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Androgenetic Alopecia Since 15? Currently 23, still managing. Pictures included/Seeking opinions!

Discussion in 'Tell Your Story' started by thetigersagain, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. thetigersagain

    thetigersagain New Member

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    My name is Kinsey. I'm a 23 year old woman who has suffered hair loss since I was about 14 or 15 years old.

    My grandmother is almost completely bald, and wears a wig, and my mother has fairly severe hair loss that she has been treating (with relative success, as compared to my aunt, who doesn't) for almost 20 years now. My grandmother is an identical twin, and very single one of their female children and grandchildren suffer from hypothyroidism. Additionally, everyone suffers from at least some degree of hair loss with the exception of one female cousin, who is the daughter of my uncle.

    I grew up with shiny, silky, wavy, beautiful (I'm sorry! I miss it! Rhapsodizing here) hair model hair. Hair dressers commented on it, friends wanted it, it was serious 80's music video babe hair. Tawny Kitaen would have envied me! I became fairly seriously anorexic at about age 13 1/2. I lost too much weight, was not taking care of myself properly, and around six months after my hair started falling out in handfuls. It was horrifying. I was scared and devastated, and my mother told me it was normal. At around this point I was (mis!)diagnosed with severe hypothyroidism and medicated for hypothyroid with levothyroxine. I became severely depressed around this point and spent a period on antidepressants. I was using recreational drugs, and had developed severe B.E.D. (binge eating disorder). I was not taking care of myself. At this point unaware of hair loss. I was gaining a lot of weight.

    At 19 I changed doctors and my current (great!) doctor discovered that I'd been misdiagnosed with hypothyroid and actually suffered from Graves' Disease. My medication was changed and in August of 2011 I underwent a total thyroidectomy, when I was 21 years old. After having my medication changed, my depression alleviated greatly, and I went on to lose fifty points through healthy portion control, cutting empty carbohydrates, and exercise. I still struggled with B.E.D. at this point in time, and do honestly to this day. I was unaware of my hair loss, still, at this point. Around 19 I remember noticing my long, thick hair was thinner than I'd used to think, but I let it go because my shed was consistent and not excessive. From 19-22 I had very short hair, mohawks and pixie cuts, that fully disguised any hair loss that might have been occuring.

    In July of 2012 I started growing my hair out, and noticed that my hair was thin to the point of being see-through in the bangs area. Knowing my mother's hair loss issues, I consulted my dermatologist. She said that due to the pattern, she would guess Androgenetic Alopecia, and told me to use Rogaine but that there was nothing else I could do. We did a blood test and I was found to be anemic, so I currently take iron supplements.

    As of now, I use Rogaine 5%, I take the BCP Ortho-Tricyclen 7/7/7 (? i think), use Nioxin shampoo twice a week, take iron and biotin supplements, eat healthily, use Salicylic Acid-free shampoo, and try not to think too much about my hair. I think my hair looks better now than it did when I first started treatment, one year later. I have considered seeing a specialist, but I currently live in South Korea and had previously been studying in India, so I haven't had a lot of access to Western hair specialists, and I don't know that Androgenetic Alopecia in women is something frequently treated here. My hairs feel like they have gotten thicker, where I apply Rogaine, and I think they look less like baby fuzz. At the moment, I'm going through a shed which I hope isn't going to become a Gollumish hairocalypse. It actually inspired me to post this. I'm hoping that finally (after years of having my thyroid vacillate wildly between hyper and hypo) all of my hormone levels are evening out and I can maintain the hair that I do have, if not improve regrowth.

    This website has helped me tremendously. I have never posted before but lurk regularly when I feel alone, and I just want to say, I think every single one of you is a knockout. Beautiful, beautiful women. This is one of the most supporting, nurturing communities on the internet and you all make me proud to be a girl. Thank you all for being here, and being so warm and lovely.

    Some days I feel like no one can notice my hair loss, and others, I feel like Gollum, especially when it's getting greasy. I am including photos here and would love opinions on my hair loss. Is it noticeable to most, follically-oblivious normal folks? It still looks pretty bodacious when it's down, but in a ponytail I've lost ~50% volume and you can see where it's getting lost from the sides. Also when it's dirty and I don't part it with a comb. Thoughts? Opinions?

    It feels good to share this with someone. Thank you for listening.


    photo-1.jpg
    My combed part-line.
    photo-2.jpg
    Hair in direct sunlight.... It looks thickish here but can look thin at times.
    photo-3.JPG
    At a geothermal vent on a mountain in Japan! It was windy.
    photo-4.jpg
    The dreaded doll-size ponytail

    photo-6.jpg
    Uncombed part, not in direct light
    photo.jpg
    A comparison of my mother and I. Her hair loss is much more severe, but she has very thick, wiry hair which helps to hide it, where my hair has always been very fine and soft.
    photo.jpg
    You can clearly see the loss in direct sunlight. Terrible obvious??
     

