07 January 2015

I'm Losing My Hair



So, my hair has been falling out. Kinda crappy.

I noticed gradual changes probably about a year ago. But just recently we were taking these snap shots at Warby Parker while trying to figure out what glasses to buy and I was shocked by how flat and thin my hair has gotten (compared to what it used to be).

Granted, I started with a LOT of hair. So my hair still looks pretty full, I know.

But I can still tell that it has been thinning. I can see my scalp more. And my curl is going limp, too. This has never happened before.




I do have Hashimotos (an autoimmune thyroid disease) and losing hair can be an eventual side effect. So I'm guessing that has kicked in even though my thyroid levels still show up as normal on blood tests (though I am aware that often the blood tests are not fully accurate and there can be an issue at the subclinical level.)

Have you experienced hair loss? Were you able to reverse it or improve the situation at all?

I'm reading like crazy to figure out what I can do in case the hair loss continues. From what I've read, hair CAN grow back if the thyroid hormones stabilize (generally through hormone medication). I've also read that I should be checked for deficiencies in various things. So that's on the docket. (This article from Hypothyroid Mom has been hugely helpful.) And I'm also taking 1300 mg of Evening Primrose Oil twice a day. I've heard this is supposed to help hair regrow after about 6 or 8 weeks. I'm on about week 3 and the jury is still out on whether or not it will help my hair grow. But, I think this brand I'm taking must be potent...

Because I've noticed that my boobs are ever so slightly bigger.

I wasn't expecting that. :)

(Google says I'm not the only one this has happened to.)

Alrighty then.

I'll keep you posted on that hair growth.

P.S. After much deliberation at Warby Parker, I narrowed my favorite frames down to the ones I showed here and then I purchased the sunglasses (Haskell) in the first photo. I figured I might as well share away in case you are in the market for frames. Honestly, it's hard to beat their prices and style!

34 comments:

  1. Hi Mara - This has happened to me before during particularly bad flare ups (I have ulcerative colitis), and it has grown back. I, too, have curly/wavy hair and have noticed it get straighter as it thins. I find that being selective about washing it and using only a wide tooth comb can help during these periods. I'd also get a more full spectrum blood test (beyond your thyroid levels) to perhaps target more of the problem. My chiropractor helped with this immensely, and found a few supplements that were helpful for my specific results. Best wishes, Emily

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    1. Thank you! Getting a wide toothed comb asap. Blood tests, too. THANK YOU!!!

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    2. I had a terrible spell of Ulcerative Colitis and kept having to take Prednisone. The colitis would come back every time I stopped taking it. The Prednisone finally made me CRAZY so I stopped taking it and a couple months later my hair started falling out in clumps. I never went back on the medicine, and treated the colitis more holilstically, and it's worked ever since. Good luck!

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  2. And Warby Parker just donated prescription glasses to all the kids in need of them at two NY public schools. One pair for home and one pair to stay at school. They have an awesome mission.

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    1. what?? that is the coolest thing I've heard. I LOVE what they're doing and it makes me so happy to support their business. Every frame you buy there does go towards helping someone in need. Makes me want to buy more. I heard Oprah has 40 something WB frames!

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  3. Hi Mara,

    I was recently was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease. My once full hair started falling out in clumps. I started taking Levothyroxine which has helped with some of my symptoms, including the hair loss. I would like to get off the medication if possible ,so someone suggested I read this book http://www.thyroidlifestyle.com/
    I'm impressed with the amount of positive reviews it has received.

    Liz

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    1. THANK YOU for this book rec.! Thyroid issues seems so, so tricky and it seems essential that we educate ourselves. I've tried to do that over the years, but it's good to have another recommendation. So thank you.

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  4. You read my mind! I'm also having issues with my hair thinning, and I'm searching for a new pair of glasses.

    My hair has always been thick. Many hair stylists have commented that I have enough hair for two people! Over the last few months, I've noticed that I've lost quite a bit of hair. It's really concerning me. I don't want to jump to conclusions, but maybe reading more about the thyroid would be a good idea.

    Also, I recently found a cool company called Vinylize. Their website states that their passion is "remastering vinyl records into eyewear". They've got some really cool designs.

