It’s rare for a l9-year-old to lose so much hair unless she has had major nutritional or hormonal problems, or both. The most common cause of hair loss is poor nutrition.
The hair roots are “alive” and their follicles are fed by tiny blood vessels that facilitate the hair growth. Without good nutrition, this growth is impossible. Protein is the building block for any growth. A strict vegan or vegetarian diet may lead to a deficiency of protein. Also, the vital oxygen supply to the hair roots may be seriously impaired by anaemia or extremely low blood pressure; both these conditions are characterised by chronic fatigue, dizziness, cold hands and feet, extreme paleness and easy bruising. Anaemia is often linked to heavy bleeding during periods and bad gastritis, which impairs iron absorption in the gut. Without oxygen, the roots will wither away and grows and/or repair activities in the body will stop.
The root cause of anaemia is that there are not enough red blood cells or that they are smaller than normal. This means they have less haemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the tissues and removes the waste carbon dioxide. The number of red blood cells in blood depends on the bone marrow, which manufactures them, the iron level, the cobalt level, which is an essential part of haemoglobin, in the amount of protein (globulin).
You mention testosterone, which is principally thought of as the male reproductive hormone. Everyone has a balance between testosterone and oestrogen (one of the two female reproductive hormones, the other is progesterone). In women, oestrogen is predominant But there are situations in which the oestrogen level falls, so the ratio of testosterone to oestrogen becomes comparatively greater. This happens at menopause (obviously not your daughter’s problem) and with conditions such as polycystic ovaries. In this situation, cysts destroy healthy ovary tissue so that the body’s capacity to ovulate and produce oestrogen is drastically reduced. Oestrogen is directly linked to smooth skin and thick hair. If there is a deficiency of oestrogen and a rise in testosterone, it may affect hair growth.
Additionally, if the pituitary gland in the brain is impaired, oestrogen production may be reduced. The pituitary gland governs most of the hormones in the body. A trauma at birth or an), injury to the head and neck (including chronic problems caused by driving or sitting at a computer) may compromise the blood flow to the pituitary gland through the vertebral arteries which travel up the neck from the body to the head.
Another possibility is that the hair follicles are being attacked by a fungus and, because the roots are damaged, the hair falls out.
Your daughter should follow this programme carefully:
- Avoid yeast and fungal products (such as bread, pizza, cheese, mushrooms, vinegar, wine, beer).
- Avoid citrus fruits because acid makes the skin very sensitive and prevents iron absorption in the stomach.
- Avoid coffee, which constricts the blood vessels.
- Eat a good quantity of protein (eggs, chicken, meat, including liver, all organic if possible).
- Eat spinach, almonds that have been soaked in water, red apples, carrots and pomegranates, which contain cobalt.
- Take a multivitamin and mineral supplement such as One A Day Multi Vitamins and Minerals (tablets) for three months to ensure there is no deficiency.
- Massage the neck and shoulders with Dr Ali’s Lifestyle Oil or two drops of lavender essential oil mixed with one tablespoonful of sweet almond oil, focusing on the sides of the neck.
- Use Bhringraj oil, an Ayurvedic oil that provides optimal growing conditions for hair. Pour one tablespoonful on top of the head, pat gently into the scalp and allow it to spread gradually through the hair. Use finger tips to massage the scalp gently for five minutes until the oil is absorbed. Sleep with the oil in (put an old towel on the pillow). Next morning, wash the hair with BioWalnut Shampoo or simple shampoo (available from Chemists). Gently work into a lather, wall for two minutes, then rinse with tepid water.