How I Stopped My Hair Loss and Regrew My Hair Without Medication
My Hair Loss Journey
I own my personal share of vanity. Looking good is important to most women and I am no different. Until last year, I never stopped to appreciate the fact that I was born with hair so thick that no standard claw, clip, or barrette could contain it. Blow-drying took 20 to 30 minutes, and straightening it was a worthless endeavor. In my youth, my hair endured many bad perms, highlighting, coloring, and teasing. Years later, I would experience minor hair loss after the birth of my children, but nothing would prepare me for the sudden and severe loss of one-third of my hair in less than six months.
When the hair loss first started, I would brush my hair to find that my hairbrush was loaded with lost strands. This was alarming as I take a multivitamin and a hair/nail/and skin vitamin daily. Soon, I noticed lots of hair in the shower drain. I was constantly shedding on my clothes and in my car. When I got clothes out of the dryer, everyone’s clean clothes were covered in my hair. Within a month, I could feel a difference in my hair and it was becoming flat and dull. After some internet research, I decided to get a check-up to test for obvious causes.
I intentionally sought a female doctor assuming that she would offer insight and attention to a condition that could be potentially devastating to a fellow woman. This female doctor tested my iron levels and administered a test for hypothyroid. A week later, she called stating all the tests were normal and there was nothing to be concerned about. As requested, I counted hairs lost each day and informed her I was losing approximately 400 to 500 per day. For reference, 80 to 100 is considered normal. She told me there was nothing she could do for me and to call back in six months if it didn’t improve.
I remember thinking that in six months I would probably be bald. I took the initiative to research female hair loss and become proactive in fighting hair loss on my own. Through my self0guided research, I stopped my hair loss in six weeks, and today, my hair is growing back normally.
Medical Tests to Get if You Are Losing Hair
If you find yourself losing hair, it's important to consult with your doctor as soon as possible to rule out any serious medical issues that could be contributing to the problem. The following conditions can contribute to hair loss, so your doctor will likely recommend you get tested for them.
Anyone experiencing hair loss should request a blood test to check for an iron deficiency called anemia. The lack of iron can lead to fatigue and male and female hair loss. Eating a balanced diet full of iron may help, but those with low levels may need additional supplements to maintain a healthy level of iron in their blood.
Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can contribute to male and female hair loss. These conditions may accelerate the conversion of testosterone to DHT which attacks hair on the scalp and damages hair follicles. A simple blood test can determine whether a thyroid disorder may be a factor in your hair loss.
Autoimmune diseases are incurable disorders that wreak havoc in the body by causing the immune system to attack healthy cells in many parts of the body, including hair follicles. A doctor can order blood tests to determine whether autoimmune antibodies that may be triggering hair loss are present in your blood. Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, alopecia areata, and Hashimoto’s disease are known to cause moderate to severe hair loss in men and women and should be considered in absence of a more common diagnosis.
Hormone Panel and Menopause Testing
Any woman nearing forty may benefit from a hormone panel to test for menopause or perimenopause if another cause of hair loss is not evident. Hormonal imbalances occur after childbirth, during menopause, and during perimenopause. During an imbalance, a woman’s estrogen levels may drop, and this can interfere with testosterone production that supports healthy hair growth. This condition can cause changes in hair including hair loss.
Saw Palmetto: The $3.49 Solution to Female Hair Loss
After extensive research into causes of and cures for female hair loss, I discovered that saw palmetto was recommended by authoritative sites such as Web M.D. as a treatment for all causes of hair loss. Saw palmetto has been used for years as an aphrodisiac and is often recommended to men for prostate cancer prevention. It prevents the conversion of DHT from testosterone which destroys hair follicles and is the leading cause of hair loss for men and women.
It can take six weeks to see hair loss relief with saw palmetto. After five weeks of taking 450 milligrams per day, my hair stopped falling out. At seven weeks, new hair growth started. saw palmetto is available at Walmart and all major pharmacies.
Possible Side Effects of Saw Palmetto
Liver damage and jaundice
High blood pressure
Possible weight gain in women
Increased sex drive
May interfere with medications including birth control
May cause breast enlargement in women
Little-Known Causes of Female Hair Loss
Hair loss is common in females. For most, hair loss occurs in patches or all over the head. In addition to iron deficiency, thyroid disorders, autoimmune disease, and hormonal imbalances, there are several less common factors that cause female hair loss.
- Heredity: A female with a mother or father with hair loss may inherit the problem.
- Smoking: Excessive smoking activates the body's defenses and raises white blood cell count. high white blood cell count is associated with hair loss.
- Surgery: Many people lose significant amounts of hair a few months after a major surgery. During the healing process, white blood cell counts become elevated which creates an autoimmune response on hair follicles. This type of hair loss is usually temporary.
- Excessive weight loss: Doctors are unsure why, but after a sudden or severe weight loss, hair may fall out. At best guess, this may cause hair loss because of the lack of nutrients in a diet during crash dieting or a body's autoimmune response.
- Diet: A diet low in protein may not provide enough nourishment to one's hair follicles, which can cause hair loss. A poor diet may also create a vitamin deficiency that could lead to hair loss.
- Not washing hair daily: Male and female hair loss is often caused by DHT which is converted testosterone. If hair is not washed every day, the DHT on the scalp accumulates and is distributed through the scalp when hair is combed. When people are in a hair loss cycle, they may be afraid to wash their hair daily because of the fall out, but not washing it daily can make hair loss worse.
- Excessive sweating: People in hot climates or those who work out regularly tend to sweat more than others. Sweat may cause irritation to the scalp which can cause itching and hair loss. When sweating, it is important to wash hair as soon as possible.
- Stress: Excessive stress is hard on the body and can trigger a rush of adrenaline and white blood cells which may activate an autoimmune response in hair follicles, causing hair to fall out.
- Tight hairstyles: Hairstyles can put strain on the scalp. If you are experiencing hair loss, avoid tight braids and ponytails.
Psychological Effects of Female Hair Loss
Hair loss is traumatic for men and women. While hair loss is expected in a large percentage of men, it is less common in females and less accepted by society. Losing hair at a rapid pace creates a great deal of anxiety when there are no answers and no hope that it will stop. Every woman who suffers from hair loss needs to know it is natural to mourn the loss of their hair, their identity, and self esteem. While my personal loss hasn't been as severe as many other women's losses, it is evident that in our advanced age, much more needs to be done to help women in this condition to cope with hair loss.
While many doctors will go to great lengths to make their patients whole, many doctors do not consider male or female hair loss as a medical problem and dismiss hair loss as nothing but a cosmetic problem. If this is happening to you, become proactive in your own health.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.