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Skin Care and Diseases

Cause of hair loss

06/21/2006

Question:

I am a 36 year old woman who has diffused hair loss for the last 6 years. Since nobody in my family has thin hair (both sides...including cousins), I went to a derm when I first started experiencing the hair loss. The derm just shrugged his shoulders and said, "you are loosing your hair". For the past 4 years I`ve covered my hair loss using extensions. I had a noticable widening part and a very thin area on the back of my head. I am now 6 months pregnant and my hair is actually growing back....not just thicker, but hair in places where there hasn`t been in years! Could I have a hormonal imbalance that had caused my hairloss? What tests should I have run after having the baby that can tell me what kind of treatment I could have to prevent the hairloss from occuring again?

Answer:

From the description you are giving, I would suggest that you probably have what is known as female androgenic alopecia, and certainly with the stimulation of pregnancy, hair does regrow in some individuals.  There are several world authorities on hair loss in women and you might wish to consult them......Dr. Wilma Bergfeld at the Cleveland Clinic (email is bergfew@ccf.org) and Dr. Vera Price at the University of California in San Francisco (email is pricev@derm.ucsf.edu).  I am sure they will suggest that they see you, possibly biopsy the lesions, and look at the hairs under the microscope to be sure of what may be happening. 

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati