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View Full Version : Losing long hair with white bulbs...what does this mean?



natfan05
July 9th, 2011, 06:04 PM
Hey everyone, after a long semester, I now have a couple weeks off to see if I can figure out what's happening to my hair. I've been meticulously observing my hair loss these days, as things seem to be getting worse. what I have noticed is that the hair I lose are always full-length strands with the white bulb at the end.

This is always the case. It's pigmented all the way through till the bulb. Same diameter as well.

Another thing i've noticed is that I don't see any new growth. I've looked under all kinds of light and all I see is more and more scalp. I can probably count the number of hairs I see in a 2" diameter.

I'm losing hair from all over. From the back of my head, from the top and quite a lot from the sides. I've set up an appt with my endo.

any advice?? TE? AGA?

mshistory
July 10th, 2011, 07:00 AM
The white bulb just means that the hair isn't breaking off. It happens in HL from TE and AGA, with the difference being that in AGA the hair that grows back is smaller and smaller until that follicle stops producing a hair at all. Since you have an endo, I'm assuming you have a thyroid condition? If so, that's likely the culprit with your HL. Good luck w/your upcoming appointment - I hope your doctor is able to give you some answers!

natfan05
July 10th, 2011, 04:20 PM
Thanks for the info. Just made a first-visit appointment with the endo. Don't think I have a thyroid issue but would like to get my hormones checked anyway, since earlier this year I had a cyst in my ovary which I think probably went away. We'll see if that visit provides me with some useful information. I don't even see tiny, thin hairs growing...I don't know what to do

novanne
July 11th, 2011, 12:31 AM
Hi All,
I am having same kind of hairloss. My HL has reached serious condition, but yeah, its the same way..till the bulb. I also cant see any growth. I went to trichologist who told me its AGA. So i got my hormones checked, but nothing is worng with them.. Any ideas? Is it possible that i might have been hormone problems but it got resolved somehow?

Thanks.

natfan05
July 13th, 2011, 02:36 PM
I hope we get some answers. I'l let you know what my endocrinologist says. My appt is scheduled for the 26th.

Marsen
July 24th, 2011, 01:52 AM
I shed a lot of those hairs when I started Rogaine. Pretty sure its TE.

mrm
July 24th, 2011, 04:50 AM
TE really? what makes you say? interesting. i have been shedding those recently too.

mshistory
July 24th, 2011, 06:29 AM
TE really? what makes you say? interesting. i have been shedding those recently too.

Shedding hairs with the bulb on the end occurs with AGA, too, so that doesn't necessarily mean TE.

livelifefaithlove
July 24th, 2011, 11:21 AM
The hairs that I shed mostly had the white bulb and I was diagnosed with aga. Do I follow western medicine much anymore..no they are really clueless about hairloss, and even more clueless about womens hairloss. So I mainly just say I have hairloss along with a strong will to get it back and it will grow back.
:jump: :jump:

otaku
July 26th, 2011, 01:48 PM
Hi Ladies,

I have am opposite situation: no bulbs and trikologist said there is a lot of broken hair in the pooled sample. does anyone know what it means? tks

mshistory
July 26th, 2011, 02:00 PM
Hi Ladies,

I have am opposite situation: no bulbs and trikologist said there is a lot of broken hair in the pooled sample. does anyone know what it means? tks

Have you had your thyroid tested? Hair can become brittle and break easily with hypothyroidism.

otaku
July 26th, 2011, 02:33 PM
Hi mshistory,
Thanks for your reply. from my childhood I have a bit overdeveloped thyroid gland, so, naturally, doctors check this issue at the first place. but they always say hormone tests look ok :dunno:

HollyGA
July 27th, 2011, 05:42 PM
I may be completely barking up the wrong tree here, but I thought hair always had some sort of white bulb when it shed, unless the hair had just broken off, and not come out from the follicle/root? The little bulb can be darn hard to detect with AGA though because its so pitiful and dried out to just about nonexistent!! At least in my case I find this to be the case.

