Thinning hair...help

Hi there,

I am a 33 year old woman and have never had majorly thick hair but in recent months it seems to have got a lot thinner around the front top of my head and along the parting (particularly on one side). I can see a lot more of my scalp and well, you know when some people dye their hair and put a cap on and pull bits of hair through, it's a little like that in places (maybe not quite that extreme but hopefully you get the idea.)

I'm terrified. I mentioned it to my mum as she's the only person I feel comfortable telling but she just tells me I'm worrying about nothing. I imagine like most people suffering from this I've exhausted the internet and scared myself more. I'm planning to go to the doctor next week but I'm worried they're not going to take me seriously. I was wondering if anyone could tell me what I should expect them to check for when I go and what questions I should expect them to ask.

I know there is info may be online but I would like to hear from people who have actually experienced it.

Many thanks in advance

24 Replies

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  • Hi Stokes9

    Hairloss is a difficult thing to deal with at any age, but harder for one as young as you. My hairloss started (5-6 years ago) with an itchy scalp which felt a bit scaley. My GP sent me away after each visit with a new prescription shampoo to try. None of them helped. Eventually I saw a different GP who referred me to a dermatologist. All this took over a year. The long and short of it is that I have discoid lupus for which the treatment is Dermovate lotion and oral hydroxychloroquin. I had already lost a lot of hair before started on the treatment and wish I'd hassled my GP more in the early stages, but because I thought it was just a cosmetic problem I didn't want to appear wasting nhs resources. If I were you I'd see my GP asap and ask her opinion as I'm sure there are lots of causes of hair loss including a fungal cause that can be more easily remedied. Don't hold back, your loss is causing you a problem which means you need medical intervention. I hope it's nothing serious and will soon grow back. I also take a Biotin supplement which seems to help (it also helps nails and skin) so may be worth a try for you.

    Good luck with your visit to the GP and I hope you get the sympathetic hearing you deserve.

  • Thank you so much. I'm not very good at going to the doctors at the best of times, as I always worry about wasting their time but you are right, the loss is causing me a problem so I must go and hope they are sympathetic. Thank you for your response, it does help hearing about other peoples experiences. I will also give Biotin a shot.

  • see a dr asap and they dont have a answer or just tell you use something over the counter go to another dr.....a good one will test your thyroid, your ferritin iron , your cortisol, your b12, d3, and deficiences as well to get to the root of the problem bec they all can affect hair staying on the head........dont wait....and be proactive..i waited trying different things...over a year later realized i needed more help and found out i was high cortisol which causes hair thinning and low ft3 so thyroid meds not working correctly but also had low normal ferritin...all cause hair loss................be proactive, and educate yourself so a dr cant just brush you off and make sure he test EVERYTHING POSSIBLE including zinc and vit A as well and selineum bec high selinium can cause hair loss too...but also fungal infections do to...do yu every have a hot scalp or itchiness or any other symptoms....mine falls out mostly when i wash it and it is wet when i comb

  • Thank you so much, this really does help. I will make a note of all these things and take it with me. At the moment the hair loss is obvious to me but I guess not to other people, so I fear the doctor will try to tell me it's nothing but if I go armed with this info, hopefully they will take me seriously.

    I don't really have any other symptoms. Sometimes it feels a bit itchy but I think that could just be because I'm thinking about it so much and trying not to touch it. I'm not noticing excessive amounts of hair falling out, it just seems thinner around the front top of my head and along the parting and I'm seeing more scalp. I'm just desperately hoping it is not something serious.

  • Exact same things happening to me a little itchy Part us wider and lots of scalp showing but no bald spits just massive thinninh...if your doctor does not take it seriously than you keep going to different doctors because it will keep going in that direction until a doctor takes it seriously I'm going on here too my second year on this and doctor after doctor after doctor blew me off so make sure your hair is parted where it really shows that when you go to the doctor even if it's embarrassing

  • Good idea. The natural tendency is to try and brush my hair in a way that hides the gaps but I won't do that. I never go to the doctor so I'm hoping they will recognise that and won't just view me as a time waster...we shall see!