    Anyway, thank you for the post!

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    1. Jeanette - yes - you're good to be on alert about your hair loss. I've heard that for men, hair loss can be just normal, but for women, it usually indicates there is a health problem. But I suppose the good news is that sometimes that can be reversed once the problem is addressed. And! Vinylize sounds so cool!

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  5. My hair used to be thick and long and I noticed it falling out after I started eating a more vegetarian, non-dairy diet. My mothers hairdresser recommended taking biotin supplements (found naturally in liver and eggs so a vegan would likely be deficient.) after her cancer treatment. she passed this on to me and since I have been taking it I have noticed lots of growth (it had almost stopped growing) and thickening recently. Also, less coming out when I wash my hair. It was coming out in handfuls before and now I only notice a strand or two in the shower. I don't have the same health issues but maybe this helps? Good luck! Also: are you guys on Instagram?

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    1. Getting biotin ASAP! Thanks! And - I'm not currently on Instagram. I know I'm totally missing that party over there but in general I haven't had enough extra time for it. But maybe in the future I can pull it off.

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  6. A few years ago I went through a period of about 6 months where my hair was falling out in what seemed like massive amounts, but like your's it wasn't obvious for quite some time. I never figured out what caused it, but I suspect some sort of hormonal/thyroid issue. So I'm no help there, but what I will say is that I was shocked how much it effected me on an emotional level. It was a major preoccupation while it was going on and it really took the wind out of my sails. It's a troubling feeling when you don't know the cause. So I guess... hugs. It sucks. Hope you get to the bottom of it.

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    1. Yes, it IS a troubling feeling! Thanks for commiserating. :) My heart goes out to women (& men) everywhere who have to deal with this.

      I have also suspected a hormonal issue. When I first started noticing it, it was around the time I was finishing up the IVFs. Talk about a deluge of hormones.

      thanks for the note...

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  7. Fish oil worked for me. A couple of years ago I was going through a particularly stressful time, and my hair was coming out in handfuls every morning in the shower. A friend shared with me her secret – – fish oil capsules. It worked, and has helped with other problems too.

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    1. Fish oils are UNREAL. I have normally taken them pretty regularly and I've had amazing results from them (brighter/healthier skin, clearer mind, even a boost in creativity it seems.) Lately I've gotten so lazy about taking them so I appreciate the boost to get back on them. I brought a bunch of them down to Ecuador.

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  8. I second biotin! BioSil makes a great biotin supplement. Two lesser known causes of hair loss are anesthesia and high fever. This side effect -- hair loss -- manifests roughly 3 to 6 months after the fact. I've dealt with it a few times; each instance has persisted for ~6 months (blah!).

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    1. thanks for the BioSil recommendation! And super interesting about the anesthesia! I had to get that several times during the IVFs & surgery I did. I started noticing a change in my hair in the months after that. boo. But thanks for sharing the possible link.

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  9. Hi Mara-



    I am LOVING that you're writing so much!! I feel like the world is less lonely whenever you and Danny are writing!!



    I experienced the exact same symptoms this past year. The good knews is that it can be reversed and I am such a testament to it. I’m 27 and I’ve never had kids or surgeries or even have ever been on birth control, so I don’t have any of that to blame, but I still was experiencing some hormonal imbalances. I would have a lot of pms symptoms, which I thought were just normal. Even with eating healthy and staying away from certain things, I wasn’t reversing all of the symptoms. For a year straight my hair began to just start thinning and then would fall out in clumps in the shower. Thankfully, I had amazing natural health coaches around me and I researched A TON. I am not one to turn to modern medicine until I exhaust other options, when I am able to.



    I will tell you this though— my hair doesn’t fall out anymore and I have a thick full head of hair now! Around the same time that my hair was falling out, my husband started developing a bald spot on the back of his hair— and we are in our twenties! We couldn’t believe he was starting to bald in that spot. We both read a ton and had a lot of “light workers” and healers around us who told us a lot about the thyroid. Something the thyroid needs more than anything is iodine and we don’t get that in our diets these days, even healthy ones. My husband started buying tons of seaweed since seaweed is a main source of iodine. He would snack on it by the sheet, always crunching away! I followed suit. Within a few weeks his bald spot was gone!!! It was crazy. I sent pictures to my family and friends. Ha! My hair had gotten a lot better too, just from snacking on the seaweed with him!



