female pattern baldness

Hair Loss At 16 – Larissa’s Hair Loss Story

by admin on November 25, 2007

Hair Loss At 16 - Larissa's Hair Loss StoryHi, I was happy to stumble across your site. I’ve been living with hair loss since I was 16 and have finally begun steps to healthfully and happily “deal” with it.

My mother, father and younger sister are all faced with baldness. It’s most definitely genetic for me. Through out high school I dealt with the rude remarks from other kids and never felt entirely pretty. I started on rogaine when I was 16 and saw very little response, finally stopping it at 18.

I then began wearing my hair pulled back in a pony tail, but as my hair continued to thin I had to cover my hair with an additional folded scarf or bandana to cover my hair on the top of my scalp where it was thinning the most. I was extremely self conscious and had trouble being in public with out my hair strategically covered. When I turned 25, just this last March, I decided that I needed a change and bought my first wig because I wanted to wear my hair down. I’m not trying to fool anyone, and there’s still a lot to get used, but it seems natural enough that I can pass as a woman with hair. It’s just hard considering I don’t know any other 25 year old women who wear wigs. I just needed to take control and I felt I deserved for once, as a young woman, to feel pretty and feminine.

No swimming, no wind in my hair, no warmth of the sun on my head and face.
Those are things I really miss and hope to one day gain the self confidence
to enjoy again. I’m contemplating shaving my head completely and hope to one
day feel confident enough to do that.

I look forward to reading your’s and others’ stories and hope to find strength in the knowledge that there are other young women out there dealing with the same issues.

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Dear Larissa,

Thank you so much for writing and sharing your story with everyone. You wrote that you hope to find strength in reading other women’s stories, I found strength in reading yours. I admire women who find the courage in themselves to move forward and take whatever steps necessary to make them feel good, like buying a wig, adding hair or shaving their head. I haven’t reached that point myself, but I feel like I’m getting closer…Baby steps.

Like you, I also didn’t have any success with Rogaine. Is your family supportive? Are you able to talk to them about your hair loss. It is hard for my family to truly understand my hair loss no matter how hard they may try because most of them have all their hair. It seems I was the only one left without a chair when the music stopped… or dare I say, left without my hair :) But seriously, it’s hard and I hate feeling uncomfortable around my own family. My mother’s hair started to thin when she went through menopause, but she still has more hair than me, and while it bothers her she doesn’t understand what it is like to be to start losing your hair at 21 and devastation it causes.

For myself, suffering with hair loss has taken so much from me and left me feeling alone. Being able to communicate with other women and read their stories has helped me tremendously. I want more than anything to be able to put a period on this part of my life and move on and I want to help other women to be able to do the same. Part of that healing is reading the hair loss stories of other women, knowing we are not alone in this. So thank you again Larissa for sharing your story with us.

~Y

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Hair Biopsy Results _ Diagnosed With Telogen Effluvium and Androgenetic AlopeciaWell, in my situation, my family doctor first ordered blood work to look for an underying hair loss cause and found nothing. So she referred me to a dermatologist and on my own I sought out an endocrinologist because I have other symptoms. An endocrinologist is now looking into a possible underactive adrenal gland now because my cortisol level was borderline low. At the same time, my dermatologist did a biopsy of my scalp and found telogen effluvium AND androgenetic alopecia. SHOCK! No women in my family have this problem. So, I am wondering if you’ve heard of any possibility that this could be a false -positive for the androgenetic alopecia. Can anything else mimic alopecia? There’s no way to tell how much of my hair loss is due to TE or how much is due to AA, but as a result I have been advised to start using Rogaine for Women. I was told Men’s Rogaine is too strong while not helping any more than the women’s Rogaine. I also am going to use Nizoral 1%(doctor suggested) for dandruff that I already have and that may get worse with Rogaine. I just pray the Rogaine works. I don’t want to waste time and hair.

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Hi, welcome to the site! I’m not a doctor and I don’t have a lot of first hand experience with scalp biopsies so I’m hoping that perhaps Andrea or another women who has actually had this test performed, can help in providing greater insight. I’m also sending your question over to The American Hair Loss Association so that it can be answered by an actual physician because I want to make sure you get the right information. I wish I could answer your question about whether or not scalp biopsies can return results that are false positives for androgenetic alopecia. Logically I think that it is always possible in any test. I am curious to know if any other women have received the same results as you, being diagnosed with both telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia. If I was concerned about the resulting diagnosis I probably would consider having the test be redone by a different physician. Doctors are people too and they do make mistakes.