Lost
July 28th, 2011, 03:56 AM
Yeah I thought with AGA the bulb is still there it is just really small right?

lemongrass
July 28th, 2011, 05:59 AM
A hair with a bulb is a telogen hair, ie a hair in the resting phase that has reached the end of its life cycle. You are supposed to lose hairs with the bulb. The issue is when you're losing many more hairs than is normal for you. If they all have the bulb, then this suggests telogen effluvium.


Hi Ladies,

I have am opposite situation: no bulbs and trikologist said there is a lot of broken hair in the pooled sample. does anyone know what it means? tks

I believe that what he meant was: a hair without a bulb is a broken hair, so a lot of the hairs that came out were hairs that were damaged rather than hairs that were supposed to come out based on the natural life cycle of hair. Again, some breakage is normal but if you're getting a lot of those you should look into general hair care and how you handle your hair.

SabrinaLouise
July 28th, 2011, 10:19 AM
I may be completely barking up the wrong tree here, but I thought hair always had some sort of white bulb when it shed, unless the hair had just broken off, and not come out from the follicle/root? The little bulb can be darn hard to detect with AGA though because its so pitiful and dried out to just about nonexistent!! At least in my case I find this to be the case.

That's me too - they are very very small.

natfan05
July 29th, 2011, 08:51 AM
Yeah I thought with AGA the bulb is still there it is just really small right?

Okay so my next question would be...if the bulb is really really small, is it AGA? I guess that sounds like a pretty inconclusive way to test yourself but I'm just trying to figure out what's going on here.

I did go see an endocrinologist. He was slightly helpful but not incredibly. Helpful in that he recognized I had a problem. I told him of a cyst I developed in March, screwed up my cycle, and then went away. At least I think it did because my cycle is normal. Then adding to the hairloss and having gained a little more weight than what's normal for me (not overweight but It's usually hard for me to pack on pounds, now I really need to watch what i eat...gained 6 pounds in 8 months), he predicited it's mild PCOS. I asked him how certain he felt that was true and he said not too certain but we can call it that for so that your insurance will cover it (long story short, my ins sucks). So i dont know how much of the diagnosis was a favor to me.

I'm getting off topic but the white bulbs are probably the diameter of my hair which stays the same thickness all the way to the bulb. :dunno:

littlenewo
July 30th, 2011, 08:39 PM
Sounds like pcos

Krisann79
August 7th, 2011, 07:24 PM
Hi Ladies,

I have am opposite situation: no bulbs and trikologist said there is a lot of broken hair in the pooled sample. does anyone know what it means? tks

Have you had your thyroid tested? Hair can become brittle and break easily with hypothyroidism.

Most of mine was like this too. No bulb at the end. I have Graves Disease (hyperthyroid) and am running hyper. I saw no new growth at all for about 2 months. Now just over 2 months I have tiny hairs everywhere. Hang in there. Maybe they just broke off and the hairs will grow back? I'm thrilled to see new growth but I don't want to get my hopes up just yet. What if those fall out too? UGH!

littlenewo
August 7th, 2011, 09:24 PM
Hey Krisan,
I have graves too, but am in remission, how long have you had Graves?

Krisann79
August 10th, 2011, 12:33 PM
Hey Krisan,
I have graves too, but am in remission, how long have you had Graves? I'm not. UGH! Hate Graves! I had my daughter then it went crazy. I had RAI 3/16, went hypo so he put me on Levothyroxine. Then I was having hyper symptoms eventhough I only tested slightly hyper..... so he reduced my dose from 75 to 50 mgs daily because he was treating my symptoms. Last time that I went in I was TOTALLY full blown hyper and he's now pulled me off of Levothyroxine all together! I set an appt for 6 weeks out from there and we'll reassess then. He's hoping that the RAI even worked! If not maybe I'll at least level out at close to normal? If not it's anti thyroid drugs for me.
So basically for now I'm hoping that as my thyroid levels naturally drop by not being over pumped with meds..... my hair will continue to grow back an fill out. So far I have a ton of little hairs but unfortunately I'm still losing about 150 hairs a day :(