    Another thing I learned through going through this is about hormonal imbalances and thyroid issues. Hormones are regulated through proper digestion of healthy fats. We can be eating the utmost healthiest diet that we can, but if our body is not digesting fats properly we will have an onslaught of hormonal issues. For me that was extremely at play! I have always been SO hesitant to just take a bunch of natural products. However, I read a lot about digestive enzymes and knew from a lot of successful natural doctors that those are part of the key to being able to digest our foods. People think they can just eat healthy and manage stress and that their body will then be in perfect condition and that’s just not true. Eating healthy is such a privilege and a GIFT we are so abundantly afforded to do. It aids our bodies in more ways than we can imagine and in more ways than most things can. However, if you’re spending the time and money to eat healthy it’s even MORE important that you can digest those foods properly. I say ALL of that to say, I started taking good quality digestive enzymes. ((Don’t worry, I’m not even trying to sell anything! I won’t even mention the brand, so that readers don’t think that I’m just advertising! haha. I’m just sharing my experience of getting better, truly! :)) Digestive enzymes helped me to be able to digest healthy fats and since fats are what are responsible for regulating women’s hormones, my hormones began to get into balance almost immediately. My routine was digestive enzymes, probiotics, juicing, eating good healthy fats, making homemade bone broth (Nourishing Traditions recipe— SO good for you, SO many health benefits!), Vitamin D, enough water, liquid chlorophyll, semi-regular chiropractic visits, and fish oil. I did eventually start adding in some RAW grass-fed butter (even though I wasn't doing dairy). Oh— and the seaweed for snacks every day!! haha. Our friends still joke with us about how much seaweed we eat!! HA! If I wasn’t shy, I would post pictures of the transformation in both my husband’s hair and mine. Drastic!
    (More below!)

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    1. (Sorry this was so long!)
      ...I didn’t know why my hair was falling out, but I knew one thing— I didn’t want to just treat the hair falling out. Anything that happens with our body is a symptom, so I need to strengthen the cause and that will take care of the symptom. We can tend to just treat symptoms, because it’s easier and faster and we just want results! But anything like this is a message your body is sending you that something inside of it is weak that wants to be strengthened. Our bodies were made to be well. When they’re not well they work towards wellness and will fight for that. They never cease to send us messages alerting us that something needs to be strengthened. I never like to say that our bodies tell us that something is bad inside of us. I love framing it that something needs to be strengthened instead of framing it that something is broken. If we were completely “broken” we wouldn’t even be breathing still! Our bodies are whole, well, and working towards wellness on our behalf daily, minute by minute. So when something like hair falling out happens we can tend to just care about the cosmetic aspect of it, because let’s face it— everyone would love their full locks! However, I always like taking that opportunity to HONOR my body and let it talk to me. I like to say, “Ok, body, what are you trying to tell me? What do you want me to give extra attention to and strengthen right now? What message are you trying to send? Thank you for working and for even sending messages because it tells me that you’re doing your job and that I am well!” The good news is that you can get your hair back!! :) :) I know because I did! It was pretty seamless and effortless too! I also feel much better! So it’s a win-win! It’s a good opportunity to look at the cause and maybe get someone to muscle test some things for you! :) I do know that seaweed has become our favorite snack! It used to be popcorn, but now it’s seaweed!! haha. I hope this helps!! I LOVE helping people!! You can comment or ask any questions in the comments if you have any! :)

      Much Love to You guys!!! ~~~~~
      ~Danielle

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    2. Danielle, I really liked reading your response. Did you have guidance from any kind of doctor with eating the iodine and taking supplements? I would love to find a good, smart and knowledgeable doctor who leans to natural cures, but have no idea how to find one. I have a typical internist.

      I avoid medicine unless necessary and I'm even a little nervous to add a lot of supplements, even so much seaweed! Isn't it possible to get too much iodine? Every day I do use some sea salt with added iodine. But over the last several years my hair has gotten so much thinner too. And I was one the hairdressers always commented on how thick it was. My yearly blood tests have shown normal thyroid levels. Wish I knew what blood tests I need to look for a problem. And is hair loss just normal as we age (I'm in my 40's)?

