Updated: Apr 8, 2020
Today we are going to be talking about women's hair loss, how to test for it, why it's happening, and some strategies that we can do to manage it.
The number one reason that most women struggle with hair loss is because they're going through a postpartum time, which is completely normal. And we have to really give ourselves some time for our bodies to adjust our heal our hormones to come into balance. So if you're still under that year Mark, don't panic yet.
Give yourself a lot of time. Stay on your prenatals, keep taking care of yourself and just really give yourself time to bounce back. You need more than four weeks, more than six weeks. We're really talking six to 12 months. I'm here to tell you, you can relax, don't panic, everything's probably okay.
But if you're not in that postpartum range, we really start need to focus on testing and why is it happening?
Most commonly women start losing their hair because of an issue with testosterone. Typically we see high testosterone with issues like polycystic ovaries, PCOS, where you start getting a lot of facial hair, but you start losing the hair on top of your head cause that's usually too much testosterone for women who come in and have too little testosterone or are having symptoms of low libido or just not feeling good low energy.
I usually see a problem with DHT, which is the precursor to testosterone. What that means is that we have to figure out why and that hormone chain is testosterone either converting back, is your estrogen too high and everything's getting pulled into estrogen and that's messing up your testosterone. There's a lot of reasons why.
Another one would be adrenal fatigue, and your adrenals are pulling all of your hormones into cortisol, which we call pregnenalone steal. That's also very common. We really need to start digging deeper and figure out is this a testosterone and estrogen, an adrenal or actually even a genetic issue where the DHT is being messed with causing a lot of hair loss.
Now, most likely you've heard of thyroid issues causing hair loss, which is also very common. You start noticing that outer third of your eyebrow starts disappearing, your hair starts falling apart, usually down the middle as well as widow peaks usually are very cold.
You struggle losing weight and then is a symptom of thyroid issues that can be causing your hair loss. We always have to test for autoimmune conditions with thyroid because we want to make sure that we're not worsening that autoimmune condition or ignoring it because once you have that condition, it is permanent and it is progressive is what we say about autoimmune conditions, we want to make sure that we're not missing the mark, skipping over other autoimmune conditions and we're really taking care of you.
The other thing with thyroid issues is that you have actually been told that your thyroid looks great, nothing's wrong, you're just too stressed out. You need to relax. Now there's a difference in labs and thyroid labs will vary by community because that's what they do. They pull everyone who has been in the past year and then they set the ranges with a little bit of a standard deviation to set what's normal.
Now I can guarantee you that there's a lot of people who have thyroid issues that are coming into this lab and are still being told that they're normal. Typically we see thyroid TSH being the main marker raging from about 0.55 to anywhere from 4.5 to five being normal. That's a pretty big range. In functional medicine we usually like to see people around 1.5 to 2.5 somewhere around maybe 1.2 to 2.8 definitely under three so you can see that's a big difference.
You might come in and be like, I'm at 4.8 on my TSH and everything's great. I'm within range. I would say, Hey, this is a great time to catch your thyroid. Why is this happening? It is high, which means it's showing hypothyroid. I see people who have 0.43 but they fall within that medical range before we can give medication.
They technically normal, but that is hyper thyroid. We definitely have to look for autoimmune conditions there as well. So if you're being told your thyroid labs are normal but you're falling outside of the functional ranges before you need medication, that's great because we can really start focusing on lifestyle. What's going on? What's causing this? Is it a brain? Is it a thyroid? This is a liver is that gut issue.
You can always ask for a full thyroid panel, all of the T3’s, T4’s and autoimmune markers because you don't want to miss something. And I always want all of those in my practice. If you're being turned away at the lab because the phlebotomist or the doctor who's doing it says you don't need that. There's a lot of ways around it. So never be turned away. Always demand that you get the testing done. And if you need to, you know, you can pay cash for these things. You can walk into a lab and get them done. So there's always, always, always options. You just have to figure out what you need in your area and when you can get it done.
Another really common but not often talked about issue with hair loss with women is anemia. Anemia is very, which is not having enough. Iron is usually a typical one. There are many, many different types of anemia, but since we're talking about hair loss today, the iron deficiency anemia is most common associated with hair loss. Is it the root cause of the hair loss? Meaning is your anemia causing your hair to fall out? Probably not, but it is a symptom that is correlated with iron deficiency anemia because that means there's other things going on in the body that aren't being taken care of.
The other issues with anemia that you commonly see is of course fatigue because you don't have the iron, you don't have the oxygen in your body, brittle nails, because really you're just not getting oxygen out to the out outer parts of your body, right? So if your nails don't have oxygen, maybe you have a lot of issues with toe fungus or brittle nails or things down there as well.
That also means that oxygen is not getting to the top of your head, right? So we're just not perfusing oxygen through our blood. You might also find that you have significant brain fog, poor memory and a lot of other brain and focus issues because your brain's not oxygenated. So we need to really pay attention to anemia and rule that out. And the last thing that I have for a hair loss is B complex vitamin deficiencies.
Now most people find their hair's falling out and they go, Oh, I'm just going to take biotin and everything's going to be great, or I'm going to take this hair, skin, nails, supplement, and really hope it works. And many times it does, which is why these companies are so successful because most people are chronically treated of their B vitamins.
