Wednesday, November 20, 2013

You're Losing Your What?

My hair. Yes, I am losing my hair.

This is something women in particular do not like to talk about. Sure, men don't like to talk about losing their hair (or losing it in the first place, for that matter), but at least it happens to enough of them that it's kind of normal.

But for women? If we lose our hair we never talk about it.

This past September I noticed that I had an inordinate amount of hair going down the drain when I took a shower. Enough hair in a handful for a small ponytail, I kid you not. Cut a small ponytail worth of hair out of your hair every couple of days and see how much is left on your head.
Crazed, flyaway-haired lady! Aaaack!

This picture was taken a few months after I had begun shedding. The short hairs that were re-growing weren't long enough to stay in a ponytail, so I began looking like a crazed lunatic whenever I wore my hair back. Which, for me, was most of the time. 

At first I chalked it up to...I don't know what. I think I was in denial that it was happening. But then I lost a ton while showering, then combed through my hair just after said shower and lost just as much again.

What. The hell.

So of course I called my dermatologist, because she'd just put me on a new prescription and asked her if a side effect was hair loss. Actually, she informed me, a side effect is hair growth.


I called my endocrinologist and scheduled a blood test, because I know that hair loss can be associated with hormone and thyroid changes.

Every test they ran came back normal.

Curse it...

I happened to mention to both doctors that I had recently made a diet change. I stopped having my protein shake every lunch hour because it turned out I was allergic to some of the ingredients in the shake. Even more ironic, my allergy had been coming out as severe adult acne, which was the reason for the new prescription from the dermatologist. Nasty, ugly stuff that made my self-confidence take a huge plunge and make me feel like an awkward teenager.

Turns out that there are four kinds of grasses in the protein shake I'd been taking: wheat grass, barley grass, kamut and oat grass. Now, grass is actually a great filler -- it's in the majority of protein shakes on the market, a fact I discovered while researching a replacement. But for someone who is as horribly allergic to grass as I am, ingesting the stuff is just as bad for you as rolling in it.

But...there are a lot of good things in that shake that my body really loved too, tons of vitamins and minerals, acai extract, Goji berry, blueberry, and so on and so forth.

When I mentioned that I had stopped taking this shake to my doctors, they both said, "Oooh yes, that can make a difference."

So the good news is that the hair loss is a not a permanent change, and my hair loss seems to have slowed to a more normal rate. The bad news is that I still didn't feel great about myself because it was so scraggly to me. It may have looked okay to others, but I could tell the difference and I was not happy.

And so there was only one thing left to do.

My normal stylist wasn't available for a while, and I just couldn't wait to make a change. So I called a salon in Minneapolis that specializes in cutting and treating curly hair. They cut every curl individually while it's dry so they can see where the hair wants to naturally curl up. THEN they wash it and dry it in such a way that it isn't frizzy and won't frizz as the day goes on. They even taught me how to dry and style it appropriately so I can get the same effect myself.  I LOVE the way my hair curls now, and the shorter length is absolutely freeing.

I had no idea that a diet change or hormonal changes could result is such dramatic hair loss until I experienced it myself.  Hopefully my sharing this can help other women from panicking if they experience this themselves.

1 comment:

  1. I did not notice thinning hair and your hair looked great when we saw you in Nov.