Hair loss in women isn’t something that gets talked about all that often. When it is discussed, it’s usually in relation to cancer treatment or following pregnancy. However, hair loss in women can be caused by a number of other things (ranging from stress to vitamin deficiencies, to hormonal issues), at any age, and it can be extremely distressing. Lauren, a member of our team, experienced hair loss at 25. She spoke to us about what it felt like and how she’s managed it.
My hair had always been my crown. It was long, blonde and very thick. I was an insecure teenager, but my hair was something I could be confident about, so when it started falling out it was additionally upsetting.
It took me about 2.5 years to work out why it was falling out, and in truth I’m not wholly there now. Fundamentally it seems to be a hormonal issue, and I have had lots of scans and tests. I was originally diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), but it’s now looking more as though I have endometriosis. Hair loss is tricky to treat if it’s hormonal.
It happened in a few ways. It began falling out at the bulb, but it also got a lot more dry and brittle and would break off in strange patterns halfway down the shaft. My hair had always been ridiculously long and heavy, so I started by having it cut shorter as it got so much thinner, and that was a big adjustment.
I could deal with the thinning for the most part, but as bald patches emerged it really upset me. If the wind blew the wrong way I could see it for example. I could see it falling out. I would get out of my car and the seats would be covered in blonde hair, or I would wake up in the morning and there would be masses of it on the pillow.
It was consuming me more and more. Where skin flare ups can be progressive and when you find medications or creams that work, they can clear up quite quickly, I was so aware that with my hair, once it’s gone it’s going to take a long time to grow back, so the cycle of stress continued. At the same time, I felt quite guilty, as if it was just a point of vanity and I shouldn’t get so upset.
I began taking collagen supplements and Vitamin D, which seem to have helped. Blood tests showed that I was very low on Vitamin D, and that can contribute to hair loss. The collagen came about through lots of reading and to some degree clutching at straws. I was spending lots of money on expensive shampoos, I wasn’t putting heat on my hair, I was using silk pillows – everything.
As a result of seeing the bulb coming out I began to think it was an inside-out problem, not the other way around. I’m still having the tests and working with doctors to find the underlying issue, but so far it does seem to be making a difference. Of course, you should always speak to your doctor before taking anything or self-medicating in any way, and while this has worked for me, it hasn’t worked for a friend of mine with the same problem, so it’s certainly not a guarantee.
However, for now it is making a difference, which is a relief. I’m pleased I took photos as they show the progression, which is fairly slow, and as collagen is quite expensive I might have given up if I didn’t have that reference point.
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