But why is that happening? Right? This is a questions that we ask in functional medicine.
Why are you depleted of your B complexes? Most people will say stress and gas. Absolutely. That's one of the reasons. Another reason is your stomach. Your stomach requires a lot of B vitamins to digest, to use intrinsic factor to have stomach acid. If you have stomach conditions like low acid, if you have autoimmune symptoms with your stomach, if taking B vitamins makes you sick, there's another B complex and autoimmune issue that we need to focus on.
Poor digestion of your stomach will really interfere with how you use B vitamins and create them and digest them and absorb them. Just running out to take a supplement for B supplements doesn't mean that it's going to work. The other thing is that the liver uses a lot of B vitamins to methylate. And to take everything that's going through our blood, to put it in a little package, like we talk about detoxing and conjugation to put it in the bile so we can get rid of it through our gut.
If your liver is using up a lot of B vitamins because you have too many toxins or you're trying to get rid of things or you're getting rid of a lot of hormones and it's just working, working, working or poor diet, a lot of stress, too much alcohol, a lot of processed foods, those things will deplete your liver as well.
Don't run out and get B vitamins until you get tested and know exactly what is going on.
With testing it's very, very easy. We can do blood tests for iron ferritin, you can test for anemias, you're going to do a full thyroid panel and you also want to run a full liver panel, which is very, very common, very basic for most blood labs. So you can get all of that done in one test. So very, very easy. We'll out a lot of these issues. You can do a blood test for hormones or a saliva test for hormones, which is going to check your testosterone, estrogens and progesterones and see exactly where you stand. The one that I do through Genova diagnostics also does melatonin, DHEA and cortisol, so we really get a big picture of what are your hormones doing, why are they working, why are they not working?
And then of course I have also written down genetic testing for MTHFR to see if you are methylating your B vitamins and if is there a genetic issue that's affecting that that can be affecting your hair as well and in hormones too because if you can't be taxed your hormones and get them out of your body and they're circulating, there's an issue with your liver there as well.
So what do we do?
I'm going to give you my basics because every one of these things is very personalized. Just because you have a thyroid issue doesn't mean you should take a long list of supplements that everybody else is taking. We really have to figure out what you need, not just blanket statement, everything. Okay. So I like to start with oils. Essential oils are amazing for haircare. So you can use Clary Sage. Lavender or Rosemary are great ones for supporting the hair system.
I like to add a couple drops to my shampoo. I also use doTERRA shampoo. The other thing I do is I have an empty bottle. I S I stash all of my empty central oil bottles when I'm done using them. So I'll kind of mix and create my own blend. So I put those three oils and an empty oil bottle and then I'll just put one or two drops in my hands, some shampoo, lather it together, and then wash my hair. So that's another way you can do it if you don't want to dump all of the oils or into your shampoo bottle. So for thyroid, I never recommend general supplements for you to take cause we really have to figure out exactly what is going on with your thigh, where we don't want to guess and give you the wrong supplement, make things infinitely worse.
And then your hair will really fall out. So this is really specific. Please don't run out and just buy a general thyroid supplement because you can get iodine toxicity, you can get selenium taxes, speed. We have to be very, very careful. Even those, those are amazing things to support the thyroid. We really have to make sure that you're doing the right thing. So always, always, always get your blood work done first. Get a full panel. Same with anemia. You don't want to run out and just assume that you have anemia or an iron deficiency and start taking iron because you can also overload yourself on iron and that will cause so many more problems than just hair loss. We have to be very careful. If you do have anemia, I do like to use patch md.com they are nutritional patches and you just put one on every day
And I love this for iron because it's not constipating. I also really like it further B12 patches because it has all of the B complex has in it and it's methylated. So it's safe for people who struggle with MTHFR. So the other thing that I love about it, again, it bypasses the digestion system. So if you do have stomach problems, if you have autoimmune conditions with your stomach or your digestive system, you're not going to skip absorbing it. You're going to get it straight into the bloodstream and use it right away. If you have these issues as well. Sublingual B12 and B complexes are also fantastic because you're bypassing the gut and the liver, so you don't have to worry about digestion or assimilation. So I love those. For the brain inflammation, I love frankincense oil and tumeric oil because that just helps support oxygenation to the brain and it reduces inflammation.
So your cells are going to be firing and you're going to improve your focus, your memory, your mood, all over those things. And so when it comes to testosterone and DHT issues, there's again, is it high? Is it low? What's the cascade doing? What are the markers doing? Where the enzyme enzymes doing? So you really have to pass to be careful. You don't want to take something that's going to lower testosterone if it's already low, like we don't want to guess with that, right?
But in general, if you know it's DHT issue, I like to use sink and Palmetto, soft Palmetto, those are great for supplements. So I think I've said this a million times, and I think I say it every time I do a video or a podcast, but make sure you get your testing done. Don't guess, don't assume that something is high or low and then do your best to lower it or fix it because you don't want to cause more health problems by messing with your body. We want to do what's right for you so you get the best, most supportive, most effective and safest care for your lifestyle, your supplements, your diet, everything. So you start to feel better fast. So thanks for tuning in today and we will tech check you out on the next podcast. Thanks everybody.
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