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  • Hair falling out by the handful...

    It had gotten thicker and healthier since I started eating primal in April but over the last two months it has started falling out and just looks thin and unhealthy. Figures the only part of my body I don't want thin is the one that goes. My doctor has lowered my thyroid meds three times since April, the last time about a month ago. I changed shampoos about two months ago as well. Any other thoughts? This is driving me nuts!
    You know all those things you wanted to do: You should go do them.

    Age 48
    height 5'3
    SW 215 lbs
    CW 180 lbs (whole foods/primal eating)
    LW 172 lbs
    GW 125ish lbs

  • #2
    Is the hair loss patchy or generally diffuse? If patchy, the most common conditions are tinea capitis (fungal infection), Alopecia areata (autoimmune), or traction hair loss (do you wear a tight braid?). Try using a antifungal shampoo to see if it helps. Alopecia areata usually goes away on its own.

    If diffuse, assuming you are female (based on your wanting body hair to be thin comment), it's almost certainly a hormonal issue. A classic symptom of hypothyroidism is thin hair, brittle hair, and diffuse hair loss. If you had been taking meds for hypothyroidism and those meds were lowered this could be the issue. It could also be a sex hormone issue. In either case it's worth a thorough discussion with your doctor and some blood tests.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by valmason01 View Post
      ... but over the last two months it has started falling out and just looks thin and unhealthy. [...] I changed shampoos about two months ago as well. Any other thoughts?
      Sometimes, I just want to stab myself in the eye with a pencil.
      Yeah, my grammar sucks. Deal with it!

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      • #4
        Are you on a low carb diet? Are you eating a lot of protein?

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        • #5
          I'd look hard at the thyroid reduction. It's certainly the most likely culprit given what you've mentioned. How are your other hypo symptoms? Did your doc lower the meds based on TSH alone? (and is it that crappy synthroid, or NDT like Armour?)
          5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
          Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
          Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
          Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
          ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

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          • #6
            There are lots of things to consider that could be a cause. Here's just one more:

            Female pattern baldness: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
            "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

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            • #7
              I assume you've gotten lab tests done? Have you been on any birth control pills? Which thyroid meds were you given?
              Make America Great Again

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              • #8
                Originally posted by valmason01 View Post
                It had gotten thicker and healthier since I started eating primal in April but over the last two months it has started falling out and just looks thin and unhealthy. Figures the only part of my body I don't want thin is the one that goes. My doctor has lowered my thyroid meds three times since April, the last time about a month ago. I changed shampoos about two months ago as well. Any other thoughts? This is driving me nuts!
                Why were thyroid meds reduced? What meds are you on?
                What are your previous (before med reduction) and current test results, including lab ranges?
                How are your iron levels, especially ferritin?
                Have you considered going back to your old shampoo to see if it helps?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Meds were changed because numbers were getting too low..this is based on T4 and t3 (i think thats the right name?) as well as TSH. It is synthroid not armour. Hair loss is diffuse (yes I am female ). Didn't think about it until derpamix and dizzyorange mentioned the sex hormones and birth control but I was taking HRT (estradiol) because I had a hysterectomy 6 years ago and quit about 3 months back. I do eat low carb but over the last couple of months have eaten higher than 'normal'. I get probably too much protein to be honest. Supposed to do the bloodwork again in the next couple of weeks. Now I am wondering if it is the HRT? Dammit, I don't want to go on that again.....BUt I admit to being vain enough that very thin hair will drive me nuts.

                  Thanks for all the thoughts, you have given me much to think about...I have considered changing my shampoo back. I have a feeling thats not it but it is the easiest thing to change right now so might as well.
                  You know all those things you wanted to do: You should go do them.

                  Age 48
                  height 5'3
                  SW 215 lbs
                  CW 180 lbs (whole foods/primal eating)
                  LW 172 lbs
                  GW 125ish lbs

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by valmason01 View Post
                    Meds were changed because numbers were getting too low..this is based on T4 and t3 (i think thats the right name?) as well as TSH. It is synthroid not armour. Hair loss is diffuse (yes I am female ). Didn't think about it until derpamix and dizzyorange mentioned the sex hormones and birth control but I was taking HRT (estradiol) because I had a hysterectomy 6 years ago and quit about 3 months back. I do eat low carb but over the last couple of months have eaten higher than 'normal'. I get probably too much protein to be honest. Supposed to do the bloodwork again in the next couple of weeks. Now I am wondering if it is the HRT? Dammit, I don't want to go on that again.....BUt I admit to being vain enough that very thin hair will drive me nuts.

                    Thanks for all the thoughts, you have given me much to think about...I have considered changing my shampoo back. I have a feeling thats not it but it is the easiest thing to change right now so might as well.
                    Thyroid hormones-- T4 and T3- generally have an inverse relationship. By that I mean if TSH is decreasing T4 and T3 should be increasing. So if all are decreasing I would like to see actual results.

                    In addition, HRT (estradiol) increases Thyroid Binding Globulin, thus binding more thyroid hormone and making it less usable by the body. If total T4 and T3 were tested it might indicate too much/high hormones. The problem here is the estradiol binds a great deal of that hormone making it useless. To see what is actually available for use one needs to test free T4 and free T3.

