Hair Loss & Fibromyalgia

From the Fibromyalgia News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Fibromyalgia & CFS Blog By Adrienne Dellwo,

Courtesy of Guide to Fibromyalgia & CFS  Wednesday March 11, 2009


 Before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I was sure I had lupus. The symptoms are extremely similar, and one of them that really had me convinced was hair loss. Every time I washed my hair, the tub was covered in it. Still, when I have flares, I leave more hair behind than my husband, who’s thinning a bit. (Good think he’s a saint so he won’t mind that I mentioned it!)


Eventually, I found out that hair loss actually is a fibromyalgia symptom – it’s just not one that typically makes the brief symptom lists you come across when you’re frantically scouring the Internet to figure out what’s wrong. (Those little lists make me crazy, which is why I put together the Monster List of Fibromyalgia Symptoms.)


As usual, no one knows exactly why we tend to lose our hair. Since stress can cause hair loss as well, I have to wonder if it’s connected to the disruptions in our stress-response system. Whatever the cause, the good news is that it’s temporary hair loss – the follicles don’t stop producing hair as in male pattern baldness or the autoimmune disease alopecia. The hair falls out, then a new one grows in.


I’ve lost enough hair in a short enough period before that my hair got noticeably thinner. Then, as lots of new hair grew in, all the short ones made it look like my hair was all damaged and broken off, which it wasn’t. Now I’m keeping my hair shorter so the grow-out isn’t as obvious (I need to update my photo – it’s much shorter now.)


If you’ve wondered about hard little bumps on your scalp that come off when scratched, I read an explanation of that somewhere. I don’t know how accurate it is, but the claim was that natural oils collect in empty follicles after the hair falls out, and new growth pushes them out. The site suggested adding jojoba to shampoo to get rid of them, but I haven’t tried it. I’d love to hear from someone who has!


Have you had hair loss with your fibromyalgia? Does it really bother you? Has it gotten bad? Have you found ways to stop or lessen it? Share your experiences by leaving a comment  at


©2009, a part of The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.






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