- Stacy has noticed her hair loss and thinning for several years.
- Started after she stopped taking birth control.
- She tried taking vitamins & had a dermatologist examine her scalp
- Her gynecologist recommended she go back on birth control pills
Many women experience hair loss for a variety of reasons. And, many go through the same trials and tribulations as Stacy – seeing specialists and trying every supplement that promises hair growth or thicker hair. But, without knowing the root cause of the problem, these approaches seldom work.
When I first met with Stacy, I reviewed her past test results and noted that she had a lot of stress in her life. The blood work she’d had done by other practitioners was very basic, so I knew that we had to get more extensive tests done if we were going to solve this health mystery.
I suspected that her hormones were at play in this mystery so I invited Dr. Deborah Matthew back on the show to discuss Stacy’s case.
Dr Deborah Matthew is a Functional Medicine physician, author, speaker, wife, and mom of 4 boys. Like me, she focuses on the cause of the problem instead of simply prescribing something to cover-up the symptoms.
How Common is Hair Loss for Women?
Hair loss and thinning hair is much more common in women than most people think. Forty percent of women experience some form of hair loss by the age of 40. That goes up as women age. By the age of 65, there are 50-75% of women who note hair thinning. Despite the prevalence, many women find hair loss or hair thinning to be distressing and frustrating.
Causes of Hair Loss for Women
There are many different factors in determining the root cause of hair loss. It may be one thing or it could be a combination of several.
Here are the main culprits in female hair loss:
- Nutrient Deficiency – Iron, Zinc, B12
- Poor Gut Health
- Telogen Effluvium (Caused by Acute Stress)
- Adrenal Problems (Cortisol Overload from Chronic Stress)
- Hormonal Shifts – Menopause or Perimenopause
- Birth Control Pills
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Autoimmune Diseases (Hashimoto’s, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis)
- Baldness Gene
Treating Hair Loss for Women
The treatment depends on the root cause of the problem. You want to determine what that is (or if it is a combination of factors) and treat accordingly. Thankfully, most of these are able to be corrected fairly easily once the root cause is identified and there are so many functional approaches that address looking at this from every angle.
The last cause (genetics) is really the only one that is more difficult but Dr. Deb shares that women who are experiencing balding caused by genes do still have options. In those cases they can look at PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy, laser light treatments or in very extreme cases hair transplants are also available.
Hair transplants can be very expensive, costing upwards of $10,000 but again, this is really only used for extreme cases that are less likely than most of the other underlying causes. PRP can also be expensive and depends on the practitioner but may be in the neighborhood of $1500 and may require ongoing treatment. Laser light treatments range in efficacy. Dr. Deb recommends avoiding the ones that look like a comb and instead use the ‘cap’ that you put on your head. She specifically mentions LaserCapMD and Cappilus as popular brands. These caps start at $1000.
Determining the cause of Stacy’s hair loss issues was our first step in solving her mystery. I tested her hormone levels and found that her thyroid and adrenals were challenged (which was also causing gut issues)
The detailed blood work also revealed that Stacy’s iron was actually sub-optimal so we added 1 capsule of Ferrochel Iron from Designs for Health which provides 27 mg of iron in a very gentle-on-the-stomach, non-constipating form.
I also ran a DUTCH test and an organic acid test. These showed that her estrogen/progesterone/ cortisol pattern was off. We worked on that with a combination of lifestyle factors including reducing exercise, getting more rest and balancing her blood sugar with foods.
We also found a sensitivity to dairy and eggs (through a food sensitivity test). We removed them from her diet for 3 months.
Within 6 weeks, she started to notice less shedding. After 10-weeks, she started to see new hair growth! We stopped the Calcium D Glucarate after 3 months, but continued with the clean and balanced diet. At this time, we shifted her adrenal support from Adrene Vive to Adren-ALL by Ortho Molecular Products. We also added a supplement called H-S-N Complex which is a powder that contains collagen, glutamine and biotin to help the hair that is coming back to grow thick and strong.
After 6 months, Stacy feels like she has a whole new head of hair – it’s thicker, smoother and a lot healthier looking.
Eliminating Health Mysteries
For Stacy we were able to find all of the culprits in her health mystery and get her back to feeling and looking good. Could one or a combination of these be the missing clue for you or someone in your life?
You can also download her free book called “This is Not Normal: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance” through her website: www.isityourhormones.com
Related Podcast Episodes:
EPISODE #027 Solving the Thyroid Mystery w/ Inna Topiler
EPISODE #032 Solving the Autoimmunity Mystery w/ Inna Topiler
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