Hair Loss Information at Balding Blog

Your hair loss questions, answered daily.

 

All Female Hair Loss related posts

 

Topamax, Low-Ogestrel, and Female Hair Loss

I have been taking Topamax sprinkle capsules for my migraines for almost a year (onyl 45 mg per day). After the first few months on the drug, I noticed more hair on the floor in my bathroom and that it was falling out when I ran my fingers through it. In November of this year, I switched my birth control pills to Low Ogestrel,a low dosage monophasic pill so as to keep my hormone levels more stable and keep headaches at bay. After doing this, I noticed an increase in my hair loss. Now, in the shower, there is hair everywhere. Hair on my pillow, and hair on my clothes. I’ve noticed that my hair looks thin at my widows peak and on the sides of my head. It’s frightening. I got off the Topamax two weeks ago and the hair loss has continued. I am going off the birth control this month to see if that stops it.

Just wondering if you’ve ever heard of these drugs causing hair loss? Perhaps the combo of the two has wreaked havoc on my body for some reason? My doctors keep saying “It’s possible, but uncommon.” I’ve had all my bloodwork done and every checked out ok.. I just want this to stop. If it is the pills, how long before it will stop?

Thanks for any help!

Hair loss is associated with each and every one of the medications you use. I am sorry to report this to you, but these things have a cost in side effects and finding the balance can be difficult. Some people may be more sensitive than others. It may take months to see any regrowth after stopping or switching the medications. When medications are used in combination, it makes identifying the problem medication(s) more difficult.

 

Hair Loss in Woman After 2 Surgeries Months Apart

I am a 33 year old woman who just underwent 2 surgeries under general anesthesia in the last 5 months. The first was liposuction that resulted in sepsis, pulmonary hypertension, fat emboli etc. Various meds included lasix, decadron, antibiotics, cardizem, xanax, lexapro. The second surgery was to repair internal damage, lyse adhesions, and explore possible pancreatic duct damage, and cholecystectomy. Other meds included Dilaudid and valium. Luckily prior to this I had extremely thick hair and very healthy hair. I am now losing tremendous amount of hair and it is becoming thinner every day. I am worried. Will it return? Are any of these meds directly related? Is it the Anesthesia?
Thank you

Wow! You have been through quite a bit and you have my best wishes for a full recovery! You are experiencing a “telogen effluvium” which in simplest terms is a reaction of your body to the stress it has gone through. Many condiditons and situations can cause you to lose hair like this, emotional stress, rapid weight loss, a car accident, giving birth (for the women out there), and even a colonoscopy! It has little or nothing to do with the anesthesia or the meds, and the good news is that you will regrow your hair.

 

Woman with See Through Hair

I am a 30 year old woman and I have always had very fine hair, even as a teenager. I am almost 100% certain that its genetic (thanks Dad!). I am also a type 1 Diabetic. After a fairly serious diabetes-related illness about three years ago, I’ve noticed my hair coming out when i wash or comb it. I don’t know if its because I’m getting older, because of my health problems or that I am just noticing it. My hair is so fine even when it isnt coming out that its possible even normal hair loss is very noticeable. I have no bald patches as such, but when my hair is wet you can see right through it and when i put it up i have to arrange carefully so that my scalp can’t be seen.

I am confused about the options available to me, especially if I’m not actually losing hair but just have very fine hair. Which treatments are suitable and effective for someone like me? I’ve read about non-surgical replacement, but I don’t actually have anything to replace.

Thanks in advance

Fine haired people have see-through hair. I’ve written about see-through hair in men before. The same applies to girls with fine hair (more-so with very fine hair), but keeping the hair longer and often in pony tails, may have hidden the see through nature of the hair.

You need to have a good mapping of your scalp to determine if you have genetic hair loss, diffuse alopecia, or other general hair loss problems. With your very fine hair, a real expert is needed to make the distinction. A hair system (wig) or hair additions will give you a fuller look, but the cost in terms of accelerating hair loss may be a problem, especially if traction is applied consistently.

