hair loss

My PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Therapy Experience

by admin on November 12, 2009

It has been quite a long time since a treatment has come along that I would entertain trying. That was until I started to hear more about PRP therapy. In my post titled “Is PRP Therapy a Viable Treatment For Women’s Hair Loss” I wrote that I was more of a “wait and see person,” but I thought… “What the heck?” I mean I really could not find a downside to trying it, and I have been reading really positive things about this treatment. I of course had concerns:  Will it hurt? Will it make my hair fall out more? Will it hurt? Will it hurt? Will it hurt? :)  I think the least of my concerns was that it would do nothing at all.  I felt it was definitely worth trying, and that the payoff would potentially greatly improve the quality of my hair and decrease the shedding. At this point of my hair loss life, that is really my goal – just to keep what I have. Early on in my hair loss, probably for the first 5 years, I prayed constantly for ALL my hair to come back. Now I think I could be happy with the hair I have left, if I knew it was going to stick around for awhile.

So the PRP Journey begins. I flew to Tampa, Florida to have this done with Dr. Joseph Greco. The night before my treatment I went out and had a few drinks, not sure that is proper night-before-treatment protocol, but hey, I needed to relax!

The morning of the treatment I awoke quite early and simply couldn’t get back to sleep. I had PRP jitters. All my nerves really centered around “pain.” How MUCH pain would be involved?

I took a cab over to the doctor’s office and waved the driver goodbye, thinking… “wait come back!” I still was having my concerns about whether or not I could go through with it. I scan the office numbers on the glass window doors of the building complex and finally happen upon 113. I walk in and am welcomed by a bubbly blond hair receptionist, soon enough I’m filling out the patient forms. It isn’t long before the doctor walks out to greet me. We go into his office where he explains what will be happening, and also how PRP works. For all I know he was explaining the rise and fall of the roman empire. I must admit I felt a little bit like one of the students in Charlie Brown listening to the teacher, and all they can hear is “Wah wah wah wah.” I was too anxious to be in a learning mode. I expressed my concerns about PAIN and he reassures me that it really wouldn’t be bad at all. I still had my doubts. But, by that time I am fully committed to having this treatment done.

I am taken into the room where the treatment will be done and introduced to Dr. Greco’s assistant Valerie. Fist step of this process is to have my blood drawn. Now THAT I knew I could deal with. I’ve had my blood drawn a zillion times. No problemo. Valerie happens to be really good at it, and finds the vein the first try, no pain. I’ve had people draw my blood where they seem to use me as a pin cushion. But Valerie is no doubt a pro at this.  The blood is drawn, and they then take it into another room where they then spin the heck out of it in a centrifuge to obtain the platelet rich plasma. I sit in the reclined dentist like chair, thinking about, you guessed it… Pain… is this going to hurt?

I’m not sure how long the spinning process took, perhaps 15 minutes. Now the numbing process begins. My head is numbed using small injections of lidocane around the perimeter of where the treatment will take place. I forgot to mention that while my hair loss is diffuse all over, the doctor only treated the top portion of my scalp because he stated that there is platelet migration downward. [click to continue…]

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I Will Beat This – Jessica’s Hair Loss Story

by admin on September 11, 2009

I had written awhile back but wanted to send you my story again, and this time post some positive updates.

One thing that I noticed way back when my hairloss journey started, was that the negative posts and testimonials by far outweighed the positive ones. My fear was that most women were losing this hairloss battle. My hope was that once they solved their hairloss nightmare, they were too busy not worrying about their hair to post their updates. I want to submit my story because I am having positive results as I attempt to figure out what has happened to my hair and how to stop the cycle of loss.

It was 2004 when my life changed. It was 3 months after I had stopped taking birth control (alesse) and my hair was coming out in ropes. I’ll never forget taking a shower before going out one Friday evening, and my hands were covered with hair. At the time, I had no clue that it was related to the cessation of using birth control. I thought I was dying, from cancer, from something. I stayed home that night and didn’t go out, I’ll never forget sobbing the whole evening, scouring the internet trying to figure out what was going on. My vanity was bruised. I remember feeling too ugly and embarrassed to be social or even go to the gym. I took a 3 week leave of absence from my job to go be with my then-boyfriend (now wonderful husband!) in Europe where he was for work. I needed his support and he was truly there for me no matter how embarrassed I was. I had extensions put in after much research, just to make me feel like I had hair again. I did everything I could to mask what was going on with my hair, while I devoured information to figure out what happened to me. It was then that I realized it was the birth control pill.

