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Hair Loss on Repeat

Since many of you share my journey with hair loss, I decided to throw back the curtain on my recent struggles. After 18 months of regrowth and fuller hair, it’s falling out again and I’m freaking out trying to control my upset. I’m still using Rogaine morning and night so shudder to think how much faster it would be coming out without it but…. argh!!

Let me preface this by saying I am not a medical professional nor do I play one on TV. I’m simply sharing what I’ve learned from personal experience.Thinning hair on A Well Styled Life

Last year I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, which frequently occurs in middle aged women and can cause hair loss. It sounds horrific but it’s simply an auto immune condition which causes my body to attack my thyroid. It frequently goes undiagnosed because many doctors only check your TSH level.

 

My Hashimoto’s was discovered by looking at the ratio between my TSH and my T4. Both of those test results were in normal range and my primary care doctor said I was fine. I knew something was off so I saw an Endrocronologist who discovered the imbalance and adjusted the level of thyroid medicine I was taking, bringing me back in balance. We have to check my levels every 6 months because they can easily go out of range.

In June I noticed more hair in my comb than usual. By July there was no mistaking the thinning so I made an early follow-up appointment to see my endocrinologist and had my blood tests redone. They all came back in range. How’s that possible? You’d think that would make me happy but I almost wished they were off so she could adjust my thyroid medication and my hair would stop falling out.

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When I asked why my hair was falling out she said it’s seasonal alopecia and there is nothing that can be done about it. That was fun to learn, not!! I know what alopecia is, my husband has it and is bald. Apparently, if you have one autoimmune condition (Hashimoto’s) you are more likely to develop another one. Alopecia is an autoimmune condition.

I’m fighting the good fight but will need to cut my hair shorter to keep the straggly appearance to a minimum. I have no idea how long this fall out cycle will last so I’m preparing to roll with the punches. Luckily I like to wear hats which will help keep my confidence intact.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life

Please, ladies, if you are struggling with hair loss, weight gain, anxiety, depression, feeling cold, etc…I urge you to get a full Thyroid panel done and have an expert compare the ratio of your results. One test alone may miss a correct diagnosis.

Have you ever struggled with hair loss?

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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115 Comments

  1. I too have had hair loss too. My hair has changed significcantly and is now finer and thinner. I had Cushings Syndrome in my 40’s and lost hair as well as the texture changed to be fine. When I was cured it did regrow to almost the original thickness but has been fine since then. I am 67 and my hair has been thinning for close to 10 years. I can work with it to prevent my scalp from showing through but just lately I have noticed it was thinning again. Maybe its the seasonal type you discussed. I haven’t used anything except biotin but might need to look at something more if the loss continues. Thank you so much for sharing this it has given me some ideas to research.

  2. My dear friend also suffers from hair loss. She (as would I be) was devastated. But she went to a wig shop and was fitted for a beautiful natural looking wig, which is nicer looking than her hair ever was. It’s comfortable and looks so great on her. No one except her close friends even suspect it’s a wig. If this is an option for you, please don’t hesitate to give it a try. You may be in love with the results.

    1. Thanks for sharing with us Sandy! I’m sure the wig would look better than my hair! Trust me, if and when I get to that point I will not hesitate.

  3. Even though I am already subscribed, I do not get your postings anymore. Not sure how to correct this. Any ideas?

  4. It’s amazing how many womem mention their hair is fine. My hair started comjng out when I was twelve, after my parents divorced and my dad died. Stress, I’m sure. It wasn’t noticeable for several years, then I got a Sassoon cut, which had all my hair coming forward, like the Beatles’. i started wearing wigs in my early twenties. I’ve tried Rogaine. It helped, but was so sticky. I’ve tried laser therapy. It helped too, but I got bored with it. I started Biotin. It really helped, but again, have gotten out of the habit. I take Synthroid, not the generic. I saw a dermatologist who specializes in hair–she’s been on TV, and widely known. She examined my baby fine hair and scalp and said that the hairs are there, they are just tiny, undeveloped hair, the follicles are blocking them. She is who recommended Rogaine. I’m 69 now and have guven up on having hair, though I have demanded a complete thyroid panel in my next blood work. Not having hair has held me back in so many ways. I won’t vacation in hot places–CostacRica just about killed me. I had wanted to be in the military as my career, but how do you wear a wig at boot camp? I finally joined a hiking club a few years ago, and wear hats kr scarves, but boy, it’s hot and miserable, since you lose most of your body heat through your head. I wish all of you look, and have been inspired by you to get back in the fight.