When I was first diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia back when I as 21/22 years of age I was told to take the Mens Rogaine and that it was perfectly safe and would be more effective. I know that a lot of doctors do tell their female patients to go ahead with the stronger dose as well, but you have to do what you feel comfortable with. You can always go for the higher strength Men’s Rogaine at a later time should you choose to do so. Also, a few women on this blog have been saying that the Rogaine Foam is easier to use and eliminates some of the problems that the regular Rogaine can sometimes cause, such as greasiness and itchiness, since it doesn’t have the propylene glycol. Although currently the Rogaine Foam is only available in the 5% minoxidil Men’s version. You can read the comment Gretchen wrote about it here.

I used to use Nizoral myself because I read somewhere that the active ingredient Ketoconazole actually had some mild anti-androgen properties that would help in hair loss. [click to continue…]

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The Hair Loss Around Us – Reflection

by admin on November 11, 2007

The Hair Loss Around Us - ReflectionI was at the mall yesterday with my fiance and he pointed out a young girl that was working at a mall kiosk. She was very young, definitely still in high school, and she had severe female pattern hair loss. It appeared she had put some extensions in as well which were quite apparent due to the extreme thinning. She was interacting normally and didn’t really seem shy. I was thinking how hard it must be for her, to go to high school and work in a mall with a lot of young people and have to be going through something like hair loss. It was very hard on me to begin to lose my hair at a 21,but I can’t even imagine how hard it is to have to go through it while still in high school. Everyday I see so many women losing their hair, some are young girls and some are older. I’ll never forget a librarian I met back when I was 21 and in the infancy of my hair loss. I was of course at the library researching hair loss to try and help myself. She was sitting at a desk and I went up to ask her a question. Her part was so very thin and wide and I thought to myself “Oh my god, thank god my hair loss isn’t so bad,” but I was also worried I would be in her shoes very soon. From that point on I began to compare my hair loss to everyone around me. Her’s isn’t as bad as mine… mine isn’t as bad as hers etc etc. Sadly my answers are more toward the first statement nowadays. This was just recent though, mainly the last couple years. Before that, even though I was losing so much hair and suffering inside I was still able to fake it to the world. But I didn’t enjoy what I had along the way for that day, how could I when it continually fell out?

I look back and I wish I hadn’t missed out on so much because of my hair loss. The few people I had told about it along the way were always surprised to hear I even had hair loss. They didn’t know me before and know the thick thick hair I once had. My hair is so much thinner now, but I try and not let it get in my way anymore. After all, I’ve missed out on so much already. I’ll be 30 next year and realize I missed out on my entire 20’s. So why am I writing this? I want the women who are just losing their hair to know a couple things.

Hair loss is a journey. For some it is short and they luckily recover quickly, for others such as myself, we have to realize we have a long road ahead of us. The right side of the road is paved with sadness the left with happiness and in the middle there is acceptance. I spent 8 years walking on the right, always depressed, and never realizing I could move to the other side. I would try and get toward the middle but there always a strong force pulling me back. I am happy to report that more and more I stay to the middle of the road walking on acceptance and sometimes even making it along the border of happiness. Oddly enough this epiphany happened when I was at the thinnest stage of my hair loss. I don’t want other women to miss out on their lives. I know from the depths of my heart how hard and devastating hair loss is. I live it everyday. But at some point we have to appreciate what we have for that day and just do the best be can with what we have.

I still get sad about my hair loss and have my low days, I still run past mirrors to avoid looking at myself. [click to continue…]

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Disorders of Hair: Androgenetic Alopecia

by admin on November 8, 2007

Disorders of Hair: Androgenetic AlopeciaI came across this article today while doing some hair loss research on the internet, and I thought it covered a lot of questions that women have about hair loss. The article is about both male and female pattern hair loss and provides a good overview. It was published on medscape from ACP Medicine Online. Here it is:

David A. Whiting, M.D.