I made the mistake of jumping back on birth control because doctors told me that I might be responsive to a hair-friendly pill like Yaz or Yasmin. I chose Yasmin and figured I would just stay on it the rest of my life if I had to. Back then, all I cared about was how I looked, not about my health. I kept the extensions in for about 2 years. One day I went into the salon to get them done and my stylist said – “You know you don’t need these anymore. They are just your security right now. Your hair is fine.” What?? My hair was fine?? I was so used to the weight of the extensions that I didn’t believe her. She washed my hair and cut it without the extensions, and we blowed it dry. She was right, I looked totally normal. I was ELATED. I don’t think I stopped touching my hair for days. It was all mine, and I looked absolutely normal. It had thin spots, sure, but I could wear it up or down and it had body and I looked like me again. It was not nearly as thick as it was before the loss, but it was enough. [click to continue…]

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I don’t even know where to begin. I am speechless and have not yet managed to pick my jaw up off of the floor. I sit her blankly staring at the computer screen, thinking that world has gone to hell in a handbasket.  I  was sent a link to a page that contained an iPhone application called “Hair Clinic.” The site claims it to be “The World First Mobile Hair Clinic System” Is it just me, or should there be an apostrophe “s” after the “d” in “world?” I’m no grammar diva, but that looked a little off.

But I digress.

Word for word, their website states:

“HAIR CLINIC, the iphone application helps you to protect it easily Various types of Inaudible wave frequencies from iPhone speaker protect your hair and hair roots with following 3 steps.”

By the way, that is exactly how it is actually written on the website. Was that English?

You simply must be busting at the seams to find out how this innovative product works. Well slide to the edge of your seat ladies, sit up straight and listen:

10 minutes a day – 3 protecting hair solutions :)

1. Cleaning – Keeping pores clean for 3 min.
2. Massaging – Promoting blood circulation for 4 min.
3  Improving – Improving function of hair roots for 3 min.

How does an iPhone application do that? I’m particularly interested in # 3. (??)  Just picture it now, you could be at lunch with the girls, whip out your iPhone and start “improving” your hair loss. Do you rub the phone on your head for the massage? Do you need to turn your phone on vibrate first? The whole thing in incredibly funny, from the words and sentence structure on their website, to the whole concept of an iPhone application for hair loss.

The application was just released on April 20, 2009 – I guess they missed the date they should have released the product, April 1st!  So for only $3.99 you can be the envy of all your friends.

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Advair, Muppets, and Poor Health Decisions

by admin on April 16, 2009

Hair loss impacts our lives in more ways than most people could possibly imagine. It is part of the equation for many things, including choice of outfit (if you are fair haired like myself, black shows the fallen hair the most) time allotted for getting ready, deciding to even go out in the first place, and enduring the torture of hair prep and frustration. Frequency of showers, frequency of combing, hair up, hair down etc. But even worse than that, I have found it has crept into matters of treating my health conditions. I have fairly not-so-great asthma and I have avoided using the suggested and prescribed preventative treatments because I feared it could *possibly* worsen my hair loss condition. So, I always went without and lived with my asthma not really being fully controlled. Back in 2004 I was prescribed Advair by my allergist and I took the plunge and began treatment. That stuff is awesome. I mean seriously, for the first time ever I knew what it was like to not have asthma. I could do all the things that normally causes flair ups, like run, laugh like crazy or even cry, all without having to reach for my trusty inhaler.

Well as the months past my voice began to deepen. First it was raspy, then sultry like Demi Moore, then it turned Kermit The Frog. I mean seriously imagine trying to interact in society with hair loss and a voice that sounded like you came straight from the Muppets. Well shortly after the Kermit stage, I lost my voice completely and it got to the point where I didn’t even know if words could come out of my mouth when I spoke. So I stopped taking it. I do want to point out that all while I was taking the Advair I did not notice any worsening of my hair loss, nor when I stopped it. But bye bye Advair and months later, hello voice.

