Don’t panic if you start seeing more hairs in the drain than usual. In honor of Hair Loss Awareness Month, let’s find out what could be causing it.
A few months after I had my second baby, I started noticing I was losing gobs and gobs of hair. If I so much as raked my fingers through my hair, I would pull out a clump. It got to a point where even my then 2-year old son started to complain about finding “mommy hair” on his clothes and toys.
Causes of Hair Loss
The hormonal changes that go along with having a baby are one of the causes of hair loss. You may also lose hair because of:
- hormonal changes from menopause
- a vitamin D deficiency
- an iron deficiency
- too much vitamin A
- a side effect of a medication including some for heart problems, high blood pressure, birth control, depression, arthritis and cancer
- a thyroid problem
- a stressful event, like a new job or death in the family
- an illness; even something as seemingly minor as a high fever
- The most common cause is that it’s in your genes. Thanks, mom and dad!
What to Do About Hair Loss
First off, know that it’s absolutely normal to lose 50 to 100 hairs a day. Secondly, don’t feel embarrassed about talking to your doctor about it. Believe me, I get that hair loss is a sensitive issue and talking about it can make it seem more real. But your primary care physician or a dermatologist can help. If your hair loss could be reversed by changing your diet or taking an iron supplement, wouldn’t you want to know that?
Help for Hair Loss
When you see your doctor about hair loss there are a variety of factors that he or she will want to discuss ranging from your diet, medications, other potentially related symptoms recent life changes or stresses. He or she will most likely do a blood test for thyroid issues, anemia and vitamin deficiencies.
Identifying an underlying medical cause for your hair loss can help your doctor identify the best course of action. The good news? Your hair should start growing back. The bad news? It won’t happen overnight. You may not see any difference for a few months, so be patient.
Encourage Your Hair Growth
You’ve probably seen commercials for a number of medications and treatments to stop hair loss and help your hair grow back — Qilib. This is a two part topical system, made up of Minoxidil and a solution of vitamin C, proteins, lipids and antioxidants. You may start seeing results as early as four weeks. It’s also available OTC and works for both men and women.
- Minoxidil. This over-the-counter (OTC) product can help slow hair loss, spur hair growth or both. You rub the foam into your scalp morning and night. You’ll get the best results at 16 weeks.
- Propecia. This daily prescription pill for men only slows hair loss and encourages regrowth.
- Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy. You may have heard that that athletes including Tiger Woods were turning to PRP to speed up recovery or that Kim Kardashian was having “vampire” facials. Now many dermatologists are using the innovative procedure to reverse hair loss, and studies show it works. In the treatment, your doctor will draw your blood, spin it to separate the PRP and inject it back into your scalp. You will need several treatments over the course of a few months
- Hair transplants. During this surgery, your surgeon literally transplants tiny plugs of skin containing hair follicles from the back or sides of your scalp to the areas that are thinning or bald.
- Hair growth supplements. While there haven’t been any conclusive studies, you may know a well-tressed friend who swears by Viviscal, Nutrafol, the qilib multivitamin or prenatal vitamins. These all contain biotin and iron and other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
For my own hair loss, 18 months after my daughter’s birth, I’m happy to report my hair is back to normal!
Ready to talk to a doctor about hair loss? If you are in the Los Angeles area and are looking for a new dermatologist, be sure to schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visiting http://dermatology.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/.
By Anne Fritz