Major Hair Loss probably from Liptor...please help
February 22, 2007 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Why is my mother losing so much of her hair when her hair was as thick as a horse's mane?

Okay a few years back my mom found out she had high cholesterol. Her doctor put her on lipitor. she started noticing that her hair began falling out. after a couple of years she got off the stuff and her hair never grew back. now her high cholesterol is back so she found out she has to go back on it again. the thing is that the balding is only on the right and left side of her head, from the temples and it works its way back. it is going farther and farther back and the strange thing is that now it is growing a wee bit, however it only grows a few inches and stops. I am very worried about her and it makes her feel insecure. We have no medical insurance of any sort and basically we cannot afford it. My family has been struggling financially for a few years and my boyfriend said that majority of the people on this site are doctors,scientist,physists and everything else. please i am desperate for help and answers, but not as desperate as my mom. I want to help her and make her feel good again. I can not stand to watch her cry and need help from any one...please. I know stress can cause hair loss, but not like this and it eventually grows back.
posted by eve28 to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Hypothyroidism causes both high cholesterol and hair loss, and it is common in middle-aged women. Has she had that checked? It's a simple blood test.
posted by Violet Hour at 6:48 PM on February 22, 2007

Could you explore new options for styling her hair? Perhaps very closely-cropped on the sides, and a bit punk on top? Without knowing her sensibilities, it is tough to guess specifically what she might like, but my point is you might turn it into an opportunity for a makeover, rather than dwell on it as a flaw with her current look.
posted by owhydididoit at 6:50 PM on February 22, 2007

try for info on hair loss issues.
posted by brandz at 6:52 PM on February 22, 2007

Ditto Violet Hour: get her thyroid checked. It's a very simple blood test and hair loss is definitely one of the symptoms. There can also be a connection between wonky cholesterol and thyroid levels.
posted by barometer at 7:02 PM on February 22, 2007

How old is your mother? A change in hormones can also cause a change in hair growth. Is it possible she's going through menopause and the hair loss is completely unrelated to the Lipitor? Here is a comment in which I discuss my own experience with alopecia, also know has patchy hair loss. (It eventually grew back).
posted by Brittanie at 7:14 PM on February 22, 2007

If the effect is permanent, invest in a wig. They look very good these days, especially if made of real hair!
posted by PowerCat at 8:56 PM on February 22, 2007

I've gone through some hair loss of my own over the past six months, so I've done a little bit of amateur research on this. Many perscription drugs have hair loss as a side effect- an unlikely one, but unlikely doesn't mean impossible. However, it sounds like the hair loss persisted long after the Lipitor. Menopause and the hormonal changes associated with it may be a more likely cause, and may be aggravated by stress and other health problems, such as poor nutrition. Your mom sounds like she has been strugling for a long time in a number of ways, and some low-cost remedies- such as stress management and making sure she's taking vitamin supplements and eating properly- may help (they may also help her control her cholesterol and avoid Lipitor).

The dermatologist who I told my sob story to told me that I should try Rogaine for Women, which I believe is available over the counter. In my case, the hair loss seemed to stop, so I never pursued it- then, when I was under more recent duress, it started again. The dermatologist's explanation was that aging makes you more vulnerable to this kind of reaction, and may make it harder for your body to recover. And alas- most peoples' hair, women included, gets thinner with age.

A very close friend who is super sexy and stunning has naturally thin hair on the top of her head, and had a "hairpiece" of sorts custom made for her that she now wears every day. It's sort of like an amazingly well-done toupee, and the most important thing is that her hair- or absence thereof- isn't the thing she walks around thinking about all the time. I don't think it was cheap, but I think it was less than paying for a doctor's visit out of pocket.

I know from experience how difficult something like this can make situations that are difficult already, and I hope your mom finds a way to feel better on all fronts.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 9:47 PM on February 22, 2007

I have a client who experienced hair loss from a cholesrerol drug. I found it while cutting her hair, she ran into her a party and mentioned the bald spot, he told her to stop taking the drug at once, the hair that grew back was pure white and very fine, after six months the former texture and color returned. Hair loss is a known side effect of this type of drug , your mom needs a different prescription.
posted by hortense at 9:57 PM on February 22, 2007

I experienced hair loss from something called PCOS/D -- polycystic ovarian syndrome/disorder. If she's got other symptoms like irregular periods (assuming she's pre-menopausal) or has difficulty losing weight, she could have PCOS.

Here's some info:
posted by Teevee's Bella at 10:46 PM on February 22, 2007

aside from the hypothyroidism (google the symptoms and see if they relate to your Mom) whatever the reasons make sure her diet is good. Simple things like a lack of Iron or some trace minerals (especially zinc and selenium) can have an effect on hair loss. Try to get these into her diet in a natural way or supplement her diet for a while and see if it helps?
Also has she had any significant weight loss recently?
posted by Wilder at 10:56 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

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