26/F - Devastated and Confused

Discussions about the diffuse thinning experienced by women, usually after menopause
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greatcreator
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:04 am

26/F - Devastated and Confused

Post by greatcreator »

Hello Tom,

I've read through so much of the helpful information on this site.

My story:
I've been suffering from diffuse hair loss for almost a year. Before it started, I was on Loestrin 24FE for 3 months which I see is one of the higher androgen pills. After that, I took Plan B. I shed perfusely until January of 2012 in which it stopped for a while. I then began taking Microgestin FE 1/20 which lasted for 4 months, but the side effects were so awful I stopped taking them the end of March 2012. My shedding was fine until about July of 2012, now I see it slowing down a bit, I shed approximately 150 or so on Wash days, and about 100 on no wash days. All shed hairs have a telogen bulb. Also, i've always shed a bit more than the average, but in the midst of my dread sheds I was shedding over 200 hairs per day.

I see fine baby hairs along the top of my head and hairline, but I do have some spots that seem much more sparse and noticeably thin (like around my bang area) that I dont see growing hair yet. I definitely notice this was my hard hit area...is this possible with telogen effluvium?

No one seems to notice a change except me - my derm doesnt suspect FPB, and I can't think of a single person in my family male or female that is balding or thinning.

Is it most likely I have this due to the hormone shocks on my body?

all my bloodwork is normal (Ferritin, thyroid, iron, FSH and LH)

only thing that is elevated is my DHEA sulfate at 428mg on a scale from 30-340

thank you for any input you can give me. I feel hopeless and permanently self conscious of my looks.
Tom Hagerty
Site Admin
Posts: 629
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:21 am

Re: 26/F - Devastated and Confused

Post by Tom Hagerty »

only thing that is elevated is my DHEA sulfate at 428mg on a scale from 30-340
If you are a female between the age of 20 and 29 the normal range of DHEA sulfate is between 65 and 380 ug/ml (micrograms per milliliter). The younger you are the higher the numbers. DHEA is a weak steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. When you saw that your number was a little high, you probably read all about what that indicated.

The cause of your problem, most likely telogen effluvium, might be all the changes you made in your birth control regimen. Going from one pill to another or even occasionally stopping, changes your hormone balance. Hair follicles are extremely sensitive to hormonal changes.

Making a differential diagnosis between female pattern hair loss and telogen effluvium is often difficult. The hair loss in people with telogen effluvium is diffuse - no pattern. Also with this form of hair loss there are few vellus hairs - thin, short, unpigmented hairs. With male and female pattern hair loss there are usually many vellus hairs in the thinning areas.

Differential diagnoses or any diagnosis you get on the Internet, though, is unreliable. You are probably the best one to make an accurate appraisal of your condition after doing a lot of reading because you know what your hair looks like better than anyone. You've seen what it was like before the shedding and you see what it's like now. The good thing about your condition is that no one else seems to notice your thinning hair. When your friends start to make negative comments, that's the time to worry.
greatcreator
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:04 am

Re: 26/F - Devastated and Confused

Post by greatcreator »

Thank you Tom!

I am mostly trying to put my mind at ease.
I never had super thick hair but I had a lot of fine hair that was often hard to manage.

I am waiting on an appointment with my OBGYN to evaluate the DHEA-S level. I don't know if this is normal for my body as i've never had it checked before.

Im assuming the many short pigmented baby hairs growing in along my hairline and top of my head are a good sign?

I dont really see any vellus hair, although there are a few lighter pigmented baby hairs along the hairline growing in, but from what I noticed, they start to change to normal color after a certain length, I don't really think they are vellus. Is it accurate to assume most hair starts out finer and returns to normal pigment and diameter after growing out some? I think that's what I noticed with my hair.

I assumed I have TE from the hormonal changes, but I guess it is a gradual recovery process? I was hoping to see lots more regrowth
Tom Hagerty
Site Admin
Posts: 629
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:21 am

Re: 26/F - Devastated and Confused

Post by Tom Hagerty »

Is it accurate to assume most hair starts out finer and returns to normal pigment and diameter after growing out some?
After the new anagen hair leaves the hair canal or is pushed out of it by the old telogen hair, it rarely changes diameter or degree of pigmentation. A terminal hair (one that is thick in diameter and fully pigmented) once it leaves the hair canal stays that way. The same is true for intermediate and vellus hairs.

Most people believe that hair changes in texture as the months go by. It's doesn't. The characteristics of growing hair have been the subject of many scientific studies. What most people believe is wrong.
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