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Diffuse allover alopecia areata?

Discussion in 'Women's General Hair Loss Discussions' started by Daydreamer, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. Daydreamer

    Daydreamer Guest

    I don't know what to call it, or if there is even a term, but I have a strange pattern of hair loss. My scalp hair loss is a combination of male pattern and female diffuse (fun! fun!).
    I've been trying to come to terms with that. BUT in the past six months, I have started losing body hair. I don't have any of those classic alopecia areata, "bald spots" but rather it is like there was a battle and every fifth hair was left standing. Does that make sense :) ???So my leg, arm, everything hair is sparse. Same goes for my eyebrows and eyelashes. What is it? Does anyone have this type of hair loss???? Am I a freak?

    Also, what kind of tests do I need? I've already had a full endocrinology work-up done. Everything is "fine".

    Just the thought of another doctor downplaying my concerns (while everyone close to me can admit my appearance is different) makes me want to cry :cry:
  2. redclaire

    redclaire Guest

    Something is totally up. It is possible to have Difused Alopecia Areata. Have you had your ANA s checked?

    Do you know what your lab numbers were? I never trust "fine" from a doctor... I want to see the numbers myself.
  3. LuBee

    LuBee Guest

    I have the same pattern and diagosed with diffuse Alopecia Areata by a derm who only treats hair loss. She based her diagnosis on pattern and my own personal and family medical history of other auto-immune diseases. All my bloodwork, including ANA's and thyroid anti-bodies, was normal. I've read the only way to really diagnose diffuse Alopecia Areata is thru a scalp biopsy, even though no doctor has ever offered up one. I've also read even those aren't totally conclusive. It's all a guessing game, even for the doctors, as far as I'm concerned.
  4. Joann

    Joann Moderator

    Mar 25, 2005
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    Hi Daydreamer :)

    I found a picture of a woman diagnosed with diffuse alopecia. The site wouldn't let me copy and paste the picture but I have the link and you can scroll down the page until you find the heading of diffuse alopecia . The picture is there. It will give you an idea of what it looks like at least.


    LuBee is correct that usually they need to do a scalp biopsy to make the diagnosis and even that is not conclusive at times.

    Here is also the description of the various forms Alopecia Areata can take as written by Dr. Jerry Shapiro a well recognized expert on Alopecia Areata . I underlined the section about diffuse alopecia areata.

    " One can classify alopecia areata based on extent of disease or pattern of hair loss. Alopecia areata usually refers to varying amounts of patchy hair loss to larger areas of little or no hair: this kind of hair loss generally takes place on the scalp, but any hair-bearing surface can be affected.

    In alopecia totalis, all the scalp hair on the scalp is lost, and the surface of the scalp becomes totally smooth. Alopecia universalis means loss of all hair on the head and body, including eyelashes, eyebrows, underarm hair, and pubic hair.

    Alopecia areata can also be classified by the pattern of hair loss. Circumscript type means localized patch of hair loss. Reticulated type means that is there is a net-like pattern of hair loss in which irregular areas without hair are interspersed with areas of hair on the scalp. Ophiasis comes from the Greek word serpent. It is a pattern of hair loss that covers the periphery of the scalp like a serpent forming a turban over the edges of the scalp. This type of hair loss is more difficult to treat and this area of the scalp is more sluggish to treatment.

    Diffuse form of alopecia areata means a form of incomplete hair loss affecting the whole scalp without distinct patches. This type can be difficult to diagnose and may require a biopsy. To help in the diagnosis of any type of alopecia areata, the dermatologist always looks for exclamation point hairs- broken off short hair that taper (get narrower) toward the scalp."

    Hope this helps. Hugs. Joann
  5. Daydreamer

    Daydreamer Guest

    OMG I can hardly breathe. My eyelashes and eyebrows have been thinning for the past six months but just now I washed my face and when I was done--suddenly they fell down like snowflakes. How can this happen so quickly??!! Now there big gaps. I have to go to work tomorrow with next to no eyelashes. It's 12:10am and I have no where else to vent but here. And I feel like I could break down.
    Sorry, just so shocked and upset. My worst fears have come true. This is it, the quick end to my hair...

    I just posted this under "living with hair loss." I feel as high strung as I sound. This is my worst nightmare coming true. This slow, slow thinning has just sped up suddenly. And I feel nauseous.

    I will try to be logical....LuBee can I ask you to what extent has your diffuse loss gone to? Is it body hair as well? What are you doing to treat it? What does your doctor think caused it? Sorry for so many questions, I just havent heard of anyone else with this type.

    Joann, thank you for all that information. That picture of diffuse alopecia made me want to cry. I think that will be me soon. That definitely is like my pattern. I don't mean that in a negative way--I really appreciate all the resources. I'm gonna need them! Right now the thought of standing in front of a class full of students tomorrow morning (it's night here), feeling as self conscious as I do, I can't sleep :cry:
  6. ScaredSally

    ScaredSally Guest

    Oh Day Dreamer my thoughts are with you today ....

    Try to take deep breaths ... you will cause yourself to have anxiety attacks if you get as wound up as you sound ..

    Biggest hugs and prayers to yoiu
  7. redclaire

    redclaire Guest


    I know that this feels like a nightmare, but you'll be ok. We're all here. Below is a link to a site I like to visit to remind me that even in the face of " the worst thing ever" life goes on. Not only goes on, but beautifully and happily.


    I like the "real woman" pages... so many ages, sizes, colors, styles of beautiful brave women.
  8. minx

    minx Guest


    Hope you got through day. So sorry this has now progressed to your eyelashes and eyebrows. :(
    Take heart, we are all here for you so feel free to vent, cry rage whatever.....if it helps do it.

    Take care hun

  9. Daydreamer

    Daydreamer Guest

    I am no longer shocked or freaking out like last night--just really sad.

    I'm seeing my GP this weekend, with next to no eyelashes (not to mention my thin brows and scalp hair) she HAS TO believe me. Right :? ??!

    ScaredSally, thanks for the warm thoughts. You were right on with the anxiety attacks comment. I actually suffer from panic attacks and severe anxiety (take zoloft and xanax) that started WAY BEFORE the hairloss. This sh*t just isn't helping it at all. I noticed from another post you have some anxiety issues. You probably know where I am coming from.

    Thanks for the link, redclaire. I needed to see how beautiful my "nightmare" can be.

    And Minx, I appreciate you saying that. I actually felt embaressed this morning when I thought of my emotional post. I used to be able to handle whatever came my way. Until this.

    Thank God for this supportive site.
  10. redclaire

    redclaire Guest

    Don't ever be embarassed of an emotional post. So many here have gone through it or are going through it and there's a strange comfort in knowing that our fears and worries are not so out there, but are real and would be so in any other woman. It's that weird thing where we'd never wish this on another living soul, but at the same time there is comfort in knowing that we are not alone.
  11. Prini

    Prini Guest

    You're not a freak, if you are, one is writing back to you.

    I have the type of hair loss you express.
    I was told I have Androgenetic Alopecia from a scalp biopsy.

    I have anxiety too over this especially when the shed's up. It's all very normal, we are not made of stone. This is part of our body.

    I'm not going to tell you not to worry, because how can I?????
    Someone said to me "Peace is not needing to know what will happen next" - so sometimes I try to blank out my mind with that thought.

    I'm sorry you are sad, here's a cyber hug...........

  12. Daydreamer

    Daydreamer Guest

    Thanks Prini. I see now that this diffuse shedding is not so rare as I thought. I like that quote. I think we can drive ourselves crazy thinking about what will happen next?? How "far" will this hairloss go?

    BTW everyone, sorry about my eyelash post being on two threads. I'd made a new thread but then when I was continuing this "diffuse" query couldn't help but add what was going on.

    And Redclaire, thanks for saying that.
  13. maisydaisy

    maisydaisy Guest

    Hey Daydreamer,

    I know I'm a latecomer to this thread, but I just read your post and my heart goes out to you. I'm a teacher as well, and I know what it's like to worry about getting in front of that room of students and looking different from day to day... always wondering if they'll notice the changes in my hair situation from one day to the next. You're in my thoughts and prayers (as are all the wonderful ladies struggling with hairloss on these forums). If you ever want to talk or vent, I'm here for you!

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