Does Anyone’s Doctor Actually Give a Sh*t?

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Seriously.

That’s all I want to know.

Does anyone’s doctor actually care about this hair loss thing?

It’s SO rare that I hear from any of you with a story about how your doctor took the time to really listen to you. Too often you tell me that what you were told was something like this:

“It’s not that bad.”

“Just use Rogaine.”

“It’s just from stress.”

“It’s not like you need a wig.”

The list goes on and on.

Now, I receive many emails each and every week from you ladies (I love you!), and there have probably been one or two over the years that talked about how great their doctors have been.

But really, how rare is that?

Where are these unicorn-doctors so that I can talk to them?

You all know I recently moved, and I’m now in the process of figuring out the whole doctor-thing. I’m trying to find a local dermatologist and got to thinking that I’d probably bring up my hair again (why not?).

But the more I think about it, the angrier I get.

Like many of you, I’ve also been dismissed. I’ve been told that it isn’t bad. That my hormones might be screwed up but at least I have children.

That there are worse things in life.

Well, sure. Of course there are. But did I really just pay you $150 for you to tell me that?

It’s absurd.

For those of you in the throes of hair loss research, I feel you. When I was reading up on everything is also around the time I was frantically talking to doctors (endocrinologists, dermatologists, gynecologists, etc.) to figure out what was wrong with me—it was a long and arduous process of explanations and tests to come up with…nothing.

No one had the answer.

And quite frankly, no one felt sorry for it.

I’m not sure why women’s hair loss is NOT talked about in the medical community. So much of the time and research seems to be spent on men. Had the medical industry done any research on consumer spending, they’d know that women control the pocketbooks.

I know several of you have spend hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars in treatments and potions to get the shed to stop or the hair to regrow.

Some treatments have helped a few women here and there (heck, I may even try Rogaine again, someday!), but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a story of anyone who went back to a normal head of hair.

That being said, I’m truly happy that I’m on the other side of this. Truly.

I’ve found hair. I’m happy with it. My life now goes on.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t think about the lack of options and compassion out there.

And I still reserve the right to get pissed about it. 🙂

What has your doctor told YOU?

P.S. Have you taken my survey yet? I’d love it if you did. Take it now!

31 thoughts on “Does Anyone’s Doctor Actually Give a Sh*t?”

  1. First of all, I’m so thankful for your blog. You have been priceless in helping me sift through this helper hair labyrinth. Kudos.

    I’ve spoken with my primary dr. She is good on so many levels, but she gave me the old “your hair sheds in cycles” speech. After that comment all I could hear was Charlie Brown speak, “waa-waa-waa-waa-waa…”

    Then I finally decided to see a dermatologist. Without even touching or looking at my scalp he abruptly says “you have androgenetic alopecia.” I said, “aren’t you going to look at my head or ask my medical history first…you know, like a proper exam?” His retort, “No, I can just tell.” Unbelievable.

    I got in my car and cried because I was made to feel like my issues weren’t worthy of proper medical attention. I know it could be worse but that doesn’t detract from the fact that this is MY issue, MY problem that needs fixing.

    I’ve reconciled with the reality that helper hair is part of my life. I wore toppers for 2 years. I no longer have enough hair to secure toppers anymore so I’ve ventured into full wigs this year. Frankly, it’s a relief. I don’t spend time trying to conceal. I just smack that bad boy on my head and walk out the door. I’d still love my hair back, but I’m glad their are decent options.

    I don’t want pills or creams; the less crap I put on my skin or in my system the better. All I truly WANT to know is if there is potentially worse health problem underlying this hair loss? I sooooo wish doctors would treat us as a “whole” and not just little pieces. Hair loss should be a red flag for them to figure out what’s going on in our bodies.

    We have phones in our watches now that communicate with satellites in space but we can’t figure out women’s hair loss? COME ON!!!!

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  2. My doctor is the reason I’m losing hair in the first place. I went to him for migraines due to a hormonal imbalance and in the process of getting them under control, he decides to give my sex drive a boost by prescribing a testosterone cream. (In case you’re wondering, no, my sex drive didn’t need a boost, but for some reason he thought differently.) Fast forward several months and now I’m growing hair in places a woman shouldn’t, while my scalp hair is coming out in gobs. I’ve stopped the cream, but the shed continues.

