warrant hair loss.

vamq I'm sorry to hear about your sheds too. :( I think you're right, that it might be a combination of factors. I've been through some serious and much worse stress than I've been going through the past few months and not shed hair, but I think you're right in that I wasn't iron deficient and didn't have elevated testosterone back then so with all those factors together it makes for a perfect storm of hair loss.

millyaulait I'm sorry about your shedding too. Have you talked to your doctor about it as well? My doc did run blood tests which revealed that my testosterone is the highest it's ever been, even with a high dose of birth control which is SUPPOSED to lower my testosterone. Apparently it's not working or my body is so screwed up hormone wise that I'm making so much testosterone that the birth control can't lower it. The only thing I know that would definitely lower my testosterone and most likely stop my hair loss is to take Spironolactone again. But that's not really an option since it gave me chronic migraines about 2.5 years ago and I've never been the same since. I'm just starting to feel slightly normal again migraine-wise, and I don't want to mess it up again for years by dabbling in Spironolactone again. My doctor did put me back on Metformin again, which I started exactly a week ago. Supposedly that can help with testosterone. Once I saw my blood results online, I e-mailed him asking for advice. I don't expect to hear back until tomorrow or Tuesday. When he responds I'm going to be more direct about my hair loss and how it needs to be fixed.

summergreen Sorry about your sheds too. Do you recommend any homeopathic treatments that have worked for you? I took Saw Palmetto, Nettle, and Black Cohosh capsules for about 6 months last year and didn't see results. Buuuuut, I also didn't know about my iron deficiency back then. So they may not have worked for that reason.

MsBubbles Yeah the shedding plus the PCOS stuff does make me feel very helpless. My doctors are pretty awesome otherwise. They take every other concern I have very seriously...except my hair! I don't know why. I should probably just get more assertive about that. I think they just assume that if they treat the supposed underlying problem, my hair will stop falling out. Which I suppose is true but I can't wait around for the better part of a year to see if they're right. To answer your question, I'm on a high dose of birth control to help with my PCOS symptoms. But apparently it's not really working anymore so who knows. That's never happened to me before...recurrence of PCOS symptoms while on birth control. And oh man!! I really hope you don't get another shed too from your fever. Wishing you luck!

Thanks again for your responses guys. The only other person who I know would understand besides the wonderful people at the LHC is my mum. She used to be a longhair when she was my age but ended up having to cut her hair from classic length to about BSL due to a terrible post partum shed with one of my older brothers. I'm going to try and call her later today and vent.

Hopefully my doctors will have some advice to make it stop. I'm going to try and think positively until then.

Valfreyja
May 20th, 2012, 11:23 AM
Hi, Amantha. Please, please don't get discouraged. I've had similar problems and if it makes you feel any better please know that things can and do improve. With me it was a mix of anxiety as well as an extremely poor diet coupled with extensive hair abuse and smoking. Naturally I don't think all these things apply to you but for me it did help to force myself out of doors every day for a bit of yoga/meditation in the park.

Supplements are fine (I take them too) but it is best by far to take these nutrients in through the diet itself. Try eating as many fresh vegetables and fruit daily, and keep it varied. Dark vegetables are best for iron, as well as sardines in tomato sauce and red meat. Please keep in mine I haven't a clue which of these things are helpful or not, just trying to suggest everything that comes to mind that helped me. Magnesium tablets help regulate my mood and I sleep better and my anxiety has improved somewhat.

Silica, seaweed, cinc are also good for the hair to some extent. There are more things, but that's outside my realm of knowledge, sorry I could't be more help to you. *hugs*

Valfreyja
May 20th, 2012, 11:24 AM
Sorry, double post! Not sure how that happened. :/

BunnyWabbit
May 20th, 2012, 11:53 AM
I absolutely sympathize. I lost probably 3/4 of my hair a few years ago and it is still growing back in. For me it took getting a proper diagnosis about what general health condition was causing the shed and a trip to the dermatologist. If you feel like your doctor is brushing you off and something more is going on, my advice is simple - find a better doctor! Or at least see a dermatologist. With a derm they can figure out exactly what kind of hair loss you are dealing with. If it's related to your general health conditions or if it's a sign something worse is going on, etc. They may even be able to prescribe treatments.

HTH!

summergreen
May 20th, 2012, 01:57 PM
summergreen Sorry about your sheds too. Do you recommend any homeopathic treatments that have worked for you? I took Saw Palmetto, Nettle, and Black Cohosh capsules for about 6 months last year and didn't see results. Buuuuut, I also didn't know about my iron deficiency back then. So they may not have worked for that reason.


A homeopathic practitioner will talk to you for ages about all sorts of things - energy levels, sleep patterns, emotions, food likes/dislikes, medical history etc - before choosing a remedy s/he thinks is right for you. Its a really individual thing, you'd probably be given something different to me and there are so many different remedies and strengths. I know you can buy remedies from companies like Nelsons but I wouldn't try to choose one for myself, the way they do it is really complex!

