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JayPea's Story (24, Suspect TE v Androgenetic Alopecia)

Discussion in 'Tell Your Story' started by JayPea, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. JayPea

    JayPea New Member

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    Hello all!

    First let me say this is going to be a huge post. Bear with me and if you make it to the end, you deserve a cookie.


    My hair has always been quite thin, especially around my hairline. I’ve always had a high hairline and I was never able to style my hair different ways. It is very fine and sparse at the top, right at the front, so that nothing really looks decent. For a long time I was using a deep side part and using hair spray to kind of hide my lack of a real hairline. This was fine for a while when I had a bit more hair on the sides of my hairline to use to cover the front-most part. This worked for me for many years and I never really thought I had an issue of any kind. I never noticed excessive shedding, but looking back now I can recall multiple people making remarks about my hair ending up everywhere. I was known to clog drains too but I also had long hair, and a lot of it. I thought it was perfectly normal. After a while however, I started to become more self aware about my hair. I would say around 2014 I began to really notice and become annoyed by the fact that I could never really wear my hair completely back or off my face without it looking quite odd. I always had to have that side part that I would, for lack of a better expression, latch onto my forehead with hairspray. I started looking into things but not going too crazy. I started to supplement with Viviscal and also started using concealers late 2014/early 2015. I don't think I really needed them at that point, it was more for my own peace of mind. I should note that I have never had a very healthy diet and I attributed that to my hair issue. I still do, partly.


    Fast forward to December 2015, I got news that my Mom wasn't doing well at home, she was no longer working and not taking care of herself (not eating, getting groceries). Doctors thought it was depression from my father passing away, he died in April 2014. Fast forward a bit later to February of this year, I get a call that my mom fainted at a grocery store after not eating for a few days and is in the hospital. The doctors say she has an odd mass in her brain that may require surgery. All of this is unloaded on me at the age of 23. I live in a small one bedroom apartment and make a little more than minimum wage- I cannot afford to take care of my mother. I cannot move in with her as she lives over two hours away from my place of work. I cannot afford the gas or wear on my car. She lives in the middle of nowhere and there are no jobs around. The situation is impossible. Needless to say, I've been completely stressed out since February and I believe this triggered my hair loss to the extent it is at now.


    I made a doctor's appointment because I knew the stress from this situation was going to make everything much worse. (I remember actually bracing myself while this was all happening, knowing full well I would see the ramifications in three months time). The doctor told me it was probably just aging, I didn't "look" anemic, but I did convince her to check my thyroid levels as this issue runs in my family. Normal. I got my iron checked on my own, specifically my ferritin because I've read that low ferritin is a common issue, but all within normal range. My ferritin is a little bit on the low side at 41, so I've been taking supplements for a few months now, and I finally have a referral to see a derm. The appointment is this Friday.


    It has gotten to the point that I cannot style my hair at all. The front is so sparse, fine, and fly away that all I can do is part it slightly off center and dump Toppik all along the front of it to give the illusion of some type of density. It is so completely frustrating because most things I've seen, women have their hairline still intact but spots here and there on the crown or general thinning that are more easily hidden with styling and products. With loss focused at the hairline, it is front and center and you cannot hide it without it looking very noticeable or just downright crappy.


    I have been so so completely down the past few months because of this, on top of all the other issues going on in my life. It affects my performance at work because I obsess over it and want to just hide in the bathroom. I don't even want to have good hair anymore, just something that looks semi-normal. I feel like an alien right now and everyday is just so difficult to get through.


    I am at the point where I am willing to try wigs- I have already tried the Mega Mono and Courtney by Jon Renau. Both looked completely unnatural on me- they were way too dense and, I think, just too large for my head in general. I am very petite. I ended up purchasing the Drew by Jon Renau and I have to say- it looks pretty darn good! The density is perfect and the lace front is totally realistic looking. I am not at the point of wearing it yet..but it is a small comfort to know I can look semi-normalish if it comes to that. If anyone is looking for a good starter wig, I completely recommend it. I'll answer any questions you might have about it. :gay2:


    I've been starting a treatment regime which I'll outline below:
    Rogaine Women's Foam, 5% (2x day)
    Lipogaine Big 3 Shampoo with Ketoconazole 2% (2x weekly)
    Aveda Invati Shampoo/Conditioner
    Kerestase Ciment Thermique Leave in
    Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil (1x weekly) This stuff is awesome!!
    Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Deep Conditioner (1x weekly)
    NO heat styling on hair whatsoever

    Supplements:
    Iron
    L-Lysine
    Vitamin C
    Biotin
    Omega-3 Fish Oil
    Multivitamin
    (Adding Pumpkin Seed oil soon!)

    I am also trying to drink a lot more water and eat more protein. I have always had a terrible diet (we're talking eating a fast food meal once a day), so I truly think this is a big part of the issue on top of stress. I should note that the loss seems to be much worse on the right side of my head, as you can see in the pictures I have. I've heard this can be a sign of TE- does anyone know if there's truth to that? I will also note that within the past couple of weeks, my daily shedding has seemed to decrease. I would say it was probably around 60-70 per day a month or so ago and now it's down to maybe 30ish? I am hoping this is a positive effect of the Rogaine, but I feel like it's too soon..I only started it on 9/12. I guess time will tell?