Androgenetic alopecia is the common type of nonscarring hair loss affecting the crown. It results from a genetically determined end-organ sensitivity to androgens. It is often referred to as common baldness, male-pattern alopecia, and female-pattern alopecia.

Epidemiology and Pathogenesis

Androgenetic alopecia affects at least 50% of men by 50 years of age and 50% of women by 60 years of age.6,7 Males have more androgen than females and therefore are usually affected earlier and more severely. Male-pattern alopecia often starts between 15 and 25 years of age. Male-pattern alopecia has two characteristic components, bitemporal recession and vertex balding [see Figure 1 — omitted], which in pronounced cases can progress to complete balding of the crown.6,7 Female-pattern alopecia is more likely to start between 25 and 30 years of age (or sometimes later, after menopause). It is characterized by an intact frontal hairline and an oval area of diffuse thinning over the crown [see Figure 2 — omitted]. Bitemporal recession in women is much less obvious than it typically is in men, or it can be nonexistent. In general, androgenetic alopecia in women progresses to mild, moderate, or severe thinning but not to complete baldness. The best predictor of outcome is the degree of progression in affected relatives.

Androgenetic alopecia is an autosomal dominant disorder with variable penetrance. Susceptible hairs on the crown are predisposed to miniaturize under the influence of androgens, notably dihydrotestosterone. In both sexes, miniaturization results from a shortening of the anagen cycle, from years to months or weeks. Miniaturized hairs are characterized by reduced length and diameter; this accounts for the appearance of hair loss.8 Androgenetic alopecia largely spares the back and sides of the scalp.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of androgenetic alopecia is usually obvious from the clinical pattern of hair loss from the top of the head.9 In some men, a female pattern of alopecia (see above) causes diagnostic confusion but has no other significance. In women, a male pattern of alopecia (i.e., bitemporal recession and vertex balding) occurring with menstrual irregularities, acne, hirsutism, and a deep voice is significant. The virilism indicates significant hyperandrogenism, the cause of which must be identified and treated [see 3:IV The Adrenal — omitted].

Scalp biopsies are rarely necessary to diagnose androgenetic alopecia. Biopsies cut horizontally are sometimes useful, however, in differentiating female-pattern alopecia from chronic telogen effluvium (see below). [click to continue…]

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Lisa's Hair Loss Story - Really Need Some Support, Please Help MeHello. My name is Lisa. I have been experiencing hair loss for a few months now and really need advice from women who have been through it. Firstly, I was wondering if you could recommend any good doctors in Massachusetts and if there are any support groups where you can meet with other women in person.

I hope its ok that I am telling you this personal information. I am really desperate for advice and have not found a good dermatologist yet that will help me. Plus it is like pulling teeth to get a referral with my health clinic.

I will try to tell you briefly of my hair loss story. I had an abortion in the beginning of April 2007. After the procedure (which was done by the medical abortion pill) I did not get my period for approximately two months and notice sometime in May or June that my hair seemed to be drying out. In July I started shedding abnormal amounts of hair in the shower and on my brushes. I have always been a big shedder but this was much more than normal. I went to my primary care and she did blood work for a thyroid and it came back “normal”. I just shrugged it off to be stress.

On top of the abortion at that time I was suffering from severe stress due to my job. My boss literally verbally abused me on a regularly basis, plus I was a paralegal so that is a stressful position on its own. Basically every aspect of that job for the two years I worked there was stressful. Come the month of August my hair was starting to really really dry out and break. By September I freaked out because it was broke everywhere and I was still losing hair. At this point it was noticeable how thin my hair got. I normally have thick wavy hair. There is no type of baldness that runs in either side of my family, even the men. My family on both sides have very thick hair.