I have asked my homeopath before about the herbs you mention - she said it would be best to consult a herbalist (didn't need to though as her remedy worked - I was just panicking and trying to cover all bases).

(She also said that those herbs would only work if the hair loss was definitely testosterone related - which I know is an issue for you but I'm mentioning in case it helps anyone else reading.)

So sorry to be boring but I would definitely recommend going to a professional homeopath/herbalist! HTH :)

Honeyfall
May 20th, 2012, 02:45 PM
:grouphug: Doctors can be frustrating, can't they? I have gone through similar sheds before and whenever I bring it up they always brush it off, saying most people go through seasonal sheds every six months or so. As if, you know, 20+ years hasn't been enough to teach you what is normal shedding and what isn't for you.

Shedding sucks and I am really sorry you're going through it, my dear. I hope that it clears up soon.

Emichiee
May 20th, 2012, 06:06 PM
I'm sorry you are going through this! :(

I had my share of hair loss. When I started out on LHC I had to grow out layers, thinned ends, damage and dye and by the time my hair looked almost perfect and was close to my goal length, and shed ruined all I had achieved within a half year.

I was patient and it got better with time, but when I was happier with it again another shed hit. For me both were hormonal.



1. Almost exactly two months ago I had a severe allergic reaction to a pneumonia vaccine that I got. Within minutes it felt like someone took a baseball bat to my arm...and by later that day my arm swelled up and got hot and I was very dizzy. Not even two days later I also developed a 101.5 degree fever and a rash that spread from my arm across to my chest and back. I had to go to the ER and receive intravenous antihistamines. The fever passed about 24 hours later. I read online that high fevers can cause hair loss weeks to months later. So maybe that's it?
I had a very similar reaction to vaccines before, especially my MMR measles vaccine in 2007. Honestly, after every sort of vaccine my health took a downfall for a longer period of time, even years. I quit vaccines.


2. Since February my PCOS symptoms have recurred and gotten worse, despite the fact that I'm on a high dose of birth control. I saw my doctor last week, who tested my testosterone levels and they were the highest they've ever been. They're about 2-3 times higher than they should be for a woman my age. They're higher than they were even when I wasn't on the pill. I know hormonal problems can cause hair loss too. So maybe that's it too?

I used to have Hashimotos and a Pituitary Tumor and I had to take meds. However, I quit them after the birth of my son so I could breastfeed. I also changed my diet because I notice certain foods can cause me flare ups. My levels are now normal. I would suggest doing lots of research and trying to find the culprit if possible. I have heard of PCOS cases bettering. I also used to be better on the pill, but I was too worried about long term side effects of it.
Hormonal problems really can be your worst enemy when it comes to hair.
Of course there is ways of trying to control it with medication, but my worry would be- "how will this look on the long run?". Someone with thyroid problems can just experience worsening of symptoms throughout their life. At some point even a high dose won't solve things. :(
I have been looking into alternatives.

As far as regrowing goes, I find a trim helps, then maintaining and slowly regrowing. I also work on eating a good diet. Sadly there is not much else to do other than being patient.

I hope your hair improves soon, and sorry I can't help much. I wish there was a sure solution to the problem.

Silverbrumby
May 20th, 2012, 08:02 PM
I've been on thyroid meds now for 7 years and all my old pre-medication hair is now gone. Part of the reason I joined the LHC boards was to try to help my new post-thyroid hair as much as possible. I don't quite understand it. It's so different. Part of it is also hormonal thinning shifting as I approach my 50's. That I sort of expected but it still doesn't stop me wanting to do everything I can.

So far I've found biotin seems to help, a great diet, good oil in the diet, head massages and Monistat. Monistat isn't helping with my growth rate at all but it does appear to be helping reverse the male patterning hair thinning I had going on with my estrogen levels falling. I'm only at week 8 of the monistat experiment but I 'think' it's helping. I've got another 10 months to go of apply 3 to 5 times a week. I'm committed to give it a good try. I'd even be happy using it for the rest of my life if it helps.

If you have any of that cream, the monistat, you would try it in the thinning temple areas for 4 weeks. By that time if anything is going to grow back it will be noticeable.

Good luck with all of this. My hair sheds have been sad. When I do two braids they are tiny now.

Maelyssa
May 20th, 2012, 09:07 PM
I'm sorry you are going through this! :(

I had my share of hair loss. When I started out on LHC I had to grow out layers, thinned ends, damage and dye and by the time my hair looked almost perfect and was close to my goal length, and shed ruined all I had achieved within a half year.

I was patient and it got better with time, but when I was happier with it again another shed hit. For me both were hormonal.


I had a very similar reaction to vaccines before, especially my MMR measles vaccine in 2007. Honestly, after every sort of vaccine my health took a downfall for a longer period of time, even years. I quit vaccines.