    As I said above, I have my dermatology appointment this Friday to finally, hopefully get some real advice. I am not sure if this is solely from stress, poor diet, lowish iron, true genetic loss, or a mixture. I've attached some pictures and would appreciate any input/opinions anyone might have.


    On a final note, I have been through TONS of products on this journey. Toppik, Dermmatch, Joan Rivers, BoostNBlend, Caboki, Viviscal, BioSil, about any brand of "thickening" shampoo/conditioner out there. If you have any questions about a specific product, odds are I've tried it.

    Pictures:
    http://imgur.com/a/pQCFU
     
  2. Justiinaa

    Justiinaa Member

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    I think you are doing pretty much everything you can be doing. I will say that my loss is just like yours - right at the hairline, and my biopsy came back as early Androgenetic Alopecia
     
  3. JayPea

    JayPea New Member

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    Thanks for the reply Justiinaa. :)

    I kind of do suspect it's Androgenetic Alopecia, as I've always had an issue with my hair, especially the front. I think I've probably been having loss there for years and didn't notice until this year where I've been undergoing huge amounts of stress. I will say that the general thinning on the right side of my head is new. Even when I shed, it always seems to be from that side in particular. That is making me lean a bit more towards TE, or maybe a mixture of Androgenetic Alopecia and TE?

    I guess there's no real use in speculating, it's just hard not to. My dermatology appointment had to be rescheduled so I won't be going until November now. Ughh! :hmmm:

    Is there anyway you can go into more detail about your biopsy? Did your derm give you any specific advice afterwards? I have no issues with going on meds for this, but from what I've read most hair loss meds aren't supposed to be taken by women.
     
  4. Justiinaa

    Justiinaa Member

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    Well my results came back for Androgenetic Alopecia and also TE. It is possible to have both. As I was already on 100mg of Spironolactone, we are going to slowly start to increase the dose to get me to 200mg a day. I am also going to start rogaine 2x a day. I take some vitamins/supplements, but I'm not convinced those really make a difference
     
  5. JayPea

    JayPea New Member

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    How has Spironolactone worked for you so far? Do you think it's made any difference? I think I'm going to ask to be put on it when I go for my appointment.

    As far as Rogaine goes, I highly recommend it. I've been using it twice a day for about a month now and I'm already seeing a little bit of regrowth. Unfortunately, the growth so far isn't happening much on the right side of my hairline, which is where I definitely need it most. I'm hoping this will come with time and am excited it's working at all this early.

    As far as vitamins/supplements, I don't think they'll do much unless you're particularly deficient in something. I've always had a terrible diet so I've been supplementing to counteract years of improper nutrition. They are probably fairly useless if you have a good diet.

    Rogaine pics: http://imgur.com/a/4BkFH
     
  6. Justiinaa

    Justiinaa Member

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    I don't think the Spironolactone has made a difference yet, but to be fair, the dose for hair loss is 200, so I'm not at the optimal dose yet! But I will say it's helped in other areas - my skin, for instance. It cleared up my skin within days, and I'm also much less oily in the face than I was! Even if we found another cause for my loss, I was planning to remain on the Spironolactone for my skin. I would recommend trying it. I do admit there was a shed with the Spironolactone, and it's only starting to slow down now, but I can honestly say I don't really notice a difference in my density and it hasn't made my scalp show in any part of my head. I'm also hoping that since it caused a shed, my rogaine shed won't be as intense

    im glad you think rogaine is worth it! I had started it before and stopped after a week because mentally, I wasn't there yet. But I'm ready to try round two and just grit my teeth and get through the dread shed. I'll take some pics as well! But yeah, they say the real results don't come until about four months down the line, so hang in there - and it's especially promising if you see growth already.

    Yeah, I agree about supplements. My diet is okay and I've started eating meat again to try to get some more iron, but I have been taking biotin and viviscal, for example, and I don't think those will make a difference, so I'm going to stop once my packs run out.
     
  7. JayPea

    JayPea New Member

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    I was taking Viviscal for awhile until I realized that many of the ingredients can be found in a multi-vitamin for way cheaper. I don't think it made much of a difference and I took it diligently for well over a year.

    I've heard so many good things about biotin, and I still take it to this day, but I don't really think it makes much of a difference for me either. Some people swear by it though so I keep it in my regime just in case.

    I started supplementing with iron tablets July of this year because my ferritin was only at 41. I have to say, since then my shedding has seemed to decrease. It's weird though, I feel like at my hairline my scalp is a bit more visible and the hair density lower, particularly on the right side. I don't know if this is because I've been slathering on Rogaine day and night though, as the foam definitely makes my hair look more spaced apart/clumped together. :dunno:

    I haven't experienced a shed yet with Rogaine, but I know it might still be coming. If anything, my shedding has definitely decreased within the past few weeks as I stated above. I don't know if it's from the iron, Rogaine, or both. I am going to get my iron levels checked again soon to see if I'm around 70 ferritin now, which is supposedly the optimal number for hair growth.

    That's awesome Spironolactone has helped with your skin. :gay2: I definitely want to give it a shot, even if it does cause a shed. I figure if I do nothing I'm going to have this loss anyway so I might as well try to fight it. I hope the 200 dose works out for you, keep me updated!
     

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