telogen effluvium

Stress Related Hair Loss - Anna's Hair Loss Success StoryHi Everybody –

I just want to share my story with all of the women who experienced stress related hair loss. I started noticing that I was loosing my hair when I moved to a different state to pursue a completely new career. I was so stressed with my job, my new home, my family life that I ignored that problem. Until I went home (I’m originally from Poland) and my friend asked me what’s up with my hair and how come I don’t have as much hair as I used to have. I realized that I did have much less hair to play with and every time I combed/ washed or styled my do I was loosing tons of it.

I noticed hair everywhere. My car seat, my coat, everywhere. I panicked when I noticed bald spots on the side of my head. I started taking vitamins for hair, using the best available shampoos and conditioners but that didn’t help a bit. I was loosing more and more hair. I couldn’t wear my hair down, I had to wear ponytail styled carefully so the bald spots wouldn’t show. I went to a doctor (dermatologist) four times and she couldn’t help me. I mean she completely ignored my problem and told me to use Rogaine!! I was furious with her, because I already did my research I knew that my hair problem was stress related. It wasn’t genetic so Rogaine was a completely wrong solution. I tried couple other doctors, but they were as ignorant as the first one. All they could think of was Rogaine and maybe a hair transplant.

My hair problem lasted 3 years. Sometimes I would be loosing less sometimes more, but the fact was that I had less and less hair on my head. I went back home (Poland) and I went to a dermatologist there. She ran lots of tests on me (yes, we have universal health care, It didn’t cost me anything) and suggested that I should try aminexil treatment. I did. I’m on my fourth week of the treament and it works!!! My hair stopped falling out. I loose maybe 5 (!!) hair when I wash it. Before I would loose tons, sometimes a chunk the size of the golf ball (200-300 hair probably). [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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Low Iron Stores: A Risk Factor For Excessive Hair Loss In Non-Menopausal WomenI found this study really interesting as it cites low iron stores as a possible contributing cause of women’s hair loss. I know one of the first things that usually gets tested when a woman complains of hair loss is the iron levels. Of course there is such a huge range of what is considered normal its hard to tell the optimal level for our body.

Here it is:

European Journal of Dermatology. Volume 17, Number 6, 507-12, November-December 2007, Investigative report

*Abstract

Author(s) : Claire Deloche, Philippe Bastien, Stéphanie Chadoutaud, Pilar Galan, Sandrine Bertrais, Serge Hercberg, Olivier de Lacharrière

Summary : Iron deficiency has been suspected to represent one of the possible causes of excessive hair loss in women. The aim of our study was to assess this relationship in a very large population of 5110 women aged between 35 and 60 years. Hair loss was evaluated using a standardized questionnaire sent to all volunteers. The iron status was assessed by a serum ferritin assay carried out in each volunteer. Multivariate analysis allowed us to identify three categories: “absence of hair loss” (43%), “moderate hair loss” (48%) and “excessive hair loss” (9%). Among the women affected by excessive hair loss, a larger proportion of women (59%) had low iron stores (<\; 40 µg/L) compared to the remainder of the population (48%). Analysis of variance and logistic regression show that a low iron store represents a risk factor for hair loss in non-menopausal women.

The article is broken down into the following areas

Introduction

Materials and Methods

  • Volunteers
  • Hair Loss Assessment
  • Biochemical Measurements
  • Statistical Analysis

Results

  • Hair Loss Quantification
  • Link Between Hair Loss And Serum Ferritin Levels

Discussion

This study, carried out for the first time on a very large cohort of women, provides strong arguments in favor of an association between depleted iron stores and hair loss, particularly excessive hair loss in women before menopause. [click to continue…]

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Spironolactone - Hair Loss Story & QuestionHi! First of all I want to say that this is a GREAT forum/blog and I give you a lot of credit for starting it, sharing your stories, and wanting to help others. THANK YOU, and I really appreciate all you’ve done and gone through. Stay strong, continue helping others and you will get through this!

I want to ask you about your thoughts on Spirinolactone, but should provide you some context first. I am 28 years old and started losing my hair around August of 2006. I was under a lot of stress with my job and not taking very good care of myself nutritionally either. So, I started with a family physician and had blood work done. Everything came back fine. She recommended I take a daily multivitamin. She also recommended me to a dermatologist. I finally saw a derm in January of 2007 (it takes FOREVER to get in) and they did some additional blood work and told me to start taking biotin as well as the daily multivitamin. Again everything was “normal” and that was it. In March of 2007 my excessive shedding stopped and my hair felt better again. So I thought the vitamins and biotin were helping and
thought stress had a lot to do with it, too.

