Hair Transplant Blog Featuring John P. Cole, MD

Hair loss because of well water?

I am a 22 year old female and 6 months ago I moved into a house that is on well water. My hair has thinned a ton, and I’ve been to the doctor to test my iron levels, thyroid levels, and hormones (including testosterone). All the levels are normal. The dermatologist said I might have mild alopecia. I KNOW that is not the case. I had a beautiful head of hair up until I moved into this house. When I pull my hair back I can see through to my scalp. Should I get a Reverse Osmosis water filter? The doctors said that well water wouldn’t cause hair loss, but I have found so much evidence that says otherwise. Please help me, the thought of loosing my hair is consuming my life.

wall water and hair loss
The main thing to do is to first identify the cause of your hair loss.
There are many medical illnesses that can cause hair loss in women. The lab tests you have done are helpful, but usually they are all normal. One should evaluate you for chronic inflammatory diseases such as Lupus, as well. Have your DHEA level checked if this has not been done, but it is usually normal. As you mentioned, iron deficiency anemia can cause hair loss so you should check your ferritin level if you have anemia. You need to do more than look at your iron level if you have a microcytic hypochromic anemia. One should also check for Syphilis, but this is unlikely.

The next step is to have two 4 mm scalp biopsies done. They should be done in the area where you are loosing your hair and they should include intact hair follicles. One biopsy should be for vertical sectioning and the other should be for a lateral sectioning. These should be read by someone experienced in reading scalp hair biopsies such as David Whiting at Baylor.
This will probably give you the diagnosis.

You mention well water. The thing to look for here is heavy metals. These can cause hair loss, but usually this is not present.

Female pattern hair loss is the most common cause and the two biopsies will confirm or rule out this diagnosis. If this is what you have, you should then consider treatment options to include Rogaine for women.

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  • An Je

    Hello, thank you for your help. I just wanted to give you an update that I took the above things into consideration and had my doctors run the necessary tests – everything was normal. However, the answer to my hair loss was simple. I decided to take showers at a few frinds houses, and I only lost a few strands of hair while washing. In my own shower (on well water) I would loose hundreds while washing. I am thankful I have alot of hair otherwise I would look bald. I have been staying away from washing my hair in the well water and have had SIGNIFICANT results. My hair is thicker and healthier and I dont loose 20-30 hairs everytime I run my fingers through it, like I was before. I am so glad I caught this. It’s too bad I spent all this money on the tests, but I guess it’s better to know. I wanted to follow up in case there were any other young women going through what I went through. Stay away from the well water if your hair is falling out! I know there’s probably no scientific explanation for hair to fall out just from contacting the water (not an acumulative cause like metal poisioning or nitrates or something). Thanks for all your help! I am so glad I can keep my hair.

    • Bcbgirl77

      Wow this is so helpful…I just noticed I have several bald patches throughout my scalp and also have a well. Has your hair grown back or was it just thinning out? My dr states that I have Alopecia and my hair will grow back but, I’m not so sure. I guess my next step is to see a specialist.

      • Sacha Gardner2

        I am on a well also. Not only am I losing hair at a rapid pass, so are my kids who are 17 and 14. We are also losing hair all over our body. My daughter and I had thick hair before moving to this house, which h we have been told has iron bacteria. The well was shocked, but it isnt helping. It is very depressing

  • http://www.hairgenesis.com Hair Genesis

    Many times nutrients in water might not mesh with a person’s DNA leading to problems with hair loss.

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    Vitamins are natural substances found in plants and animals and known as Essential nutrients for human beings. iron supplement

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    Really? I just knew this one. Thanks for sharing this information. It really added an idea to us!

  • Terriethomas893

    i never had problems with hair falling out, untill we moved to a new house with well water it has been tested and inspected by professional he detected bacteria he then used the required chemicals to make the well safe,i still dont drink it, i dont know what to do about my hair maybe wash it at my daughters house.Terrie Thomas     

  • KarenGenna

    I also have well water and am losing my hair too. I believe it is the fine minerals/bacteria in the water and every time you take a shower it is like “sandblasting” your scalp and skin. We have to chlorinate our well at least every six months. This helps temporarily and I can always tell when it is time to re-chlorinate. There are plenty of videos you can go to so you can do this yourself. It is time consuming and you are without water for 24 hours. We also installed a whole-house filter and have a filter on our shower head (which does restrict the water pressure in the shower). I know when I tell people my hair loss is due to my well water they think I am crazy, but I KNOW this is the cause.