For the first time in my life also, I have been experiencing a lot of scalp pain. I think it is because this time, it is not slow and diffuse like it was in my teenage years, at the onset of PCOS. Quitting the pill after 5 years of dependency meant a major hormonal shock to the system which provoked both a mix of both Telogen Effluvium (shock loss), and Androgenic Alopecia (the testosterone from the PCOS back in full form, killing hair follicles).
My visit to Dr. Redmond (endocrinologist) was very informative. First, he confirmed that I was not going crazy. I am sure many of you have heard that from loved ones. It is true that was is noticeable to you and your eyes is not noticeable to everyone else. I do try and live each day to the fullest right now and not let what the future might hold (worse hair loss) bother me, but it is tough. After alot of normal tests, Dr. Redmond confirmed my suspicion that I am suffering from androgenic alopecia (AA or women pattern baldness). He has put me on sprironolactone 200mg in the morning and Yasmin (birth control) in the evening). I just started on this regimen so I will keep you posted. Here are the tests that he wanted to me to get done:
Medications are available that encourage regrowth of hair. These medications, such as topical minoxidil* and oral finasteride, are not appropriate for everyone with hair loss. Hair growth medications work to varying degrees in different people, and only trigger complete regrowth in a minority of individuals. They work best for people who have smaller amounts of hair loss. Hair loss returns if you stop taking the medication. Finasteride is not appropriate for women who may become pregnant, as it can cause severe birth defects. Spironolactone, although not approved by Health Canada for this purpose, is a medication that may help women who are losing hair due to excess testosterone. Biotin is a vitamin that makes hair and nails stronger and is often used as an adjuvant therapy.
Alopecia areata is characterized by a localized area of complete hair loss (Figure 5). This may extend to the entire scalp (alopecia totalis) or the entire body (alopecia universalis)12,13 (Figure 6). Alopecia areata is probably secondary to an autoimmune reaction involving antibody, T-cell, and cytokine-mediated losses.14–16 The trait appears to be polygenic, affecting 0.1 to 0.2 percent of the population, with men and women equally affected.14 On microscopic evaluation, “exclamation-point” hairs are found, in which the proximal hair shaft has thinned but the distal portion remains of normal caliber (Figure 7). Spontaneous recovery usually occurs within six to 12 months, with hair in areas of re-growth often being pigmented differently.1,13 Prognosis is not as good if the condition persists longer than one year, worsens, or begins before puberty. Persons with a family history of the disorder, atopy, or Down syndrome also have a poorer prognosis.1 The recurrence rate is 30 percent, and recurrence usually affects the initial area of involvement.12 Thyroid abnormalities, vitiligo, and pernicious anemia frequently accompany alopecia areata.1,12,14
Lisa, don’t know if you are out there and reading this but I called my dermatology office today. I have worked with them since about 2003/2004 when I had severe cystic acne (it is about as bad as hair loss in dealing with it) and together the nurse and I were successful. I have hope, I got in to see her tomorrow and I’m taking all the meds/vitamins I am taking. Call Arizona Skin & Cancer Institute, they are in Chandler AZ right by Chandler Regional. I’ve been in tears all day because a clump came out. I thank God for my beautiful children who were there for me through the acne and my mom. You just listen to me talk about what I am going through. Getting through work was hard today. Anyway, Lisa call them and try to get in. I don’t know if I will have success but I’ve done a lot a research and I know what to ask. I did look up symptoms of protein deficiency – strange I had great hair in October 07 and my nails were really hard and now they are brittle and breaking and my hair is falling, I also went through a couple of weeks of this werid swelling of my arms, legs, feet, hands in April. And have been constipated, and my running isn’t giving me the usual firm legs, all signs of not enough protein. Maybe I’m grasping at straws but anyway…hope you are doing ok.
Each hair develops from a follicle — a narrow pocket in the skin — and goes through three phases of growth. Anagen (A), the active growth phase, lasts two to seven years. Catagen (), the transition phase, lasts about two weeks. During this phase, the hair shaft moves upward toward the skin's surface, and the dermal papilla (the structure that nourishes cells that give rise to hair) begins to separate from the follicle. Telogen (C), the resting phase, lasts around three months and culminates in the shedding of the hair shaft.
I have had hair loss for the past several years. I have seen both endocrinologists and dermatologists. I had one derm who was good, but I unfortunately moved. She put me on minoxidil 5% and spironolactone. I am now seeing and endo but he has me on Synthroid and I was very interested to read on this site that it can actually be a cause of hair loss! If anyone can recommend a doctor in Chicago i would appreciate it. I see there are 2 other people asking for recommendations but I haven’t seen responses to them. Thanks!
If you have hair loss, you have options, like topical treatments, oral medications, red light procedures, to prevent more hair loss. But, Curtis says, "The only way to guarantee hair is the transplant." She says once you find out what's causing hair loss, you and your doctor can decide how aggressively you want to approach the problem. She says, "I say to patients, 'Here's what we can do to prevent further loss...' If you say, 'Dr. Curtis, I want hair." Here's what we have to do, we're going to move it from the back to the front, nobody will know, it will look fantastic."
Happily divorced in 2006. Coming up to my 52nd birthday, my hair is thin and fine, my hairdresser just shakes her head. In pictures all you see is scalp with a faint nimbus that is what’s left of my hair. Lost my job in December. When I interview, no one looks me in the eyes… they talk to my nearly naked scalp. So here I am, wanting to date and find work, and feel constantly judged because of an outward manifestation of something that’s happening inside of (what appears to be) a healthy body. It looks like I’m on chemo, or at the affect of some kind of some huge illness or medication… and shunned. How much of my self-image is subliminally dictated by my lack of hair… working on that with my therapist. LOL!!
I do not believe birth control pills nor rogaine to be an appropriate long lasting answer for hair loss. I do not want to be on drugs for a length of time. Luckily, I have researched how the answer possibly lies within your lifestyle. What you eat, How much you exercise, how much sleep you get and stress you have. As for hormone-caused hair loss, the adrenal gland produces a 1/4 tsp of hormones per year. If you go slightly under or over that amount, a hormone imbalance is the result. If you use table salt, or are on a low-salt diet…you may be negatively affecting your hormones.
The truth is, the amount of propylene glycol in hair loss treatments is not likely to cause any real harm and the FDA has given the chemical approval for many uses. But even though it is safe, we wanted to ensure that our top picks would be as comfortable to use as possible. So when Dr. Khadavi told us that “a third of my patients get irritated from minoxidil products because of propylene glycol,” we decided to cut any treatments with it. In any case, it’s the minoxidil that helps curb hair loss and not the propylene glycol.
I want to first write that I am not a fan of hair transplants for women, I personally think that most women with androgenetic alopecia are NOT candidates for this procedure. Having said that, I get emailed all the time from women looking for a good hair transplant surgeon. If you are deadset on having a consultation, please visit the International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons. The IAHRS (http://www.iahrs.org) is an organization that selectively screens skilled and ethical hair transplant surgeons. Read my thoughts about hair transplants here.
Triamcinolone acetonide (Kenalog), 0.1 mL diluted in sterile saline to 10 mg per mL, is injected intradermally at multiple sites within the area to a maximum dosage of 2 mL per visit.6 The main side effect, atrophy, can be minimized by not injecting too superficially and by limiting the volume per site and the frequency of injection (no more often than every four to six weeks).6 Because spontaneous resolution often occurs in patients with alopecia areata, assessing treatment response can be difficult. Intralesional steroids should be discontinued after six months if no improvement has been noted.