So what next indeed? Well as someone who’s been where you are now I would head straight to the doctor who will likely look at you in disgust as he has patients dying of terminal diseases in his waiting room and here you are wasting his time with trivial hair loss. But it is not trivial to you. He tells you you are depressed. You concur with his diagnosis but try to tell him that’s because of the hair loss. You are unceremoniously despatched with a prescription for anti-depressants which you almost don’t bother collecting but hey, you need something to get you through this, right? Then you get the box home and read through the side-effect leaflet and you’ve guessed it – one of the side-effects is HAIR LOSS!
In the bin they swiftly go.
You go back to the doctors and, whether you are male or female, THIS is what you insist on: –
1. A thyroid test to rule out thyroid dysfunction.
2. A vitamin-deficiency test, particularly focussing on iron levels, to ensure there is no vitamin deficiency.
3. A PH balance test to ascertain whether the body’s acid/alkaline levels are in kilter.
4. A hormone test to rule out hormone imbalance.
5. A ferritin test – to test levels of the protein most essential to hair production and which should be 40ug/l for normal healthy hair production – preferably higher when trying to get hair to re-grow.
6. A diabetic test to rule out diabetes.
7. That a detailed medical history is taken (if it has not already been) to rule out hereditory causes, recent traumas or over-indulgent lifestyles. Eating disorders can also cause hair loss, so don’t be shy about seeking help for those if this applies to you.
If any deficiency or dysfunction can be found, you can then proceed to have the problem medically corrected, which should hopefully address the problem and its side-effects (ie hair loss), re-booting those fallow follicles to start producing again. And you can point out to the doctor that none of these tests are a waste of his time as all the above conditions can have serious consequences if not detected early, irrespective of how much your doctor cares about your hair loss as a problem in its own right.
If no medical problem can be found other than genetic (ie one or both of your parents haven’t been lucky with their hair either), do not despair. For knowledge is power and the more you find out about hair loss, the more power you will gain over it.
In addition, now you know you are not vitamin-deficient or physically ailing in any way which should affect your hair growth, you also know there is no point in wasting any money on supervitamins or hair tonics (and trust me, in my desperation I wasted hundreds of pounds on Chinese remedies from the internet in particular, and none made a hair shaft’s difference. I also visited a Trichologist who took my medical history, made me a cup of tea, offered me heartfelt sympathy and then sold me one of her own hair tonics – equally useless, but could ultimately do no more than be the one human being I could confide in at the time who wasn’t my unsympathetic GP.).
In part 3, I will share how my journey finally led me to seek cosmetic solutions.