Krisann79
August 10th, 2011, 12:36 PM
Hey Krisan,
I have graves too, but am in remission, how long have you had Graves? I'm not. UGH! Hate Graves! I had my daughter then it went crazy. I had RAI 3/16, went hypo so he put me on Levothyroxine. Then I was having hyper symptoms eventhough I only tested slightly hyper..... so he reduced my dose from 75 to 50 mgs daily because he was treating my symptoms. Last time that I went in I was TOTALLY full blown hyper and he's now pulled me off of Levothyroxine all together! I set an appt for 6 weeks out from there and we'll reassess then. He's hoping that the RAI even worked! If not maybe I'll at least level out at close to normal? If not it's anti thyroid drugs for me.
So basically for now I'm hoping that as my thyroid levels naturally drop by not being over pumped with meds..... my hair will continue to grow back an fill out. So far I have a ton of little hairs but unfortunately I'm still losing about 150 hairs a day :(
Littlenewo- I never answered your question in all that Lol! I've had Graves for 6 years now.

Marsen
September 10th, 2011, 12:06 AM
I may be completely barking up the wrong tree here, but I thought hair always had some sort of white bulb when it shed, unless the hair had just broken off, and not come out from the follicle/root? The little bulb can be darn hard to detect with AGA though because its so pitiful and dried out to just about nonexistent!! At least in my case I find this to be the case.

This is my opinion as well. Hairs affected by AGA will not have a thick white bulb because the follicles just keep shrinking.

Again, I shed tons of long hairs with thick white bulbs 1 month after starting Rogaine. Pretty sure those hairs were Telogen hairs and pretty sure that shed was a TE.

I disagree that AGA causes you to shed those hairs. If you are shedding those hairs (lots of them), you are having a TE. Im 100% certain on this. Good news, your hair will grow back too!

Vlal
September 10th, 2011, 04:17 PM
I did go see an endocrinologist. He was slightly helpful but not incredibly. Helpful in that he recognized I had a problem. I told him of a cyst I developed in March, screwed up my cycle, and then went away. At least I think it did because my cycle is normal. Then adding to the hairloss and having gained a little more weight than what's normal for me (not overweight but It's usually hard for me to pack on pounds, now I really need to watch what i eat...gained 6 pounds in 8 months), he predicited it's mild PCOS. I asked him how certain he felt that was true and he said not too certain but we can call it that for so that your insurance will cover it (long story short, my ins sucks). So i dont know how much of the diagnosis was a favor to me.


Is he actually testing you for your thyroid also? I was mis-diagnosed with PCOS for years, when actually I had a developing auto immune thyroid problem. IMHO losing hair and gaining a little more weight than what's normal for you can equally be from a thyroid problem as from PCOS without conclusive blood tests to say one way or the other.

natfan05
May 12th, 2012, 11:44 AM
My T4 came back normal when I had it most recently checked, and my TSH was in the normal range as well...

My symptoms however, are totally hypothyroid

-unusual periods
-sensitivity to cold
-fatigue
-dry skin
-constipation

It's hard to get my doctor to order other thyroid tests but what else would you suggest to make better sense of what's going on? Would starting iodine supplements be a good idea?

waterbaby
May 12th, 2012, 07:35 PM
Judging from the previous posts, not only do doctors not know anything about female hair loss, they seem equally clueless when it comes to thyroid problems! :thumbsdown:



Dear doctor,

I'd like to point out that the "normal" blood levels you use to decide whether my thyroid gland is working properly or not are not HEALTHY levels.

They are AVERAGE levels. It's not the same thing, especially when you're dealing with a disease that is so under-diagnosed in the general population.

Yes I know you've already lowered the "normal" TSH levels a bit after setting them too high for decades and leaving god knows how many hypothyroid patients untreated but the tests still don't match the clinical symptoms in your patients, do they. If a patient has a "normal" blood test and hypo or hyper symptoms it doesn't mean the patient is making it all up and imagining things. It means your blood tests aren't an accurate reflection of what's going on.

So you need to start all over again and find out what OPTIMAL thyroid function levels should look like in women. You need to design a blood test specifically for females too rather than mixing them up with men's levels because women seem far more prone to thyroid disease than men.

