It’s by far the most common question I receive: Is my hair loss reversible? And, it’s an important question so I want to address it here in detail.
Hair Loss Is A Symptom of Inflammation
First, it’s fundamental to understand that hair loss is a symptom of inflammation. There are many unique causes of inflammation (which we will call root causes) that can disrupt our hair growth process.
I say “unique” because the root causes of hair loss will vary person to person depending on factors such as your individual health history, nutritional status, toxicant exposure, and genetics.
Even if someone shares the same diagnosis as you (for example, androgenic alopecia), that does not mean that you share the same root causes. And, its important to note that a diagnosis is not the same thing as a root cause.
Another important principal I want to stress is just because you share the same root cause with someone does not mean that your symptom presentation will be the same. So, for example, if you have two people exposed to the heavy metal mercury (the root cause) there may be one person who experiences the symptom of hair loss while the other may experience the symptom of eczema. That’s because symptoms such as hair loss are considered “non-specific” – – meaning that it’s not specific to just one root cause.
Root causes can also produce more than one symptom; its not typical that for every one root cause there is just one symptom. It’s not a one-to-one ratio. So, for example, you could have one individual who is struggling with mercury toxicity (the root cause) who has symptoms of both hair loss and eczema, both relating to that one root cause.
One final point I want to make about root causes is that there is always more than one. While you’re searching for the root causes of your hair loss, remember that it’s not just one thing but likely many different sources of inflammation and imbalance that will need to be addressed.
What Symptoms Like Hair Loss Can Tell Us
Second, independent of the diagnosis you may have received, symptoms like hair loss are a referendum on our current habits (nutritional, lifestyle, environmental, etc.); meaning that the way we have been living is a mismatch to our body’s needs.
This should be seen an invitation to grow and evolve; to question our existing habits and to try new things.
But to some people this can sound really scary. It can be intimidating to think about turning your current routine on its head. I hear this quite a bit when talking with prospective clients who seem to want guaranteed results without having to make any appreciable changes to their current set of habits.
To regain our health, we need to be willing to learn a new way to live. It reminds me of a quote by Henry Ford, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” If we want a different outcome, we need to be willing to embrace new habits.
In case this sounds like I am implying that anyone “deserves” hair loss, that’s not at all what I am saying. You do not deserve to be experiencing something as emotionally devastating as hair loss, nor are you to blame. However, what I want you to understand is that you are responsible, or rather, respond-able; meaning able to respond. You have the power to start making different choices that can have real, tangible benefits to your health and the health of your hair.
What Results Are Possible For You?Is Your Hair Loss Reversible?
As to whether or not women’s hair loss is reversible, it’s important to understand that this is highly individual and dependent on many different factors. In some instances, inflammation that has unknowingly been allowed to persist for years can lead to irreversible structural changes; for example, leading to permanent damage of the hair follicle.
However, the root cause approach I’ve described above (also called, Functional Medicine) is an evidence-based way to reverse the drivers of disease, including those driving hair loss.
It’s critical that we view hair loss – whether it ends up being reversible, or not – as a clue pointing us to a deeper source of inflammation and imbalance that needs our attention.
Investing in your wellness and caring for your body is an act of self-compassion and love. It’s not specific results that should motivate us to make the critical changes to our habits, but our desire to be a good steward or caretaker of our body.
What results are possible for you? There is only one way to find out, and that is to start.
By addressing our individual root causes, we can feel better than many of us thought was possible. Imagine being able to finally break free of the symptoms you thought you were stuck “dealing with” like gas and bloating, period pain, frequent headaches, skin rashes and acne, uncontrollable cravings, unrelenting anxiety and fatigue – – and, for some women, by addressing their root causes of inflammation they are able to experience decreased hair shedding and hair regrowth.