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Posted on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 01:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Tom, I found your website is very informative, million thanks to you. Iím a 41 years old female, basically, in pretty good health. Around April 2003, I started noticing a lot of hair falling off during shampooing and brushing. The speed of shedding didnít slow down and is from all over my haed. Now, 3 months later, I only have maybe less ľ of hair left. I use to have long, curly, thick black hair. Am I having TE?? When is this shedding going to stop? I will need a wig pretty soon. Iím very depressed. I have been on BCP for about 14 years with no problems at all. Last Aug, I decided to have my tubes tied and stop taking BCP completely. It was a general anesthesia operation. At beginning of this year, I was under a lot of stress from work, but the project has completed at end of March, so the stress level is down now. I went to my doctor and had blood work done in June. Everything came back normal, so he told me to try Rogaine. I have been using it for 3 weeks now. I have heard that once you start using Rogaine there is no turning back, you have to use it for rest of your life otherwise hair will fall off again. Is this true? After reading the messages on this site, I am taking multivitamin (one a day) now. Is there any other food/vitamins/herb out there that will help hair growth? Any suggestions? Will my hair grow back?


Tom Hagerty
Posted on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 08:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


You now have only a quarter of your hair left? Did all this hair loss happen in just three months? I don't have to tell you that this is serious.

A diagnosis is impossible over the Internet as I'm sure you know. TE is certainly a possibility. You have hair loss from all over your head which is characteristic of TE, but the extent of your hair loss is not characteristic of TE.

Sudden hormone changes - stopping BCP, surgery while under general anesthetic, prolonged stress - all these things can trigger TE though. If you do have TE, your hair will probably come back strong. TE is not a permanent condition. But the time frame is often depressing. It could take nine month or even a year.

Does Rogaine help with TE? Some dermatologists say it does and are happy to recommend it. It's a no-brainer. If you read the insert inside the package of this drug, you'll see that you have to use it for life or you will lose all that you possibly gained while on it.

I suppose taking a multivitamin pill will make you feel better at least psychologically. Perhaps 10 or even 20 percent of the highly concentrated nutrients will be absorbed by your body. It makes much more sense, though, to eat good foods rich in all the nutrients, especially the B-complex, essential fatty acids, and minerals like iron, copper, zinc, and sulfer.

Good nutrition is important but it is not a magic cure for hair loss. I think you should have a multilayered approach - exercise, proper body weight, low level of stress, good mental attitude. Of course if you take prescription drugs, you'll have to check these for side effects like hair loss. Antidepressants are notorious for this side effect.

I'm all over the map with these suggestions, but I'm not all over the map in my core suggestion - do a lot of reading on hair loss and treatment options. You really do have to educate yourself in this area so that you can avoid worthless treatments and programs. There are always people out there, scam artists or well-meaning idiots, willing to help you. The best help you can get is from yourself. You have to take informed responsibility for the regrowth of the luxuriant hair you once had.

Posted on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 02:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your quick response. I am very scare about my condition. Can you hear me crying? I am not taking any medications after I got off BCP. I am 5í6 and weight 150 lb., and had never been on any type of diet programs. Like I said, I am (at least I think) in pretty good health. Does Rogaine help? I am not sure. When I touch my scalp, I do feel Ďspikesí all over my head, mostly at the back and sides, some at the top. I only apply Rogaine at the top of head, so does Rogaine help? Hard to say. Are those short short hair new growth or just the broke off roots?

The speed of my hair loss sounds like I am going through a Chemo therapy. Right?

I spent a lot of time on your and Kevinís web sites to educate myself and prepare myself for the Derm dr. appointment next week. Is there any other good web sites that you recommend?

Thanks for your time!!

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 11:00 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


There are other informative Web sites, but I think you'll find all you need to know on Kevin's site. The best thing you can do is to prepare yourself for your appointment with the derm. Ask good questions and demand good answers. You've lost a lot of hair - a quick recommendation to get yourself a bottle of Rogaine is not what you want.

Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 10:00 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi Tom,

I have good news to report. Since I posted the message last month, I have noticed a lot of new growth on the top and sides of my head. The top scalp is getting darker; the part is getting smaller. The scalp is not totally cover yet, but I believe in another two months or so, it should be denser. I still have not seen the dermatologists yet, you know HMO, I requested a referral at end of July, but my appointment is at Sept. Anyway, I still will go see him, just to see what he has to say and if he can tell me the cause of my hair loss. So, I won't do it again.

Thanks again for all the wonderful information on your site.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 09:29 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


I like to hear good news. You must feel happy when you look in the mirror these days. A good image looking back at you from the mirror starts the day off right.

Posted on Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - 10:12 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Dear Tom,

I am a 20 year old male and lately i have been noticing that the front of my scalp looks like i am losing hair. I read somewhere that nutrional defiency can cause this. I havent been eating well for the past 3 to 4 months. I was wondering if maybe this is true and is a factor. My father isnt bald, nor is my grandfather. When I comb my hair in the morning after waking up, I notice a good amount of hair in the sink if I hold my head down as im doing it. Eventually its stops but it still worries me. Im only 20, how can this be happening. Can you please help me. Im extremely worried at this point.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - 01:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post


A "bad" diet for 3 to 4 months is not going to cause hair loss. Nutritional deficiency can cause hair loss but this has to be extreme - like the deficiency experienced by anorexic or bulemic women.

Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2004 - 01:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Dear Tom:

I am an 18 years old female, and I have been loosing my hair for about 1 year. I have always had beautiful thick long hair, but in the last year it has become extremely thin. Most of it falls out when I wash and brush it. I brush my hair once and it looks like their is a moaths worth of hair in it. It had made my life extremely depressing, and I don't know what to do. Should I get a blood test and see if their is something wrong with me? what is the most helpful vitamin I should be taking? Please help me.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2004 - 07:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


You're probably doing some moderate brushing, which is fine. Really heavy brushing can do some temporary damage to the hair follicles and cause a form of hair loss called traction alopecia.

If you've been experiencing hair loss for a whole year and you see your hair becoming thin, then perhaps you should see a doctor and get some blood tests. An important blood test regarding hair is the serum ferritin test. Many young women, especially if they don't eat meat, have low serum ferritin levels. This can cause a form of temporary hair loss called telogen effluvium (TE).

You asked, "what is the most helpful vitamin I should be taking?"

Hair loss is a complex problem. It usually cannot be solved by taking a simple pill. You'll read that biotin or perhaps zinc will halt hair loss, but this is just advertising hype. Eat a good diet full of nutritious foods. Stay away from the processed foods and anything with transfats (margarine, pastry). And please don't go on crash diets or go anorexic.

Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 05:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

dear tom,

I am 21 year old male who for the last year i have been roughly loosing 60 hair per day. I have very thick hair but i have noticed my hair line has recieded. For 2 years i smoked cannabis and for a year i got into cocaine does this have anything to do with it? After leaving the drugs i was stressed does stress cause total hair loss or does it grow back?. I also have 2 bald uncles on my mums side but i have always had very thick hair. I would appreciate if u could answer my questions


Tom Hagerty
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 07:53 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


It's doubtful that smoking cannabis or taking cocaine will cause hair loss, but many people who are on these psychoactive drugs have poor diets and are under continual stress. Bad diet and stress can have a negative effect on your hair.

Perhaps now that you are off the drugs your life style is more healthy - diet, exercise, mood. Your hair may improve if you noticed only mild thinning. The loss of 50 or 60 hairs a day in not unusual. These are telogen hairs that are doomed to fall out. If your scalp and follicles are healthy, these hairs will be replaced.

Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 03:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Kevin McElwee states on

'In one experiment, researchers injected cocaine under the skin of rats. Within 2 days patches of hair loss developed around the injection areas and later the skin became necrotic. The study clearly indicated that cocaine is cytotoxic to proliferating cells. Hair follicle cells are the most active of any in the body, dividing once every 13 hours. It may be that cocaine, injected or inhaled, has a cytotoxicity high enough to reduce cell division in hair follicles and consequently cause a telogen effluvium type hair loss.'
'Hair loss may be connected to adulterated drugs. It has been reported on more than one occasion that a powder sold as cocaine was adulterated with thallium salts (rat poison). Subsequent to use, individuals developed extensive hair loss. Thallium is well known for causing telogen effluvium type hair loss at low doses and of course will kill people at higher doses.'

Of course, in these extreme cases the hair would recover when the trigger to the effluvium was removed. The likelihood is however, that you simply have MPB...

Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 05:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Dear Tom, I was wondering what you think would be the best cure for hair loss? I am 21 and i have noticed in the last 2 years my hair line and receded. I have very thick hair and i hope my hair stops falling out. What would you say is the best thing to do to stop hair loss?



Tom Hagerty
Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2004 - 07:49 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


Read My Approach for my idea of a "best cure." But this is only a subjective opinion based essentially on personal experience - and it's not a cure. As far as I know there are no cures; there are only holding actions.

Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2004 - 04:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Dear Tom, I was wondering if you could give me an opinion on what you think of hair laser treatment. i am in my early twenties and noticed that in the last year i have started loosing hair. I would appreciate if you could tell me the advantages or disadvantages of this treatment.

I think your site is very helpfull.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Friday, May 21, 2004 - 08:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


My first impulse is to call any form of laser treatment for hair loss a scam. But then I'm usually too fast with the "scam" label. I don't have any first-hand experience with the laser comb or other well-advertised laser products.

I hope that some people with experience with the laser technology would tell us about it. One thing I do know - it's not cheap.

sherrill shirey
Posted on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 10:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Help! I am 52 and postmenopa since 1998 and was taking prempro. Last May 2003 I noticed my hair falling out all over just dropping off my head by the roots. I have no small hairs.
I had taken apidex for three weeks my first time ever and lost 8 pounds. My weight was 119.5 lbs. height 5'4''
I also fell at the end of that 3 weeks and cracked my tail bone--had terrible pain--doctor gave me pain medicine for a month. I quit taking the apedix when I fell because I was put on pain medicine. I was dealing with a new job and a boss from you know where being cussed at everytime she made an appearance--STRESS--I went to dermo in fall an she said save hair for ten weeks and bring it back--took a scalp Biopsy-general blood work. I went back in December and The head dermo was there in her place while she was out. I asked him what could be wrong and why she (the other dermo) wanted the bags of hair. He said she was a hair counter that he perferred the scientific way Biopsy-He said my hai was falling out at 50% more rate than normal and that the tests showed no physiological reason. To go home and put rogaine on my head. I looked it up on internet and was afraid of it. I say gyn and had harmones replaced with prometrium and Estradiol. I am still losing hair and last week ask dermo nurse to run more blood test--I found out recently that my AC has been malfunctioning for at least a year and that it is blowing air from under the house in the house--wood under house is dripping water and insulation--also found mold I went back yesterday to see if this might have an effect on my problem-I saw a different dermo-she read my chart and said let me explain you have two things going on here TE and a little andigen(sp) action and you need to calm down I can tell you are tense. She gave me a steroid shot and said I need to put rogaine on my scalp and to also see my doctor for medicine to relieve stress that would be the total treatment and not to come back for at least 3 months. Now I am looking at a bottle of rogain and a bottle of Alprazolam- I still don't know if I trust this treatment plan. When I cracked my hip there was no doubt that I needed help immediately and the pain medicine I took got me through the situation without losing a day of work I not sure what to do with is hailoss plan she says I should do. DOES ANYONE OUT THERE SEE ANYTHING IN what I have said that you can give me your thoughts or advise about what may be causing my hair loss and what I should do.It has been going on 13 months now--all over still losing hair -can see scalp through hair sides very thin-very thin in back of head also. I felt hairs fall off as I type this. PLEASE

sherrill shirey
Posted on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 10:44 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I do not have the vellus hairs that I see mentioned-One hair shaft coming out of holes in thinest places in place of 2 or 3 growing in some holes on scalp

Posted on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 05:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Your derm sounds ridiculous. Of course you are tense you are losing your hair. It sounds like maybe one of your meds for your back may have caused your hair loss,or maybe one of your hormone medicines is now affecting your hair.