Right, how do you discover what healthy female blood test results should look like? First you gotta find some women with optimally functioning thyroids. That is not going to be easy.

Any female with hair loss needs to be excluded of course, any with an auto immune disease too, and probably best to exclude any female who has ever used oral contraceptives as well because sex hormones can affect thyroid function. And exclude women who've just had babies because their hormones are all over the place. And maybe menopausal women and girls going through puberty for the same reason. And best to exclude very old women because their glands are probably worn out and not working properly.

Your best bet is probably nuns with good hair... but not ones living near nuclear plants or Fukushima.

Also could you have a rethink about levothyroxine. I'm surprised you've never stopped to wonder why so many people have worsening clinical symptoms over time even though the pill you prescribed has made their blood tests look splendidly normal. Could it be that the only thing levothyroxine is really good at is getting TSH levels within "normal" range. What is this current recommended treatment all about...making blood test results look good or alleviating symptoms that made patients come to you in the first place?

Also how good do you think your current blood tests are at detecting thyroid disease in its early stages? One of the earliest symptoms seems to be hair falling out BTW... just thought I'd give you a heads up on that one doctor.

Cheers,


waterbabe.

natfan05
May 13th, 2012, 02:52 PM
You tell em! I feel like doctors just have it all wrong sometimes. They don't use their eyes and rely way too much and blood tests.

Vlal
May 14th, 2012, 06:08 AM
My T4 came back normal when I had it most recently checked, and my TSH was in the normal range as well...

My symptoms however, are totally hypothyroid

-unusual periods
-sensitivity to cold
-fatigue
-dry skin
-constipation

It's hard to get my doctor to order other thyroid tests but what else would you suggest to make better sense of what's going on? Would starting iodine supplements be a good idea?

Do you have your actual results and the ranges? If so, can you post them - that would be helpful. Have you had a thyroid antibodies tested? Free T3 is also very useful. Perhaps you might be able to order tests yourself - I know in the UK I can pay to get the tests done privately without a doctor ordering them.

natfan05
May 16th, 2012, 02:37 PM
Thanks for helping me understand these results:

TSH, 1.22
Range: .36-3.7

T4, 1.19
Range: .76-1.46

Total Testosterone, 79
Range: 10-75

DHEA: 9.8
No range was given.

Ferritin: 27
Range: 10-252

Haven't gotten antibodies to thyroid checked out, of course my doctor will probably say that's not necessary given my tests are not borderline. I'm at my wits end with all of this!

waterbaby
May 16th, 2012, 02:45 PM
You need to get T3 tested as well as T4... and antibodies! It took about 20-30 years for me to get properly diagnosed.

Also get him to test cholesterol, blood pressure, knee reflex and pulse.

I've got confirmed Hashimotos and my cholesterol is always too high, my blood pressure is always too low and although I'm 56 years old I've got the pulse rate of a top Olympic athlete. (Abnormally slow heart rate is very indicative of hypothyroid unless you're exceptionally fit). I also have slow knee reflexes.

If your doctor is anything like mine he'll completely ignore anything HE can't see like fatigue, brain fog, feeling cold, *imagined* hair loss etc .... but there are things he can test that point to hypothyroidism even if the blood tests say your thyroid is "normal"

Unfortunately the levothyroxine treatment I've been on for over 10 years has not improved my physical symptoms one iota. In fact, I feel MORE hypo than I was when I started treatment, even though my TSH levels are usually very low and my free T4/T3 look normal.

PS Hypothyroidism is a leading cause of high cholesterol. Do other people have high cholesterol too? I've never seen it mentioned on the forum and I was wondering if it was a common denominator.

waterbaby
May 16th, 2012, 02:55 PM
PS If you smoke, do not smoke before your blood test. Smoking lowers the TSH and makes you look less hypo than you actually are.

Vlal
May 21st, 2012, 06:08 AM
I had high cholesterol (just slightly) for first time in my life once I developed thyroid problems!! So annoying.

Natfan05 you need to get the 'free' versions of T4 and T3. From a HL perspective a high testosterone result and the fact your ferritin level is on the low end would be things I would chase up.