    So thanks to my doc, I now have hair growing above my belly button, a balding crown, and a mean sex drive. Sexy…

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  3. I see myself in every shared story above. I had a derm, a man, laugh at me and say “oh you women and your hair!”. There were countless other cruel and ignorant remarks made to me by the medical “professionals”. Thousands of dollars/time/tears wasted, I tried every snake oil out there, etc.. Nothing worked. Now I have a HH topper and a HH wig. I feel pretty and last week two handsome men checked me out in the grocery store (if they only knew!) It was great for my ego. I have received so many compliments on my helper hair. As I move forward, I try not to look back. I don’t dwell on what I don’t have because I am blessed with things to replace it. The long frustrating battle is over and I see myself as the winner 🙂 May you all have your victory over this, too. And being here receiving help/encouragement is a step towards VDay!!! ♡
    [I took the topper plunge because of Lauren's amazing site, her photos, the testmonies, and her encouragement.] So thank you, Lauren!!!!!! ♡♡♡♡♡

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  4. Yep! When I was first diagnosed with PCOS they did the blood draws and
    thyroid tests and everything came back fine. They told me I could use Rogaine or try some Rx meds or try herbal remedies. The price tag and side effects of of Rogaine and Rx med made me shy away from those options. I never really saw too many doctors about it because the first one was so flippant about it. I started a never ending cycle of trying other natural/low risk options. I got some results with Nioxin but after several years of use, it just seemed to stop one day. I’ve had a lot of people say, “It’s not that bad.” as well. Well after having the same short hairstyle for 10+ years I was getting frustrated with not having options.
    I stumbled upon Lauren’s blog one day while looking for new options to grow back my ever
    fading locks.

    It took 9 months of reading and considering, 2 trips to the wig shop, and countless
    stylists mentioning toppers over the last 5 years before I committed to helper hair. I haven’t
    looked back since. I love my new hair! I’ve only been wearing it for 2 months. 🙂
    Re-learning how to style longish hair has been fun and clumsy. Now when I think of people saying, “It’s not that bad” I think of how many hair styles I’ve had to avoid because of the way light would hit my scalp like a spotlight. I can also go outside for hours without a hat if I want to OR enjoy wearing a hat without my hair going to super flat & crummy. Also, big props to my husband in helping and supporting me in the decision to wear hair!

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  5. Don’t even get me started. The first time I noticed something was seriously up with my hair, I was 20. I walked into the doctor’s office only to be given an hour long lecture about my weight.

    My. Weight.

    DA FUQ?!

    I was eventually referred onto a specialist who tugged at my hair and said “telogen effluvium, now get out of my office and come back when you have a real problem”. (Kid you not.)

    I lived with that.

    It kept thinning out for about 9-10 months but it wasn’t too bad. I just put it down to getting older and hormones. It eventually stopped.

    Fast forward a few years and it happened again. Loads of hair falling out. It stopped after a few months. I put it down to my hair life cycle being stuffed up from the initial loss. The loss wasn’t too bad and a good proportion of it seemed to be growing back.

    Fast forward again to last year… the Big Bang started. I have hair coming out in fistfuls, even new growth is weak and falls out. “SOMETHING IS WRONG!” I shout at the doctor. This is not normal loss. Cue a plethora of blood tests that all point to a big nothing and my doctor rolling his eyes saying it’s all in my mind and my hair doesn’t look that bad but if I’m “really worried about it”, he’ll refer me to a specialist.

    The specialist was also a real piece of work. I got the same explanations I’d been getting for years and he got annoyed when I stressed the point that this was different. His solution was to use Rogaine on my balding spots and use hair fibres. This is not a solution for me. I have pompholyx so chemicals on my skin cause horrible blistering and burns – I can’t even use normal moisturizer. So yeah, my experience with doctors has been horrible and I’ve spent most of my time trying to figure everything out on my own as I would hazard a guess most women eventually do.

    It really does seem like the only people who give any sort of sympathetic ear are those hair treatment places who do the lasers and charge umptimillion dollars for the privilege of making you sit in a chair for 20 minutes.. (One of my friends gave me her special cap so I didn’t have to spend $3000 on that if it didn’t work out. It apparently worked for her.)

    I know that I am otherwise in good health, and I feel guilty that I feel so horrible about this when one of my friend’s kids has just been diagnosed terminal with cancer but… I have to admit the emotional toll is horrendous. It would just be nice to speak to someone who at least sympathises rather than call me every colour of crazy.