So fast forward to today. It seems that over the last couple years my asthma has taken a turn for the worst and I find myself using my inhaler more and more. I also find myself at the local urgent care, more and more. And even though I am frequently told to get on a preventative treatment such as Advair, I refuse. Why? Well now I have it in my head that *maybe* just *maybe* it could make my hair loss worse. I can’t believe how stupid that is. I opted to not properly treat my asthma because I was afraid any medication I took would worsen my hair loss. I am seriously embarrassed admitting that. Well last night was the last straw. My asthma was so bad I nearly landed myself in the emergency room, I made it through the night and went straight to the doctor at 8:00am. [click to continue…]

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In September of 2007 Taylor shared her story with the Women’s Hair Loss Project. She has now written to share her update with us.
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As of June 08 I began to be able to stand and walk, after beginning a new treatment that was made available to treat the nerve damage I had in my legs and back from my accident. Now, almost a year later I’m up as if nothing ever had gone wrong. I’m still getting a hang of the whole running thing though, it’s quite the sight. All my health issues completely disappeared, but alopecia decided to come back and pay me a visit.

My hair began to fall out in late November, just before I graduated from college. At first it was just a little more then usual when I was washing my hair. I reasoned that it was because I hadn’t brushed it for a few days so all the hair that fell out naturally had not yet been removed. It became more and more noticeable until there was just no convincing myself that I wasn’t relapsing. I was devastated because I felt that for once my life had been going right, and for the first time in so long I had the opportunity to just be a normal girl and fit in with everyone else. I felt like I was being punished, as ridiculous as it may sound.

One night in the early hours of the morning I came back to the Women’s Hair Loss Project to read what I wrote about my first experience with Alopecia. I felt like a hypocrite, talking about how inner beauty matters the most and there I was falling to pieces because I was losing my hair again. But I had to laugh at how much times had changed since re-reading what I wrote (especially about my ex!). This time around I was very lucky to have such a good support system; my amazing friends Jess and Matt who were there to pick me up off the floor and knock some sense into me. I really don’t know what I would’ve done without them. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt since Alopecia’s… graceful return is that what makes us different, makes us beautiful. Our hardships in life really define who we are as a person, and without them we wouldn’t learn and we wouldn’t grow. Alopecia makes me look unique, which is something I’ve come to embrace. I know so many people who look and act like clones, being a carbon copy of someone else would be a nightmare to me. [click to continue…]

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OOKISA Hair Products – Promises, Promises

by admin on March 17, 2009

The other day I was surfing the internet and stumbled across an advertisement for the OOKISA hair products.  The advertisement stated it regrows hair, so of course I had to immediately inspect it. I quickly clicked on to the link and was taken to the OOKISA website. I was greeted by the little cartoon above, which I have to admit, is super cute. In fact it actually is a little animation, and her hair goes from short to long on a loop. I want to preface this post by saying I am not trying to attack the product, but I have some serious issues with the claims they are making on their website. I have no issue with the hair volumizing, extra shine claims, I definitely think that is possible with a really nice shampoo, but hair growth?

Their website states the following, “In addition, these ingredients improved hair flexibility, enhanced moisture retention and stimulated key factors involved with the growth of new hair. This resulted in an overall youthful appearance to hair.”

What are the key factors? I searched the product list and found a:

Fortifying Shampoo” which the company states “powerfully cleanses and removes polluting and clogging substances that damage hair and keep you from achieving optimum hair thickness.” Contrary to what some may believe, clogged pores do not cause hair loss. Having said, that it is nice to be squeaky clean, so okay I’ll bite, and say this may be a nice quality shampoo for having clean hair.

They also offer a “Replenishing Conditioner” which states “moisturizes hair and is lightweight,” big plus for thin hair gals, but still haven’t seem the active growing agent.