THEN, in August of 2007 I started losing a lot of my hair again and am continuing to shed excessively. This time around the hair loss is more noticeable and my scalp is much more noticeable than the first episode. I did just move to a new state, change jobs, sell our house, etc., etc. I thought maybe it was stress again but knew I needed to see a derm to be sure. I live in Winston-Salem, NC and they have an excellent dermatology practice at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Medical Center. They have doctors that specialize in female hair loss!! So, I finally went early this week (after getting an earlier appointment because of a cancellation). I saw 2 doctors that were fantastic. They spent a lot of time talking through everything and came to the conclusion that it’s likely androgenic alopecia. BUT, they had me take every blood test possible in case it’s related to low iron, thyroid, etc. I’m still awaiting those test results. They also think some stress could be involved, but when they performed the hair pull test on me it was positive in some areas and not in others, likely female pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia). I am supposed to start using Rogaine for men and they will prescribe Spirinolactone if all of my blood work comes back “normal.”

So, do you know much about this drug? Does anyone else on the site know? [click to continue…]

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At the age of 20 years old, I decided to go on birth control, so my doctor prescribed me to “Symphasic”. About 3 or 4 months later, I realized that my hair was thinning, I left it for about 6 months.. and then I went to my doctor, and she switched me to a different birth control – Yasmin. I thought it would be the answer, and I would be cured… but I was FOR SURE wrong. The hair loss got worse. Every month I lost a little more. It wasn’t until this past June that I decided to give up birth control all together and hope for the best. My hair loss began to stop a little, until around the middle of September, and that is when it started shedding more, and it continues to October, which is now. I keep hearing that it takes up to 6 months or more for birth control to get out of your system, and I HOPE that I will then grow my hair back, but what these women on the this site have to say is no hope.Does this sound exactly what you women have gone through? I am starting to get scared. I have had blood tests- and apparently there is nothing wrong with me. Should I be hoping that going off birth control was the best thing, and I will grow my hair back? I am so stressed about it, and like other women say… it takes up about 98% of my thoughts every day! I am crazy self conscious and i cant stand it any longer. if you could please write any comments or suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated!Thanks so much
Sarah

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Hi Sarah,

I read your story and I instantly was taken back to 8 years ago since your hair loss began around the same age mine did. I have to point out that I’m not a doctor, but here is my opinion on your situation. Honestly Sarah, I think you have a really really good chance of recovering from this completely, I’ll tell you why. The duration of time you were on the pill wasn’t very long, and also Yasmin is suppose to be a low androgen index birth control pill so I don’t think the damage it would cause would be as severe as say the pill I took, which was Loestrin FE, the highest (or at least was the highest) androgen index pill. I’m not sure about the Synphasic birth control pill because I’ve never heard of it, I tried to Google it and didn’t find much on it, however, on the upside I didn’t find anything good or bad on Synphasic, which I think is a good sign. When you type in the pill name I took “Loestrin” and “androgen index” or “high androgen” you’ll find TONS of stuff that point to women having hair loss problems, a lot of sites explaining it is a high androgen pill etc etc. I don’t even know why they prescribe it to women and I certainly don’t know why they had prescribed it me at 20 years old. I didn’t find anything like that about Synphasic, that’s not to say that the pill wasn’t bad for you, obviously it was, you had hair loss from it, but at least there isn’t an overwhelming about of negative stuff on it. I think that’s a good sign. [click to continue…]

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Drugs That Can Cause Hair Loss

by Y on October 3, 2007

Drugs That Can Cause Hair LossI was asked if I could provide a list of a drugs that can possibly trigger hair loss. I would like to start the list off with my current nemesis, Synthroid. Synthroid is a common medication that is prescribed to treat hypothroidism. Apparently it is a pretty common side effect to experience hair loss from it for those individuals who are sensitive to the medication. I’m sure there are plenty of women taking the drug with no adverse effects to their hair, but it should not be overlooked as a possible contributing factor to your hair loss. The listed “side effects” section on drugs.com it indicates that the hair loss is “usually temporary,” and the “special warnings” section indicates that “it is temporary,” well is it or isn’t it? Of the several doctors I’ve spoken with they have confirmed that it does cause hair loss in some individuals, and not the temporary kind, at least not until the problem with the medication is resolved. Just as a low thyroid (hyopthyroidism) can cause hair loss so can an overdose of the medication Synthroid. The following are signs of over stimulation:

Abdominal cramps, anxiety, changes in appetite, change in menstrual periods, chest pain, diarrhea, emotional instability, fatigue, fever, flushing, hair loss, headache, heart attack or failure, heat intolerance, hyperactivity, increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, irritability, muscle weakness, nausea, nervousness, palpitations, shortness of breath, sleeplessness, sweating, tremors, vomiting, weight loss.

