Help me regrow my hair.
August 11, 2010 7:31 PM   Subscribe

I think my hair is too thin and it's not related to genetics, what could it be? I'm a 30 year old female.

All the men (and women) in my family have thick, full heads of brother, my dad, both of my grandfathers, so I know it's not genetics. I just feel like my hair is way too thin for my age and it's really bothering me. A few people have even commented on it so I know it's not all in my head. Has this happened to anyone and have you successfully treated and saw hair regrowth?

I know I should probably start with getting a physical and getting blood work done and getting my thyroid checked. Is there anything else I can do?

For the record, my hair is not over processed. I wash it everyday with organic shampoo and then condition it. I do not blow dry and or put products in my hair. Once every few months I'll dye it with a semi-permanent hair color.

I feel like I eat a healthy diet and my BMI is 22.5. I do feel tired a lot no matter how much sleep I get though.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have your doctor check your thyroid; hypothyroid symptoms include hair loss and fatigue. If you do have hypothyroid, it can easily be controlled with Synthroid.
posted by infodiva at 7:41 PM on August 11, 2010

thyroid, maybe. check out PCOS, though. the diagnosis may take an ultrasound, etc. thyroid issues are reputably tricky. i would reccomend a consult with a really good naturopath for thyroid stuff. get the #s from your insurance doc and then pay out for the naturopath. where are you?
posted by lakersfan1222 at 7:41 PM on August 11, 2010

Have you ever had super long hair? One of my cousins has thinning hair and my mom said that it started pretty early and was because she had waist-length hair when she was younger and the hair was so heavy.

(And obviously everything my mom says is true, even if it's completely unrelated to any actual medicine.)
posted by XMLicious at 7:42 PM on August 11, 2010

Oops, sorry - I somehow missed your comment re: having your thyroid checked!
posted by infodiva at 7:42 PM on August 11, 2010

seconding myself as per consulting a few professionals on this one if your insurance or wallet can handle it.....i'll memail you with other alternatives....
posted by lakersfan1222 at 7:43 PM on August 11, 2010

Can't rule out genetics just by looking at your family, thanks to recessive genes and what not. I doubt all of the genes that contribute to something like this are even close to being fully understood (that goes for a lot of human traits).

But of course you should still look into other things since you can't do anything about genetics anyway. I wonder if stress could be a factor?

Best of luck to you.
posted by Diplodocus at 7:45 PM on August 11, 2010

i would reccomend a consult with a really good naturopath for thyroid stuff.

OP, this is bad advice. You should speak to a medical doctor who meets all applicable licensing requirements in your location. In general, and especially when it comes to something as complicated as potential endocrine issues, advice from persons who do not have a demonstrable, thorough familiarity with the relevant disorders and clinically proven treatment regimens (as well as the background medical knowledge conferred only by actually going through the licensing process doctors endure) is guaranteed to be a waste of time and perhaps dangerous.

TL;DR: Schedule an appointment with your physician, explain to her everything you've told us here, and make sure you describe the constant feeling of tiredness is early in the conversation and with specificity. Good luck and I hope this ends up being something easy.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:49 PM on August 11, 2010 [13 favorites]

Do you often wear your hair tightly pulled back?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:52 PM on August 11, 2010

OP here, I guess I don't care anymore that everyone knows. I'll answer a few questions that have been brought up. I used to keep my hair long when I was younger, but for the last 5 years or so I keep it just below my shoulders. I only wear it back for work but it's never tied tightly back. Also I have a pretty low stress life so that isn't it.

The tiredness thing, and I know this sounds bad but I've felt like this for all of my adult life. I never feel rested and I know I should have sought professional advice about it before but I never have. It's just a state of being that I have become accustomed to. I haven't even had a physical or female check up since I was around 20 or so. I've been meaning to go to the OBGYN because my period over the last year has become very, very heavy (chunky) and very painful. I'm such a horrible procrastinator and I'm ashamed that I haven't been to a doctor in so long. I'm in Virginia and I have health insurance to pursue this further.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:02 PM on August 11, 2010

I am 31, and a few years ago my hair was drastically thinning. I had no idea what the cause was, but I did have very severe dry scalp/dandruff, which nothing had worked for UNTIL I tried tea tree oil, which worked like a charm (I've heard that if the dandruff issues is fungal in nature, tea tree oil works when nothing else does because it is an anti-fungus agent.).

Anyway, when I started applying that to my scalp the dandruff all but went away AND a LOT of my hair grew back, and grew longer. It's not 100% thick but it looks fine and the thinning is not really that visible most of the time.

So, I don't know if that's your situation, but if you do have dry scalp and nothing else works, it could be related to the thinning and I would highly recommend tea tree oil (can be bought at GNC and other stores like that.)

