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A colleague of mime notice that her teenager kid is dropping a lot of hair recently.

What advices should I give to my colleague to help her teenager kid instead of telling her to ask her bring her kid to see a doctor?

(She mention that her kid is not facing study stress but she also notice that her kid seems not able to eat quite a lot and her kid was rather thin in appearance. At first I thought that it could be a food disorder but my colleague say that her kid does not vomit or force the food out after eating. )

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3 Answers

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Hair loss can be an indication of protein deficiency. I have had many students (primarily girls) who, in an attempt to lose weight, have suddenly decided to go vegetarian or strictly limit their in-take of meat. While they understand that meat tends to be high in calories, they don't usually understand enough about being a vegetarian to know that they still need to replace that missing protein, and that there are lots of other foods with protein that are not meat.

Additionally, teenagers are notorious for skipping breakfast and/or lunch or eating nutritionally-poor lunches. I can't tell you how many teenagers I've seen who eat a bag of chips and drink a Coke and call that a lunch.

Hair treatments--especially extreme ones--can cause damage to the hair sometimes causing breakage. If her child likes to experiment with his/her hair, it may be time to back off for a little while.

A hormone imbalance could be the cause. It seems rare in teenagers, but teenagers are hormonal creatures.

Finally, hypo- and hyperthyroidism both include hair loss as a symptom.

If it's none of those things, then she really should have her child checked out. It could be a sign of something more serious than any of the things listed above.

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My colleague kid love to eat chicken (which is usually quite high in protein) but it seems that my colleague kid have a different eating habit - the kid usually have many small meals [breakfast, lunch, tea break, dinner, supper (sometime)] unlike us, which have 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). So, wondering if it got to do with the hair loss? –  Jack Oct 30 '12 at 7:27
    
There's nothing wrong with eating several small meals a day. In fact, most nutritionists believe this is a better way of eating as it helps control blood sugar better and avoid drastic mood swings throughout the day, as well as keep the body's metabolism going. It is recommended that a teenage girl needs slightly less than 2 oz of high-quality protein (usually in the form of animal products) per day. One serving of chicken is roughly 3 oz, so even if she's eating ONLY chicken as her primary protein, she should be ok. The question is: –  Meg Coates Oct 30 '12 at 13:24
    
How frequently is the eating protein? Is it high quality protein? And, when she eats it, how much is she eating at a sitting? –  Meg Coates Oct 30 '12 at 13:25
    
I believe that chicken are usually high protein animals and she usually eat about 1/4 of the chicken, sometime, about 1/8 of the chicken. Usually, she prefer to eat the chicken breast part. –  Jack Oct 31 '12 at 1:13
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My daughter went through a stage of hair loss. She had very long hair and would wash it and tie it back in a very tight pony tail without drying it. She was also straightening it frequently and the heat was drying out the ends of her hair.

It took some convincing for me to persuade her to leave her hair out when she was at home and going to bed. I massaged her scalp with natural oils, in an olive oil base. I encouraged her to brush her hair with a hair brush with boar bristles, as opposed to the plastic brushes with widely separated bristles. The idea behind this was to stimulate blood flow to the scalp and loosen any dead skin.

She rarely ties her hair back when it is damp. She still tends to like tight pony tails (as all her friends are doing the same), but we have managed to change her routine sufficiently, so that her hair is growing back, noticeably, to its original thickness.

As for malnutrition, or other medical reasons for hair loss, I wouldn't want to speculate on an online site like this.

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A friend of mine had a 10 year old daughter who was losing hair and quite skinny. The family is Hindu and very vegetarian. When the daughter stopped eating enough then it was very easy for her to become malnourished.

The mother would make her nice lunches that the child would just throw away at school. She would only have small meals at home. Being super-vegetarian, a small meal was not enough.

I do not know why the daughter was not eating, that is a separate issue. The family moved away before the problem was solved (if it was at all) so I do not know how it panned out.

Long and short, the parent and child needs to see a doctor to sort this out. If the child is malnourished, then some blood tests should reveal it. If he's not, then there could be something more serious.

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