hair loss diagnosis

Kewpie’s Hair Loss Story

by admin on March 18, 2008

Kewpie's Hair Loss StoryJust to reiterate what many other women have said, this website is a wonderful and empowering resource. Here’s my story:

I noticed a lot of hair in my tent while camping for 5 days last summer. At the time, I was not on birth control although I’ve been on and off it for 11 years (I’m 27). I got on Apri shortly after for its intended purpose and didn’t notice any change with the hair loss. I didn’t really think much of it until it didn’t stop. I freaked out while on the phone with my mom around Thanksgiving (my family all lives in Connecticut; I moved to Seattle about 2 years ago for my job). I went to my general practitioner and she basically told me, “See a dermatologist, and if its happening there’s not much you can do”. When I saw my family at Christmas they said I looked the same and I shouldn’t be so freaked out; everybody loses hair.

Let me tell you about my hair on a good day: I’ve always had baby-fine hair! I was bald until I was 2 and have never had long or thick hair. My mom and her sister have fine hair too. I’ve always gotten good cuts and color. My dad is balding; he’s 52…but I feel like many, many guys are balding. My uncles are mostly bald but no women in my family are. I can accept thin hair, that’s what I’m used to. It’s just excruciating to lose what already few hairs I have. I don’t have hair to spare!

The dermatologist I visited got an abnormal hair pull and diagnosed me with Telogen Effluvium. He essentially said, use Rogaine, eat an iron supplement and grin and bare it. All my blood work came back fine (whatever that means). I felt relieved for a few days but then decided that I was underwhelmed with his diagnosis and I couldn’t just sit here shedding hair all over the place, so I made an appointment with a female derm to get a second opinion. It’d been going on for 5 months. Believe me I wracked my brain trying to figure out what it could be. I had no major trauma or dietary change. I eat pretty well, exercise, etc. The female dermatologist was a bit more sensitive and her hair pull test was “normal”. She inspected my scalp and said it looks healthy and there is no scarring. She told me the shedding was probably just my body readjusting to the change in bcp (although I’ve gone off and on before and have never had a noticeable problem).

The weird thing is, two girlfriends I met when I moved here had hair loss issues. They both moved abroad last summer and when I emailed them asking about it, they also said, You’re fine, it’s hereditary or stress related. They’d laugh you out of the hair loss clinic. Try Rogaine. Two hair stylists I went to said they couldn’t believe how many women were approaching them with hair loss issues. It makes me wonder if it isn’t something environmental. [click to continue…]

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Endocrinologist or Dermatologist - Which doctor whould I see for my hair loss?I must first clarify and make it known that I am NOT a doctor and cannot provide medical advice, the following post is merely my opinion based on my own experiences.

In answer to which doctor should I see for my hair loss, my opinion is that you should probably see both. Most doctors don’t know enough about hair loss as it is, so seeing doctors in different specialties may actually help you get a better, more accurate diagnosis. I am sure there are various conditions of hair loss that might be better served by seeing one more than the other. Perhaps a dermatologist would be better suited in determining if the cause was an infectious skin condition such as ringworm or scaring alopecia, and an endocrinologist may be better at diagnosing hormone related hair loss. The truth is, any doctor whether it is an endocrinologist, dermatologist, or general practitioner with a strong interest and knowledge in hair loss can make a proper diagnosis and work with you on the the treatment they think will produce the best results. The operative words here are “interest and knowledge.”

Try and find a doctor that seems to care about women’s hair loss, and understands the emotional devastation it causes. I don’t want my doctor to dismiss my hair loss, and I don’t want him/her to tell me it’s no big deal. It is a big deal and if your doctor makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, they he/she is not for you. If possible try and speak with the doctor by phone (believe it or not some doctors will talk to you on the phone first) and if the rules of the office don’t permit this then try and ask as many questions to the receptionist, such as, does Dr. X see a lot of women for hair loss? Does he order blood work? What does he usually prescribe for treatment? The reality of that last question is that their is no “usual treatment” every woman is different and hopefully the receptionist tells you something to that effect. I don’t want to see a doctor that prescribes Rogaine as his/her first line of defense even before making a proper diagnosis with blood work or any other necessary tests. I firmly believe you should not be walking out with a bottle of Rogaine the first day of your appointment. Sure the doctor can probably be able to tell if your hair is experiencing miniaturization, but what about the blood work to determine the causes? Rogaine may be the right treatment for you, but I’d like to know why. [click to continue…]

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