I've also read that thinning hair can be caused by stress and pollution.
posted by bearette at 8:13 PM on August 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've dealt with hair loss from medication recently, but in narrowing it down to that I did a lot of research. You wouldn't believe how many things can cause hair loss in women! Too much vitamin A, not enough vitamin B, medications including birth control pills, hormonal imbalances, weight loss, thyroid issues, hair worn in ponytails, genetics, and on and on... And sometimes it just happens as shitty luck of the draw.

The important thing is to talk to your doctor about it. It may have a simple answer (for me it was stopping a specific medication - now I look like a baby chick with all my short new hairs growing back) or you may benefit from something like women's Rogaine. And know that you aren't alone.
posted by cecic at 8:15 PM on August 11, 2010

Throw a vitamin D check in with that thyroid panel; a smart GP or endocrine geek will just do it, but you may have to push a bit.

I've got alarmingly low D levels, and the fatigue/ aches/ etc. all suck. It also causes hair problems.

Fortunately, treatment is cheap and really helps.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:29 PM on August 11, 2010

Marydellamorte, get thee to a doctor! All of the things that you have just listed - the hair loss, the listlessness, the crappy periods could all be signs of fibroids and really severe anemia. You need to get a blood draw and gyno exam, stat!

These are things that are really easy to address, and just think about how much better you are going to feel!
posted by msali at 8:35 PM on August 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Msali, I have a family history of fibroids. My poor mother had a terrible time with them and eventually had a full hysterectomy in her mid-thirties because of it. Her mother also had problems but not nearly as bad as my mother did. I know all signs point to going to the doctor but the first hurdle is that I don't have a GP. The only two times I had to go to a doctor in the last 8 years was to get antibiotics for a UTI and then once for a throat infection. I just went down the street to Patient First.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:45 PM on August 11, 2010

Please don't feel ashamed for not going regularly to the doctor. It's okay, and it happens to lots and lots of people, for all kinds of reasons--money, lack of insurance, fear, trauma, lack of access to services, and many more. Any good doctor will just be glad you're there now and ready to get better. It is a good thing to take care of yourself.

Don't let shame or procrastination keep you away from the doctor. As you can see from everyone's responses, this could be any one of a number of things which really require a medical opinion. If you don't have a GP/PCP, would you feel comfortable asking around at work or among friends? Asking about a GP would not be odd, to me, nor too personal. It's a bit of a better way to go about things than just picking out of a phone book. If you don't have local contacts, see if you can find online reviews through Yelp or Yahoo or something. And feel free to switch doctors if you don't feel comfortable with the one you choose. Like I said, take care of yourself--it's important!
posted by Fui Non Sum at 9:05 PM on August 11, 2010

MaryDellamorte, I just googled "[your location] women's clinic" and the first few names it pulled up look promising. You will really be doing yourself a real favor by getting the ball rolling. Trust me. I just went through all of this myself. Literally, like, three months ago. You are going to feel like a fucking ROCK STAR when you get these issues worked out. These are hurdles that are easy to get over.
posted by msali at 10:18 PM on August 11, 2010

IANAD, but (yet another) thing that can cause hair thinning and fatigue is sodium deficiency (this condition has nothing to do with diet, incidentally, so what you eat would not be a factor). A urine test at a doctor's office can detect if you're excreting more salt than you should. However, if this were the case you would also be likely to have other symptoms, possibly including (among others) occasional unexplained dizzy spells and cravings for salty food. Obviously none of us on the internet can diagnose you, so it's great that you're planning to see a doctor and get some tests.
posted by unsub at 10:57 PM on August 11, 2010

I have heavy periods, fatigue, and hair that drops out a lot - not long ago I found out I'm on the borderline for anaemia. Definitely get checked out, and in the meantime, get a bit of iron in your diet (red meat, or spinach).
posted by mippy at 1:18 AM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

My first guess is anemia too, exacerbated perhaps by the heavy period.
posted by ifjuly at 5:30 AM on August 12, 2010

I feel like I eat a healthy diet and my BMI is 22.5. I do feel tired a lot no matter how much sleep I get though.

I also guess anemia and also think you should get blood drawn to confirm. All the puzzle pieces fit!
posted by Rudy Gerner at 6:37 AM on August 12, 2010

Related to the women's clinic.... another time that hair loss is fairly common is during/after pregnancy. If there isn't any chance that you're pregnant, then the other part of that idea is the crazy hormones that take place during pregnancy. It's possible to have hormone imbalance without being pregnant, so a women's exam with a hormone check is another thing you might want to check.
posted by CathyG at 6:43 AM on August 12, 2010

Agreed that you should see a doctor.

Prenatal vitamins do wonders for skin and hair - you wouldn't believe it. Get the best quality ones you can and take them regularly. It's a long shot, but they might help with energy levels too.
posted by mrs. taters at 8:15 AM on August 12, 2010

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