Hair loss may signal disease

Hair loss can be an embarrassing problem for both men and women, however experts have warned that in some cases, the problem may be more than just cosmetic.

Hair loss, which is medically known as alopecia, may be a sign of a serious medical condition, such as thyroid disease or lupus erythematosus.

Speaking at a meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, Dr Amy McMichael of Wake Forest University, North Carolina, advised both the public and medical professionals to consider hair as an important indicator of well being.

"It is important to pay close attention to any changes in the hair's appearance or texture, as unexpected hair loss could be a sign of a serious medical condition", she said.

Dr McMichael referred to a number of illnesses which can result in hair loss including thyroid disease. Hair loss can be a sign of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), resulting in scalp hair becoming fine and soft with scattered alopecia.

However it can also be a sign of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), resulting in dry, coarse hair and increased shedding.

Dr McMichael also warned that while hair loss during chemotherapy is usually not permanent, it is often the most traumatic part of such therapy, resulting in major problems with self esteem and body image.


maire(garvin) - 12/03/2001 19:56

I had a thyroid check. It was absolutely normal. However, my hair has completely dried, and is gone thinner. My G.P. has no idea of any cause. Have you any suggestion? Thank you.

Anonymous - 29/03/2001 20:34

I am 55 years of age. What tests would you recommend I take, to try to establish the cause of my thinning hair? Thank you.

Anonymous - 03/04/2001 19:13


Anonymous - 10/04/2001 21:35

I have been tested for an underactive thyroid and the test was positive. I have lost of hair in patches on my head and now I notice that my eyebrows and parts of my arms and legs are getting patchey. I have also lost facial hair/beard. Can you give me more details of my condition alopecia (?). I would also like information on an underactive thyroid. Does this condition run in families? Can it be settled back to normal or will I have to take medication all my life for it? What causes the above conditions and can they be treated. thank you for any information you can provide

Anonymous - 11/04/2001 08:14

My Financee started to loss a round patch of hair about 4 months ago, now it's about 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide on one side and he has another about 1/1/2 inches on the other. This gets him down allot mostly at weekends and it prevents both of us from going out socialy. Have you any suggestions for anything that will help. He is using the strongest strength of regaine their is for the past 8 weeks but still no sign of anything happening. Also how long do you think this will last?

Lee Ann(LeeAn) - 23/04/2001 11:47

I spent some time in Germany and when I came home a number of people said to me that my hair looked a lot thiner than when I left. It has since recovered and you connot see as much of my scalp as before .I was just wondering if anyone else has suffered the same thing .Thanks

Anonymous - 01/06/2001 12:12

For the last few months I have noticed that when I brush I run my hands through my hair 5 or 6 strands of hair fall out each time.

Anonymous - 03/06/2001 17:23

What types of disease may be signalled by "hair loss", please?

Anonymous - 04/06/2001 11:45

I was diagnosed as having an underactive thyroid (hypothyroid) almost four years ago. I am taking medication ie thyroxine and have generally felt well and have not experienced any hair loss. I am interested to know why I have developed hypothyroidism in the first place?

COLUMBA(JOHADUN) - 04/06/2001 19:29


Anonymous - 07/06/2001 18:27

I am a 24 year old female and I have also suffered hair loss for the past 2 years. Ask your GP to refer you to a Dermatologist as soon as possible if you suffer from hair loss. I was prescribed "Regaine Extra Strength" which is working for me. A doctor that I mentioned this problem to previously, fobbed me off completely so my advice would be if you think your hair is falling out more than usual persevere until someone listens to you!!! I did have a problem. Good luck!

