Alopecia and Hair Loss in Women
Alopecia and hair loss related conditions are one of the biggest hair growth issues amongst women.
During my natural hair growth journey, I have lost my hair and I have encountered many hair growth set backs. The main hair growth issues I faced was hair loss due to Alopecia Areata.
There are many reasons why us ladies lose our hair, but I decided to list my Top 11 Reasons why women lose their hair.
1. Hair Loss and Alopecia Areata
Alopecia Areata is a form of hair loss. This form of hair loss is thought to be caused my an auto immune disorder. I wanted to put Alopecia Areata as a reason for hair loss on it’s own and not group it in the sickness category because its symptoms are so specific to hair loss.
The theory behind why individuals have Alopecia Areata (which is what my doctors labeled the reason for my hair loss) is that their immune systems start attacking the healthy hair follicles for no apparent reason.
I don’t believe that our bodies “do things” for “no reason”. I believe that the medical professionals do not understand why our body is attacking itself, but to say that it is for “no apparent reason” is not true. Instead they should be saying “There is for no blatantly obvious reason that we can see from running some tests, but there is a reason for sure”.
I know for a fact that when I started losing my hair, my body was under a lot of stress (mentally, emotionally and physically). I was getting sick very often, with little to no exposure to the outside world (meaning that a little boy with the sniffles wasn’t giving me a cold).
Seeking Medical Advice
When I went to my doctor and asked him about what was going on with me, he would tell me that I was fine and that it must have been stress and for me to relax.
When I started to lose my hair, I asked him to check my iron, my thyroid, my vitamin B and D levels and he assured me that I was good and healthy, except for my thyroid levels which were a little high. He decided to send me to a specialist and the specialist said that my thyroid levels were a “tad bit” high, but it was so minuscule that he couldn’t prescribe me medication. Now that wasn’t the reason why I was losing my hair either. Well, at this point I was confused.
If there appears to be nothing wrong, then the doctors say my body is “acting crazy”. Well, doesn’t that mean there is something wrong?
I decided to do some research and I changed my diet to a plant based, whole foods diet for 50 day and after 50 days I was feeling better. All of my previous symptoms were gone and my hair started to thicken and get longer.
*Note:* I had noticed hair growth after I started using my Shea Butter Mixture, but my hair, overall, was growing at a faster rate once I got healthy.
The doctors could not explain this “auto immune disorder” to me, but once I changed my diet and started living a more healthy life, I cured myself.
Don’t let the doctors tell you, your body is “acting crazy” for no reason. There is a reason, but we have to do some research and take a look at our life and try to put the puzzle pieces together.
1) When did this started happening to you? – Age
2) What changed in your life? – New job, new house, new marriage, new baby, divorce, death in the family, etc?
3) What did you notice was wrong? List your symptoms
Start by answering these questions and then do some research. Trust me, when you take the time to look into your life, you will see things that you never thought bothered you or stressed you out, really did and you very well could be sick because if it.
An auto immune disorder is caused by something and just because the doctors don’t know what caused your particular case, doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer or a cure.
The doctor told me my hair may not grow back, but it did!
2. Hair Loss and Weight Loss
Losing weight gradually is very healthy and very good for your body. Trying to lose weight too quickly has a negative effects on your body, which will have a negative effect on your hair growth. Extreme weight loss can put a lot of stress on your body, which can cause Telogen Effluvium. Our bodies were designed to handle stress, but not the extreme stressed placed on our bodies when we lose a lot of weight very quickly.
Whenever the word weight loss is seen, our minds automatically jump to the conclusion of someone intentionally trying to lose weight. This is true for those who are trying to lose weight quickly by cutting their acceptable daily food intake amounts in half or less (to lose weight) or for those who spend countless hours doing rigorous work outs trying to lose weight. Both these examples do pertain to individuals purposely trying to lose weight.
But there is a large group of people who are not trying to lose weight intentionally. Their weight loss is due to an underlying medical condition. This underlying medical condition makes it hard to keep weight on and also makes the body use up its ‘reserves” thus causing the individual to lose weight rapidly.
Now, wether you are trying to lose weight intentionally or wether there in an underlying medical condition as to why you are losing weight too quickly, both scenarios put extreme stress on your body, which in turn can cause hair loss.
3. Hair Loss and Sickness
We all get sick from time to time. A common cold or a stomach bug every now and again may not be an alarm that you may encounter hair loss. These illnesses are usually cleared up in a matter of days and our bodies (if they are healthy) should have no trouble fighting off the bad bacteria and curing itself.
However, for those suffering with a very serious illness, like cancer, diabetes, thyroid disorder, etc., our bodies my undergo Telogen Effluvium. The stress from the illness on our bodies may cause us to lose hair at a very rapid rate. Due to this extra stress, our bodies will shed a large amount of hair.
