Some folks are wise and some are otherwise. -Tobias Smollett
Question #79529 posted on 10/17/2014 12:14 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I had a baby a year ago and while pregnant, I didn't shed as much hair as I normally do. I knew from various sources that after I had the baby, that I would lose more hair than normal for a little bit to compensate. However, I am still losing lots of hair a year later. I am not going bald, but I just feel like I shouldn't lose this much hair.

Is there anything I can do (shampoo, vitamins, etc.) that I can do to get thicker, less shedding hair?

While I am not truly worried about losing my hair and going bald, is there a chance that anyone (who is not sick or going through treatment of some kind) could lose enough hair to go bald?

I want gorgeous hair.

A:

Dear wants gorgeous hair,

So, I am going to give you well-researched advice since I have been intensely googling as a coping mechanism for my own rapid hair loss.

1. Are you malnourished? If not, there isn't really a vitamin, protein, or non-medicated hair product that can help you. Sure, people will try to sell you things (such as biotin) but all of this is pure, unsubstantiated quackery when you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need already.

2. It's extremely unlikely you'll go bald or get any bald spots. As long as you don't have genetic female-pattern baldness (look at your older female relatives), your hair will grow back and probably isn't just falling out in certain areas. It's just thinning.

3. Obviously, I'm just a student and not a doctor. That said, there are a lot of possible causes. The ones that I think are likely are: pregnancy hormonal changes (although it's a bit far on for this one!), postpartum thyroiditis, and extreme stress. 

4. If you are concerned or your hair loss continues, see a doctor. Hair doesn't fall out for no reason, and a simple blood test can rule out postpartum thyroiditis and other causes. Basically, hair falling out is an indicator that your body is being stressed a lot in some way. In other words, there is a medical cause. 

Look, I know female hair loss is weirdly stressful in ways you can't fully communicate. I hate taking showers because my hair just comes out in my hands. I have to tear it out of the drain every day in order to not flood the bathroom. It's stuck on walls, on couches, on every seat I sit in, on clothes. My bed has more hair than bed at this point. It gets in my food and on my toothbrush and makes me gag. I really, really like my hair. I miss the 25% of it I've lost already and I sure hope it stops soon once my hormones normalize. So, I understand. I wish you a lot of luck. 

–Concealocanth

posted on 10/17/2014 1:36 p.m.
Dear gorgeous,

Please go see a dermatologist! They are experts in skin as well as appendages of the skin (i.e., hair and nails). They can evaluate you to check whether your hair loss is abnormal (remember that everyone loses about 100 hairs/day normally), they can rule out inflammatory hair loss conditions such as alopecia areata or lupus, they can run hormonal bloodwork, and they can make recommendations as far as topical/oral medications. I will say that the most common things they recommend for female-pattern hair loss (which most commonly manifests as overall loss of density of hair follicles and especially as widening of the part, almost always WITHOUT any frank bald areas and WITHOUT receding hairline) are Rogaine for Women and some dermatologists like biotin supplements as well. Both of those things can be purchased over-the-counter, but I recommend seeing a dermatologist first so that they can rule out inflammatory/hormonal hair loss conditions and track your hair's progress more objectively. Good luck!

-Med Student