20790871 tn?1507161421

Hair loss in athletes?

I am a healthy 20 year old female. I am a former collegiate long-distance runner; I stopped running competitively a few months ago, but still run and workout regularly. I noticed that shortly after I started college (2 years ago), my hair stopped growing completely. It used to be long and thick, but over the past couple years it has become very thin and damaged and simply doesn't grow. In addition to this, I have also been getting acne on my jaw and neck-which I didn't use to get. It is difficult for me to pinpoint what could be causing this because a lot of things in my life changed when this issue started occurring. My diet changed, I lost a bit of weight(down to 6.4% body fat), my training intensified, and I started two medications for depression (Lexapro and Wellbutrin). I gained the weight back after I quit competitive running, but the hair thinning persists. Another thing to note, I have never been an illness-prone person, but lately I have been getting sick a lot and have had several infections over the past few months. I recently got my blood tested because I have mono(which has hit me hard), and aside from the mono and white blood cell count (low neutrophils and high lymphocytes-presumably from fighting off the mono), everything was normal. My ferritin and thyroid tests also came back normal. I have a regular period and healthy diet. I've tried researching Lexapro and Wellbutrin side effects, but didn't find much on hair loss associated with these medications. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
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Avatar universal
I've never personally heard of antidepressants causing hair loss but they cause a whole lot of other things that might lead to it, such as digestion problems.  But more likely I'd think several options are at work here -- one is that this is just one of those things that will go away.  Another is that your diet is missing some things it needs to have to build healthy hair, such as biotin.  It could be, because you're so athletic, that your testosterone has shot up, which is one of the factors in hair loss in men.  You could be taking a supplement bought at a place like GNC for athletic performance that contains steroids not listed on the label or hidden on the label, such as DHEA, which is increasing your testosterone.  It could be the same thing that has caused your immune system to break down, leading to these infections, and if you're taking antibiotics a lot that could also be a problem as it compounds immune system problems and kills of beneficial flora including ones that are an essential part of your digestive system that help you absorb nutrients efficiently (the antidepressants could be contributing to this, or they might not be, it's always hard to know).  I would probably attack this when you finally recover by looking very hard at your diet and making sure you're eating veggies like green leafy ones that are loaded with the nutrients you need and most students don't get.  And know that, now that you're had mono, you're going to have to take especially good care of your liver for the rest of your life.  
Helpful - 0
20691887 tn?1504691993
What's your diet like exactly?
Helpful - 0
Here is what I ate today as an example: Breakfast: 3 slices of toast, 1/2 avocado, 1 egg, coffee
Lunch: smoothie with 1/2 cup apple juice, 1 cup veggie juice(carrots, spinach, bell pepper, kale, spirulina, lettuce), 1 banana, 1/4 cup mangoes, soy protein, chia seeds
Snack: pita and hummus
Dinner: 6 oz chicken breast, roasted sweet potato, and steamed zucchini with basil and feta
Explain the form of the soy protein -- was it a supplement?  Is it isolate or concentrate?  Basically, though, you're eating pretty well so nutrients aren't a problem if this is typical, but it is a diet likely to cause weight loss especially if you exercise a lot.  Not a lot of protein if you're doing any resistance training, and no complex carbs such as whole grains for lasting energy.  I'd try and think what has changed that has caused your immune system to get so weak that you're getting all these diseases including the serious one, mono, which is often due to being very run down.  But you certainly don't describe a run-down person.  
By the way, have you had your thyroid checked?
20691887 tn?1504691993
First thing that came to mind was a thyroid issue, but since that has been checked and ruled out then that isn't it.  Second thing that comes to mind is a vitamin D or B12 deficiency or one of the B vitamins.  I can tell you stress, e.g. school,  can deplete your body of these vitamins.
Helpful - 0
Not necessarily -- if they just did your standard Tsh test, it wouldn't tell if all 4 main hormones are at proper levels.  Regular docs don't test for that, unfortunately.

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Arlington, VA
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