      I've read a little about digestive enzymes lately as I think I might have some silent reflux (more mucus in my throat). It's been frustrating because I've gone to an allergist an ENT and an internist and they just say to try reflux medicine for several months to see if I get better. But those are some strong, not good for you meds! I would like more information about my health before just "trying" a medicine like that!

      Danielle, any other info (about hair or health) you might think of, I'd love to hear!

      And Mara!!!!! SOOOO happy you've been blogging again! Your blog is my favorite and one of the few I still read.

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    3. You may also want to try kelp supplements for Iodine.

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    4. Danielle, you are UNREAL! This information is worth gold. Thank you thank you SO much for sharing this. And I'm so happy you were able to have some success with your health.

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    5. Danielle, it's interesting what you wrote, especially about hair falling out being the body's way of sending us a message that something needs to be strengthened. But HOW do we go about finding what it is that needs to be strengthened? It's completely overwhelming. Any advice? Thanks!

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  10. Hi Mara, I am sorry to hear you are having this happen! I too have an autoimmune disease that can be life-challenging, Ulcerative Colitis.

    I was incredibly fortunate to accidentally come across the work of Shou-Ching Shih Jaminet, Ph.D. Shou-Ching is a molecular biologist and cancer researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. She and her husband have written up their personal findings on health and diet in the book Perfect Health Diet.

    Because of their dietary suggestions, that I have put into practice, my doctor thinks my disease is in remission. Although, I know if I stray far at all, my disease flares up again.

    You could probably find a lot of helpful information on their website by searching for your disease (I looked and saw they have written about Hashimoto). They are good to share the science and research behind their conclusions/recommendations. Their address is www.perfecthealthdiet.com

    Best of luck!

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  11. Mara:

    We are kindred spirits for so many reasons. Does it freak you out when people say that when you don't know them from Adam? I wish we did know each other because I am certain we would be close friends. :)

    I have Hashimoto's too, along with adrenal fatigue (and last year a massive adrenal crash), and hormonal issues. My hair fell out, I got on thyroid meds, it started to grow back, and then fell out again because of hormones. And then it grew back with some treatment, and has now fallen out again because I got too much DHEA. Seriously, piles of hair would just fall out. My once super thick hair is now super thin. And it is so frustrating!!!

    I second the information here. Also, I would have your hormones checked. Too much or too little, can impact your hair, in addition to our thyroid meds. I have had good luck with biotin. I take it religiously. I also take kelp for the iodine, though there is some controversy on whether hashis sufferers should take iodine. I like the book Root Cause, and it helps you identify a lot of the thyroid triggers.

    Also, perhaps you should look into Low Dose Naltroxene. There is a Facebook group with a lot of resources about it called Got Endorphins. I take it every night and it is helping a lot of my symptoms--essentially it helps regulate your immune system.

    I am ordering the Evening Primrose Oil too. Thanks for the suggestion. May we all have thicker heads of hair in 2015.

    I am so glad you are back blogging more. I also loved your Mormon Stories interview; such great insights.

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  12. If all your tests come back normally, try Wen -- my mother and aunt swear by it for hair regrowth! It's a natural conditioner that you use instead of shampoo + conditioner. See here: http://www.wen.com/why-its-unique.html

    Hope you find the source soon!

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  13. After having a baby, about the time they are 2-3 months old, my hair falls out. I'm talking handfuls in the shower, it is so unsettling. I have thin hair to begin with so I get actual bald spots, it's just cruel. Luckily it does grow back, but then I go through months of baby hairs sticking straight up until they're long enough to lay back down. I know my issue is largely hormonal, lots of good tips from other readers here that I've also tried and/or use like the Biotin. Best of luck and just know you're not alone!

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  14. I'm a fellow Hashi over here, and I second the Biotin-it helps your nails grow, too! Also, I've had some success with Ayurvedic scalp treatments, too!