                    It would be very helpful if you could post actual test results with lab ranges.

                    Also, why did you decide to stop HRT and how old are you?

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                    • #11
                      I am terrible at remembering the names of the tests. I checked the lab orders they mailed me for follow up and it is the TSH, free T4 and free T3. She called me with the last round of numbers so I don't have them written down. What I understand you saying is that taking the estradiol would have caused my thyroid to be out of whack and stop taking it would help my thyroid return to some level of normal? I am 46. I quit taking the HRT because I am on several medications and am trying to return my body to a more natural way of living. I had the hysterectomy at 40. I would most likely be starting menopause around this time in my life. There is an increased risk of breast cancer with HRT. I have noticed no horrible side effects, some hot flashes but not unmanageable, no changes in mood or well being. Up until now I never considered it being why I would have hair loss.
                      You know all those things you wanted to do: You should go do them.

                      Age 48
                      height 5'3
                      SW 215 lbs
                      CW 180 lbs (whole foods/primal eating)
                      LW 172 lbs
                      GW 125ish lbs

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by valmason01 View Post
                        I am terrible at remembering the names of the tests. I checked the lab orders they mailed me for follow up and it is the TSH, free T4 and free T3. She called me with the last round of numbers so I don't have them written down. What I understand you saying is that taking the estradiol would have caused my thyroid to be out of whack and stop taking it would help my thyroid return to some level of normal? I am 46. I quit taking the HRT because I am on several medications and am trying to return my body to a more natural way of living. I had the hysterectomy at 40. I would most likely be starting menopause around this time in my life. There is an increased risk of breast cancer with HRT. I have noticed no horrible side effects, some hot flashes but not unmanageable, no changes in mood or well being. Up until now I never considered it being why I would have hair loss.
                        My first suggestion is for you to call your doctor and ask for a copy of all blood test results that have been done. By law in the USA they must provide you a copy but can charge a "copy fee". I also suggest you always get a copy whenever tests are done.

                        My second suggestion is for you to research hypothyroid so that you are knowledgeable enough to be able to have a "partnership" with your doctor and be able see "the why" behind med changes and whether you agree with the change. I learned a great deal here and they have a great forum:
                        thyroid.about.com

                        For female hormones, hysterectomy, HRT-- I posted the following in athomeontherange's journal a few days ago:
                        "HRT is a personal choice. I am just providing information that helped me.

                        I don't recall how old you are or if you had a total hysterectomy, but Dr Elizabeth Lee Vliet in her book, Screaming To Be Heard, states:
                        "If you've had a hysterectomy with removal of the ovaries, then it is even more crucial that you have adequate hormone replacement. The younger you are when you have the uterus and ovaries removed, the more important it is to be sure you are on the proper replacement hormone amount. In this situation, it truly is replacement therapy because your own ovaries were prematurely removed."

                        My own experience, having started HRT around age 44, while still having periods with undetectable estradiol levels, is that it helped my muscle/joint pain, severe insomnia, and brain fog. I had developed osteopenia and after HRT my bone density greatly improved and is now stellar.

                        I've only had a few hot flashes but did, and still do, have night sweats. The night sweat are worse if I eat sugar/grains/crap.

                        I found Dr. Vleit's book, Women, Weight and Hormones, to be very educational, enlightening and helpful.
                        Women, Weight and Hormones: A Weight-Loss Plan for Women Over 35: Elizabeth Lee Vliet: 9780871319326: Amazon.com: Books

                        She also has a website: Welcome to Dr. Vliet's Home Page"

                        As to your thyroid issues, I am not saying the estradiol caused your thyroid issues. I can not even begin to speculate on your issues from the information provided. You have not said how long you've been on thyroid replacement or HRT. You have not given specific info in respect to any test result.

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                        • #13
                          6 months of eating primal => hair grows thicker and healthier
                          2 months of eating primal + switching to a new shampoo => hair starts falling out

                          Conclusion: Most likely a thyroid problem. Either that, or Alopecia areata.
                          Yeah, my grammar sucks. Deal with it!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Something else to consider:

                            Many women notice hair loss after giving birth. (As explain by my doctor) During pregnancy, the hormones in their body cause their hair follicles to hold onto hair that would normally be shed. Once the hormones return to 'normal', the hair follicles that are 'due' to shed at that time AND all the hair follicles that were holding onto their hair strands due to hormones, let go. It is an increase, but only because fewer hairs fell out during pregnancy.

                            A similar thing can happen during periods of extra-good nutrition (which a shift to primal usually is). Unless it keeps happening, it may just be a normal reaction to a diet change-up. Look for new growth, which would indicate a natural cycle. Of course, it will take a few weeks for the new strands to get long enough for you to notice them poking up.

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                            • #15
                              The first thing I'd do is change my shampoo back to what I used to use and see if that helps. Certain shampoos make my hair fall out, and give me rosacea flare ups. If it still falls out after a couple of washes, you've got lots of other avenues to try.
                              "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                              In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                              - Ray Peat

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