✛ Update: Hair loss from a fungus theory & stomach pains

This has to be THE weirdest shed ever, with a consistent on and off pattern...but I think I figured out something very important!
I can't clearly say that I have good news and bad news, because it is a little bit of both. Let's settle for neutral maybe?

Update on my recent shed:
I always feel silly "updating" about my sheds because they have been happening to frequently the past two years :(. So many readers are confused about whether I am or am not shedding at the moment. I think I can say the past two years were mostly sheds with small breaks of 2-3 months. I decided to create a table according to my notes, hoping it can help me see a pattern:

Jan SHED (postpartum)
Jan SHED (starting PMS suppl., periods fine, start raw thyroid suppl.)
Jan SHED (reduced raw thyroid, reduced PMS suppl., reduced Fenugreek, reduced iron)
Feb SHED (postpartum)
Feb SHED (start digest. issues, start iron suppl., thyroid fine)
Feb SHED end (can't digest dairy anymore, lots of bloating issues)
Mar SHED (postpartum)
Mar SHED (start stomach pain, digestive issues worsen) start
Apr SHED end (postpartum)
Apr SHED end (start probiotics, quitting Fenugreek suppl., quit iron suppl.)
Apr SHED start (increased raw thyroid, PMS suppl., Fenugreek back to 1 a day, doubled iron)
May (Acne improving, adding digestive enzymes, digestive issues better)
May SHED (started testing anti fungal shampoo, shedding stops a few times, can't digest starch anymore)
Jun (quitting digestive suppl. and PMS suppl.)
Jun SHED (testing anti fungal creams and solution on scalp, shedding stops a few times), treating confirmed Candida issue with mild medication (Nystatin), stomach pain worsens

Jul (Starting Acne -> Candida)
Jul (treating fungal acne)
Jul SHED (using anti fungal solution on the scalp repeatedly, shedding stops for 12 days. Candida in digestive tract cleared. Stomach pain also in other spots now.
Aug (1st postpartum period)
Aug SHED start (back on Fenugreek, PMS suppl.)
Aug SHED (testing ACV on scalp, shedding and itch reduce, testing anti fungal solution - shedding stops)
Sept (Starting PMS)
Sept  N/A
Oct SHED start 
Oct SHED (discovered ferritin was too low in August)
Oct  N/A
Nov SHED (Acne worsening
Nov SHED (start iron suppl. again)
Nov N/A
Dec SHED (Feeling ill)
Dec N/A

= 23 months of shedding out of a total of 32 months...that are almost 2 years of hair loss and thinning! When I stopped my hair loss the first time....I felt like it would never return. But it seems that in pregnancy I picked up another health issue (I was in a delicate state after all).

As always click for larger images....Braid changes:

The changes seen in my braid are very weird. While I lost some of the thickness that was regrowing in May, part of it was actually able to move down a bit. The bottom of my braid thinned very slightly...but with not much left, that can be a big problem still.

My hair is somewhat transparent down the lengths. Not dramatically so, but as you can see I can not fan out my hair without gaps. I used to be able to fan it out all over my body.

I think bottom left shows how it falls naturally. Imo that still looks kay when worn down. I am wearing a light cardi too, so with a darker color the thinning is less noticeable.

Just for fun...my little shadow was holding his giraffe into the picture ;) As you can see he takes hair pictures with me.

Possible Reason for the shedding according to the latest findings

This is a theory of mine regarding Candida contributing to the problem:
I became pregnant while taking prescription medication that has an effect on my hormones - Cabergoline to regulate my prolactin levels and Synthroid to regulate thyroid hormone. I never felt well adjusted on Synthroid and I doubt it is a good idea to inhibit prolactin secretion during pregnancy where prolactin becomes very important for breastfeeding. In a way, I likely "bred" hormonal imbalances. Synthroid had already shown negative effects on my skin prior to pregnancy and I feel that is where a minor Candida issue started (flakiness, slight acne).

During pregnant the immune system is weaker, making me a perfect victim to all sorts of things. I experienced severe, 24/7 nausea in the first trimester, I was constantly sick and had recurrent bladder infections. I was given antibiotics three times. Antibiotics never agreed with my digestion, which is why I managed to avoid them for 7 years, since they almost ruined my health when being given 7 rounds of antibiotics for a case of mononucleosis....which is the wrong treatment but oh well...). 
In pregnancy I had a vaginal yeast infection every time I took antibiotics, plus digestive problems. Digestive problems are perfect for a Candida issue. The digestive tract won't be able to fight it off properly.

In the second trimester I was also given antacids for heartburn. I didn't know that they could lower my stomach acid permanently. My vaginal yeast infection was chronic (!!), and kept under control with clotrimazole cream. Then I noticed the flakiness and dryness on my face increasing overall, and that my skin seemed to form "dry lines" when smiling. In a way I felt like I was aging in pregnancy.
On my legs and arms I also first noticed little bumps appearing and very dry skin and my leg hair actually fell out.
My hair wasn't falling out, but it was dry and brittle with lots of damage for my standards. I had grown it to thigh length but it was so thin from past sheds + breakage, I shortened it to mid-butt length during pregnancy.
I quit cabergoline in late pregnancy to be able to breastfeed. This likely caused a very sudden rise in prolactin. I noticed that I suddenly started leaking milk like crazy...waking up in puddles of it.