I would try an endocronologist as you might have a hormonal issue.

good luck.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 08:41 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Sherrill Shirey:

If you see no vellus hairs - those thin, unpigmented hairs less than a half inch long - you probably have telogen effluvium. With pattern baldness you'll usually see lots of vellus hairs; with TE you'll see very few or none. But sometimes it hard to differentiate between TE and androgenetic alopecia (AGA) in early stages of the problem.

"My weight was 119.5 lbs. height 5'4'..." Why did you want to lose weight? That seems like an ideal weight for someone as tall as you. Apidex is an appetite suppressant with quite a few side effects as I'm sure you know.

So now you're stressed out and might start using Alprazolam, a habit-forming antidepressant. If you read messages on hair-loss forums, you'll see that various antidepressants are said to cause hair loss. (People comimg off Aprazolam often have severe withdrawal symptoms.)

You've taken various blood tests. Did you take the serum ferritin test? If you did, what's the number? It should be 70 ng/ml or higher.

I wonder what your diet is like. Do you eat nutritious foods, or do you eat fast foods and processed foods with lots of trans fats?

"Now I am looking at a bottle of rogain and a bottle of Alprazolam..."

Well, a doctor has to suggest some medication. How many times have you left a doctor's office without a prescription or at least a free sample of some drug?

"I still don't know if I trust this treatment plan."

I think you're right to be skeptical of the treatment plan.


sherrill shirey
Posted on Saturday, July 03, 2004 - 10:37 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I out grew my clothes and didn't want to buy new ones. I never took apedix after again.
Yes I eat out alot and find it hard not to eat a good amount of fast/processed foods.
The doctors never told me the numbers on any of the tests.
I take a centrum once a day as the first dermo told me to do. The dermo that had me take her 10 weeks of hair.
She never told me anything about what she was doing with the hair.
I have never seen the vellus hair that has been mentioned. I have had friends look at my head with a 10X loop cannot even see one.
Just mature strands o-3 in a whole. Less on top and sides. Still dropping off as I type.
Sincerely, Sherrill

Posted on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 11:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

hi Tom,
I am having hair loss since 18 months.
I am losing 500-600 hair on the day of
wash and 200-300 hair daily otherwise .The
pattern is diffuse and their is thinning
all over. My serum ferritin is 30ng/ml
and my dermatologist has given me iron supplements . I am 36 and otherwise healthy .
Please help

Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 03:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi Tom,

It has been a while since I started the thread. I am here to give you a quick update on my hair status. Since I posted my last message on Aug 20, 2003, I had put my wig back in to the box around March 2004, and almost all my hair had grow back, but they won't grow more than 4 inches long, so I have very short hair style. I still notice some hair falling off when I brush or shampoo. But I guess the speed of shedding had slowing down and the growing speed had picked up. I still have some areas that have very thin hair, but in general, I have full head of hair. It's a long journey. Thanks for this wonderful site.

Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 08:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I would like to know if there are any guys here that have had a definite Stressor Trigger that has caused a Telogen Effluvium Episode and have recovered? Maybe you can recall an event that was so academically defined as a cause for unexpected accelerated hair loss - like - a debilitating illness or chronic disease- or a major surgery- intense traumatic event....

I had a definite TE with a very definitive trigger , but have noticed an accelerated mpb (pattern)- Has someone experienced something similar? Is there any hope in recovering?- Im under the following "treatment"
1) Good Nutrition/ food/ supplements
2) The Scalp Excercise
3) Scalp Massage
4) The TE Trigger is gone (4 months)

Do I have MPB probabilities - YES- relatives - YES-
Do I have full head of hair- YES - but M shape with noted affected frontal line more now than last year!- after the TE triggered.


