Hair Loss: Am I balding?!?
Am I balding?!?! Thats what I thought when I noticed some of my hair falling off and honestly...I freaked! But it wasn't until I did a little of research that I realized why this was happening to me. Then, I started talking to other people and realized how common this is.
FACT: we loose 100-150 hairs daily
I went straight to my books and did some research about the topic and compiled some good info everybody should know about hair loss.
Things to consider when you go to your doctor:
- 50% of hair are lost before you notice anything
- Check your thyroid...your doctor might want to check your TSH levels (Thyroid stimulating hormone) to check if the cause of your hair loss is thyroid function
- Look at your testosterone levels (it can be associated with too much of this hormone)
Everything pointed to: first evaluate where the hair is and how much I've been loosing. Or even if really I was loosing hair. I looked really close to the scalp...figured out how much hair there is, how thick the hair, and how far or close the hair was. I know it sounded too complicated than how I wanted this to be, but I had to go to a hair expert.
Cassandra evaluated my hair down to the follicle (the base of the hair) and learned that the skin at the base of the hair was irritated and inflamed. I honestly didn't know why this was happening but it could be why I was thinning. She created a personalized formula for my hair thinning.
Androgenetic alopecia aka "male pattern baldness"
Don't just go by the name...it happens in women too (but more of a thinning of the hair) in guys it's more of the typical hairline receding and you can see it in about half of men over the age of 50 (but it can start at any age after puberty...ahhh). This kind tends to be found in families, and when there is a history of this type you gotta watch out for it.
This kind of hair loss tends to happen with other diseases of the immune system, it can show up on its own or with other disorders like hypothyroidism, in other words messed up thyroid and low thyroid hormones. Something pretty cool about this is, that it can recover on its own without any treatment (although not seen on everyone).
FACT: a normal scalp has about 100K hair follicles
You will see patches of hair loss in oval and round shapes, one helpful clue is nail pitting, which is pretty much just how it sounds. It can be seen in someone who has had a very traumatic or emotionally stressful experience.
This is something that many people do...including myself. It's when you pull you hair out almost like a way to control impulse to do something else. It can happen when you are anxious or as a repetitive thing...which happens in "patches" or places in your body where you tend to pull most often. I didn't know I was doing this, because others would notice it more than the person doing it.
I would pull the hairs out of my beard. I thought hair wouldn't grow there...but in reality. I was pulling it out. ouch. Just that it didn't hurt. It felt like a stress reliever...it's only when the person has large patches of hair loss that they and those around would really notice. (want to read more? click here)
Hair loss from "telogen effluvium" is from stress, really, can be seen in a large number of people (200,000 cases yearly in the US). When I say stress, I am talking about some major stressor like a loss of a loved one or even from childbirth in women and even someone who has anxiety. What ends up happening is the whole head of hair, has thinning going on. There can be many causes, but one that seems to be talked about from many dermatologists is dieting.
With the larger number of low red meat-protein eating and vegetarian diets, can cause an increase in hair loss. One of the interesting things about this form, is that its self-treated. which pretty much means: if the stress is gone, hair comes back. (read more? here!)
What can help?
Like a friend would tell me this is just like a KISS (keep it simple stupid). Like I said before, there are different causes of hair loss, and btw...this isn't it. There are more causes. There are a few things that can help with the reduction of hair loss and also thickening of hair (which was also my case).
Here are a few things that can help:
Like most would say when it comes to hair loss. Find the cause, then remove it!
If stress is the cause, find other ways to distress, some of these can be exercise more (like I mentioned in a previous post)
Maybe it's sleep you have to look into. The quality of sleep not the amount has to be evaluated and this can really improve your stress levels. Get a massage or go on a little staycation. What are you doing to help with stress. For me it helps to go for little walks during the day.
Diet: Sometimes looking at what you are eating or not eating...some studies point to deficiencies of certain minerals and vitamins can cause hair loss. Like I started to add collagen to my diet and really made my hair thicker. I found Vital Proteins and add it to my tea to give some support to my hair for a thicker look.
Collagen is pretty cool it can play a big part in renewing cells and is responsible for maintaining the strength and elasticity of bones, joints, tendons, skin, eyes, internal organs, nails and hair! Which is why you should look at your nails every now and then and find out if they are brittle or "pitting"
Also as simple as taking care of your hair on a weekly basis...like wash it with proper shampoo and conditioner for your hair type.
There are some medications that are helpful for hair loss and that you would need to talk with your doctor after you both determined what was the case.
Minoxidil (Rogaine): over-the-counter liquid or foam
hair regrowth, a slower rate of hair loss or both
peaks at 16 weeks and you need to keep applying the medication to retain benefits.
Possible side effects: scalp irritation, unwanted hair growth on the adjacent skin of the face and hands, rapid heart rate (tachycardia).
Finasteride (Propecia). prescription drug, only to men.
It's taken daily in pill form.
Rare side effects include diminished sex drive and sexual function and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Pregnant women or those who may be have to avoid touching crushed or broken tablets.