After delivery, many of these problems subsided. My digestion bettered to almost normal, slightly bloated maybe (which bettered on a low carb Paleo Diet at first). My skin improved, hormonal issues subsided. I quit Synthroid a few months after delivery and my hairs texture improved almost immediately, though very slowly. 
My hair regrew amazingly well after the postpartum shed. It got very thick. In summer 2012 we had my dog shipped to Germany from the US. My dog has been dealing with a skin condition since San Diego and no doctor was able to figure out what she has. Now I know she was dealing with a fungal problem. It started out as an itchy, dry, flaky patch on her back.
After she got here, my problems also started....my skin, my hair and eventually my digestion. My suspicion is that my dog's fungal problem caused mine to worsen too. I did not make the connection though, until I figured out she had a fungus when her flakes came back. Yeast problems don't look flaky or obvious at all when they start...only when it gets bad you can actually see the problem. Which is why, imho doctors treat it way to late. This time her flakes were greenish yellow and she got flaky all over her body.

I got worse, my dog got worse...she did not respond to anti fungal medication, until we had a very costly blood and ksin test done that determined only certain anti fungals will work for her. At the time, spring 2013, I had been unsuccessful in treating my suspected fungal problem with natural remedies. 
A dermatologist I had seen was not helpful and a skin test came back negative for Candida. Still, I was convinced to have a yeast problem. My flaky skin looked so similar to my dog's skin too. My dog finally started to respond to treatment with Nizoral tablets and cleared up. I convinced a doctor to let me try anti fungal cream and my face cleared up almost immediately. Within two weeks I was free of fungal acne, with only red marks reminding me of the problem. As you know my skin looks normal now. 
A few weeks into using the anti fungal cream, I told the vet about what happened and asked her to shine the black light she used to diagnose my dog's fungus on me. White patches of fungus were still visible all over my face and also in my hair line. We looked at the scalp too, but it was hard to see with the hair, and what she called a natural build up of skin cells. 
My dog continued to improve and made what seemed like a full recovery.
I started treating my hair for a fungus too to see if it makes a difference. I first reached for anti-fungal shampoo containing ketoconazole. I felt that it wasn't doing anything for me though, and quit using it after three months. I shed from summer 2013- February 2014. Spring 2014 my dog started experiencing problems again and my scalp started feeling itchy. We both started shedding hair. This time I brought back anti fungals quickly and began treating my scalp with creams and solutions even. Ever since I have been experiencing weird "on and off" shedding....which I have a hard time making sense of. It seems like I am addressing at least part of the problem, but I haven't had an actual long break from shedding yet. On and off shedding doesn't seem like it would fit hormones or even thyroid, because hormone cycles are quite long and fluctuations like that seem very unlikely. What is odd though is that I get the shed free days about two days after applying an anti fungal. My itch also usually subsides and the amount of dandruff goes up and down (oddly, I have little dandruff)

Maybe this is all a really big coincidence...but maybe not, and I am really on to something. It is so hard to say at the moment. The fungus could just be something that "contributes" to the shedding and not the main cause. Either way, I will have to address it. Treating the scalp is so much harder, because you can't have that stuff on your head 24/7. Often I have to leave the house with anti-fungal solution on my scalp. I try to make it look decent...but it may just look like gross, really oily hair to others. Well, better than losing hair right?

What is also different about this shed, is how fast I got regrowth. My last sheds lasted a bit over a half year and about 4 months into the shed I noticed regrowth, and then one month before it stopped my hair started thickening up already (while still shedding that last bit). This time around I noticed regrowth after 1 month and my hair started thickening up after 4 months. My ponytail already feels thicker and by braid has started thickening up too. It happened so fast, I was unable to take a picture of my braid having thinned or measuring the decreased ponytail circumference. It feels like a LOAD of thickness is growing down. Having shed so much, the majority of my hair is short, no longer than shoulder length. And even though I am shedding, I am regrowing EVEN MORE, if that makes sense...It is almost a little funny. Below my shoulders, my braid is almost the same thickness from top to bottom, which is very odd too. The result is fairly even ends, but above it hardly looks any thicker.

