telogen effluvium

I’ve seen enough fabulous hair pieces and wigs to know that it remains a very realistic, viable option for women who deal with hair loss. But the question always remains, where do you go? I know I’d definitely want to go somewhere that was caring, compassionate, patient, and a place that wasn’t pushy and truly had my best interest at heart. After all we aren’t buying iphones, we are buying something so intimately personal, I think a little TLC and hand holding is in order.

There is no question in my mind that a lot of women close the door to wearing hair because their first attempt turned out to be an awful and traumatizing experience, or the product was subpar, and from that they probably figured there was no point in continuing to try. Unfortunately, wearing hair isn’t really SO common that you can just turn to your girlfriend and say, “Love your hair, where’d you get it?” It’s also a completely different experience when you are buying hair because you NEED it, as opposed to buying it because you just think it would look neat with an outfit. One situation has deep rooted emotions and the other is really more of an optional accessory. For that reason, it is crucial to find a place that actually deals with women losing their hair and understands the devastation and feelings that encompasses it.

I think finding a good hair replacement salon is probably tantamount to finding a needle in a haystack, so I wanted to share the names of two shops that seem to truly be helping women.

I have heard several positive stories about:

Lee Anthony
1001 W. 17th Street, Suite H
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
949-515-0631
leeanthony.com

One WHLP member stated that Lee actually told her that it was too soon for her to need to wear something, which I think definitely shows honesty and integrity.

The place I most recently heard about is:

Wigs Today
6338 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 9006
323-954-8809

If you make a visit here, make sure it’s the address I listed above. I did find another place in Los Angeles by the same name, which had horrible reviews, but I’m pretty certain this isn’t the same place. According to the listing I found on Yahoo: http://local.yahoo.com/info-20415634-wigs-today-los-angeles#overview this place was only recently established in 2009.

I am super cautious about ever recommending a product or service provider, but I feel confident that the experiences I have heard about regarding these salons are from real women who have been a part of the site for quite sometime with no ulterior motives.

As a final note, I’d also run (not walk) from any place that asked you to sign a contract, gave you a hard sell or made you feel uncomfortable in any way whatsoever.

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Three Minutes of Freedom

by admin on March 6, 2009

Get Out and Start Living

I got up this morning, walked the dog, came home, fed the dog. Threw on some workout clothes and hopped down to the gym (garage). I put my earphones on, I turn the ipod on, and I started the treadmill. The first song queued up is one of my favorites, and it just puts my mind at such ease and makes me smile. The song only lasts three minutes and thirty five seconds, but that’s enough. Enough to put my mind in the right mood and enough to set my day up with possibility. I of course played the song over and over since I wanted to draw out as much serenity as possible :) I jogged along and felt content and… dare I say… happy. Sure my hair is falling out, it fell in the sink, it fell in my coffee, stuck to my sweatshirt, but I was happy. In that moment I felt right.

I think we need to take more time for ourselves, to do the things we enjoy and remind ourselves of living. It’s way to easy to obsess about our hair loss and worry about the future, but in doing so, we so frequently miss out on today, the beauty around us, the beauty within.

So now I know you are dying to know what song I was listening to. Well here it is for your listening pleasure (just click on the play button below) and your three minutes of freedom:

“Put Your Records On” By Corinne Bailey Rae – Best 0.99 cents I ever spent on iTunes!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Wishing you all a beautiful and HAPPY Friday!
Enjoy life, enjoy freedom, enjoy being you.

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Hi, I’m a 19 year old girl who has suffered major hair thinning. I’ve just discovered about this community/project a few days ago. Uptil now, this seems to be probably the most resourceful place I’ve seen.

I’ve been pretty desperate for answers.

As a child, my hair was extremely thick. However, as I grew up, my hair become progressively thinner. Two years go, I went on an unhealthy diet and I started to really notice that my hair was extremely thin (also, my hair was falling out like crazy). I thought that it was due to the fact that I didn’t get enough vitamins, so I started to eat healthily again. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, my hair only stopped shedding like crazy, but no new hair grew back to replace those I lost.

It has been 2 years, and my hair is still quite thin. Most people can’t see it, but I definitely can – especially when my hair is greasy or when I tie it in a ponytail (you can see my scalp very clearly).

I’ve read as much as I could on women hair loss, and nothing seems to really fit my symptoms. I took a blood test and it showed that my levels were perfectly fine.

After reading as much as I could, there were really only 2 diseases that sort of fit my simptoms.

1. Hypothyroidism – my mother has that
2. Androgenetic alopecia – my hair is thin all over my head and my hairline is not receeding.

However, the only thing that doesn’t seem to quite “fit” is the falling of my hair. My hair does not seem thinner than it was 2 years ago. I do not lose an excessive amount of hair (contrary to the many testimonies I’ve read). When I comb my hair after a shower, I would loose maybe 5-10 strands. In some ways, my hair loss seems proportionnal to the amount of hair I have.

I often get depressed because of the state of my hair – especially when I see my friends with thick hair and get to choose different styles of haircuts while I’m stuck to one. I can’t confirm with 100% certainty that my situation hasn’t worsen. From what I can see, it seems to have stabilized. But sometimes, when I look at old pictures, I start believing that it did in fact get worse. Afterwards, I panick and can’t sleep at night.

Questions:
Does androgenetic alopecia have different “levels” of hair loss? I haven’t taken any medication to help, but I know for sure that I do not lose a crazy amount of hair. However, I am also certain that this is certainly not normal for a teenage girl to have so little hair (I now have less than 50% of the hair I used to have as a child, and from the top of my head, my scalp is pretty visible). From what I can see, I do, in fact, have new hair that grow, but not many.

I am so desperate for answers. Although you may not have any precise answers for me, I’d greatly appreciate your point of view on my situation.

Thank you,
Linda

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Dear Linda,

Thanks for writing me and I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling with this. First things first, stop.. take a deep breath, let it all out and take a moment to reflect on how lucky you are that your hair loss has stabilized for the past two years. Losing 5 -10 hairs after a shower is remarkable, you’ll be the envy of all my readers :)

Having said that, I do understand your concerns and pain in having to deal with less hair than you had before. I must state upfront that I am not a physician and cannot provide medical information or diagnosis, anything I write is really just my opinion and knowledge gained from living with hair loss myself for the past 9 years (yikes that sounds like a lot). With that disclaimer out of the way I can continue on. [click to continue…]

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Yesterday I woke up with pain on my scalp, a soreness I hadn’t felt for quite sometime. I know what it’s called, Trichodyia. I dread it because in my experience it always seems to correlate with a impending hair shed. I’ve been doing okay so far, since I’ve reduced my synthyroid dosage and my hair loss has improved and seems more stable. But now this, why now? I certainly don’t tie my hair tight in a ponytail, it always fairly loose because if it’s tight I can feel every single follicle tugging. Why now? Even though nothing has changed today and yesterday, I just feel a great sadness. The thought of the possibility of enduring yet another shed brings me to tears. I’ve been in hazy lack luster state since this began, paralyzed by fear thinking I won’t be strong enough to take anymore… my hair can’t take anymore. I feel like I’m one shed away from being entirely bald. Eight years of dealing with this, I know that isn’t true, I know even with all the shedding I somehow manage to make it through and get by, but I still feel the sadness and the pain. I type this though tear obscured eyes. The possible impending shed isn’t even here and may never come yet the pain on the scalp was enough to made me incredibly sad. Like any other conditioned response, my hair loss as conditioned me to feel pain and sadness.~Y

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What a birthday present, sudden hair loss at 27! Michelle's Hair Loss StoryAbout a month ago I went to the Dr. because I noticed a severe increase in the amount of hair I was losing in the shower and when I brushed my hair. I am an active duty military member and I don’t know about ‘civilian’ Dr.’s but the one’s on base just seem to shrug off any medical condition as stress related these days. She actually said to me “I used to have really thick hair too; sometimes our hair phases get interrupted and it’s nothing to worry about.” I took a blood test to check my thyroid and she said it was ‘normal’, which to me means nothing because I’ve never had a thyroid test before so how does anyone know what my ‘normal is?! I don’t know if the Internet helps my plight as there seems to be almost an over-abundance of information out there and it’s sort of overwhelming me at the moment.

I just want to know what’s going on. I feel so helpless and I am usually such an in-control person that this is killing me. It started about 3 months ago; I lose about 200 hairs everytime I wash my hair and another 100 or so when I brush it. I am not on any medication and am completely healthy otherwise, no birth control, no nothing! I am honestly to the point of being afraid to touch my hair. I have short hair dark hair and it’s really beginning to be noticeable where my part is. I hate wearing a wool coat because I shed all over the back and collar!

I hate being so obsessed with something that has never been an important part of who I am. I never took more then a minute with brushing it and putting some gel in it. Whereas I used to complain about how thick it was, I am wishing I could go back in time. My partner tells me it’s going to be fine and there’s nothing noticeable but I can tell and it’s driving me nuts. I even started seeing a counselor to try and relax a bit and began taking pre-natal vitamins. (A pregnant friend thinks I’m overreacting and that it’s normal. Only problem is I’m not pregnant!) My mother, grandmother and even great-grandmother still have beautiful thick heads of hair so I don’t know what’s going on. If anyone has any advice or anything, I just feel so out-of-control right now. I just finished reading Taylor’s story and compared to her I feel like a real wuss. =(

-Michelle
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Dear Michelle,

Thanks for taking the time to share your story. I feel like there must be something that is causing your hair to shed at an accelerated rate. No birth control and no medications certainly eliminates a big section of the reasons why women’s hair begins to fall out. You didn’t indicate whether or not you’ve recently (over the last 6 months) experienced something traumatic or an extreme stressful event. Stress still is, and can be a possible cause of telogen effluvium (shedding) although I think often times it gets the bulk of the blame when the real cause is something else.