    Attached Files:

    #1 thetigersagain, Aug 18, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  2. BGS92

    BGS92 Guest

    Hi I read your story and sorry for your struggles.
    I'm sure YOU notice your hair loss because only you know your hair and how it used to be,
    but from the pictures you look completely normal, not balding at all.
    But I do believe your concerns on Androgenetic Alopecia, especially with your family history you are totally right on using Rogaine and being proactive if you feel your hair has thinned out.
    But don't worry that you look balding to other people who doesn't know your story with hair,
    cause you really really don't. Keep doing your treatment and good luck :)
     
  3. CKingAnswers

    CKingAnswers Established Member

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    Honestly- and I don't mean to minimize your hair loss- but HONESTLY I cannot see any thinning in your hair. I would LOVE to have your hair :) Of course you know your hair best...you know the history of your hair, how it was growing up, etc so I am sure you are much more aware of the differences since you started thinning. Just trying to ease your mind here in saying that no loss is apparent to unsuspecting eyes. Seriously, would never look at you and think you are thinning. And I check out everyone's hair every where I go, lol. I'd think you're one step ahead since you know your family history and are already on a regimen. Good for you ;) You're super pretty and your hair looks great...try not to stress too much and keep doing what you're doing.
     
  4. JKSZ

    JKSZ Established Member

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    I also think your hair looks great!
     
  5. thetigersagain

    thetigersagain New Member

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    Thank you all for the kind words. I can't tell you how reassuring it is to hear that my hair loss isn't noticeable!! I have lost about 50% volume from my ponytail and I used to have the kind of hair that was so thick it stood straight up when I cut it short, so the loss is very apparent to me, and some days I feel like everyone in the world can tell. I'm happy to hear I'm just being a little bit crazy about it.

    My dermatologist has done a pull test and examined my scalp, and did unfortunately confirm as concretely as possible without a biopsy the early stages of androgenetic alopecia :/. But yes, most days I try to feel lucky that I was aware of my family history and can thus be proactive and have more preventative treatments than most.

    The driving reason behind this first post was that I've been going through a big shed the past couple of weeks. No change in routine, that I'm aware of. Does anyone else have periodic big sheds? I had short hair for so many years that I can't even remember if I used to.
     
  6. BGS92

    BGS92 Guest

    If you have went through loss for almost 10 years and your hair looks as good as this, that is GREAT NEWS even though it might seem dark with the probable Androgenetic Alopecia going on. That means your hair loss has progressed slow and will probably continue to do so. Also, your hair still looks amazing and if you start treating it proactively now, you have a good chance at having good hair for a long long time. For me my hair went from thick to borderline balding in 11 months so things are not looking too good even if I try to treat it now. Of course you feel your hair loss volume, but you have not developed any pattern loss as far as I can see and that is really really really good trust me! Good luck honey I hope you catch the bull by the horns :) :) :) Hugs!
     
  7. This is my first post here and I just wanted to say I understand you.

    I used to have really, really, REALLY thick hair, everybody used to compliment it. but I dyed my hair a lot and it started to thin. It has been one year now that I am growing it on it's natural state (no more dying it!). For people that see me, they would certainly never think my hair is thinning, it looks normal or alightly above normal hair thickness, but I know it is and it is making me miserable and afraid. I am only 24 years old and I hope my hair won't get thinner than that.

    I know my hair and I know how it isn't what it used to be, so I feel for you.

    I am finally going to go to a doctor to see what can be done/what whold be done in my case. But I joined the forum to read from others that are going through the same as me.

    Thank you for sharing.
     
  8. snowflake

    snowflake Experienced Member

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    Looks really good!! Only you are aware no one else would guess!!
     
  9. thetigersagain

    thetigersagain New Member

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    Thank you for the kind words.

    Unfortunately I have been experiencing a shed that had lasted right around 2 months now- I've been using Rogaine 3% and 5% one time each per day, and maybe in July switched to 5% all the time. Since the beginning of August I went from losing maybe 20-30 hairs a day to losing between (I'm estimating) 70-150 hairs a day. Sometimes it seems like I'm brushing out handfuls! My thyroid levels were stable last time I checked, and I have not changed birth control, diet, or iron intake.

    Does this happen to anyone else? Will it just continue indefinitely?
     

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