Anonymous - 08/06/2001 08:46

I am 50 years of age and female and over the last 6 months have been shedding a significant amount of hair on my scalp so that my scalp is more noticeable. Also my hair on my legs has nearly disappeared. What should I do as I don't want to go bald? Worried from Dublin south

JOE(JOEHOWLEY) - 12/06/2001 18:25


Anonymous - 14/06/2001 03:28

My hair has been falling out for about five years. I was very worried at first and attended a hair & scalp clinic for special treatments. From the second treatment onwards my hair condition improved dramatically. On their recommendation, I submitted myself for various health checks but was told that I was in good health - nothing detmimental could be found. After about a year the hair loss recommenced and has continued. My hairdresser tells me that there are no bald patches on my scalp and that each hair seems to replace itself - but I know that my hair is not as thick as it used to be. I'm at my wits' end because it's difficult to deal with. I'm in my mid-fifties.

catherine(cquilty) - 05/07/2001 23:48

losing strands of hair when i wash my hair for the last twelve months - i had a lot of problems with my periods which ended in having a hysterectomy two months ago I also had the mirena coil put in place would that have anything to do with hair loss

olivia_ok - 17/07/2001 16:53

I have tried everything from dermatologists, to tricologists to faith healers but nothing has worked for me so far. I am 25, female, and have had alopecia areata on and off since I was 13 but for the past 2 years it has been really bad- about 90% of my hair is gone (head only- still have to shell out for leg waxes!! Isn't that typical!). I wear a bandana all the time now. I have no medical advice to give but I have come to terms with it. It hasn't stopped me doing a thing- that I can honestly say. I'm not saying that I don't sometimes dread doing certain things- like having to dress up to go somewhere like a wedding- but the things like going to the pub, nightclubs etc aren't an issue. Yes, it gets me down at times but for the most part I don't even think about it. All I can say is not to let it stop your life- I say that in particular to the girl who’s boyfriend won't go out at weekends etc. I can't give any miracle cure or mind-altering advice or anything but if anyone would like to talk to me I would be more than willing to talk. Mail me on if you think I can help any.

Anonymous - 25/07/2001 02:28

When I was 21 years old,I lost my hair in front & on top now at the age of 42 I am losing my hair at the back which is very unusual.Can anybody tell me why?

Anonymous - 10/08/2001 20:27

As I said before, my hair has been getting thinner over the last year and a half. I have osteoporosis, and am taking EVISTA. I was wondering have osteoporosis and thinning hair any connection? I was tested for an overactive thyroid, but everything was normal. Should I get tested for an underactive thyroid? Please let me know.

Anonymous - 12/10/2001 00:43

Hi,I'm a 30 yr old female suffering from hairloss over the past five yrs, but recently the problem has worsened but I have excess hair growth in other areas!! No-one I know between family/friends/relations has this problem, so I feel completly alone. I lead a healthy life and can't fathom why this is happening! Can someone please advise, thanks..

Anonymous - 18/10/2001 16:49

I have tried raise this issue before but did not get much feedback. Like a lot of you i am scared of going bald. i am male, 39 years with a receeding hairline. I sometimes go to for any news. Can i recommend to you all NOT to waste money with laser treatment.I spent ( i am embarrassed to say how much) a LOT of money on this and was a waste of time. Has anyone else tried this?

Anonymous - 28/11/2001 17:31


Anonymous - 30/11/2001 13:38


Anonymous - 31/03/2002 18:59

My hair has been thinning on top for the last2 years. I've still got a fine head of hair and it's only noticable if I put my head down as my parting is becomming very wide! I've spoken to various doctors and they don't seem to care--I feel doctors just aren't concerned about hairloss.

Anonymous - 02/04/2002 20:20

I have sasked before for some comment on why I (age 55 plus) suffer fromhair-loss. My thyroid test was normal. What else could I check? Please answer.

olivia_ok - 03/04/2002 10:54

I would ask for them to repeat the test- I have recently found out that, despite my doctor testing serveral times and assuring me that it was fine, my thyroid level was in fact up when I went to see a dermatologist. I have now been referred to an endocrinoligist as a result so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Anonymous - 07/04/2002 22:45

What are the most effective treatments for hyperthyroidism? Are they just treatments, or do they cure the condition? How long do they take to work?

Anonymous - 27/05/2002 09:37

has anyone tried "moriartys Alopecia Treatment"? I have been using it for 3 weeks now & Im amazed with the results just look up hairloss on the yahoo search & you will find them (its 22 euro)

Sandra(adoption) - 16/06/2002 13:01

Losing 5 or 6 hair strands ,when i wash my hair ,any reason to worry.

olivia_ok - 16/06/2002 23:44

No, no cause for worry! That sounds like completely normal hair loss... aren't you supposed to loose up to 100 hairs a day normally or something??

