I have an autistic 17 year old female whose normally thick and healthy hair is now thinning. I know her diet is not the best secondary to autism but she gets ample amounts of protein and loves all vegetables. There are no medidcations involved and no diet changes or home stress issues that I can pinpoint. She is not verbal so questioning her is not an option. Could you lead me to a resource for information or suggestions. Thank you for your time.
I have not read any research that indicates a higher instance of hair loss in autistic teens or adults. However, I would think that autistic people have a higher level of emotional stress, which is one of the ‘big four’ causes of hair loss. You should have a good doctor examine her and look for one of the many medical causes of hair loss. The following problems are among those that should be considered: anemia, thyroid disease, connective tissue disease, and various gynecological conditions. These laboratory tests may be useful if underlying medical problems are suspected: CBC, Chem Screen, ANA, T4, TSH, STS, Androstenedione, DHEA-Sulfate, Total and Free Testosterone. Many medications, including vitamins and over the counter drugs, can also contribute to hair loss.
Genetic causes of hair loss in a 17 year old female, is unusual. Look to the family and see if anyone had such a problem at that age or if there is female genetic hair loss in any of the women in your family. It is more likely that a medical condition, rather than genes, may be the cause of the hair loss.