    1. I found the Rogaine foam sticky but the liquid is not. I don’t even feel it after it dries. I’m going to try the Viviscal and I’ll keep you posted Lacy!

  5. I can relate. I have Hashimoto’s, female pattern hair loss runs in my family too. I use men’s topical romaine (past child bearing age so no issue there), which is stronger , and I take biotin daily. It helps.

  6. I, too, have had Hashimoto’s for a number of years and take synthroid. I get my level checked every 6 months. Every few years I seem to go trough a round of hair loss, even though my levels are good. I just cut my hair shorter so it looks fuller. My dermatologist thought the hair growth meds were not worth the effort. Ten years ago I went through cancer treatment and lost all my hair. You know what, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. I got a sparkly cap the color of my hair, wore big earrings and more makeup. I got compliments wherever I went. We don’t always get to choose what happens to us, but we get to choose our response. In the game of life, loosing hair is not the worst thing that can happen. It’s not fun, but the more you focus on it, the more unhappy you will be.

  7. Hi Jennifer, I’m leaving a comment first before reading all the rest, but I speak from experience in exactly what you are going through. First has your Endo checked your T3 levels? most doctors don’t do this and this is the most important component of Thyroid Replacement. My TSH and T4 were within normal limits, but my T3 was in the basement. Get that checked. Also causing hair loss is low Vitamin D, Low Iron, ferritin levels, and like I said last week. Since gluten sensitivity and intolerance are autoimmune, that can cause hair loss. When I went Gluten Free my hair stopped falling out. Get busy Googling all this and you’ll find your answers. The doctors, bless their hearts, are mostly clueless. I have had Hashimotos for probably 30 years, starting to exhibit Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia. going Gluten Free has stopped the inflammation in it’s tracks.

  8. Hair loss can also be attributed to stress. Perhaps, all that has happened ( retirement community hunt, RV accident, house repairs, etc. ) have caused you more stress than you realize. Time to take a break, Jennifer?

  9. YEP COMING OUT LIKE CRAZY!
    I cannot find the LIQUID FORM ROGRAINE!ALL SOLD OUT IN 4 CVS’s in MY HOOD!
    They think it’s related to my medication…………
    Honest to GOD NOT READY FOR THIS!

  10. Jennifer, I am 71, have been on thyroid medication for almost 20 years and have Hashimoto’s as well. I experienced hair loss before being diagnosed with low thyroid and Hashimoto’s. I lost almost half my hair. I have baby fine hair but had a lot of it so the loss, while significant, was still manageable. I have been using iGrow, an infrared device recommended by my dermatologist. After about 2 ½ months I started seeing NEW hair growth! My husband uses it too and is experiencing the same thing. We both take Biotin. Worked for us, maybe it will work for you.

  11. So sorry to hear of your struggles with hair loss. For us women, our hair is such a big part of our identity. I share your pain. Lucky for you that you look so fabulous in hats!

  12. I think your your hair looks fantastic and have saved a number of your pictures to take to the salon with me. I love your style and color and think you look amazing. I feel we are always too hard on ourselves and see flaws that others never even notice.
    I love checking out your new blog post and always look forward to seeing your stylish post!

  13. Jennifer, thank you so much for this post. You really gave me a lot of food for thought, and ideas for questions to run my my doctor, because I had honestly never heard the term ‘seasonal alopecia’. I was having noticeable hair loss back in January and I went to speak with my dermatologist who only said (as a matter of fact) that it was normal hair pattern loss and also suggested rogaine and viviscal, which I have not tried. The shedding subsided and then I started to see some new hair growth, but now in August I am experiencing the shedding again. I have been taking biotin and using volumnizing mouse and root lift and anything that can give me a little extra volume, so you don’t see so much of my scalp. I will definitely be asking more questions at my next Dr visit. Have you ever considered clip in top hair piece…..definitely something on my radar.

  14. I have no thyroid…..lost it to cancer……and took synthoid for many years. My hair loss was increasing, so my doctor prescibed Armour Thyroid. It is very difficult to get and expensive….but not impossible. It is very old fashioned and is natural……from a pig. It has both T3 and T4. There was a class action suit against Synthroid…and I received a check for $100 from the settlement. Ask your doctor about Armour….worth a try.