Anonymous - 16/07/2002 00:28

I have some bald patches on my scalp that are now joining up to each other. I am female 50 years old and am post menopausal I also have an underactive thyroid. is this causing my hair loss

robert(robto) - 04/11/2002 19:30

i would be greatful if anybody has encountered alopecia in children .as my daughter of 11 seems to have started to loose a lot of hair recently.

olivia_ok - 05/11/2002 21:00

Robert... I suffered from it as a child. Patches on and off from the time I was about 12 or 13. I never did anything about it at the time. I would advise you to get it checked out though if you can do it without stressing your daughter. Get you GP to recommend a good dermatologist for starters- in my opinion it's never a bad thing to do.... maybe they'll find a logical explanation for it. My GP always dismissed it. Having said that, if it makes the poor child paranios or more stressed then it defeats the purpose..

Anonymous - 03/01/2003 04:17

Im a 24 year old woman and and i have noticed my hair going bald at the front hair line i think the reason for this is because i used 2 iron my hair for about 2 years but i noticed my hair getting thinner so i stopped it but its getting worse i have,nt been 2 see my doctor yet because im 2 scared of what he mite tell me.But i was just wondering if anybody has ever used No7 daily v hair&nail vitamins i just bought them today 2 see if my hair will get any better and it would be nice 2 know if anybody has ever used them so that i know im not going 2 be wasting my time taking them thanks

Anonymous - 08/01/2003 19:25

i am a 22 year old male.i have developed two patches of beard loss just under my chin which are progressively forming a kind of horseshoe shape. My normal beard is quite dark however, within these rings there is still some hair growing but it is almost white and it is only close up that you can notice this type of growth. this started about august 2002 and is gradually getting larger in size. does anyone know whether this hair will return to normal, or what is the reason behind this

Sharon(sharonlaw) - 03/02/2003 12:50

Hi Robert, My daughter is 12 too & has suffered from this for the past year. Her thyroid tests showed up normal and we brought her for homeopathy which revealed that there was too much copper in her system. We got the necessary treatments and they worked for a short while but it's all started again. I'm at my wits end as the medical profession don't seem to have a solution, it's really good to hear of someone else with the same problem. Contact me if you get any results.

Anonymous - 08/03/2003 20:18

I am 36 years old and was told to by the Doctor I have male patterned baldness to my horror there is no cure so i had a surgical hair transpland done in cork and this has given me back my life so anyone with ALOPECIA think positive as your hair will have some chance of regrowing i know thaths hard but less stress will help

Nancy(Mosleh) - 17/09/2003 10:37

I suffer also from hair loss these days and I do not know what to do a bout it ?

Anonymous - 21/10/2003 19:09

Recently I have been trying for a baby over the past 6 months. My periods have now gone to every 6 weeks in cycle. I was diagnosed with adult acne but it is very slight on my chin now. In the last few weeks my hair after I wash it comes out, strands just fall out when brushed and also washed. I am not sure what to do. I asked my doctor for a blood test to see if it was my hormones but the test came back normal. What can I do next if you have any suggestions please help. Thank you.

olivia_ok - 26/10/2003 17:04

I honestly don\'t know how effective or otherwise this is but products from j.j lazartigue were recommended to me by a person who deals with hair loss in cancer patients. Like I say, I don\'t know how good they are but they are worth a try I think. I\'m only on them less than a month and three months treatment is advised. They\'re not cheap and available from few pharmacies it seems It remains to be seem whether I am wasting yet more money!!

Anonymous - 05/01/2004 13:12

A relative recently diagnosed with haemochromatosis, is beginning to suffer hairloss while washing. Could this be an after affect of the medication??

anonymous(ZBQ11467) - 22/03/2004 14:36

I am 28 years old. I had an infection 3 months ago and had to have my fallopian tubes removed,since then I have had a thyroid check as my hair is falling out in handfalls and was told i have an underactive thyroid possible caused from the operation I have been put on 50mg of thyroxine a day and have been taking them for 10 days so far and the hair loss is getting worse and the what is left is so dry and straw like, any suggestions anyone please help Im so scared of going bald.

leanne(HFC12908) - 27/04/2004 02:22

i am taking 200mcg a day of thyroxine.can this cause excessive hairloss?and if so,how to stop it

Jane(ZUX12980) - 28/04/2004 14:25

Like Leanne, I am also on 200mcg Thyroxine daily and my hair has become strawlike and has broken off and thinned severely. My thyroid levels are normal but I have also recently been diagnosed with a abnormally high levels of Selenium in my blood which can cause hair loss among other things. (I have since found out that I was overdosing on Selenium supplements which I promptly stopped taking.) Nevertheless, my hair loss is now quite marked. What can I do? Could this hair loss be related to the pituitary gland instead?