  • also check for dht...common in hair loss

  • also write down any symtoms you have and when..such a itching..and if it is mostly after shampooing or all day etc, and redness or flakes, anything that triggers a response...i also gave up all sulfate shampoos and just started using rosemary oil which some say stimulates hair growth...we will see....you mix 10 drops in shampoo and condtioner and mix it with any oil and do a hair mask b4 shampooing...or sleep overnight with it.....it helps some so i will give any thing a shot

  • Thank you, I'm prepared to give anything a shot too. I've bought some iron supplements, as people seem to say a lack of iron can affect the hair. I don't really seem to have symptoms as such, just vanishing hair. Having said that there are a few things on the lists I've seen for excessive testosterone that I can relate to. I guess I won't know unless they do the right tests, so I really, really hope they do.

  • yes high cortisol, low normal ferritin serum below 80, low thyroid or low free t3 from thryoid med not working properly or undermedicated or over medicated, any sudden change in any hormone in the body, bad digestion not absorpting nutrients, dht hence testosterone turning into dht that causes hair loss,

    all were told me to to cause this type of hair loss and to look for the root cause..i had several and still praying

  • Hello again,

    As you were so kind with your responses last time, I thought I'd update you on my situation. Well, I went to the docs and she did take me seriously, although I didn't feel that she knew much about it. She ordered a blood test for the basic TSH (I really wish they would test for the full thyroid panel), as well as Iron and zinc. It has come back saying that I am slightly anaemic and she has prescribed iron tablets and wants to wait to see if this works before trying anything else.

    She told me that my TSH was bang in the middle at 1 but looking online, that seems low rather than in the middle, possibly indicating overactive thyroid? Luckily I told her on the phone that I was unhappy just waiting to see if slight anaemia is the problem and she said that I should book an appointment with another doctor at the surgery who is a dermatologist....goodness knows why I wasn't told this before. If I hadn't pushed the issue I would be none the wiser now. I'm not happy that they haven't done any hormone tests. She said it was unlikely to be that but I'm not sure why she thinks that. I guess I will book an appointment with the other doc and question the TSH and beg for a hormone blood test. If they refuse, I'll get one privately. It really is a struggle isn't it?

  • i dont think the tsh of 1 to be alarming..people treated shoot for a 1-2 to feel best but it wouldnt hurt to test free t3 and free t4. But low iron is huge for hair loss so that may be the key. I went to a dermatologist too but saw a PA instead that just kinda looked and sent me onmy way saying she didnt see bald spots all over . Well mine is in the bane area mostly and top and it is getting freaky in front banes.....i have bought TOPPIX that is a powder to help hide the thinning and it is the best i have found so far and really does help bec without it it would be hard for me to leave home.....

    when you go to dermatologist hold your position and just keep going to drs until someone listens...i wasnt bold enough at first and now it is going on 2 years and i cant believe i just thought it would get better....low b12 also can effect hair loss so i would make sure that is tested, cortisol by saliva 4 times a day, d3,zinc, selenium, vit a.....ironically my selinium and vit a was high...and i have no idea why so i stopped my multi since high can cause hair loss......i am shocked my how many things in my body was off incuding dhea and testosterone and ft3 all being too low......for too long...my other dr ignored those... i know how you feel about the wait game....very stressful....i was also told walking and or biking could be helpful bec it relieves stress and helps with circulation since many of us dont get enough of that daily and 30 minutes was fine or whatever one can do but not to overdo it.....i was also told omega 3 oils like fish oil ,flaxseed oil, vit e, was good and you name it i have tried it....I PRAY THE IRON DOES IT FOR YOU......it is awesome your tsh is 1 i think..i would be jumping up and down if mine was that on no medication....

  • I really hope it's just the iron too. Like you say, it's a waiting game and I guess it'll take a few months to see if it works...which is so hard when it's hair!

    I'm glad you think that level 1 TSH is ok. The internet can get overwhelming and it's hard to know what's good and what's not, so it's nice to hear from someone who knows.

    I will push for all the other tests you suggest and get them myself if they say no. I've already spent a small fortune on supplements just in case.