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  6. My female family doctor was treating me for hypothyroidism. I asked her about my hairloss. She replied its terrible to be thin and bald, people always assume you have cancer. Referred me to a dermatologist. I never went…..I am now being treatment for my hypothyroidism by an alternative doctor, who believes in optimal levels..the hair in nose and on my arms is beginning to grow in. Hopeful my head will soon follow.

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  7. I started losing my hair when I was 12, and my mother took me to countless doctors. I underwent countless blood draws, and testing…. all dead ends. I finally told my mum that I needed a break and I would just deal with it. When I was in college I attempted, again, to try and figure out why my hair was left sooo thin, nothing again. I’ve seen PCPs, endocrinologists, dermatologists, and gynocologists… and I still don’t have a solid answer. I gave up finding answers with western medicine, and I’m a RN!

    Now at 28 years old (so over half of my life my hair has sucked!) after reading this blog, did I dive head first into helper hair. Now I am hooked! Heck, I met my man without helper hair, and had a healthy dating and social life without helper hair, so helper hair is purely for me!

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  8. Nope…in my 25 years of trying to figure out what’s happening to me I’ve never found a Dr that gave a rat’s a$$. I’ve never found an answer/solution or even a glimmer of sympathy. I’ve grown to hate doctors and pretty much the entire world lol. Believe it or not, your blog has given me some new hope and I cry less over it. It’s so nice to not feel alone in this and like I’m in hiding every day.

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  9. Yes!! Thousands of dollars. No answers. I remember when I was in college I went to the campus clinic For a COMPLETELY unrelated thing, I think it was strep throat. At that point I had been tested for everything and pretty much given up on my hair. I had been to a bunch of doctors and I had been told that there was nothing to be done. I was told rogaine like everyone else. At that point I didn’t even know about concealers so I was au natural. The doctor looked at me, inspected my throat and then said “hmmmm your hair is very thin up top. I want to check your thyroid with a blood test.” I wanted to yell out “MY THRYROID HAS BEEN CHECKED AT LEAST TWICE!! Just fix my throat dude!!” I left the doctors office in tears.
    I remember one of the doctors offhandedly mentioned I could wear a wig. I was horrified at that idea and it was 9 years ago. It’s taken me THAT long to come around.
    Have you guys heard of Ms. Delaware Kayla Martell? She was a HUGE part of me accepting my condition and considering wearing hair. Before I learned about her and heard her story I couldn’t fathom it.

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  10. I don’t think I’ve ever even asked a doctor about it because it’s such a humiliating thing to bring up. I have an even bigger problem with hair stylists. I only go about once a year because 1) it doesn’t seem worth the effort and 2) it’s always traumatic to see the reaction of hopelessness from a new stylist. I’ve never found one who didn’t make me feel like a lost cause. I’ve never left a salon feeling anything but disappointment.

    I know you wrote about being dumped by your stylist recently. To me the unicorn would be a stylist who is compassionate and can actually give me a style that looks good.

    Now that you’ve brought up the question of doctor reactions to hair loss, I think I WILL ask them for advice. I suspect any effective treatment would be contraindicated for pregnancy, but it’s something to think about for the future.

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  11. First off – love your blog! I started noticing my hair loss about 8 years ago. Since then I have had 2 children and my hair has gotten worse. Over the course of 8 years I have been to several dermatologists, endocrinologists, and even went to a dermatologist specializing in hair loss at The Cleveland Clinic. I have sat in many Dr offices crying to them about my hair loss knowing that things could be much worse. The CC dermatologist tested my testosterone twice – first time my testosterone was within normal range (though on the higher end of the range) and the second time (1 year later) my testosterone came back slightly above normal. Due to these results she determined I may have hereditary hair loss but she also said stress plays a factor in hair loss. This was hard for me to understand as I have a twin sister who has very thick hair. The endocrinologist suggested that testosterone can be lowered by losing weight so suggested I lose 20 lbs. (which I have yet to try and I not overweight). I am now to the point that I just want to focus on living – not constantly worrying about my hair loss and looking in the mirror every 5 minutes. With that being said, I now only see a local endocrinologist and am on spirolactone, vitamin D and biotin. I am to the point that I just want move on so I am considering a human hair topper and have been to a hair loss clinic (who also told me it’s not that bad) but showed me toppers and said women hair loss is quite common.