Anonymous - 22/06/2004 22:57

I'm a 25 year old female and I've had hair loss since about age 12. I've gone to quite a few dermatologists and doctors but to no avail. I do feel, however, that most medical experts tend to see hair loss as a minor problem and therefore they don't tend to offer much help. I'm currently on Regaine, but it's probably too early to tell if it's working yet. Is there anything that I may have missed in terms of tests/treatment?

olivia_ok - 23/06/2004 21:06

I really agree with you about doctors not seeing hair loss as a major problem- but then I don't think you can understand it unless you've experienced it. Having said that, I know that some doctors just feel helpless because there is so little known about it and no easy cure. Good luck with the regaine!

Anonymous - 29/06/2004 21:33

when i started playing football about 2 years ago i lost big patches of hair on both my legs ,it think it was from the shin pads ,but it has not grown back since .can you help

Anonymous - 30/06/2004 08:09

I am a 36 year old woman and was told by my GP that I have androgenic hair loss. She said that women have testosterone also (I thought it was only men) and apparently I have a higher testosterone level than it should be. My hair on top at the front seems to be a lot thinner than it should be, I can notice my scalp particularly when my hair is wet and occasionally other people comment "oh your hair is really fine" I try to disguise it as much as I can but I am upset about this is there anything I can do?

Anonymous - 27/10/2004 17:38


Anonymous - 14/11/2004 15:52

i have just recently discovered symptoms of alopecia and it is very depressing on top of the stressors i face day to day with my 4 kids and husband gone to war. Any advice to overcome at least the pain is welcomed. please email me

Anonymous - 15/11/2004 22:33

My 20 year son has a patch on his head and I think it is alopicia. His dad suffered from this when he was about his age and lost all his hairon his head and all over his body. He had eletric shock treatment and it all grew back. If he gets a bald patch now I use a cream called Sylnar N, but I cant get it anymore. It seem to be off the market. It this condition hiredatry

Anonymous - 03/12/2004 21:53

just noticed hair thinning especially on the crown and at my parting which seems to have widened and become more noticable. Could anyone tell me more about a hair transplamt if they had one

Anonymous - 26/01/2005 00:16

My husband has alopicia and after some electric treatment he grew back. It grew white at first and then its normal colour. That was about 30 yrs ago and he never looked back. However my 20 year old son has now developed the same problem. It seem to be hereditary in our family but I done know where i will go for a cure for him. The cream my husband used when he ocassionally got a bald patch after his hair grew back has been taken off the market.

Anonymous - 29/01/2005 11:49

l have suffered from alopecia for l3 years, l suspect my thyroid is underactive but tests are normal, l accept my condition, keep my ears open for a cure and l get on with my life. its a very traumatic condition but its possible to deal with it , it could be worse l suppose. h

Anonymous - 29/01/2005 14:22

is there a support group for alopecia sufferers in existance.

Anonymous - 31/01/2005 16:15

our child is 3 yrs of age and has lost all his hair on his head,eyebrows,and some eyelashes,can anyone help,is there a support group out there

Anonymous - 31/01/2005 18:51

would anybody be interested in getting together to form a support group in me at

jessica(ELY24905) - 23/02/2005 17:33

i am 17 years old, and my hair is falling out in clumps. my doctor has givin me a blood test, of which i am waiting for the results. I was wondering if i were to find out i have hypothyroidism, what treatment will i have? Also, will my hair grow back? and how long would my treatment last? Will my hair continue to fall out in clumps if i do not recieve treatment. please help anyone if you know the answers to my questions. Thanx

Ger(GPU13147) - 25/03/2005 09:13

My 70 year old mothers hair is falling out in clumps. She is on tablets for and underactive thyroid for years and also has had an operation to repair an anuerysm. She has also just finished a course of Iron which has not absorbed into the blood ane need more blood tests. Is this linked. She is at her wits end. Please reply

Anonymous - 28/03/2005 16:49

Having hair loss and problems with your periods, check your ph level. If your acid is higher than the alkaline in your blood this can contribute to hair loss and your period. Get blood test and change your diet see a herbalist.

