Sudden hair loss 20 yo female

Patient

Q: The past 3-4 weeks I have been experiencing major hair loss. My hair literally falls out in strands from the roots, and LOTS of it. I don't even have to brush or wash it to see strands all over my clothes. I'm not sure what could've triggered this sudden change. My diet has been the same for the past 3 years. My symptoms include: itchy scalp but no dandruff, also acne breakouts on my chest and back, darkening of arm hair (I used to barely have any body hair), and worsening of facial acne. I do use retin-a micro gel face cream for acne, but have been using it for at least several years now. I'm freaked out! Getting blood work done next week. Any potential diagnosis?? And what should I ask my doc about?

(20 yo female, not on birth control, and I do not take any medications.)

Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. Your sudden hair loss could be caused by a number of different conditions. Fluctuations in hormone levels could be a common cause of hair loss in young women. This could be due to decreased thyroid hormone, known as Hypothyroidism. This can also result in weight gain, cold intolerance and feelings of depression. Stress and anxiety is also related to hair loss in young women. This is a more transient form of hair loss, and usually resolves without complication as soon as the stress/anxiety issues are addressed. We encourage to be patient and await your test results in order to determine what exactly is causing your hair loss. In the meantime try to not excessively wash, or brush your hair to reduce the hair fall.

Thank you for consulting AskTheDoctor.com

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