  15. Very informative post, Jennifer. I’m six months ahead of you on the Hashi’s diagnosis. I’ve permanently lost hair at my front hairline. Luckily, I wear bangs but they are starting farther back. If I may, I would add that a functional medicine doc may be able to run a more thorough thyroid panel. My endo said she wasn’t “allowed” to run every test I wanted due to insurance restrictions. I hope your seasonal problem is short lived! Thanks for bringing hair loss out in the open. It’s a big issue.

    1. Thanks for sharing with us Terry. So many of us are struggling with this and it’s time we all put our heads together (pun intended) to help each other.

  16. I, too, have thinning hair due to thyroid issues. (Thank you so much, Jennifer, for being transparent about agng issues. Just look at how many women you have touched with your stories.) I wear hats and caps a lot, but I wanted a different approach for more formal, indoor occasions. Thanks to Catherine from Atypical60.com my attitude about hairpieces was changed. I now use a “topper” on occasion. Catherine is funny and irreverent and completely open about her hair issues. I get many compliments on my hair when I wear the little topper and my friends are surprised when I tell them it is “helper hair.” I did purchase the topper at a shop and the stylist worked with me to cut and thin it to my specifications.

  17. Jennifer – than-you for writing about this. I started struggling with hairloss in my twenties (I’m now 58). My hairloss wasn’t the diffuse type that’s typical for women, but rather mimicked the hairloss my brother and father both experienced – pronounced recession in the temples. Not a good look on me! I have very fine hair, so hairloss of any kind was both noticeable and hard to disguise. In my forties I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and started on medication for that. It’s been an ongoing struggle but about five years ago I started used the men’s Rogaine (5%) in the foam format. Twice a day, religiously, I apply it to vertical parts across my crown – from temple to temple. I rub it in as I apply it and, when I’ve finished applying it, I flip my head over and vigorously massage my scalp. To my utter amazement, new hair started growing almost immediately and it has continued to grow. My hair became noticeably thicker, allowing me to change up my style. A year ago I was frustrated by the same kind of seasonal alopecia you describe, so I started taking Viviscal supplements. I made a promise to myself to stick with it for six months before making a decision whether or not to continue. Again, I was skeptical, but my hairloss subsided (to within a more normal range) and my hair felt both thicker and healthier. Needless to say, I’ve stuck with it. Rogaine and Viviscal are NOT inexpensive, but they’ve given me real results (unlike the stupid laser comb I invested $1000 in, to no avail!). I also want to say I understand that men’s Rogaine isn’t safe for women who are thinking of becoming pregnant – at my age, this clearly isn’t on my radar! And, one last, comment – I’m currently going through a bit of a shed, which I attribute to – yes, you guessed it – seasonal alopecia! I’m [reasonably] confident it will subside as we head into September, but it’s unsettling nonetheless. All the best to you and to all the women reading your blog who are struggling with hairloss – I totally understand!

    1. Thank you so much Lianne! I’m going out to get Viviscal tomorrow. I’ve been using the 5% men’s Rogaine for several years and was doing ok until lately. It’s a battle and I appreciate all the support here!

  18. I’ve had alopecia on and off and when my health suffers, so does my hair. Hair is such a big thing for women and it’s awful. I’m glad you are bringing this issue to light!! xoxo

  19. I’m so interested in your posts about this issue, thank you so much for writing about it. All my life I have felt that I have been losing lots of hair – I remember being a schoolgirl and finding so many hairs on my blazer at the end of the day. However, when I look at photos of myself in my twenties, my hair looks still looks so thick compared to now. At the moment it’s a long bob, which I am keeping until after we go on holiday in a few weeks – I need to be able to put my hair back in the heat. However, I think I’ll go short again next hair cut. I’ve dabbled with biotin and silica in the past, perhaps I should try those again. But I do think it is also seasonal – there are times when the loss is much more noticeable. Anyway, as I said, thank you for addressing this issue, it helps to know that others also have this problem.

  20. I think I’m at the same stage as you are in my hair loss and have taken medicine for my thyroid for 5 yrs. Age 67. My hair has always been baby fine, but the loss of the hair that I do have is concerning. I feel like during times of stress I notice more hair in my comb. We need to de-stress!! Your readers have given me some food for thought.