You do not necessarily need to be experiencing all of these symptoms to have an overstimulated thyroid caused by your thyroid medication. I put it out there so that you can have this knowledge in case you begin to notice hair loss after starting the medication or having your dosage raised. That is another factor to keep in mind, if you have recently had your dose raised after years of being at a certain dosage level, it is possible that the increase in dosage was too much for you body. You should talk to your doctor or seek another opinion from an experienced and knowledgeable physician, an endocrinologist may be a good choice.

So without further ado here is the list of drugs that can possibly cause hair loss, also note this is not the complete comprehensive list, just the more common ones known. [click to continue…]

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Tips For The Female Hair Loss Sufferer

by Y on September 27, 2007

Tips For The Female Hair Loss SuffererI hope for this to be a constantly evolving list with other women adding their own suggestions that have helped them. These are a few that have helped me to try and avoid focusing on my hair loss and just live a more normal life.

1. Be positive and maintain hope. Everyone’s hair loss situation is very different, and yours may actually be telogen effluvium caused by some type of stressful event, or perhaps may be a temporary shedding due to a hormonal change. If it is not, you still must remain positive, even on the down days. Believe that there is a possibility of a brighter tomorrow.

2. Vacuum A LOT. I think the vacuum is the hair loss sufferers’ best ally. By vacuuming frequently you avoid seeing all your hair all over the place. The less hair I see on the floor or on the counters the better I feel, even when I am shedding a lot. Constantly seeing your hair everyone is just a frequent reminder of your suffering and doesn’t allow you to focus on other things (at least that is the way it is for me).

3. Get Rid of Your Shower Drain Hair Catcher. I’ll wait while you throw it away 🙂 That thing is evil! Counting your hairs is one of the cruelest forms of self torment. I am guilty of it myself.

4. Invest in a sticky roller brush. I make sure before I leave the house that I’ve given myself a once over with those sticky roller brushes that are meant to pick up animal hair (I even keep one in the car). I do this because I would prefer to take the hair off my own clothes rather than have the person I’m with feel compelled to pick it off my back for me. UGHH. I hate that. If I was having a good day, that would ruin it for me. I once had a friend I was out with tell me how much hair I was shedding… gee thanks. This was early on in my hair loss and she had no idea I was losing my hair, but that certainly put a damper on my day. I also had another person tell me I was shedding like a cat, I think you know how the rest of my day went after a comment like that. [click to continue…]

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Creating Women’s Hair Loss Awareness

by Y on September 26, 2007

Creating Women's Hair Loss AwarenessSeeing so many women walking around with hair loss is agonizing. I just want to run up to them all and give them a big hug, let them know that I know exactly how they are feeling about their hair. I notice all the little things that probably no one else does, the frequent touching to the head, eyes down, general display of uneasiness. I look at all those women, and I see myself. Do they see me? I do those same things as well. I wrote a past post talking about the high prevalence of hair loss in women today, called “Hair Loss, Hair Loss Everywhere – What’s In The Water?

Shouldn’t there be a universal sign all women hair loss sufferer’s should have to acknowledge from afar that we are one of the same. I feel like jumping up and down and waving my hands in frustration that there is so little women’s hair loss awareness. It is a life upsetting disorder, it has robbed me of being the person I really am. Feeling self conscious has thrust me into the gates my home and made me a prisoner for years. I am working on improving that, improving my situation, improving my life. Realizing I am more than my hair and if other people judge me because it, then shame on them.

How do we create more women’s hair loss awareness? It’s hardly ever taken serious by the media, it is frequently not taken serious by doctors. Several of the doctors I visited early on in my hair loss either brushed me off saying that they didn’t see any hair loss or stating that it was probably “just” telogen effluvium that would stop on it’s own. Hello doc, that was 8 years ago. Where has the bedside manner of physicians gone? When they do tell you it’s androgenetic alopecia (female pattern hair loss) they frequently like to allay any of your fears by letting you know “hair loss isn’t going to kill you.” Maybe not, but it has killed a part of me, a part of me I haven’t seen or known for the last 8 years. I have made myself sick over this, and it has caused tremendous feelings of hopelessness and despair.

So I guess that’ll be my universal sign to other women suffering with hair loss, I’ll jump up and down like a crazed lunatic, flailing my hands wildly above my head, at least that would make you smile 🙂

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