My hair loss story and how I fought it


Hair fall is depressing, and I felt shattered when my hair began to fall. Will I lose most of my hair and become bald? Will my hair grow back again? I went through all those doubts and some harrowing times. Here is my story and how I got my hair to grow back again.

I first noticed that there was a problem when I started spotting balls of hair swirling around the rooms of my home, each time I switched on the fan in one of the rooms. Mind you, I am houseproud, so the hair everywhere was rather annoying. Initially, I thought that stray hair was flying in through the open windows and the balcony, but when the frequency at which these hairballs surfaced increased, I realised that it was my hair.

I wasn't turning bald; I still had a head full of hair, something that I assign to my good genes. I have always had thick hair, and there was a time when it reached up to my knees. So, even though I was losing hair at an alarming rate, it looked fine, visually. No one could tell that I was suffering from severe hair loss, but I had begun to tell the difference, and it was worrying.



Hair smoothening and straightening and hair loss

I attributed my hair fall to the harsh chemical treatment that I had put my hair through, a few months preceding the start of the hair fall. My kid was graduating from the University of Cambridge, and I had wanted to look my best at the convocation, and had gotten my hair chemically straightened, just before flying to the UK.

The hair fall hadn't start immediately. In fact, the problem was noticed months after the smoothening. I had heard horror stories of chemical treatment and heating causing damage to the hair, but what struck me odd was that it had taken this long for the problem to manifest itself.

There was also the fact that my hair was not breaking; it was falling from the roots. This was odd because the hair stylist who had worked on my hair had not touched the roots. Moreover, I was aware that chemically treated hair tends to break, so why was I experiencing hair fall instead?

Post smoothening hair care

I had followed a special hair care routine, post the smoothening – used shampoo and conditioner specially designed for treated hair and went for a professional hair spa treatment. My hair wasn't damaged – it wasn't breaking, it wasn't dry and frizzy and there were no split ends, but it was falling. I had successfully averted problems that others complain of, but was in a dilemma over the hair fall problem that I was facing.

Worried about hair fall

I'll be honest, I was worried about my hair falling out. I hadn't expected such an adverse side-effect to common hair treatment. I mean, there are so many others who do it regularly. And I had taken all the precautions and special care of my mane, and I always have. I began to wonder if the problem was related to something else. Could the hair fall be due to hormonal imbalance? After all, I was on the other side of 50. Could I be suffering from a health condition that I wasn't aware of? I am medically fit, but that didn't stop my mind conjecturing all kinds of scenarios. I suspected that I might be having thyroid, even though I experienced no other symptom to indicate the same.

Can Fasting and weight loss cause hair fall?

I had lost roughly 10 kgs of weight around the same time that I had got my hair smoothened. It hadn't been planned intermittent fasting (IF), but I did have just one meal a day (OMD) during Lent. Lent is a 40-day fasting and abstinence period for Christians, observed just before Easter.

I fasted through Lent, having just a single meal each day, and nothing else but water the rest of the day. This caused me to have a sudden weight drop. My meals were nutritionally balanced but were low in calories. The massive calorie deficit lead to drastic weight loss. In 40 days, I lost 10 kgs and went from size medium to size small.

Visit to the doctor

Finally, I decided to consult a dermatologist. When I met her, she asked if I had any health issues or stress etc., to which I replied in the negative. She asked if I had had surgery in recent months. It was then that I told her about the OMD and drastic weight loss.

She examined my scalp under a magnifying glass and announced that hair follicles were present and that I was suffering from Telogen Effluvium (TE), a condition that causes temporary hair loss. The triggers that can cause hair to fall include –
  • Severe stress
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Hormonal imbalance due to pregnancy or menopause
  • Surgery
  • Certain medication
  • Sickness
  • Underlying medical conditions

The cause for my hair loss was identified. Though, she had my thyroid and haemoglobin profile checked, which were normal.

