Thursday, September 3, 2009

pulling my hair out

Be forewarned, this is a very silly post with no depth whatsoever. It is about hair. I've been thinking a lot about hair lately, mostly because several months ago mine started falling out. First of all, let me say that was not an entirely new experience for me. Both times after having a baby, I would go through a season of shedding several months later. It was always a little alarming, but feeling like I knew the source, namely post-pregnancy hormone changes, I wasn't that concerned.

But this time around, when there was no pregnancy to blame for aimless strands of hair that were becoming my constant companions, I started to scratch my head. First I thought I'd just wait it out and whatever was up would no doubt work itself out. One week, two weeks, three weeks passed with zero improvement. It was time for a game plan to find out what was going on. Of course I felt silly being concerned, but I was starting to wonder how long I could stave off a trip to Wigs-R-Us. I scheduled a visit to my doctor—a huge step because I knew that meant the double whammy of blood drawn plus the embarrassment of such a trivial complaint—kind of hoping that they would tell me there was something out of balance so that I could start doing something to get back to normal. No luck. Healthy as a horse, with no noticeable reason for hair loss.

Next I turned to vitamins. Not because the doctor told me to, but because action is better than in-action. I figured, even placebos work sometimes, right? So I began taking a one a day multi-vitamin, knowing that even if it didn't help, it certainly wouldn't harm. Still no results.

I moved on to hair care. I had gotten up the courage to go get my hair cut, knowing that I would have to explain why my hair was dangling off the comb before the scissors had worked their magic, but it seemed like a great time to lay the pride aside and ask if they had any suggestions. The stylist's recommendation? Salon products. Even as she said it, I knew I really didn't buy it, but buy it I did. The Suave Professionals become Nathan's exclusive property, and it was Biolage for me.

In the meantime, I began treating my hair as if it were a 90 year old grandma. No heat from the blow dryer, minimal brushing conducted as gingerly as possible, no pony tails, and absolutely no tugging from little hands and fingers. I guess I was working under the assumption that gravity would be my friend and loose it's hold on my hair as long as I did my part to help it out.

I waited another week, giving the shampoo time to work its magic, before I ordered my hair vitamins. I don't know what in the world hair vitamins are intended to do, but at this point I didn't really care about the specifics, a fact the hair vitamin world is no doubt aware of. It was about this time that Nathan began to wonder how much my quest for a cure was going to cost him, but I was going on two months of the weirdness and it was taking a toll on my psyche, a toll that I felt was worth paying for. The vitamins arrived, bumping up my total vitamin intake to three pills a day. A record for me. At the very least, I was feeling healthy because of the sheer quantity of vitamin intake =).

So how did it all end? Not very spectacularly. Gradually, the hair loss stopped, leaving me to ponder whether the change was induced by my intensive hair care regimen or if it was simply the result what I suspected all along, an unexplained season of hair loss that auto-corrected. I'm nearing the end of my vitamins and my shampoo is beginning to make that almost empty gurgle ever time I squeeze, so I suppose I'll find out soon enough if that fount of El Dorado was really what it was cracked up to be. I'm guessing, and hoping, that it's not =).

So how about you? Any similar stories with similar outcomes? Maybe, maybe not. If there are a lot of you running around out there with shared experiences, none of you ever told me before hand, or maybe I wouldn't have been quite so concerned =). The truth is, every time I told someone they usually raised their eyebrows and offered up deep looks of sympathy. Not exactly encouragement I was looking for. But now, with a full month or two of hair free symptoms under my belt, I can look back with humor and smile at how the frustration of hair loss nearly led me to pull out my hair.


Meghan said...

I have heard that hair loss occurs every 7 years or so....or for a long time after a traumatic event.

I was experiencing the same thing a while back.....but my hair is so thick, I was almost thankful for it!! I was more annoyed at being covered with hair all the black shirts for me!

Jennifer said...

I have a question that the doctors may have asked or may not have.

Do you ever get dandruff often? When I was going through a losing my hair phase it was accompanied by horrible dandruff.

Turns out I had a serious yeast issue and needed some serious shampoo caused Nizoral.

Robbie Eilert said...

Well, everyone has a natural shedding cycle. However, changes in diet or a loss of Iron can make your hair fall out as well. I would reason that the vitamins were probably very helpful in stopping it.

Emily said...

I have had the worst hair loss after my last pregnancy. It's been terrible and has finally stopped and the hair is now growing back. Sadly, now I have little wispies and baby bangs galore. I look like a fried chia-pet! I feel for you and I hope that whatever it was has left your system and you'll be looking Suave perfect soon!

In Definition said...

angie. i would have been the one raising eyebrows and looking sympathetic. huh. if i lost hair, i'd be bald within 2 weeks.

Laurie in Ca. said...

I shed every year Angie, doing it right now. I am kind of used to it now and it always seems to come back. Mine is down to my waist so I leave long hairs all over the house:) Can't blame them on the cat or dog either:) I think we are okay. Since mine did not fall out with six months of chemo 13 years ago, I remind myself not to sweat the shedding:) Don't know if this helps, but it is another angle to consider in the scheme of hair shedding. Love you.

Love and Hugs, Laurie

Candace said...

I am a huge shedder. I was afraid I'd end up looking like my dad. I happened to look at the side effects of my birth control pills and sure enough... it was in fact a side effect.

Lee said...

I could echo your friend Emily's comment. I had extra hair during pregnancy, then suddenly it was falling out galore in the post partum days. Now it is growing back, but has never quite been the same.

Penny said...

I think it'd be a good idea to keep taking your vitamins. Mine sheds all the time, but a particular medicine I was taking made it worse. I got off that a long time ago. Stress will do it, but you don't seem like the stressing type. Also, a protein deficiency caused hair loss for a cousin of mine.

Kay said...

I experienced hair loss several months after the loss of our son. Went in, got blood work just like you but kind dr figured it was sort of like a delayed response to the traumatic time in our lives. It did eventually stop and I have had no more times of fallout. My remaining hair is a bit thinner- it had been overly thick, but now, not so much. : )