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  15. I have had curly hair my entire life and just in the past year the curl has loosened up, it is so bizarre! About four years ago it was the longest it had ever been and the curliest but then I chopped it off about a year ago to a bob and now it does not have the same curl. I was wondering what was going on, have not a clue though! (I'm 36)

    A couple years ago I started having stomach problems, no diagnosis could be found but I wasn't able to really eat that well. I had no appetite and had anxiety that whatever I would eat would make me sick. I lost a bunch of weight and noticed things like hair falling out, hair thinning at the top and also other creakiness in my joints and hips. I had stopped consuming dairy after realizing it was contributing to the stomach issues. I know it has to do with vitamin deficiency but I'm just hoping it's not causing damage that can't be reversed.

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  16. Hi, Mara. First, thank you for sharing about your life so honestly and gracefully. And next, to the topic at hand, are you aware of how your adrenals are functioning? You've got some great advice already in the comments here, and maybe I am repeating what has been mentioned, but in my personal experience ... thyroid and adrenals go hand in hand. There are some very good bio/organic supplements out there (I take Adrenal Cortex by Thorne). I still have some hair-loss I am working against, but it has definitely improved given patience and care. Maybe something to bring up with a good naturopathic practitioner? Warmest wishes and your frames look great!
    -Anna

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  17. I would recommend finding a good acupuncturist who can help you with any hormonal or adrenal issues that need balancing. I feel like this would also help your hair.

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  18. I hear your pain! Just this past month I posted this on FB:
    "It's officially not just my imagination. My hair girl was shocked at how much hair I have lost! She agreed it is at least half gone! The upside? Blow drying takes half the time. Have you had this happen in a short amount of time and more importantly did it come back for anyone?"

    I have never had such a huge response so apparently we are not alone! Everyone recommended getting my thyroid tested, which mine shows up pretty normal too. These responses were the most helpful for me: "as a dermatologist I'll tell you it can be any number of the things mentioned and several more not mentioned. Certainly some labs are a good place to start. Stressful events, surgeries, childbirth, hormonal flux can all precipitate a condition called Telogen efluvium in which the hairs in the telogen cycle fall out. Hair loss is complicated in women. Call me and we'll get labs ordered" then another doctor friend said, "what the last guy said. Hairgrowth and hair loss is on a cycle, and sometimes with really stressful events or illnesses A large percentage of your hair follicles can get on the same cycle, and fall out all at the same time."

    That really made sense to me. Maybe my hair just "got on the same cycle." I hope mine comes back too! My hair has always been very thick, so most people don't think I have much to complain about, but it is seriously like half of what it was before and mine also has less curl. One thing it can be a side effect from as well is low iron which I do have. Have you had your iron levels checked?

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  19. Hi, Mara! I love your blog! Here's my 2 cents:

    Both my mother and I struggled with hair loss in the last five years (I'm 27, she's in her 50's). We both used to have super thick, goddess hair. Our hair has grown in thicker now (hers much more than mine so far) but for different reasons:

    I started taking expensive iron supplements from Canada by a woman named Lorna Vanderhaeghe. They are not cheap but have absorbed better than anything I have found locally. It turns out iron deficiency is one of the leading causes of hair loss among women, but it is not often caught because the range of medically "normal" is so broad that doctors do not identify deficiency as the problem. I was medically normal but taking iron cleared up hair loss and a bunch of other symptoms I had, like constipation and extreme fatigue. I also finally got off the antibiotics I had been taking for a long time due to constant staph infections, started taking cod liver oil and borage oil and the same expensive brand multivitamin. When I went to my hair stylist today, she said she could tell that my hair was thickening up at the crown, yay! I know you have different health concerns than I do but is it possible that you are not getting enough iron? Apparently iron found in veggies is not absorbed as well in the body, or so I've heard.

    My mom probably lost most of her hair due to stress. At one time it became super scraggly thin but now, five years later, it is at least five times as thick as mine! She swears by borage oil and massaging a little bit of olive oil on her scalp each night before coiling it up for sleep. She only combs with a wide tooth comb and uses NO hair products or hot tools.... she even dilutes her all natural castile soap shampoo by about a third and I think just pre-oils her hair to sub for conditioner. Her hair isn't particularly styled but it sure is healthy.

    Hopefully one of these will help you, too!

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  20. While men can just shave their head if they are dealing with this issue and be socially accepted, the same isn't true for a woman.

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