Posted on Monday, April 18, 2005 - 01:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi I'm a 19 year old female that used to have so much hair that it needed to be thinned out. For the past 2 years i've noticed it to thin out. It is curly and gets incredibility tangled while shampooing and conditioning. This is the time that i notice a lot of hair being lost. I don't know what the cause is. I do stress out a lot but dont know if this is the primary source of my hair loss.. I (thank god) still have a good amount of hair...but dont want to continue losing so much! What can i do?

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Monday, April 18, 2005 - 09:16 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


Psychological stress is not a primary trigger for any kind of hair loss. Read through some of the threads about telogen effluvium and find out what the primary triggers are. You're lucky to still have a decent amount of hair, but if you're concerned about your hair getting thinner, now is a good time to take action.

The first step should be doing some reading about the causes of hair loss. Without knowledge, you're likely to believe the advertising about the scam hair loss products being sold on the Internet.

ralph simon
Posted on Sunday, May 29, 2005 - 09:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hello, doctor...My name is Ralph and i am 26 years old. Ive always been very image consious, especially with my hair. I always thought i had the best hair around until about a year ago when it very suddenly started to thin..mostly in the back..Im almost positive it is because of cocaine use. Ive been using every other night approximately for about a year now..Every time i do a search on cociane use and hairloss nothing really shows up..I have friends who abuse this drug and havr=e experienced this too..I think hair specialists should do some research on this

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Monday, May 30, 2005 - 07:39 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Ralph Simon:

Cocaine is a stimulant that causes constricted blood vessels, among its many other positive (short term) and negative (long term) effects. Constricted blood vessels impact the hair follicles adversely.

If you scroll down the the page - Male Pattern Baldness - you'll see the drawing of the hair follicle. In this drawing, you'll notice that a network of capillaries surrounds the base of the follicle and inserts into the dermal papilla. These capillaries are the delivery system for the nutrients - vitamins, minerals, amino acids - that the hair follicles need to flourish. If the capillaries are constricted, the health of the hair follicles is impaired.

Posted on Sunday, August 07, 2005 - 09:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

hello, i'm 26 and was just diagnosed with "very subtle, very early aga." my derm also told me that i have te and low iron and to start rogaine. i've been using rogaine 2% once every other day for about 2 weeks and now i'm going to up it to 5%. my hair started to fall out after switching birth control pills, so i was told to stop taking them. my questions are: should i go back on another birth control pill? if i start using rogaine 5% in early stages of aga can i regain a lot of the hair i lost? and can i keep my aga in an early stage by using rogaine ? or eventually will my aga be full blown where i have to wear a wig b.c my hair is so thin and to much scalp is showing? i know everyone is different but i was just wondering if you could tell me your opinion and what should i expect. besides rogaine do you have any suggestions? thank you for your time and i would appreciate any answers that you would have.

Posted on Thursday, September 08, 2005 - 06:21 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I am a 25 year old female and my hair has been thinning for over a year now. It had been very gradual until recently. Since August it has thinned drastically. My scalp is also peeling off in large pieces. I had blood test done last october but the doctor told me not to worry everything was fine and that he was losing his hair too (very helpful). My serum ferritin was 28ng/ml. But he didn't seem concerned. I am in Japan so getting medical treatment is difficult. I have been a vegetarian since I was 7 and a vegan since I was 20. I take iron supplements occasionally... but have never been too worried about my iron or protein levels. I am getting very worried because it is getting hard to hide it and it keeps falling out. I have been reading so much information online but i'm not sure what i should do. My sister is having a similar problem but she is neither a vegan nor a vegetarian and her hair loss is much less than mine. However she is in vet school and under a lot of stress. Her doctor seems to think that stess is the cause of her hair loss. Could someone please give me some advice and hope that its temporary?
Thank you

Eli Hochstetler
Posted on Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 04:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Have your doctor do a thyroid test Thyroid can be checked through blood test but saliva tests are a lot more accurate

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