In September I seen one doctor who told me I had telogen effluvium do to stress and a terminated pregnancy I had in April. I wasn’t satisfied with his diagnosis so I went to Dr. Howard Baden (who is supposedly this fabulous doctor known worldwide) and he was an awful mean man with the worst bedside manner I have ever experienced. I was in tears when I left his office because of the way he treated me. Just by briefly looking at my scalp he said “female pattern baldness” but it was very unclear if it was a definite diagnosis or an educated guess. I have been losing hair all over my head not just one spot and it isn’t coming out in clumps. I have two spots on the crown of my head that have definitely gotten thinner and receded back but they have always been pretty thin. I couldn’t even ask him questions because he would shoot me down every time. He did tell me to send in a hair sample and I will have the results this Monday, November 5, 2007. Should I ask for a scalp biopsy too? [click to continue…]

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I am actually going for a consultation for Reprieve hair on Monday. I have also been to 2 other consultations for hair replacements. I am sooooo lost right now. I am currently using provillus (5% minoxidyl) and Toppik. I am not too thrilled with shaving my head for bonded toppers, but I am done with not having hair. Any advice for me??? Does anyone know if you have to be shaved for the Reprieve system – just curious since I haven’t had my consultation yet.~Alicia

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Hi Alicia,

Unfortunately I have so little information about wearing hair because I haven’t thoroughly researched it for myself yet. I am glad you are taking the initiative to have consultations and educating yourself so that you can possibly wear hair in the future. I know Julie has worn Reprieve Hair (here are her pictures) and absolutely loved it. She probably could answer your questions best about that system. I am going to email her to let her know this question is on the blog. But based on the little information I have read about the system I don’t think you have to shave your head for it. How did your two other consultations go? I am interested in learning about the different processes myself since that my be an option in the near future.

If anyone has experience with wearing hair, bonded toppers etc, please let us know your thoughts. Alicia, please keep us updated with how your consult goes with Reprieve and what you learn.

~Y

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Female Pattern Balding – Hair Loss Story

by admin on October 8, 2007

I did not notice hair falling out, it just stopped growing and the dermatologist said it was female patter baldness and nothing could be done. I had take Prempro for 11 years without a missed day – per GYN to stop my periods. I was 50 at the time. Went through an extremely stressful divorce and work situation. I noticed the balding when I was about 59, and it has gotten worse…..my scalp showed through no matter how I tried to cover it. Since I was told I was not a good candidate for transplants, I got an epiphany. I went to a women who does permanent make-up and had her tattoo the areas (with a sort of light brown – I am blond) that aways showed through. It works quite well, but is very expensive and takes a long time to do. I had about 5 sessions of 1 – 2 hours. I was able to get novacaine after the first two-hour session, so the pain was managed. I still have some areas to cover, but it is a great improvement.There is no hair loss like this on either side of my family. I have taken some of the medications listed that cause hair loss, but what can you do if you need them? I am now 70 and hate my very thin hair, which used to be one of my best features.

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Hi –

Thanks for writing, I realize hair loss at any age is distressing, but I have to say you are so fortunate to have spent the majority of your life with hair and not dealing with the massive shedding and hair loss that many very young women experience today. For myself, I basically spent my entire 20’s in partial seclusion, feeling very sad and depressed, feeling like I’ve lost who I was… my identity. I wrote in the past post, “Hair Loss, Hair Loss Everywhere – What’s in the water?” that I would seal that deal immediately if I was told I could have all my hair back and then at 50 it would all fall out and I’d definitely do it for 60, even better. That would mean I’d get to have 31 more years of peace, of happiness, being out there and enjoying my youth. I feel I’m letting that slip away, losing my hair 8 years ago did that to me, but I work on myself all the time and trying to get past the whole idea of ” I am not my hair” and just trying to be positive.

Please understand I am not at all dismissing your concerns and I really do understand hair loss and how it would affect anyone who becomes afflicted with it, but I thought I would point out how fortunate you have been. Your tattoo idea was extremely creative, and I’m glad to hear you are happy with the results, but there also are less invasive ways to conceal the scalp. There are several products are on the market today that are actually a sort head make up that serve as a scalp cosmetic concealer. Two that I am aware of our DermMatch and Toppik. DermMatch and Toppik Scalp Cosmetic Concealer

Also, you are right when you talk about some of the drugs listed on the “drugs that cause hair loss” list, what can one really do when they have to take a certain medication? It is also important to note that while these drugs can cause hair loss, they are not necessarily the cause of hair loss for a lot of women. I am sure there are plenty of women and men who take these medications without experiencing hair loss as a side effect. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that since you took some of the drugs listed that that is what spawned your female pattern baldness.

A lot of women begin to experience hair loss for the first time post menopause. [click to continue…]

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