 

Stopping Rogaine for Women Use

You mentioned that:
“If you were to stop the Rogaine (minoxidil) and there was a benefit of it, you will go back to your ‘before’ status, plus losing whatever hair you would have lost prior to starting the medication. This may very well leave you worse off.”

What do you mean by worse off? Wouldn’t you just be where you would be if you had never started the minoxidil? Do you just mean psychologically, because you’d have to deal with all of the hairloss all at once upon discontinuing the minoxidil, rather than seeing it’s slow natural/drug-free progression?

I’m having a hard time deciding whether to start applying 5% minoxidil 1x/day, as my derm prescribed. (I’m 26, female, triggered AGA/TE from birth control pills).
Thank you!

Would you just be where you would be had you never started the minoxidil? — YES.
Would you have to deal with all of the hair loss at once upon discontinuing the minoxidil? — YES.

You sound like an intelligent person. The old saying, “Try it, you might like it”, may apply for you. If you start it and then do not see a benefit of it in up to 6 months, then you can probably stop it without too much risk.

 

Thin Hair in African American Female

african american 40 yr old female. I have thin hair with approx 1 inch of traction alopecia around my hairline. Tiny visible thin hairs are present on the hairline, had little growth over five year period but they don’t seem to grow long or thicker. please help. I can’t afford a transplant. will it ever grow back since hair is present? a dermatologist told me it may grow.

Other than hair transplants or possibly a hairline lowering procedure, there is not much that can be offered to you. These types of surgeries will cost possibly around $10,000. I can’t be more specific on pricing averages without seeing you first. Wigs of varying types are often the solution used for many women in your situation.

 

Hairline Lowering in 15 Year Old Female

I am a 15 year old female from Michigan. I have been dealing with the unfortunate inheritance of a high hairline. It has made me suffer through a lot of insecurities for most of my teenage years and I would like to learn more about hairline placement through the insertion of new hair follicles that weren’t present in the area before. I would also like the find out the average cost for both 1 and 2 procedures for future reference if possible. Thank you!

The hairline lowering procedure is a good one. The best way is probably the surgical approach where the actual hairline is lowered by up to an inch. The results of this are immediate (hair transplants take time) but there will be some minimal scarring in the frontal area for a while (most disappear over time) and these can be covered with bangs or other hair styling techniques. You must get your parents involved and there must not be a history of female genetic hair loss in the family. Cost for the hairline lowering procedure (one time surgery) is $9,000-$11,000 (there are no extra charges for anesthesia and the surgical room).

The cost for a hair transplant solution goes by the graft, so I would have to see pictures (with your forehead creased by lifting your eyebrows) both from the eyebrows up and full face as well (front and sides). Graft prices vary depending upon the circumstances; standby pricing is the least expensive at $5/graft, regular scheduling is $6/graft, and the fees are a bit higher if you request that I personally do the transplant procedure. Transplant estimates may range between 900-1300 grafts per session. Some people can get it done in a single hair transplant if their hair and skin color have low contrast and the hair shaft thickness is not fine. Send photos to the address on the Contact page and please reference this blog posting in your email.

 

My Hair Keeps Falling Out In the Same Spot

I am a 21 year old African American Female. I started to relax my hair for the first time at about fourteen years old and after a couple months (maybe 6) the hair at the back of my head began to fall out. I then proceded to braid my hair for the next two years and relaxed it again at 16. Again, following a couple of months my hair began to fall out at the same place – the left corner of my head. I put it in braids again. I permed my hair for the last time when I was 18 and then decided that I was going to go natural. I braided my hair for the next two years to gradually grow out my natural hair. I now do not process my hair chemically (or hotcomb it) at all. However, last year after wearing my natural hair out for about 8-9mths my hair fell out in the same place again. Basically – My hair falls out repeatedly in the same place – the left corner in the back of my head. All the rest of my hair seems relatively fine. I usually put my hair in braids when this happens and the vast majority of the hair grows back (pretty quickly too). But after taking the braids out and leaving my hair out for a while, natural (no chemicals, or straightening products – just in a straight afro) it repeatedly breaks in that spot. HELP!! Do you have any hints into what is going on ?

Braiding will cause hair loss from constant pulling pressure, meaning Traction Alopecia. This is a known permanent cause of hair loss in the African American community. All of the things you discussed can cause permanent hair loss if you persist in doing them. I can not tell you if you are past the point of no return, but would strongly advise that to prevent further hair loss, you should avoid braiding and everything else you are doing to your hair. After a year or so, you will know what your new baseline is.

Many women in your situation find that if they put a stop to the things that they are doing to get the style they need to function on a daily basis, then I understand that the problem and the solution clash. Even the wigs used by some women can produce traction alopecia if they pull on the hair, so you have to find a balance between your social needs and the costs (in hair loss terms) between the things you do.

 

Stress from Months Ago Still Causing Female Hair Loss?

I am a 23 year old female and over the past 2 months I have lost over half of my hair. This past year i have gone through a divorce, had a miscarriage, lost my job, and hospitalized and diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. My miscarriage was 6 months ago so i don’t believe that would still be affecting my hair loss but i could be wrong. When i went to the hospital in october for diabetes, my body was in a starvation stage, i was dehydrated, very little potassium, and down to 98lbs. (I regularly weigh 122). I’ve already been tested for thyroid disease and that came back negative. Is it possible that the stress that i had so long ago is just now causing all my hair to fall out? I’m very worried that i might lose it all. My dermotologist put me on over the counter medicine called appearex that contains 2.5 mg of biotin once daily. I’ve taken it for a week and my hair is still falling out by the handfulls. I wish i could find someone that could tell me exactly how to fix this problem but it all seems to be a guessing game. This is a very serious problem especially for females, we cant just go and shave our heads. Please help me if you can, i don’t know what else to do.
Thank you

I would expect that the some or all of your hair will return within a year. The body takes months to go through its cycle and the telogen cycle in people can vary between 3-8 months. That is the minimum time to get reversal to show. I am assuming that you do not have genetic hair loss as well, which can be precipitated by the stress and then some of the hair may not return.

Any residual elements of the above causes of hair loss, may continue to hold back growth and you have many causes all going on at the same time. Show patience, because you have little choice but to continue to correct your problems with the proper medical management (it seems that you are getting that now). Hopefully you will be rewarded with a return of your hair.

 

Alopecia Areata Doctor Recommendation

Dear Doctor,
About four years ago my sister’s hair started to fall out in chunks, expecially in the back. She has very large bald spots all along the back, and the top hair is very thin. At first nobody wanted to treat her, but then a doctor told her she had an auto-immune disorder – alopecia – and that there really was not any cure. She has tried steroid injections in her head, all sorts of topical solutions, and is now doing Chinese herbs. She is in her early 30′s and I know the hair loss has really taken an emoitonal toll on her. Do you recommend any doctors in the San Diego area who specialize in these types of problems, or any solutions?

Thank you very much.

It sounds like she has Alopecia Areata. This is a difficult disease to treat. One doctor at UCLA has specialized in this, Dr. Richard Strick, and as you are in southern California, I would try to make an appointment with him. He has developed special protocols for this disease and I have sent a few patients to him who have achieved remarkable results. He is also on the National Alopecia Areata Foundation medical advisory board, where his contact information is toward the bottom of this page: NAAF Scientific Advisory Council 2005/2006.

 

African American Dermatologist?

Is there a way to find a national listing of African-American dermatologists? I am especially interested in those that deal with hair loss in the african-american female.

Thank you.

I don’t believe that you need to have an ‘ethnic’ doctor to understand the nuances of African-American hair loss. It will be far more valuable for you to indentify a good dermatologist or hair doctor who has a specific interest in hair loss. Some of these can be found on the physician search at ISHRS.org, or American Academy of Dermatology. There are many causes for female hair loss, such as braiding (dreadlocks), hypothyroidism, iron deficiency, malnutrition, stress, hormone imbalance, contraception, high blood pressure medication, warfarin, eczema, psoriasis and other inflammatory disease. These diagnoses and other causes for hair loss are general people/female problems, not specifically African-American ones.