  21. I hope you are able to find a combo that helps. Please keep us posted. I think this may be more common that we know…In the meantime, “You look so good in hats”! I say, “Rock ’em!”
    xoxoxo

  22. I wonder if you have seen a dermatologist? I ask because my dermatologist is very interested in hair loss and most of the patients he sees are women. I see him for other reasons but have attended talks he has given at the clinic. I also see an endocrinologist (thyroid problems), so do understand the role of the thyroid in hair loss. But if you could find a dermatologist who has an interest in hair loss it might give some insight into other causes or parallel treatments. Best of luck anyway!

    1. My dermatologist is the one who discovered my scarring alopecia which led to a rheumatologist who found a couple autoimmune conditions.

  23. I too have had this issue. My dr says my thyroid levels are fine. I have since been to my chiropractor, and he has worked with me with dietary supplements. I FEEL better, but still struggling with the hair loss. I started Rosgaine a couple of months ago, and have noticed an improvement since then. I try not to freak out, but still…

    1. It is hard not to freak out when your hair is thinning rapidly. I’ve readjusted all my vitamins too and upped my vitamin D because low levels can cause hair loss.

  24. Hair loss is absolutely bad and after my cancer and several medicine as well as l-thyroxin my docotor recommended “pantovigar“. Have no idea if you may get it in states – but i am so happy with my hair now. I am 63 years and this medicine gave my hair back! Of course you have to be patience, but after 4 months i saw positive results – and now still taking 2 tablets per day,9 months later, my hair looks great. May be also a solution for you?

    All the best from here (germany) yours Angela

  25. Jennifer, I’m sorry to hear about your thyroid condition and subsequent hair loss. It’s hard on a woman’s sense of self esteem and self image to see thin hair. I’ve had these struggles, too. ( Although my thyroid issue is due to hypoadrenia.)

    One thing that I have found that actually regrew my hair was this combination: I quit all caffeine and even decaf coffee, and began taking 500 mg daily of a supplement called “reduced glutathione”. I can’t promise that it will work for everyone. But about 50% of my lost hair regrew.

    I hope you can find a solution.
    Take care,
    Jeanne

  26. I also am on thyroid medication and my hair is thinning. I have added zinc to my nighttime routine and I am taking biotin daily in the morning along with silica. It seems to help and I remain hopeful. I have cut my hair short hoping that helps as well. I have not tried the Rogaine treatment at this point. But I find myself looking at the density of other women’s hair and noticing who is struggling with this issue – there are many!

      1. Is there a Rogaine specifically for women or is just the regular Rogaine the best to use??

      2. My dermatologist suggested regular Rogaine, not the one specifically for women, but I haven’t done so yet. I’ve considered seeing an endocrinologist. I take levothyroxine but have not been told I have Hashimoto’s and don’t really know the difference between that and a low-functioning thyroid. It may be the same thing. I’ve also developed mild vitiligo in the past two years. All are auto-immune disorders. My alopecia is telogen effluvium, mainly in one area, and the regrowth is thin and frizzy, unhealthy looking. It’s hard not to stress over it and that makes it worse!

  27. I, too, have Hashimoto’s. It was diagnosed about 20 yrs ago (in my early 40s). While I have never experienced hair loss, I do struggle with psoriasis (another auto-immune disease) on my scalp.

    I would say to be very careful with your meds. My endocrinologist was specific in prescribing Synthroid and not the generic because she said the generics can be off as much as 10%—a lot when you are managing thyroid hormone levels. Some people tolerate the generic well, but I do not (from experience).

      1. Hi Jennifer – My name is Victoria and I am 55 years old. My hair is not as thick as it once was and a lot of my hair would fall out when being shampooed. I came across a supplement by Quai (from Sephora) called ‘Thin’ hair supplement for thinning hair. I started taking it about 4 months ago and it really helped me a lot. Now when I shampoo my hair very little falls out compared to what happened before taking the supplement. It took about 2-3 months to see a difference.

        I am really happy with the difference. My hair is not like it was when I was in my 20’s but then again, nothing is…however, it is nice not seeing lots of hair going down the shower drain. I just wanted to let you know about the product (I have no monetary interest in the product – just an opinion). Good luck!

      2. I checked for this product on the Sephora site and online and it is spelled Ouai (not Quai).

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