I used to have Hashimotos and a Pituitary Tumor and I had to take meds. However, I quit them after the birth of my son so I could breastfeed. I also changed my diet because I notice certain foods can cause me flare ups. My levels are now normal. I would suggest doing lots of research and trying to find the culprit if possible. I have heard of PCOS cases bettering. I also used to be better on the pill, but I was too worried about long term side effects of it.
Hormonal problems really can be your worst enemy when it comes to hair.
Of course there is ways of trying to control it with medication, but my worry would be- "how will this look on the long run?". Someone with thyroid problems can just experience worsening of symptoms throughout their life. At some point even a high dose won't solve things. :(
I have been looking into alternatives.

As far as regrowing goes, I find a trim helps, then maintaining and slowly regrowing. I also work on eating a good diet. Sadly there is not much else to do other than being patient.

I hope your hair improves soon, and sorry I can't help much. I wish there was a sure solution to the problem.

I'd also like to mention something that Emi didn't. I believe that she got similar brush offs from doctors when she brought up her hair loss until she brought them the shed hair from each day in a bag. They took her much more seriously after that and I think it helped them treat her more effectively.

amantha
May 20th, 2012, 09:36 PM
Thanks everyone so much for your advice and sympathy! Until my doctor gets back to me I've just been trying to do relaxing things to forget about it. I went to IHOP for the very first time ever today with DBF. It was meh but at least I can say I've been to IHOP. I also did some gardening.


I'd also like to mention something that Emi didn't. I believe that she got similar brush offs from doctors when she brought up her hair loss until she brought them the shed hair from each day in a bag. They took her much more seriously after that and I think it helped them treat her more effectively.


I actually seriously thought of doing that too. The amount I lost yesterday clogged my giant shower drain strainer. I was contemplating stuffing it in a ziploc and showing it at my next my appointment to just be like "See!! It's not in my head!" :p

Emichiee
May 28th, 2012, 06:01 PM
Yes I collected hair just recently to figure out if it was a normal postpartum shed or higher amount than just increased shedding. I was not treated however, my prolactin was raised but it eventually went down. Better late than never ;)

Mesmerise
May 28th, 2012, 06:16 PM
I just saw your thread, and I am certainly in a position to empathise with you!

In mid 2010 I had a major shed where I lost a good portion of my hair (no idea how much, but it was a lot) the shed went on for a few months and then ended. Phew! Well, I kept growing my hair even though the ends were quite thin, and I was reassured by the baby hairs coming back in.

But then, just as my hair was actually starting to thicken and I was getting a reasonable circumference, it started to shed AGAIN, and I lost a lot of that progress. That was towards the end of last year. It seemed to ease off after some months, but then seemed to pick back up a bit again.

I have really been trying NOT to focus on how much hair I'm losing and just get plenty of exercise, eat a good diet and not look too much at my hair :rolleyes:. I feel that my hairline seems much thinner than it used to, and I even cut bangs to try to hide it a bit (but the bangs annoy me so at the moment I'm growing them out until I can figure out what to do).

I have no idea what caused my shedding... the first may have been from a big change in diet... the second??! It is very, very frustrating because I am at the stage where I really want to grow my hair long, for the first time EVER and actually just achieve that goal without giving up and cutting. But there are times the thinness of my hair makes me just wanna chuck it all in. However, at the same time I feel as if I've gone too far to just cut it all off. I DID cut a LOT of hair off last year and lost significant length, and while in a way I think my hair needed it, I still have some regrets that my hair isn't now past my waist (originally I planned to just grow it to waist/hip and then maintain until I thickened up, but in the end I just chopped away at the thinnest of the ends).

spookyghost
May 28th, 2012, 06:19 PM
Im realy sorry that this is happening to you-and again to boot! I think Im shedding more then usual right now and it has me scared to death. I have fine hair to begin with so I cant imagine losing alot. I have no idea if its in my head but I think my part looks wider. When I shed I shed during the shampoo and once I rinse I take the hairs out of the drain. Then I condition and then take the hairs out of the drain. I also have hairs in my hands after I put my leave in and it bothers me. I have always shedded a descent amount but once I started using the Mira hair oil and then stopped it got a little worse. Before I found LHC, I never thought too much of my shedding. We have hard wood floors so the amount of hair that was on the floors was amazing-I would always joke that I was worse than a dog! Then I found this site and realized how terrible shedding is and that its thinning me out more than I would like. So I feel really bad for you or anyone else going thru a terrrible shed. Good luck and keep us posted on how you are doing.

Thenolegirl
May 28th, 2012, 08:48 PM
I went through depression and serious anxiety when I started college away from home two years ago (now I have good coping methods with an anxiety disorder I've had all my life), but I lost A LOT of hair. I can't tell you how much, but my hair was limp, thin, and it came out non-stop like you are describing. I was also strengthening, curling, and tearing at my hair with rough brushes - ironically to hide the thin hair.

Stress. And also the PCOS as well. Anything dealing with hormones will factor into hair loss.

But you are getting baby hairs! They may have come out now from some stuff going on, but that means that your hair is trying to make a comeback. =)

It will be fine :) I was at times where I thought there really was no light at the end of the tunnel. You will get there. :flower: