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What is causing hair loss?

Messages
98
My hair started falling out a few months ago and has continued to do so. It feels like I've lost at least a third of my hair so far. I'm trying to figure out what might be causing it. I've had CFS for many years, so that probably isn't the cause. My thyroid and iron levels tested in the normal range in Feb. I've had some significant weight loss in the last year due to an h. pylori infection that I haven't been able to get rid of. So there may be some malapsorbtion problem, although I suspect I've had an issue with that for many year with the candida and other CFS gut-related problems.

I had a blood test done last week for nutrient deficiencies and am doing some saliva tests this week for hormone levels, but I won't get the results for those for about a month. I've been taking biotin for a long time, plus B-complex, zinc, multi-mineral and B6. I'd like to do whatever I can right now to try to stop the hair loss, as I don't think I can afford to wait for the test results to do something about it.

Any ideas as to what might be causing this? I'm open to adding in more nutrients, but am not sure what else to take.

Thanks!
 

maryb

iherb code TAK122
Messages
3,602
Location
UK
I was told several years ago by a thyroid specialist that my hair would start to thin with thyroid and adrenal problems. I can't take thyroid supplements so maybe thats why mine has gone so much thinner , anyway although I test low its not enough to supplement according to UK GPs!
KdM told me to take zinc after mine went so much worse last year, but I notice you already supplement with this.
Causes?? Thyroid is the top of my list but I've taken Valtrex, and several different a/biotics, could never quite put my finger on what caused it to start thinning for definite though.
I share your concerns its awful having half a head of hair, god knows its bad enough having this rotten illness without this.
 

Enid

Senior Member
Messages
3,309
Location
UK
I'm pretty certain my hair loss was due to thyroid problems - it took some time to rectify though after initially relative high doses of thyroxine then levelling out to my current slightly lower dose. It is checked now every year. It did not stop ME progressing though.
 

Ema

Senior Member
Messages
4,729
Location
Midwest USA
My thyroid and iron levels tested in the normal range in Feb.

Thanks!


There is a BIG difference between "normal" and "optimal" in terms of thyroid and iron status. Why don't you post your actual lab numbers with ranges?

The same thing goes saliva hormone labs when you get those numbers back too...

Have you recently changed hair products either?
 
Messages
5
Mine is definitely from the ME

I have been losing hair for the last several years that I know of. When I first noticed it it was coming out in handfulls. I didn't notice the loss when I first got the disease. I saw a dermatologist who took a history and blood tests. Finally she did a biopsy of my scalp. It showed lymphocytes (white blood cells) attacking my hair follicles and leaving collagen in place where the hair follicles and oil glands used to be. In other words, my body was attacking my hair, an auto-immune like phenomena. The biopsy did not show lupus or lichen planus. Collagen and lymphocytes are not seen in thyroid or anemia problems. I had the tests repeated over the years and it flares when my ME flares. I have asked other sufferers with hairloss if they have ever had their scalp biopsied and they always say no, their doctor attributed their hairless to thyroid or low blood count or whatever. The doctors cannot know for sure if there is no biopsy. I found my results to be especially interesting after the Norwegian study results with the drug rituximab and their thoughts that there might be an auto-immune component to this disease.
 

taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
Maybe it is a new ME symptom even if you have had this illness a long time. Even as a long term ME person, I find new symptoms can at times come in with it. There has been times (not very often thou) that Ive suddenly started loosing hair far more then normal. (in my case when it starts to happen, I start to loose it in clumps which is kind of worrying).

One of my cousins suddenly started loosing her hair when she was a teen.. it turned out to be due to all the diet coke she was drinking. It was only when she cut out drinking it, did her hair started growing back.
 
Messages
98
Thanks for the replies, everyone. I forgot to mention that I have been taking thyroid medication for many years. Here are the test reading from February, with the reference ranges in parenthesis:

T4 - 7.0 (4.5-12)
T3 Uptake - 30 (24-39)
T3 - 118 (71-180)
TSH - .527 (.450-4.5)
T3, Free, Serum - 3.2 (2.0 - 4.4)
T4, Free - .97 (.82-1.77)
Reverse T3, Serum - 14.2 (13.5-34.2)

Ferritin, serum - 34 (13-150)

I'm not sure how to interpret these tests, but am guessing that something else is causing the hair loss. I'll get the malabsorption test results in a few weeks and will let you know what sorts of nutrient deficiencies show up that might cause hair loss (assuming that my doctor knows!).
 

hurtingallthetimet

Senior Member
Messages
612
my hair comes out by the handful but i never have any thinning its werid...i asked doctors about it several times they checked my thyroids and maybe hormones i cant remember but it was normal..
 

Mya Symons

Mya Symons
Messages
1,029
Location
Washington
Hello. Hair loss is a side effect of synthetic thyroid hormone. Every time my dose of Synthroid is increased by a few more milligrams, I loose a lot of hair and every time my thyroid functioning is too low or too high I loose hair (especially when it is on the high end). You could be getting too much thyroid hormone replacement. Everyone is different, but when my TSH gets below 1, I get all kinds of problems (i.e. hair falling out, palpatations, insomnia, etc. Yours looks like it is at 0.527. That might be to low for you (which means you might be getting too much hormone).

Websites like Mary Shomon's push getting your TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) down really low by upping your dose of synthroid. This is not necessarily a good thing to do. They are finding out that having a large enough dose of synthetic thyroid hormone like synthroid that lowers your TSH down below one, can cause early osteoarthritis (which I have from doing this). And, it didn't really make me feel any better either. Frankly, I think all synthetic thyroid hormone use will eventually lead to early osteoarthritis, but using larger doses speeds it up. However, you would never get anyone in the medical profession to admit that.

One more thing -- I have been using some DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) blocking ingredients in my shampoo and conditioner to combat hair loss. I have noticed that I am growing hair back a long my temple. Apparently, I have too much DHT in the scalp area. I don't know if that is common for people with CFS or not. I have been using the natural stuff like Pygeum Bark, Rooibos, and Billberry because I am pretty sure I would have a reaction to minoxidill.
 

taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
Here's some more things which can cause hair loss: (no link provided as this info is out of my college notes)

- Vitamin A Toxicity

- B2 (Riboflavin) Deficiency (can be caused by diet, stress and Gasto Intestinal Disorders)

- Chloride deficiency (can be caused by diet, high fevers, excess sweating, vomiting)

- Silica deficiency (can be caused by malabosorption problems, toxic poisoning eg viral/bacterial infection)

- zinc deficiency (can be caused by diet, stress, illness esp with severe or prolonged inflammation, malabsorption issue, corticosteroidal drugs, contraceptive pills)
 

Overstressed

Senior Member
Messages
406
Location
Belgium
I have been losing hair for the last several years that I know of. When I first noticed it it was coming out in handfulls. I didn't notice the loss when I first got the disease. I saw a dermatologist who took a history and blood tests. Finally she did a biopsy of my scalp. It showed lymphocytes (white blood cells) attacking my hair follicles and leaving collagen in place where the hair follicles and oil glands used to be. In other words, my body was attacking my hair, an auto-immune like phenomena. The biopsy did not show lupus or lichen planus. Collagen and lymphocytes are not seen in thyroid or anemia problems. I had the tests repeated over the years and it flares when my ME flares. I have asked other sufferers with hairloss if they have ever had their scalp biopsied and they always say no, their doctor attributed their hairless to thyroid or low blood count or whatever. The doctors cannot know for sure if there is no biopsy. I found my results to be especially interesting after the Norwegian study results with the drug rituximab and their thoughts that there might be an auto-immune component to this disease.

This finding is very fascinating, years before I got ill, I started to have a very itchy scalp, hair loss and...shots of collagen, it just came off from my scalp. I suffered years from that and after my infection in 2007, I received doxycycline from the infection specialist. I had no diagnosis, but they thought I might have catched a bacteria that persisted. And here it comes: it cleared my scalp, and it only got better with Gc-Maf. I'm still suffering from hair loss, but that's now due to problems with my thyroid.

Best regards,
OS.
 

Sushi

Moderation Resource Albuquerque
Messages
19,934
Location
Albuquerque
I have also found that systemic candida caused hair loss and when I treated it, lots of new hair came in.

Sushi
 

PNR2008

Senior Member
Messages
613
Location
OH USA
This is going to sound strange but here it is. I've always had very thick hair. When first diagnosed with CFS, my antibodies were attacking my thyroid. I've since been on Armour then synthroid but my hair got thicker!!!!!! My hairdresser noticed it also, yet it was controllable even though at times it looked and felt like swimmers hair. (little dry, crackingly and very bushy). In the last 24yrs of illness my hair hasn't been worse than it is right now, dry, extremely wavy and thick with itchy scalp. I'm ready to check for anything although, I did have a lesion scraped where I parted my hair it was precancerous but what's with the crazy hair? I am fair, Polish/slovak decent and 62!!!!! Those of you lamenting your lost hair I wish I could give you some of mine but I doubt if you'd want it. Iwear it long so the weight pulls it down instead of out. In the early '90's I had a serious back surgery and my hair looked horrble for at least 6 months.