Hair loss or thinning is a common and important issue, especially in those who have chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
If you're experiencing hair loss in a generally thinning way (diffuse), then treating:
- nutritional deficiencies and
- an underactive thyroid
... are especially important.
Low iron is a key nutrient for hair growth, and standard testing misses most cases of iron deficiency. In fact, despite the fact that most physicians consider a ferritin blood test (the best measure of iron deficiency or excess) over 12 to show adequate iron, a recent study in patients with chronic illness and even mild anemia (a description fitting most people with CFS) showed that a ferritin under 100 was diagnostic of iron deficiency!
In addition, for those with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) and a ferritin under 60, iron can be more effective than the medication Requip, and can eliminate RLS as well as your iron levels optimize.
In CFS and fibromyalgia patients, as in any chronic illness, a very common cause of unusual hair loss is a condition called "Telogen Effluvium." This is when the normal cycles of natural growing and falling out of the hair follicles become jolted out of their usual random phase due to illness. In this condition, a severe physical stress - such as pneumonia or a CFS flare up - can produce unusual hair loss which doesn't begin until 3-9 months later. This type of hair loss is reversible, although it can take 3-9 months. It often grows in more quickly than this, but it's better to be pleasantly surprised than to feel disappointment and abandon the needed Rx too quickly.