Apart from hair loss caused by stress due to the sickness, our bodies may lose hair based on the sickness we are suffering from. Remember when our bodies are healthy, we are able to grow healthy hair, but if our bodies are not well, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to grow hair faster than we are losing it.
My grandma passed away in April 2005 from cancer. I noticed that her hair was very thin, but at the time I did not know she had cancer. When I found out, it made sense. The cancer cells were robbing her body of the nutrients she needed in order to grow her hair.
I was suffering from Candida Overgrowth at one point. My hair was growing super slow and it wasn’t until I was cured of Candida Overgrowth, that my hair started to grow faster and flourish. Candida Overgrowth is caused by yeast like parasitic fungi that survive by feeding on the food you consume. By the candida organisms feeding on the food I was eating, they robbed me of nutrients and minerals. My hair didn’t have a chance at growing because it wasn’t getting nourishment.
If you are suffering from any illness, please know that there is a chance that that is why you may be experiencing hair loss. Please don’t think that if you are sick you will experience hair loss. I know many ladies who have had some pretty serious medical issues, but there hair was still long and luscious. Everyones body is different and not everyone will experience hair loss due to sickness.
4. Hair Loss and Over styling
Ladies and Gentlemen, we all love to style our hair!
We like to look good and hairstyles gives us all a unique sense of style and creativity. However, us ladies are usually guilty when it comes to over styling our hair. There are so many ways to style our hair (whether it’s long or short) and we take full advantage of styling our hair.
I will be the first to admit, that I have tried almost every style I could do with my hair. I have used braids, weaves, wigs, ponytails, buns, perms, hot combs and hair straighteners, blow dryers, curling irons, braids, twists and much more!
I have been to hair stylists that have braided my hair too tight, used straighteners that are too hot or who have used harsh and damaging chemicals on my scalp. I have lost my hair over the years and I know first hand that over styling or over processing your hair can cause hair loss and hair thinning.
Take a close look at the products you are using in your hair and the styles you are putting your hair in. If there is a lot of tension and or pulling you can be causing hair loss, thinning, Traction Alopecia or you may even be permanently damaging your hair.
5. Hair Loss and Medication
I was talking to my doctor about this and he said that as long as you are taking medication that has been prescribed to you, there will always be a side- effect. The side-effects may differ from person to person and from medication to medication, but there will always be a side effect. Hair loss and thinning is frequently labeled as a side effect on medication labels.
If you are taking medication and are experiencing hair loss or hair thinning, please check the label to see if that is one of the side effects. If it is not listed as a side-effect, it is still a good idea to discuss your hair loss with your doctor. Hair loss may be a side-effect of your medication, but if hair loss does not effect a large enough number of people, it may not be listed as a side-effect. This, however, doesn’t mean that you are not experiencing hair loss from the medication you are taking.
6. Hair Loss and Protein
Protein is good for the overall health of our body, especially for our hair, but I didn’t know how important it was until recently. It is very interesting how our body uses protein and it does so in a lot of ways.
For example, our bodies need protein to make the part of our red blood cells that carries oxygen to our cells and this is called hemoglobin. This is a very important role because our red blood cells carry oxygen all over our body, including our scalp. Without adequate oxygen delivery to our cells, our body cannot carry out the tasks it needs to, which includes growing healthy, strong hair. We know that if your whole body is healthy you will be able to grow long, strong healthy hair.
There is a specific protein that is responsible for growing healthy, strong hair and it’s called keratin. Keratin is crucial for hair growth. If you are not getting enough protein your hair will be brittle and weak. If your hair is brittle and weak it will be harder to grow your hair, cause thinning and you may experience hair loss.
Protein is very important to have in your diet so that you will not experience hair loss.
7. Hair Loss and Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a blessing and so much joy comes along with bringing a new human being into the world. However, before the new baby arrives, they do require a lot of the vitamins and minerals, to grow and to be healthy. Because of this you also need to be healthy because that baby will take the vitamins and minerals you need, from your body. For this reason before you get pregnant, while your get pregnant and after pregnancy, you need to take more than your daily required amounts of vitamins and minerals or you could be deficient in your recommended daily needs.
If you become deficient in protein, iron, calcium, Vitamin A, B, C, E. D, magnesium, zinc, etc., you will start to lose your hair. After pregnancy, due to hormonal fluctuations, hair loss is a normal and expected part of having a baby. Unfortunately, if you were deficient in your vitamins and minerals, while you were pregnant, you may lose more than the “normal” expected amount of hair. You may experience bald spots due to excessive shedding. This is devastating to a new mother and it can be minimized or avoided, by ensuring you are taking and getting the adequate amounts of nutrients, vitamins and minerals while you are pregnant.