I spot a  “Instant Volumizing Souffle” which I admit sounds quite tantalizing to my follicles. Do I put it on my head or eat it? I love soufflé! [click to continue…]

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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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A blog from the network, written by Bonnie.

Well, this was intended be a simple little blog about asking you all to sign a petition asking Bayer, the manufacturer of Mirena, to fully disclose the side effects of Mirena to potential patients.  But in checking back to the Mirena website to make sure I accurately used their wording concerning hair loss, I have now found that instead of just burying it as an “uncommon side effect, affecting less than 5% of users,” they have now removed it all together.  I am so outraged that I am literally shaking!  I am almost in tears.  When I initially figured out that the Mirena was what was causing my hair loss, I found on their website that it listed “hair loss” as an uncommon side effect (though I do not feel that something affecting up to 1 in 20 users should be considered “uncommon”).  In January, they updated their site to read “changes in normal hair growth cycles.”  And now, the only place that you can find anything listed on their site about hair loss is under the Physician Information tab.  It lists Alopecia as an uncommon side effect.  “Alopecia is NOT listed in the Patient Information or Safety Information section at all.  It simply says, “for a complete list of side effects, please contact your health care provider.”  The pamphlet I was given did not list hair loss, alopecia or changes in normal hair growth cycles.  How in the world are women supposed to get accurate information?

I had a Mirena for 11 months beginning in 11/07.  Without even going into the horror story of how it was inserted, I basically bled for almost 11 months straight, and was told this was “normal” and that it would eventually stop.  I noticed significant hair loss in August 2008 and was diagnosed with a very low ferritin level (I guess that’s what happens when you bleed literally all of the time!).  I did mention the Mirena to my GP but she did not think it was a factor.  I started taking iron supplements, as well as many other vitamins, but my hair loss just continued and I became very depressed.  My hair loss got worse and worse and I just could not figure out what was causing it.  I was literally always the healthiest person I knew. [click to continue…]

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Helping Another

by Rebecca on March 1, 2009

This beautiful story of inspiration, strength and understanding  was written by Becca, a member of The Women’s Hair Loss Project Network.

Yesterday started like one of those days that you don’t even want to get out of bed for me. Tuesday, my 2 year old and I both had the stomach flu, so between her vomiting anything that went in and me having a mind numbing headache, we survived. My husband decided that he would take the day off yesterday to help us recooperate and maybe do the five loads of vomit laundry that we accumulated. I had to get my normal bloodwork done, I have it done every two weeks because of my hypothyroidism, so we had to find a lab that would accept my new insurance. I had some bad experiences in the past with waiting in the lobby of these places, till they actually forgot I was there and turned out all the lights. I didn’t want another experience like that, especially being sicker than I normally am.

I reluctantly put on a wig, it was colder here so no bald head outside, and we left the house. Once we got to the labcorp building I just wanted to go home and lay in bed with a bucket. After registering with what I thought was just a receptionist, she informed me she does the whole shebang, registery, bloodwork, and follow-up. While she was entering all my new information, she turned around and said, “Ya know, I was just diagnosed with what you are getting bloodwork for.” I laughed a little and said good luck! Here is a woman in her early 50’s, very put together, almost looking defeated when I said that. I realized how it came across and I explained to her that what I have is a very rare form of the disease and all my symptoms are extremely heightened. She asked me about some of the symptoms, like my hands and feet fall asleep, my joints ache, exhaustion constantly, etc. And then she mentioned hair loss. I’m not one to get embarrassed, so I just told her, “Yeah, mine is so bad, I shaved my head a few weeks ago.” She just looked at me and then told me that she too, is having hair loss in quarter sized patches and it scares her. I thought of all you ladies immediately!! I could see in her face this look of upsetedness and sympathy. I knew what I had to do for her and the hairlossproject. I told her how devastating it was for me at first and how I found support with you ladies. I told her how I cried all the time at first and really felt alone. I told her that acceptance will come, no matter what happens with her hair. [click to continue…]

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Living a Bald Life

by admin on January 15, 2009

Mary discusses living with alopecia, and how attending a Bald Girls Do Lunch event dramatically changed her life. Read Mary’s full story here.

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