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  12. My family doctor who I’d been to for years, including before my hair loss ever started, wasn’t that helpful. She ran some tests that I asked for but that was about it. I saw 1 dermatologist who told me it was TE from stress & would stop (lies). & I saw one trichologist at a free hair loss clinic, he was the most helpful. I already told you this in my hair loss story but he did the dermoscopy & diagnosed me with Androgenetic Alopecia & he actually told me “yes, you have hair loss, in areas where there should be 3 hairs I see only 1” instead of the usual “oh your hair looks fine”. Like, no it doesn’t, not compared to what it used to look like! =/

    So I would say 99% of doctors don’t take hair loss seriously. I found one of those “unicorn” doctors & I think they are out there, they just won’t be a dermatologist (more for skin) or your family doctor (more for general sickness).

    I wish more doctors took hair loss seriously, I read an article about a girl who lost her hair and her legs, and she was more upset with the fact that she was bald than that she would never walk again. That says a lot, you can face almost anything if you feel good about yourself/your looks. If you feel ugly though, it’s hard to face even the smallest things.

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  13. my doctor actually said she can’t do anything for it! straight up. just some (more) blood tests. lol! . will look into diet changes now, natural remedies.

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  14. I went to two different dermatologists. The first one was a total whack job, and within five seconds of my being in the office, before I even got a chance to explain why I was there, he grabbed my hands, looked at my fingernails and said I’d have diabetes in 7 years. That that was the source of my hair loss and my fingernails. I’d never noticed anything wrong with my fingernails. My mom, who went with me, told him he was an idiot and walked out the door with me. The only other derm in town wouldn’t see me for six months, and so we settled for my dad’s dermatologist who lives 143 miles away.
    The difference between them was like night and day. He came in, we chit chatted for a bit about how we both went to the same college and how I’d come from another city to see him. He asked me about the hair loss, had me give him a little medical history, a little family history and then he said that in his professional opinion, I was suffering from telogen effluvium. That essentially, my hair follicles were genetically predisposed to seal up during their natural shedding cycle. Instead of growing back once they’ve shed, like they’re supposed to do, they get the signal to stop and so female pattern baldness begins. He said there wasn’t much he could do to stop it, but that he could help me slow down the progress. He gave me some steroid injections and a shampoo to help my psoriasis (as if losing my hair wasn’t bad enough). The plus side was that the shampoo would also help stimulate hair growth, as it too was a steroid.
    I left the appointment both heartbroken at the idea that I was never going to be able to have the gorgeous hair I never appreciated and relieved that I finally had an answer I could sort of live with. I’ve been going to see him ever since, and I know that one day soon he’s going to retire (he’s in his 70s).
    The only other doctor who ever mentioned the hair loss was my gynecologist. He was trying to figure out why my husband and I weren’t able to get pregnant (although thankfully we just had our first munchkin this past January), and he asked me what the deal was with my hair loss. I was already pretty emotional, so I was curt in my response because I felt he was a little too blase about it. I said it was being taken care of, and he just kind of nodded his head and moved on. We’ve never spoken of it since, nor do I plan to.

    On a completely unrelated topic, I finally started using dry shampoo to help cover up the patches, and it works great! It’s been a huge gamechanger for me, so thank you for the tip!

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  15. Hi Lauren , I am glad I’m not the only person who thinks that my gp has been really unhelpful .

    I went to my gp who sent me for blood tests , a scan for PCO , I was then referred to the dermatolagist who apart from looked at my scalp and gave me steroid lotion to use to see if that helped … On my next visit he said nothing has changed and that I had genetic hair loss (my mum as fine hair )
    So then my case was closed as there’s nothing that they can do apart from tell me things to try (regaine)

    It has left me feeling like …I’ve been told that this is the problem ..your healthy it’s not the end of the world so deal with it !!

    The most frustrating thing for me is living in the uk we have free nhs service .. So there are so many things offered to people like boob jobs , gastric bands , gender surgery for people who are unhappy with there bodies which cost millions of pounds .. But for a woman who’s self confidence is at a all time low suffering with hair loss ( something that is so important to us ) we have no help .. Not even help with the cost of hair replacements , hair peices , wigs, just seems so unfair !!!

    Only people who suffer with hair loss will know that heart ache it causes .. And a little help and understanding from the health care service could help restore some confidence which we have lost !!

    I feel a letter coming on to the priminister ( David Cameron ) lol

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  16. I don’t bring it up too often. Mostly I have heard “oh it’s not that bad, I’ve seen worse”. Well, thanks for recognizing my feelings about this. Is that was a doctor says to someone with a broken leg? They always attribute it to “getting older” or “were you sick recently?”.

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