Pregnancy can also bring about a form of extreme hair loss called Telogen Effluvium. Telogen Effluvium is when a lot of the 90% of hairs in the growing or transitional phases all of a sudden they all switch into the telogen (resting) phase. This is most likely due to the hormonal changes the body is going through or the “stress” placed on the body by the growing baby or the birth of a baby.
Stress and trauma has a very negative effect on our bodies physiologically when there is a drastic change in our system. When we have gone through a traumatic experience or if we are just over stressed, hair loss is a very normal and expected part of our bodies reaction to the added stress on itself. Stress can cause Telogen Effluvium.
If you are dealing with a very stressful situation or a traumatic event, please seek a professional for medical help. Find someone who you can talk with and figure out healthy ways to deal with the stress. Exercise, meditation, prayer, reading, enjoying your favorite hobby or anything else that is relaxing for you and can help you to not over stress and lose more of your hair.
Hair loss while you are stressed or having gone through a traumatic event can actually be a good thing. If you notice that your hair is falling out, thinning or even balding, you may get a wake up call that there are somethings in your life that need to change.
8. Hair Loss and Iron
Iron could be one of the secret hair growth aids that you are missing out on. Our bodies need Iron and it is a very important part of growing long, strong hair. Like protein, iron is very important for our cells. Iron is actually a part of our protein hemoglobin. Remember hemoglobin is the part of our red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen to the body, which we need for overall healthy bodies, in order to grow healthy hair.
Oxygen helps our hair to grow healthier and stronger by stimulating, and nourishing our hair and scalp. Oxygen provides our scalp with the fuel it needs to build our hair. The blood flow supplies nutrients to the roots of our hair and other nutrients our hair needs. This enables our body to make protein, which forms our hair. Oxygen also stimulates our cells metabolism. This is important because this increases blood flow on our scalp, which helps to generate new cells.
Iron is also apart of a lot of the enzymes in our body that we need for proper cell functions. Without adequate amounts of iron our bodies will not be able to breakdown and distribute the nutrients from our food that our body needs to be healthy and thrive. If our bodies lack iron in large amounts you can develop an iron deficiency condition called anemia.
So having the correct amounts of iron in your diet is another key factor to growing long healthy hair.
9. Hair Loss and Diet
I’ve mentioned to you the importance of making sure you have adequate amounts of protein and iron in your diet, but your diet has to be well balanced overall. You want to make sure you are eating whole plant based foods. This will ensure that you are getting the various vitamins and minerals your body needs from a variety of fruits, vegetables and grains and legumes. If your diet has variety, you are more than likely to be getting all of the nutrients you need for hair growth.
Along with eating the appropriate foods for hair growth, you need to cut out foods that may be hindering, stopping or causing you to lose your hair. Foods that are high in fats, trans fats, cholesterol, carbohydrates, caffeine and sugars are not good for your health and therefore are not a part of you growing the hair that you are seeking.
Eating foods that promote good health, healthy hair growth and cutting out foods that are hindering your health are important steps that everyone should take. In addition to eating healthy you also want to make sure you are taking a multi-vitamin to ensure you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals that you need. Sometimes, even though you are eating the right foods, you may not be eating enough for your bodies daily requirements. A daily multi-vitamin can ensure that you are getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals each and every day. (Click Here To Read More)
10. Hair Loss and Genetics
If you have family members who suffer from premature hair loss, alopecia or any other form of hair loss, you may very well develop hair loss at some point in your life. This is not always the case, so please do not think that if your dad has premature hair loss then you will suffer from hair loss as well, or visa versa. Each individual hair loss case is unique to the individual and may or may not be due to genetics. However the chances of you having hair loss due to genetics is slightly higher, so you may develop hair loss due to genetics .
11. Hair Loss and Age
As we get older, naturally, our hair will start to get thinner. There is no set age on when this starts or finishes or how many hairs you loose per day. If you are healthy and are use to a thick head of hair, but now find you are losing your hair, it may be because of your age. Maybe you had great hair your whole life and now that you are 50 your hair is looking thinner. It may be very challenging and confusing to see others the same age as you and it looks like there hair has not started to thin or even change color, but that could very well be based on their genetics. Each individual is different and as we get older our bodies will change. Hair loss and hair thinning is a very normal and common part of aging.
Can Hair Loss Be Good?
Hair loss can be good for the simple fact that it lets you know something in your life and or in your body needs to change. Hair loss can be a tell tale sign that you need to talk to your doctor and seek medical advice on why you are losing your hair.
You may be shocked at what you may find out, but it could save your life! If you are experiencing hair loss in any amount that is more than normal for you, please talk to your doctor.