Hair loss after OMD / IF

Though I was fasting for religious reasons, it technically became OMD / IF. The doctor mentioned that sudden weight loss causes a disturbance in the hair cycle which causes the hair to fall. The condition is called Telogen Effluvium (TE) and it's generally temporary. More hair enters Telogen or the resting phase, which results in hair loss about 4-6 months after the event that caused it to enter the Telogen state. It added up - my hair loss had an explanation and now I needed a cure.

Treatment for hair loss

The doctor assured me that normally hair starts to regrow on its own, and my scalp was healthy, so I had nothing to worry. But she did advise me on diet and a few supplements and hair care routines, which I'll share with you. Let me add here that it worked for me, and I began seeing results in just over a month.

Diet plan to make hair grow

Though I eat healthily, the doctor advised me to include the following foods in my diet –

Almonds for hair care


almonds

Almonds are packed with nutrients that can restore hair quickly. They are rich in omega 6 fatty acids, minerals and vitamins and amino acids that keep hair healthy. They are a good source of B vitamins and Vitamin E, as well as calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and folate. These nutrients help maintain healthy hair, and adding almonds to the diet is a good way to provide the hair with the nutrition it needs to step out of telogen and start sprouting new hair.
  • Take 4 almonds a day, soaked and peeled

Munakka for hair loss


munakka

Munakka should not be confused with raisin or kishmish. Munakka is a type of raisin, with a seed in the centre. Its antioxidant properties help fight free radicals and its rich nutritional quotient, especially magnesium and iron, prevent hair loss and aid hair growth.
  • 4 munakka can be had along with the seed

Figs help with hair growth


figs

Figs are rich in minerals and vitamins that promote healthy hair. A deficiency in copper and zinc, for instance, can cause hair loss. And figs have both these minerals in abundance. Research indicates that zinc can actually improve the condition of hair follicles, making them healthier. Figs have several nutrients needed to nourish hair, such as selenium, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and B vitamins.

Walnuts for hair


walnuts

There is so much written about the benefits of walnuts and their effect on heart health. This super nut is also excellent for hair. It is packed with nutrients that the hair needs to remain healthy and strong. Selenium stops hair fall and biotin which promotes hair growth. Its also got potassium and omega 3 fatty acids which strengthen hair follicles and makes hair lustrous.

Pomegranate helps hair grow stronger


Pomegranate

The ruby red jewels of the pomegranate fruit are rich in punicic acid which strengthens hair, prevents hair loss and encourages hair growth. Have at least, half a pomegranate every day.

Eggs restore hair loss


eggs

Eggs are nutritionally rich and are a complete food. They are also rich sources of biotin and protein which the hair requires in healthy amounts. Biotin is required for the production of keratin, which is what hair is made up of. Include two eggs in your daily diet.



Spinach has nutrients for the hair


spinach

Spinach is healthy, we've all heard of that. It is loaded with many nutrients beneficial for the hair. Iron which is essential for hair growth, and also folate. It also provides healthy amounts of vitamins A and C, which help with the production of sebum and maintain a healthy scalp.

Supplements for hair growth


Hair Supplements

The doctor prescribed biotin capsules, 1 capsule of 10,000 mg, twice a day, for three months. Additionally, she prescribed multivitamin and multimineral tablets, which I take on alternate days.

Products for hair growth


Hair care products

I was asked to use Juene hair oil twice a week. The oil is enriched with tocotrienol which is vitamin E rich antioxidant. It promotes hair growth and restricts hair fall.

Apart from the oil, I have also been using Racine hair serum and hair lotion, twice a day. The serum has a thick, lotion-like consistency, while the lotion feels like water. I used the serum first, and after it got over, started the lotion.

I have been shampooing my hair with La-Matisse.

Positive results

I began noticing positive results within two months of starting on the treatment. New hair is sprouting all over my head, so much so that I now have messy hair, with fly-aways. There is a natural fringe on my forehead, signalling new hair growth. It is a sign that my hair is in Anagen – the growth stage. My hair fall has stopped completely and it now feels thick when I run my fingers through it. And it's soft, silky and lustrous.


Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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