female hair loss in my 20s: my update and FAQs after a year

Female hair loss is a taboo subject.  I suppose that is why I have been open about it on my blog.  I know how uncomfortable hair loss makes people from people’s second and third and fourth glances at my scalp during conversations.  I’ve received a lot of messages from other people in their 20s and 30s who have been experiencing the same thing as me and it has been a great comfort to discuss it.  Hair loss was another surprise that came along with my autoimmune illness, but I also feel a sense of gratitude for this post seeing how much better my hair has gotten and how much better I feel.  However, I also never expected to have female hair loss in my 20s (does anyone?) and this is my update after a year. 


MY HAIR IN AUGUST 2016

My post where I have my first hair loss update is here.

This was my hair in early 2016 before I realized I had an autoimmune disease. I was diagnosed a month later. | via The Spirited VioletAfter months of unexplainable fatigue (and now hair loss), I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. These are my beginning ups and downs of figuring everything out. | via The Spirited Violet

MY HAIR IN OCTOBER 2017

I hope this post helps other people, but these photos have been so helpful to show me how much healthier I look and how much fuller my hair is.  Slow and steady, right?

WHY DID YOUR HAIR BECOME SO THIN?

I know this is what people are usually wondering.  So, I’ll start with this.

Multiple reasons, but really, it was just a train wreck of a few years.  Emotional trauma!  Physical trauma!  Undiagnosed health issues!

I was hit in four different accidents not of my causing which all resulted in physical injuries.  Since I had concussions and neck injuries in all of them, I had a lot of chronic pain and it was often really difficult for me to brush my hair because it was too painful.  Hair fell out with each wreck.  Stressful work environments.  My sister died and I was wrecked.

Most important though, I was diagnosed with Hashimato’s, a thyroid autoimmune illness, which often causes massive hair loss.  When I asked my Doctors if I should get more hormones checked, they were all like it is ALL your thyroid.  I’m on thyroid medication which ironically often causes hair loss as well.

I also think anyone’s hair would have fallen out with all of that (and a lot more that feels to personal to share). I kind of feel that if I survived our first few years here, that I can do anything and we can take on anything as a couple.  I’m optimistic (and frankly, very hopeful) that my life won’t be as stressful as the first few years here in Atlanta were.  In fact, if I could prevent the stress of those proportions happening ever again all at once, I’d rather be bald.  Where is my country song?

HOW DID YOU NOT NOTICE YOUR HAIR LOSS?

See the chaos that was my life in the section above.

Also, when my hair loss was at its worst, I was in the thick of graduate school so I wasn’t really focused on my hair.  I had a few friends ask me how I was doing because they noticed I had chunks of hair missing and they could see my scalp.  I thought it was a weird question and mainly just ignored them.  However, I realized my scalp became oddly sunburned in one spot and took an aerial photo to see what it looked like.  I was shocked, absolutely shocked.

My husband never said anything and I’m also not one to normally take photos of the top of my head.  My hair loss was also so gradual that it kind of snuck up on me too.

WHY DON’T YOU JUST USE ROGAINE?

My doctor told me not to, pretty simple.  Rogaine has to be used for the rest of your life once you start or your hair falls out again.  Initially after beginning Rogaine, a lot of people shed even more as their hair becomes regulated and in cycle with the medication.  A lot of people don’t know this either, but Rogaine is not recommended for use during pregnancies.  No, I’m not pregnant (which is another post about autoimmune issues entirely).  However, it is something I plan on doing and I don’t plan on losing all of my hair every time I stop. 

DOES DEVIN CARE?

Nope, not at all.  This has been the most impressive part about this hair loss thing for me.  If Devin lost his hair, I realized I would care and we’ve had a lot of discussions about it.  I’m more of the emotional type and Devin is more of the cerebral type so he always just takes it in stride, but I really appreciate this about him.  When I’ve lost hair, gained weight, been sickly, been overly emotional for an extended period of time, and anything else… my husband is always there.  I’ll stop because I feel sappy, but we’ve developed a pretty good sense of humor about it too.

When Devin was asked to do a pretty demanding church calling and the other men he works with are bald, we began joking that he might next; a friend of ours made me almost die laughing when she said that I might take his place for him.  I felt it was such a good sign that I could laugh about something that was so previously devastating to me.  In the mean time, can I get hair plugs from my husband???  Devin seriously has the nicest and thickest hair.

………………………………….

Do I wish and hope my hair fully grows back?  Of course!  However, I’ve also learned there are much worse things in this world that having patchy hair that your hair dresser cuts in a comb over.  This is something I never thought I would experience, but I’m appreciative for the empathy and insight this situation has given me about something I NEVER thought I would experience.  While hair loss may not be something you’re experiencing now or ever, we all have different struggles and this is one that I’ve learned a lot from.

What is something that you’ve experienced that has been a surprise?  What have you learned from it?

  • Callie

    I appreciate the shift in perspective you’ve made and shared with us. As someone who’s met you for the first time recently—I never noticed anything about your hair except that it looked nice.