    I guess the ultimate fear is androgenic alopecia. I'm praying it's just iron!! Hopefully we will both find cures....soon

  • Hello again,

    Well I finally got to speak the doctor who supposedly specialises in dermatology and to be honest I'm totally devastated at the moment, as he seems to think it's probably androgenic alopecia.

    He said that he would run blood tests to check my hormones but based on what he can see, he thinks it's probably androgenic. He said the only thing really to try is minoxidil.

    He seemed to write off the whole iron deficiency although my level was around 50 I think he said (I was so devastated by what he was saying, I can't remember properly). He thought it was strange that I was only prescribed iron tablets for one month and also that my ferritin wasn't tested but said that there was no point testing again now. That doesn't make sense to me, or maybe I'm just clutching at straws.

    He was googling things in front of me, which didn't fill me with confidence but he seemed pretty sure it was genetic.

    I guess I will wait and see what happens when I have the blood tests next week. I don't see how one doctor can be pretty positive that it's iron (although she did seem a bit clueless) and the other jump straight to androgenic.

    Sorry to vent. I'm so stressed out, my head is thumping.

  • I really hope you do find a cure. It sounds like there are so many different causes. I'm going to try to get to the doctor this week or next week. I'm expecting to be brushed off because it is obvious to me but maybe not to everyone else but I'm just going to argue that I don't want to wait for it to get too bad before we start working out what's going on. If they do brush me off, I might even try to get blood tests done privately if that's possible. The more I hear and read, the more scared I am about not taking action early.

  • There are also cosmetic solutions which do not impair the re-growth should it occur.

    Take a look at these two videos with clients of ours:

    This can help with confidence whilst you address the medical issues.

  • I was told my ferritin serum needed to be 80-90 for hair to stay on my head, I was also told that b12 level being in upper normal range important, d3 important, fish oil and flaxseed oil omega 3s very important, hormones balance and thyroid balanced including free t3 in upper normal range....so this doctor isn't up to date at all......you can test yourself but I would go to a female hormone specialist.....also stress or high cortisol can cause hair loss as well so avoid sugar which aggravates that ......and get 8 hours of sleep a night or more.....very important....and eating healthy..too high vitamin a can cause hair loss or too high selenium or too low...I am on the getting better now.....my dr checked all this and I was out of balance on so many things and she also told me to check for mold anywhere in my home and I thought she was nuts but sure enough we found that our ac unit was not pulling enough moisture out of home and they had installed it wrong so we got that fixed...bec that also causing hair loss.......I went to a doctor that does bio identical hormones and is a nature path and a m.d. doctor and she was pricey but worth every penny...I had been to dermatologist and many other doctors....who were all clueless and it kept getting worse....

    also did he do a dht test to see if you are by chance have that .....if he is not doing a a blood work up then I would change drs...don't wait around like I did...I wish I had just kept going to drs until I found the one I have now earlier.....

  • Yes, I thought ferritin needed to be at least 80 but they didn't even test it. I also don't get why he doesn't want to test my iron again, surely they need to know if the levels have risen. I'm going to keep taking iron supplements anyway and try to keep getting as much iron in my diet as possible.

    He said that he would test my hormones. I've got a blood test next week. I'm not sure if that is going to test dht. It is hard taking it all in. He actually said "don't get your hopes up, these tests will probably come back normal". He said that I could be referred to a specialist if I want to but said that this would be private. I'll pay but it's just frustrating and like you say, I think I might need a hormone specialist rather than a dermatologist. I'm trying not to stress as I know that will make it worse but I'm finding it so hard and barely sleeping, which also isn't helping.

    I'm really glad things are getting better for you. This is such a hard thing to deal with, especially when doctors treat it like no big deal, I'm feeling utterly devastated.

  • Hello again,

    I hope things are still going well for you.

    My saga continues. I eventually got my latest blood test results. All came back normal apart from prolactin, which was slightly high and they want to test again in two months ,although once again the attitude from yet another doctor was "it's probably not that". They only tested me for kidney function, liver function, antinuclear antibodies, CRP, ferritin, FSH, LH, prolactin, SHBG and testosterone. Apparently they didn't test for estrogen because it is covered by FSH. I also asked for a test over the course of a month but she said they know what it should be for the day it was taken....they must be psychic then because nobody asked me what day of my cycle I was on when they took the test!

    I'm getting so sick and tired of the attitude of these doctors. Every story I read seems to be the same. I'm pretty sure they are assuming it's andogenic alopecia and just want me to get on with it. This latest doctor just said anything can cause it and a specialist may not be able to give you a reason. They basically said that they won't refer me to one.

    I wondered if you know of any decent specialists in the UK. I'm in Plymouth so I doubt there is anybody down here but I'm willing to travel.

  • Hello again,

    Well the docs have agreed to refer me to a specialist but I'm not getting my hopes up that he/she will be any good or know much. I'm being referred to a dermatologist but I think more investigating needs to be done for my hormones.

    I got a printout of my test results, very complicated but this is what they say:

    Urea and electrolytes:

    Serum Sodium level

    140 mmol/l (133.0-146)

    Serum potassium level 4.2 mmol/l (3.5-5.3)

    Serum Creatinine level 63 umol/l (50.0 - 98)

    eGFR using creatine >90ml/min/1.72m 2

    Anti-nuclear Antibody (a bit confused by this one):

    Results say "POS, ANA and ENA change very little over time, and have no role in onitoring disease activity. As such there is usually no role for repeat testing unless the clinical presentation changes.

    ANA shows a speckled pattern

    ANA Titre = 1:80

    Low titre ANA can be seen in infection, autoimmune disease and some healthy individuals. Significance depends on clinical picture"

    My research suggests that this could be indicating an autoimmune problem, possible lupus, of which a symptom is hair loss. My doc has put "no further action" on this. This seems odd.

    Follicle Stimulating Hormone:

    7.0 iu/L

    Serum LH Level

    4.2 iu/L

    Serum Prolactin Level

    565 miu (109.0 - 557.0)

    "Possible causes of a raised prolactin include medication (e.g antidepressants, antimetrics, oestrogens, PPIs, H2 blockers, antipsychotics." (I'm not on any of these)

    Sex Hormone Binding Globulin:

    Serum SHBG level: 31.6 nmol/L (14.7 - 122.5)

    Free Androgen Index: 3.8 (0.7 - 8.7)

    Testosterone 1.2 nmol/L (0.5 - 1.7)

    Liver Function test:

    Serum total protein 70g/l (60-80)

    Serum albumin level 43g/l (35-50)

    Serum globulin level 27g/l (18-36)

    Serum alkaline phosphatase level 11umol/L (1.0 - 20)

    Serum alanine aminotransferase level 18 iu/L (1.0 - 55)

    I thought they had tested me for zinc and Vit D but it doesn't look like they did, so I'm having them done privately. I feel like I need it all done before seeing the specialist, whenever that might be. I asked if they would want my prolactin tested before seeing me and I got the usual "maybe, sometimes they do, sometimes not"...really helpful!

    In terms of DHT, how did you test that you were negative for it. I was under the belief that it's not how much you have but how sensitive your follicles are to it. Am I wrong? If so, I'll arrange a private test for that too. Considering my docs won't even test oestrogen, I doubt they will test for it.

    Sorry for the majorly long message. Your help is gratefully received. It's such a lonely thing going through this.

  • Hello again,

    Well the docs have agreed to refer me to a specialist but I'm not getting my hopes up that he/she will be any good or know much. I'm being referred to a dermatologist but I think more investigating needs to be done for my hormones.

    I got a printout of my test results, very complicated but this is what they say:

    Urea and electrolytes 140 mmol/l (133.0-146)

    Serum Sodium level

  • personally I think progesterone and estrogen may be helpful just to make sure your are not estrogen dominant...have you gained weight recently?.....which can happen when you are younger hence the reason it happens after pregnancy common.....if you did have high cortisol from stress..the only thing you can do if it came back like mine did is...take b complex, b12, 1-2000 mg of vitamin ester c a day, stay calmer and don't sweat the small stuff and sleep more ....and make sure you aren't estrogen dominant...

    my dr did have me taking vit e for more moisture on the scalp....and fish oil...for inflammation....