You also hit the nail right on the head when you indicated that your “thyroid” test is normal. What is normal? It’s not like we have been getting our thyroid tested annually since we were born. I’ve had my fair share of issues with thyroid and it’s primary treating medication, synthroid. Doctors frequently dismiss concerns about hair loss since it isn’t something that can “kill” you. I’ve actually been told that. My opinion on that is that it can certainly kill our spirit, and who we are. Sometimes we lose ourselves as we begin to withdraw more and more because of our hair loss. I frequently hope I’m bigger than that, not to let something like hair loss take such control over me and my life. But it already has, now I’m trying to get it back. [click to continue…]

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Unsure – Maria’s Hair Loss Story

by admin on December 10, 2007

Unsure - Maria's Hair Loss StoryI’ve read some of the other women’s stories here and felt compelled to share mine. I am almost 28 years old and am experiencing some hairloss. Today was the first day I actually talked about it, and cried about it with somebody (my mother). I have been too embarrassed and depressed about it to talk with anybody else. When you look at my hair I don’t think that I look like I am balding, but I lose so much hair every day and I know that my hair used to be so much fuller. I feel like it is going to keep getting worse and I am very worried.

I am in a relationship with the love of my life and I am afraid that if I continue to lose my hair he will not be attracted to me anymore. The worst part is that I am obsessed with my hair. Some of the other women have mentioned being obsessed with it and constantly touching it and looking at it in the mirror. It is so frustrating. When I wear it down I find hairs everywhere, on my shirt, on my boyfriend’s shirt, on my pillow…it is never ending!! I also find myself looking at other women’s hair and comparing mine or being envious of theirs (especially if they are older than me and have a thick head of hair). I’ve even gone as far as trying to keep count of how many hairs I am actually losing per-day because I am still doubtful that this could be happening to me, but I have to face the facts, the thin hair I have now is a far cry from the beautiful full head of hair I had when I was a teenager. I think it has been a gradual loss, but the past two years it seems to be falling out more and more. I started taking the generic BC pill for Ortho-tri-cyclen a few years ago and I am wondering if it could be from that. I want to stop taking the pill, but I am afraid I will get pregnant and then my hair will really start falling out from stress!!

I now have some doctor’s names that I am going to call and try to have some blood work and tests done, but I am afraid that there is nothing that can be done for me or that I will start taking things that will make my problem worse. When I spoke with my mother tonight, she said that she started to shed a lot of hair around my age too. In a way it makes me feel better because although she has thinner hair, she does not look like she is balding. Maybe my hair is just naturally thinning out. I don’t really know what to think, but I am going to be contacting some doctors and trying to get answers. I really feel the pain of the women (and girls) on this site and it does help to be able to talk to someone who understands what I am going through. I feel like everything is going so good in my life, but it can all come crashing down if I start to lose hair and suffer from low self-esteem.

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Dear Maria –

I am really glad that you were able to open up to your mom and tell her how you are feeling and how your hair loss is affecting you. The fact that your mom relayed to you that her hair began to thin around your age, but yet she still has maintained enough hair to not look like she has hair loss, is a really really good sign. It is not uncommon for women’s hair to gradually thin as they get older, it becomes an issue when it isn’t gradual at all, but very rapid and sudden. [click to continue…]

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21 and have been losing my hair for years - Jessica's Hair Loss StoryI think I started noticing my hair loss when I was mid-teens. It was not that big of an ordeal at the time, seeing as I knew I was a stressed and busy teenager (I was busy at school ALL of the time). However, as the years rolled by, I began to lose more and more hair. I am now losing hair at an exponential rate and I have no idea what to do about it.

My hair is very thin at the crown and sides of my head.. so thin that I can EASILY see my scalp. I try to hide it, but I really have nothing to hide it with, save a hat. I have gone to a doctor and a dermatologist, and all bloodwork is normal and I have no skin problems which would cause this. I was on birth control once when I was 18 or 19, but that really didn’t cause me to lose any more hair than usual. I am at a loss.

