Dr. Friedman explains how a woman can determine if an endocrine problem is causing her hair loss.
One issue has to do is does she have a strong family history of hair loss? If her mother had hair loss or grandmother had hair loss, it’s probably going to be a genetic problem; it’s probably not going to be an endocrine problem.
Second of all if she has one of these other endocrine conditions, you know, she is hypothyroid and maybe she stopped taking her thyroid medicine or recently had her dose lowered for some reason, you know then it’s a good chance that it’s related to thyroid or related to testosterone, related to estrogen.
But most cases I would see hair loss to be honest, are not due to endocrine problem and they are probably due to some kind of genetic problems. That, unfortunately, we cannot fix.
There’s another condition that’s very important to understand is called Telogen Effluvium. And this happens when the body is ill or under stress. The hair stops growing from the illness and then it usually starts back again sort of thinner, finer hair.
So I think the doctor wants to ask the patient, the patient wants to talk about, have they had a major illness? Have they had surgery in the last, usually it’s a lag period, it might be almost a year before you start seeing the hair coming back.
Maybe in six months the hair will stop and then might be six months to another year before it starts growing back. And you want to look to they have a sort of major illness or stress in their life.
And, you know, it could be some very severe social stress, you know, divorce or something like that could also do it, and this is another reason to have hair loss.
I don’t think this should be the diagnosis of exclusion. I think you want to look for reversible problems such as endocrine problems we talked about, but that would be also a very common reason that people are going to have the hair loss.
About Dr. Theodore Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., M.Phil.:
Dr. Theodore Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., M.Phil., specializes in hard-to-diagnose-and- treat cases of adrenal, pituitary, thyroid, and fatigue disorders. He's been with the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine since 2005 and serves as Chief of the Endocrinology, Metabolism and Molecular Medicine Division at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. He also served as Director of the Multi-Disciplinary Chronic Fatigue Clinic at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from 1998-2000.
Dr. Friedman has a private practice near Beverly Hills, California as well as privileges at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Martin Luther King Medical Center.