Maybe the on and off shedding means part of my hair is already staying on my head, while other hair is "cycling out" and still shedding because the trigger was pulled months ago. Hair cycles last about three months, so it is too early to say if my methods are really stopping the shed. Here are a few things that were treated and may end the shed if they are part of the reason:

1. My ferritin has been normal since June - may see results in Sept.-Oct.
2. Candida in my digestive tract was treated in June - may see results in Sept.-Oct.
3. I started treating my scalp fungus more intensively in late May (?)...but it is hard to say when it will actually get to the point where the hair only has to finish the current shed and be done. I don't feel like I have it under control yet, since the itch and flakiness return between applications. Maybe three months from now I can say if this is working.
4. I went back on probiotics which improves my digestion

My current plan is to wash very often and apply the anti fungals often to finally kill this fungus. My dog is also receiving an intensive treatment again. This time we also spray her with ACV multiple times a day and her fur is already fully growing back!! We have been unable to buy Nizoral tablets for her because they were pulled off the market. I think I may however have found a pharmacy in the US that still sells them. We will have to give her the tablets, because her problem is just so bad and long lasting. It is either this, or she will continue to get me sick and I will have to give her away. I really don't want to give her away. She has been my puppy for over ten years! But if she poses such a big problem to my health and possibly also Aodhan's health, it would be bad to keep her around. I really hope we can both get it controlled to the point where we are not contagious and keep reinfecting each other.

Unexplained stomach pains:

I marked the painful spots, as well as my ribs for ease of diagnosis. I presented this "piece of art" to the doctor. 

Another problem I have been having for some time is unexplained stomach pain. It is a very weird kind of pain. When it started early 2013, it was only that one, tiny spot that would hurt horribly when I poked it with one finger. The definition of localized pain! I suspected it was related to the digestive problems. Doctors were unable to find anything wrong and said it may simply be IBS (irritable bowel syndrome, Deutsch: Reizdarmsyndrom). At times I was unable to detect the pain. I tested different foods to see if some make the problems worse. The only thing I noticed though, was that bloating seemed to put more pressure on the spot and made it worse. But it doesn't seem like something related to digestion. 

Though, my digestion hasn't been doing well lately. My bowel movements are fine, but as soon as something lands in my stomach I feel bad. I was told to avoid digestive enzymes and probiotics for a while during the Candida treatment with Nystatin tablets, and I am able to digest less and less foods. First I noticed I don't tolerate dairy anymore...I am not diagnosed as lactose intolerant, a test done in 2009 came back negative, but I get the runs from dairy. I also don't do well with starch at all anymore. I have cut out all starches, even carrots. Even meat gives me problems nowadays. After almost every major meal I get a headache, muscle aches, sometimes joint pains, brain fog, fatigue, nausea...It is getting very hard to take care of Aodhan and just to get through the day. I am eating very small meals to lessen the problem and drink a lot of caffeinated coffee as some sort of pain killer (works wonders for me and is better than popping pain killers all the time).
Honestly, all these problems fit something like Candida, and low stomach acid....but try to convince a conventional physician of that! It is next to impossible, because it does not exist according to mainstream medicine! 

Earlier this year, the painful spot started worsening, and I have been in and out of doctors offices, with still no clue. Not only did that one spot get more painful, I also developed two more spots like it in a short amount of time. 
It is weird how they hurt horribly, like a bleeding wound when poked with one finger slightly...it almost makes me faint sometimes. But when I push down with my flat hand, there is NOTHING....I really don't get it. I have thought of ulcers, but my symptoms don't fit ulcers completely. And the areas affected are not typical for stomach ulcers. I will be having an endoscopy and a colonoscopy done, possibly also an MRI of the stomach. In the meantime I switched to another doctor who ordered a shit load of tests to find out as much as possible. He seems like a promising doctor, that listens and gets to the root of things. I hope he will prove to be a good choice. It is so hard to diagnose everything by yourself. I'm not a doctor...just a former science student with a passion for research and a basic understanding of biology and chemicals...I can't run my own tests..., I am unable to access certain treatments. 

Something is really wrong and I am doing my best to figure out what it is, before it leads to more serious problems. I hope it hasn't already. I definitely will not rest, until I get an answer....and I will slap the next doctor that suggests it is IBS and tells me to "avoid onions"...or something dumb like that. 

Bottom line:

I feel Candida isn't my only issue, and that there is something else causing problems. Having digestive issues, it is actually not surprising that I am losing hair. I really can't say for sure if Candida only makes me shed, or the stomach issues as well. I suspect both play a role.

I will be updating as soon as I get the recent medical results!


  1. Wow, sounds like a hard time dear. I do really hope you will get to the very bottom of this! Maybe there's also something with your immune system, that inhibiting all the defenses your body has? I've heard that what makes people have unexplained symptoms sometimes...
    Kisses and hugs, I do hope you get better! You are too young for any health health related issues! :****

  2. I hope you feel better! Keep up the good work with your blog. You are an inspiration to so many!


  3. I've been following your blog for a while, and I'm wondering if you ended up figuring out what was causing your abdominal pain? From your picture it looks like it might be in the small and large intestines. Have you considered it might be caused by parasites?

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  7. Shampoo with 1% ketoconazole (antifungal and antiandrogenic) has been my salvation from the beginnings of female pattern hair loss. In the US it is available without a prescription under the brand name Nizoral. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketoconazole#Antiandrogenic_and_antiglucocorticoid

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34 year old mom of 2 boys from Frankfurt Germany


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