Hair loss?! Help!

My hair is falling out and I don’t know why. I think I should see a doctor, but I’m not even sure what kind of doctor to see. My regular doctor is okay for UTI’s and strep, but I think would be pretty worthless for something that doesn’t have a clear cause.

My hair has been coming out for about two months. It’s to the point that I have to clear out the drain in the shower every time I use it and it’s noticeably thinning. I’m female, 31 and in good health.

Possible causes:

  1. I have lupus, but I’m having no other lupus-y symptoms. The lupus has been in remission for over 10 years now. I’m not on any medications and I’m not currently under a rheumatologist’s care.
  2. Allergies? I had hives a couple months ago, right about the same time my hair started falling out. My husband has had a weird rash on his face. All of this started happening a couple months after we moved into a new apartment…which is really a very old apartment, c. 1959.
  3. I had a baby 3 months ago, right before my hair started falling out.

I’m having no other symptoms or stress. The baby’s been sleeping through the night for 6 weeks now, so I’m even getting 8 hours sleep every night. My diet hasn’t changed. That’s about it. Oh, and baldness does not run in my family, male or female.

So, what do you all think this is? What sort of doctor should I go see about this?


Hair loss is a normal post-pregnancy symptom. However, I had a similar problem when my baby was about 18 months old. After some preliminary self-diagnosis, I had my thyroid checked and my levels were found to be somewhat low. After I started on synthroid my hair gradually returned to more or less normal.

I didn’t know that, but I thought maybe with all the hormone wackiness that ensues, that the pregnancy could have something to do with it. If this is what it is, how long does it take for everything to start to get back to normal?

If it was a thyroid issue, wouldn’t I have other symptoms, like fatigue or weight gain? Did you have anything else going on with the thyroid thing?

No, I really didn’t, but my levels were only a little below where they should have been. Anyway, with little kids “fatigue” pretty much comes with the territory.

What I’ve read about post-pregnancy hair loss is that pregnancy slows down the normal life cycle of hair, so that you lose less than the normal amount. Afterwards, as you hormones readjust themselves, you start losing the hair you would ordinarily have been losing all along–it just seems like a large amount because it all happens at once.

With me, though, my hair was becoming significantly thinner than it had been before the pregnancy. That’s what drove me to ask for the thyroid test. My OB/GYN also said that it’s not uncommon for pregnancy to knock your thyroid out of whack, especially for older women. (I was 38 at the time.)

I lost a bunch of hair about three months after backpacking for 6 weeks in Europe, during which time I didn’t eat a whole lot (to save money) and I walked 10-15 miles a day. I figured it was from the stress of the eating less/exercising more/brand new situation every three days from my trip.

It stopped falling out after I started taking a special multivitamin that I got at Trader Joe’s for hair, nails and skin. It cleared my skin up, too, which was good.

IANAD, but I have heard somewhere? that many women, during pregnancy, do not lose as much hair as they normally would ( the follicles don’t go through the telophase, or the non-growing part of the cycle). Then, after the pregnancy, all those hairs that WOULD have normally been lost go through telophase and come out rather quickly. So it’s not really that you’re losing a lot of hair, it’s just coming out all at once, rather than a bit at a time.


I would definitely get your thyroid levels checked, especially considering your lupus. I have heard (grain of salt here) that other auto-immune disorders are much more common in people who already have one.

My wife has Hashimoto’s Disease (auto-immune attack on the thyroid) that was first noticable after her pregnancy. She had hair loss along with fatigue and weight gain, but yours could be atypical.

At any rate, it’s a simple blood test.

Otherwise, old apartment? Wouldn’t hurt to check for lead.

As for what kind of doctor… an endocrinologist would be best for interpreting thyroid results.

As a fellow lupus patient, I’ve found that my symptoms tend to show up in isolation–I may be rashy for a short while, which might be succeeded by general well-being, then a period of arthritis (usually just a day or two for me for any given symptom). Then again, my disease has been pretty active over the past year.

It probably wouldn’t hurt to see your GP & get the usual lupus bloodwork, just to make sure your indicators aren’t up.

Yeah, you’re probably right. I might check out the local rheumatologist next week. Like I said, I haven’t had any problems in over a decade, but who knows what being pregnant may have triggered. It probably wouldn’t hurt just to have a check-up. In the past, the lupus has always manifested itself as arthritis, a very specific sort of headache, lowgrade fever, and extreme fatigue.

Meanwhile, though, I went to WebMD and looked up pregnancy & hair loss. One of the articles said that it’s quite common and that a good sign that this is what it is is if new hair is growing in, which it is for me.

2 years ago I woke up one morning and found a bald patch on the side of my head.
Gradually over the space of 3 weeks all of the hair on my head fell out apart from some little tufts here and there.
My doctor sent me to the hospital where they diagnosed Alopecia areata :

I decided to completely shave my head and kept it smooth for about 6 months.
2 years down the line and it is all back with not a bald spot in sight.

Most likely you hair loss is due to telogen effluvium. This is usually temporary and in your case is likely related to your recent delivery. It should resolve in the next 3-6 months.

I’d base how much of a work-up to have now on your level of anxiety. More than likely nothing will show up. The work-up should include thyroid tests, blood counts, and basic chemistry tests.

Hair loss is sometimes attributable to lupus but generally to discoid (chronic cutaneous) lupus and not systemic lupus. This hair loss is generally focal and permanent (because of scarring). It doesn’t sound like this is what’s happening with you.

BTW, get a referral to dermatology for a work-up. We’re the hair folks. :slight_smile:

Choosy MD (derm resident)