Anonymous - 30/03/2005 00:42

l have lost my hair for more than 10years,tried everything, all tests are normal, diet is the last thing to try, does anyone know more details about acid/alkaline diet. could it be that simple

Anonymous - 21/09/2005 12:20

My daughter first developed alopecia at 6 years of age. i brought her to paediatrican,had blood tests which were all normal. then went to trichologist.applied prescribed cream to patches . The problem continued and i went to a herbalist with her and got prescribed Zinc and tablets for "hair and nails". eventually years on i have read on different websites and heard from medical colleagues that this problem is an auto immune condition and will just run its course. However my daughter is now 12 and the problem continues.. As the patches appear they also re-grow and a new one appears etc etc. I worry about it affecting her in her teens..So far thankfully the patches have been under her thick head of hair and would not have been noticed by her peers in school..She is a happy go lucky girl who has developed normally for her age(has periods etc etc) so i don't know what to do, if anything.I don't want to keep bringing her for "cures" in case i make her paranoid about her problem or worried about it.She doesn't worry at all about it apart from moaning sometimes that she can't have her hair a certain way as someone could see her pacch..The one thing i have noticed is that she has a very dry flaky scalp.

mittens - 17/11/2005 21:50

i have noticed hair loss when i wash my hair am worried if it contiues wil i lose all of it iam a 58 year old woman fit and active

Anonymous - 07/12/2005 04:58

I am 21 years old... had a baby eight months ago and now, in the past three days, have formed four complete bald spots on my head. Any suggestions?

Anonymous - 04/02/2006 17:02

I am soon to be 50 years old and was diagnosed with discoid lupus after giving birth to my second child at the age of 40. I am now experiencing hair loss. Round smooth patchy spots which seem to be getting larger.These spots are itchy and sore to the touch. I attributed it to recently dying my hair and possibly having a reaction to the dye. Further research tends me to believe this is due to my lupus.My lupus is inactive and I am not having any health problems whatsoever. I do not take any medications, only creams (locoid, temavate) which helps with any reoccurring eruptions. Could this also be a sign of some thyroid problems. Is there any medication or products that would help with this problem? Would my dermatologist be able to help me with this problem or should I see a specialist? I don't want to ignore this if I should take immediate action. Any advise would be very much appreciated. Thank you for your consideration in this matter!

Anonymous - 20/02/2006 17:39

I have an under active thyroid and am losing my hair. I have always had alopecia but saince taking thyroxine it is falling out worse than ever before. The Doctor wants to put my dose up but I am not sure as I do not want to lose all my hair. I though being on medication would help me regain my hair, not lose it. Does anyone have information on this. I am also on estraderm TTS50 twice weekly, could this have any affect. Please help.

tracey(TMH23702) - 21/02/2006 20:25

does anyone out there have children with alopecia our son has

KM - 01/04/2006 23:44

I had the mirena coil fitted approx 10 years ago and within a month my hair started to fall out. I experienced the sweats even when it was really cold. I had the mirena coil removed after a one and half months due to the side effects. My hair continued to fall out and then I started to have bad headache, then my scalp itched and then a bald patch would appear. My doctors did a blood test for thyroid problems and referred me to a dermatologist. Don't bother going to see a dermatologist all they recommend is steroid cream. My dad paid for me to see a gynaecologist who confirmed that there were 3 other women who had the mirena coil fitted who experienced the same symptoms as me i.e. hair loss and sweats within a month of having the coil fitted. It has been 10 years now and I still have hair loss patches but it's now part of my life and I never let it get me down after all if all my hair fails I'll buy a wig. My only grip is that my doctors haven’t done any tests except for thyroid on me and have not offered me any other tests.

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