How Hair Loss Affects Those of Us with Fibromyalgia



Through the Fog

I have fibromyalgia (FM) and an underactive thyroid, so hair loss is a real concern of mine. For that reason, I have chosen to keep my hair very short. We’re talking #2-on-a-hair-trimmer short. After my first buzz cut, I wouldn’t go out anywhere without a hat because I was very self-conscious. Now I’m pretty comfortable with my look.

Hair loss is not an uncommon phenomenon for those of us with fibro. Are you noticing more hair on your hairbrush, pillow, or in the shower? You are in good company. The technical term for this type of hair loss is telogen effluvium, which is a typically temporary disorder caused by stress or illness that disrupts the normal hair growth cycle. 

Hair loss can be a side effect of certain medications and can also occur during times of stress, fibro flare-ups, thyroid dysfunction, and autoimmune issues. Low iron levels can inhibit hair growth, so check with your doctor about getting your levels checked. I’ve noticed that my eyebrows and eyelashes aren’t as lush as they used to be. If I don’t use a brow pencil, it would appear that I don’t have any eyebrows.

Hair pain is another issue with fibro. That pain, which is emanating from your scalp, can be exacerbated if you gather your hair into a bun or ponytail and it can make washing, brushing, or even touching it feel excruciating. Be gentle when taking care of your hair.

As a woman, hair loss was a blow to my self-esteem and caused me to feel less attractive. I encourage you to speak with your doctor to find out if there’s another medical explanation. Hair loss with FM is usually temporary. Do your best to be patient as hair regrowth can take time. Why not have fun with it by getting some inexpensive wigs? Or you could try a hair-strengthening shampoo to boost your hair’s health.

While hair loss is not a serious symptom of fibro, it is personal and affects how we see ourselves.


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