Why is My Hair Falling Out? - 44 Year Old Woman

QUESTION: I am a 44-year-old female whose hair is falling out. I do not wash my hair every day, because it falls out after washing it. I have had thyroid tests (which were fine), went to a dermatologist who found nothing wrong and went to my ob-gyn doctor for hormone testing. The results came back slightly elevated. I was told to take zinc and my hair would grow back. Please advise me why this is happening and what I can do.

ANSWER: You have done everything that you can reasonably do and have seen all the doctors you could reasonably contact, but your problem remains.

Although the following doesn't apply to you, I'm including it for other readers. An overactive or underactive thyroid gland can lead to hair loss. Iron deficiency is another cause for losing hair. Rapid weight loss can do it. Medicines are another possibility. Lupus is an example of an underlying illness that promotes hair shedding.

I'm not sure what you mean by a "slightly elevated" hormone test. Was that male hormone? Women do make male hormones, and some women are quite sensitive to it. It can cause hair to fall out, just as it does in men. Medicines can counter the male hormone elevation. This is the reason why so many menopausal women experience hair thinning.

A single hair has a life span of about six years. It then enters a resting stage that lasts a few months, and then the hair falls out. About 10 percent of all hair is in the resting stage. That amounts to a normal daily loss of around 100 hairs. Physical or emotional stress forces many more hairs to enter the resting stage, with a larger number for daily hair loss. The loss occurs approximately three months after the stress. Examples of stress include illnesses, especially those with a high fever, childbirth or any number of emotional conflicts. This kind of hair loss is telogen effluvium. The hair always grows back. Can you pinpoint anything that happened to you two or three months ago that might qualify as stress? At any rate, don't pull your hair with any kind of hairdo that causes pressure on it, like a braid or ponytail. Limit permanents. Limit the use of a blow-dryer. If things don't turn around in another couple of months, go back to the dermatologist for another examination. If no cause is ever found, you can consider Rogaine.
1 2 Next
Print Article