Why am I losing my hair?
August 30, 2005 2:37 PM   Subscribe

Why am I losing my hair? For the past couple of weeks, I've been pulling out handfuls of hair each time I wash or run my hands through my hair.

I'm 30, female and in reasonably good health. I haven't made any recent changes in my diet, hair products or any other obvious variable that might cause me to loose my hair. Also, neither balding (premature or otherwise) nor thin/thinning hair runs in my family on either side. For the moment, I'm not terribly worried about the cosmetic aspect of hair loss because my hair is hair is thick, and a have a lot of it. What I am concerned about is the fact that I have no idea what is causing this or how to stop it.

Someone else asked a similar question earlier, however, if I recall correctly (I can't find the post), it was determined that stress from buying a new house and moving was probably the cause. In my case, I don't think it is stress. I do have a lot of stress but it is pretty consistent. I am no more stressed today than I was six months or a year ago.

Has anyone else experienced this and/or does anyone have any idea what might be causing this?
posted by necessitas to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
I'll be the first to say "go to a doctor," there's always at least one person saying this in medical threads but it's almost always right.
posted by abcde at 2:39 PM on August 30, 2005

And I'll be the first to add that you may want to ask your doctor to run a thryoid function test on you. Suddenly losing more hair in the shower or when you run your hands through your hair can sometimes indicate hyper- or hypothryroidism, even just a mild (and easily treatable) case.
posted by scody at 2:45 PM on August 30, 2005

Yeah. What those guys said.

A fair amount of shedding is natural, but a sudden change is an indication that there's something going on. Don't freak out, though, just get it checked out.
posted by Specklet at 2:53 PM on August 30, 2005

Yep, doctor time. Alopecia can be caused by a number of things. Sometimes it's temporary, sometimes it's not. Get thee to a physician post haste!
posted by willpie at 2:59 PM on August 30, 2005

It is most likely just your shedding season. you should still have it checked out, but it's probably nothing.

Also, if your hair is getting longer, that can make hairloss much more noticeable.
posted by duck at 2:59 PM on August 30, 2005

If your stress is consistent, that doesn't mean it's not the cause. Stress breaks down your immune system, so maybe the deterioration is finally getting to you hair? Have you checked your genes as well? Otherwise, yea, see a doctor.
posted by scazza at 2:59 PM on August 30, 2005

You probably would've mentioned if you were recently pregnant, but, just in case, post-partum hair loss is normal.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 3:09 PM on August 30, 2005

This happened to me when I grew my hair pretty long (it's usually short). I went to the doc and they tested my thyroid, but found nothing. They did say I was iron deficient, so I started taking iron pills. I also (eventually) cut my hair shorter, so I'm not sure which did it, but the hair loss stopped.
posted by jdl at 3:12 PM on August 30, 2005

Thanks for the answers. Since my hair not long (just above the shoulders) and I've never been pregnant, I guess it is time to see a doctor.
posted by necessitas at 3:48 PM on August 30, 2005

I had this happen to me about four months after stopping a birth control pill--so not only can it happen after pregnancy, but it can happen with any change in hormones. Just wanted to throw that out as a possibility--I know it can be really quite freaky. Do go see a doctor, though--it could definitely be a thyroid problem, as others mentioned.
posted by fabesfaves at 5:42 PM on August 30, 2005

Ask for a full panel thyroid. Sometimes there are subclinical issues, and a straight-up TSH might not cver all your bases.
posted by oflinkey at 9:33 PM on August 30, 2005

a female friend of mine started losing some hair, she said it was the stress.
posted by delmoi at 11:43 PM on August 30, 2005

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