I am usually not one to care about these kinds of issues, but it has consumed my thoughts to the point where there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t want to break down and cry. I know that my lifestyle is not helping, but I can’t really change it without changing my career goal. I am a full time student and I work part time as a lab assistant. Outside of school, I spend a lot of time studying for the MCAT and doing other school work.. all signs point to stress, but I don’t know what to do about it. It would really help if there was someone to talk to or if anyone has any advice. I feel like I am falling apart…

******************************************

Dear Jessica,

I am curious to know if the doctors you’ve seen were able to offer you any type of possible cause for your hair loss? Women with hair loss frequently get back blood test results that “falls within normal range.” I know how unhelpful and frustrating that is because we want to point to something on paper as the identifying cause then work towards fixing it. Blood test results being categorized as “normal” gets to me, because what is “normal” for me may not be normal for another 29 year old and vice versa. So perhaps there is something there for all of us that seems to be consistently getting overlooked by physicians. [click to continue…]

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What Can Women Do To Stop Hair Loss - Dr. Judith ReichmanAn article came out today on MSNBC.com discussing women’s hair loss. I think the article provides a good overview of hair loss so I’m posting it here. The question asked to Today Show medical contributor, Dr. Judith Reichman was, “I’m in my early 40s and I’ve noticed sudden hair loss. I’m devastated. Why is this happening and what can I do?” (The original article can be found here) Here is her reply:

Women don’t expect to lose their hair (unlike men), so when it happens it’s extraordinarily traumatic. We normally have, on average, 100,000 hairs on our scalp. And as evinced by our changing hair lengths, roots and visits to our hairdressers, those hairs grow; in fact, 90 percent of our hair is actively growing at any given time. Hair is the second fastest growing tissue in our body after (I’d love for you to guess) … bone marrow. To keep its place on your head, your hair needs the right conditions. (Note I didn’t say conditioner.) You may find that you’re unexpectedly losing hair if you impose restrictions on hair growth or if your genes are such that continued hair growth is not in your destiny.

There’s a simple test you can do to help determine whether you are losing hair, it’s just thinning or you are damaging it by abusive hair products or pulling it too tight (which can occur with braiding). Pull on several strands of your hair — do they come out easily at the root? If so, it suggests that the hairs are indeed “shedding” and have gone into what we call an excess telogen phase.

To explain this telogen phenomenon, I must first go into hair physiology 101. As hair actively grows, it’s in the anagen phase. Each hair is connected to a hair shaft (or follicle), which remains in its secure position in the scalp for three to seven years before falling out and being replaced by a new follicle. Once the anagen phase naturally runs its course, there’s a two-week catagen phase, in which the hair follicle dies. The hair then goes into the telogen phase for the next three months, during which time it falls out. Normally we lose 100 telogen hairs a day, but in certain cases (and this sounds like your situation), many, if not most, of the hairs go into the telogen phase. This causes alopecia (balding). The condition of overwhelming telogen loss is termed telogen effluvium; the anagen to telogen ratio has gone from its normal 90:10 to 70:30 or less. If I do the math correctly, this means you lose at least 300 hairs a day, compared to 100 hairs. [click to continue…]

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Stacey's Hair Loss Story - Searching For AnswersStacey had posted this story as comment on this post, but I felt it should be a post of it’s own so I’m reposting her story here:

Hi, I found this web site today. I came in tears when I read this. I have finally found people who are going through the same similar problems as I am in my life right now. I am a beginner on this Hair Loss Adventure. Let me tell you my Story and maybe since you all been through more doctor experience then I have. You might be able to give me some Advise and Tips. At least, I hope you will be willing to help. Ok, Here it goes. :)

I was diagnosed with PCOS in Nov.of 2005, As well with border line Diabetes. ( Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) I was 23 years old. I am now 25. Doctors don’t know much about PCOS. They are still doing research on it. I did some looking up on it. ( Let me tell you what it is for those who don’t know: It’s where you have tumors that grow in your ovaries and can block and prevent your eggs from going through your tubes to make you become pregnant. As well as your body produces too much androgen and Hormones and your body could produce too little Thyroid Hormone as well. Which can cause you to have many Symptoms such as ad normal periods, No periods, No pregnancy, Diabetes, Heart disease, Heart attacks, High blood pressure, Excess hair, Acne, Skin tags, Early Menopause, Cramps from your ovaries, unexplainable weight gain, trouble losing weight, and so on and so on. There’s so far No Cure, Some Doctors say losing 20 to 30 pounds to get rid of the belly fat that maybe causing PCOS Or taking birth controls to help control the symptoms. (Which means slow down the process.) People can’t catch this by people who have PCOS. Everybody with PCOS are different. So, You may not get all the above symptoms. Doctors told me that the only way is to control the symptoms is through birth control pills and if I wanted to try to become pregnant is to take Metformin, If I have trouble getting pregnant. At that time, My hair was starting to receive in the front and lightly shedding.

Now, I have very little bangs And my hair is thinning from my bangs all the way back on top. [click to continue…]

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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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