Recently, I lost about 40 pounds of muscle and fat due to a crash diet. I know they’re not good, but I was very overweight and was tired of being laughed at. A few months after my diet, I started noticing hair loss, including brittle hair on my legs and scalp especially around the nape. I went to a doctor but am still waiting for the blood test results.
During the crash diet, I severely limited my caloric intake and didn’t eat much if any protein. Also, afterwards, i had two intestinal infections and thinning hair. I don’t know if my hair los has anything to do with the crash diet or infections. I am very worried about my hair, please help.
What you are describing is classic for symptoms of telogen effluvium – which refers to a temporary hair shedding related to some type of “stressor” – in your case, caloric restriction or “crash diet”.
The natural hair growth cycle as it relates to this, and as observed when we perform hair transplants, is that, after the “stressor”, the follicles goes into a resting phase that lasts three months. Also, this “three month window” is also a pertinent time line one sees for the onset of the shedding period as well. Hence, what we do to our system to “stress” it begins to show up in three months. Conversely, when we “correct” or remove the stressor (in your case resume normal eating patterns, sleep, etc.) it will take another three months to begin to see the hair regrowth of that change. As hair grows slowly (about 1 cm/month) it takes additional months to really appreciate a change for the better.
Dr. Timothy Carman