    I was also told my dermatologist the same thing you were told but they didn't do test and I think they tell everyone that ...was just too easy

    ...so that thank goodness I ignored them and my hair loss has stopped and I went to a another dr....

    the last thing I test was vitamin A, SELNIUM...and I was high on both.....and too little or too much causes hair loss....one lady said when she stopped her multi her hair loss stopped...but you need to test first.....I was floored when mine came back high and after 3 mths without multis ...it is still elevated ...

    I think many things combined cause...I had no mold anywhere in my house but a tiny bit on a vent in bath area in the ceiling and discovered in the attic that there was some on outside of that unit and it was not pulling enough moisture out of that area and after we expensively changed out the unit and the flumes and replaced it and had that area fogged for mold,,,,,in two weeks I saw less hair loss......and I also started using TAR SHAMPOO....IN 2 more weeks...hair loss stopped and I am still using tar shampoo

    that makes me thinK It was invisible mold spores.....that may have been making my hair loss worse bec I started looking for that bec my last dr told me it made her hair fall out she only found a quarter size mold behind a photo on the exterior wall (she had mold in walls and didn't know it)and .....and I thought that was a long shot yet wow...........before you l let a dr tag you with a word diagnosis...LOOK FOR MOLD ANYWHERE IN YOUR HOME.....( and or my dr was also balancing my hormones with cream topical ones and put me ndt..all at the 3 mth mark) so I think it was a combo of all these things....and I had started taking viviscal professional avail on amazon that they say you will tell in 3 mths and I was at the 4 mth mark on that too so you be the judge...... I am just elated hair loss stopped and praying I get the loss hair back and mad that I didn't get more proactive sooner.....I waited 2 years before getting desperate and making myself keep going to drs until someone seemed to be proactive and on top of it.....last dr told me...I can do this....just listen to everything I tell you.....and I did....hormones levels and dhea , thyroid and free t3, b12, zinc, vit a and selenium levels, ferritin levels, fish oils , vit e, viviscal pro, look for mold anywhere in home ..and it isn't just too little of anything but too much as well...any hormone inbalance can cause it

    also my sister in law has hair loss and they had mold in their ceiling and it kept coming through their ceiling ...just a spot...I just told her my story and she knew right away this could be it

    and my sister kept getting sick....and staying sick and fatigue and they just found mold in a interior wall from a leaking bath pipe....that had been a slow leak for years but finally busted....so she is getting rid of that....

  • No I haven't gained weight. I think I've actually lost a bit but that could be due to stress. I'm currently doing the one month saliva tests for hormones and cortisol. If cortisol is high I wouldn't be surprised, as I'm stressed all the time.

    I don't think I have mold here but then as you say, it could be hidden. A few years ago I lived in a house that had awful mold but that was a while ago.

    The thing is with my hair loss is that I don't see loads coming out, I just see my hair getting thinner on my head and am seeing more scalp. I haven't tried viviscal professional but will give it a go.

    I will get a test for DHT, Vit A and selenium. I really wish doctors would run all these tests automatically...it's costing a fortune...but if it means finding out what it is and maybe getting hair back, it's worth it.

  • Just in case you have high cortisol or blood sugar etc ....many people told me that going off sugar foods helped ...would be worth a try....like u ....I tried everything ...... I even used organic rosemary oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil, plus olive oil and black castor oil that is known to stimulate hair growth..only 2 tbsp. of each a few drops of rosemary oil you just do a mask about 30-60 min b4 you wash your hair...but it take a few mths to notice hair increase....bec of the hair cycle...but I did notice it work fast on my eye brow hair.....both of those are inexpensive and worth a try....and add a raw egg to mixture...I used a squirt tube like you put mustard or ketchup or hair color in to apply to hair that is easiery. I read a article on the miracle of a raw egg on hair.....that cheap too....the hair cycle is a 3mth hair cycle....so don't lose hope if it takes a litte while to see results....I am using this now to stimulate hair growth....

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