Question: I have severe diffuse hair loss every May through October. This has been happening my entire life. I am now 66 year old female. I live in Northeast United States. I do have hayfever. Do you think I am allergic to pollen which is causing my hair loss? If so can you recommend a treatment? Thanks so much!
Answer: Hi, Theresa. The period of time you mention is too long for seasonal shedding to be a suspect and there is a hair loss condition which has been linked to hay fever and dust mite allergies – Alopecia Areata – but this is an autoimmune disease which presents as rounded bald patches on the scalp.
We have never heard of hay fever causing hair loss from any other condition before, however, if your reaction to pollen causes extreme symptoms – such as if you are asthmatic and it aggravates your asthma – whilst there is still quite an outside chance of being the culprit, it is certainly technically possible. We cannot tell you if you are allergic to pollen but if you are experiencing acute health issues as a result of hay fever – or suspected hay fever – it is best to consult your doctor as, in some cases, steroids or immunotherapy can be prescribed, rather than just over-the-counter anti-histamines.
If your allergic reaction is sufficiently severe as to cause an upset to your system, it could result in the body temporarily diverting attention away from non-critical functions, including the hair growth cycle, in order to better protect the vital organs. This can then shunt hairs from the actively growing Anagen phase, to the resting Telogen phase, resulting in hairloss from all over the scalp roughly three months after being triggered.
Given the natural timeline of the hair growth process, it can take around three months for hair fall to become noticeable, though when it does, it can affect up to 50 per cent of the scalp. When this lasts for up to six months it is known as Telogen Effluvium; when it lasts for longer, it is called Diffuse Thinning, otherwise known as Chronic Telogen Effluvium. Both conditions are temporary and, whilst hair regrowth should occur naturally once the trigger issue has been resolved, hair loss treatment is also available to help accelerate this.
It may be worth looking at any potential issues or scenarios you go through every year in or from January/February to see if there are any other triggers you could identify. It is a very remote possibility that hay fever is causing your thinning hair so it’s worth considering other more likely possibilities. Some of the most common issues which can bring about Telogen Effluvium in its mild or chronic forms include stress – both emotional and physical, illness, a side effect of medication, and nutritional deficiencies or other dietary imbalances.
We cannot diagnose your hair loss condition for certain just from the information provided here so we would recommend having a personal assessment using the Online Consultation form here on our website. It allows you to upload photos and, once completed, will be sent to one of Belgravia’s hair specialists who will contact you with information about their findings and their advice for treatment, where appropriate.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.