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Sore, Tender Scalp, Receding Hairline, Thinning - Alopecia? What Could It Be? (w/ Pictures)

Discussion in 'The Undiagnosed' started by PapillonBleu, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. PapillonBleu

    PapillonBleu New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I stumbled upon the HerAlopecia website while looking for ways to hide thinning hair. Up til recently, I thought that my hair's thinness was "nothing to worry about" and that it would eventually grow back on its own.

    I am 28, and started losing my hair in 2015. Back then I attributed it to stress, as I had been through several highly stressful life events at that time.

    I didn't think much of it, as my hair was really wavy and puffy, so I could somewhat hide the thinning pretty well (apart from the clumps of hair I was leaving everywhere) with strategic hair placement.

    Most of the thinning stopped after a while (apart from short, recurrent episodes), that is until this year.

    For the past couple months, my scalp has been feeling extremely sore and tender to the touch. These flares are unpredictable, and last from a couple days to a couple weeks. The simple fact of moving my hair around, brushing it, having it rub against the pillow or having a hat on is enough to make me want to scream.

    I didn't bother mentioning it to anyone, as I had never heard of anyone having these symptoms and feared I'd be told that it's all in my head (no pun intended!), especially since the soreness didn't come with any itchiness or flakiness. I wasn't using any chemical dyes, special hair products, flat iron or any items that I could associate these symptoms with either.

    I realized after a couple of flare ups that whenever I had an episode, I would start to lose crazy amounts of hair shortly after. I was (and still somewhat am) on the fence about bringing this up with anyone IRL, as part of me still wonders if I am not exaggerating the whole thing or haven't lost enough hair for it to be possibly considered a form of female alopecia.


    Here's a picture collage of what my hair looks like as of now: [​IMG]

    I chopped almost all of my hair off a couple weeks ago, as the thinning got so severe that whatever long hair I had left was wispy, straw-like and quite frankly sad-looking. I was in denial, and thought that keeping my long hair (or what I had left of it) for as long as possible would hide the thinning, but in retrospect I can see that it just accentuated it.

    Recently I started trying to conceal my receding hairline with makeup, but to be honest it's clearly not enough. I'm also extremely self-conscious on windy days...Can't put makeup on my whole scalp!

    I have an appointment with my GP next week for unrelated reasons, but I think that I it might be worth it to bring this up.

    Any ideas of what I should mention/ask for in particular?

    Am I exaggerating the whole thing? Could this be alopecia, and if so which type?

    Thank you,
     
  2. Mia88

    Mia88 New Member

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    If you have a sore scalp you should ask to be tested for scarring alopecia. I have a horrible receding hairline and was recently diagnosed with Androgenetic Alopecia. I also had the sore, extremely sensitive scalp for years so they thought it could be scarring, I had a biopsy to confirm Androgenetic Alopecia and rule that out. With Androgenetic Alopecia it is just pattern hair loss and some people don't keep their hairline, hope you get some answers soon
     
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  3. Mania1994

    Mania1994 New Member

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    Sorry to hear you've joined our ranks at such a young age. I'm going through (or gone through) much of what you've said but I'm about 40 years older than you so while it's hard on me, I know it would have been much worse at a younger age. Now, having said all that...
    Your doctor will want to test you for thyroid issues. Very honestly, if your insurance will cover it or you can afford it, I would insist on going to an endocrinologist for the testing. GP's are great, but they don't "dig down" so to speak. Other than the typical TSH test, there are other tests that should be done to definitively rule out thyroid issues. There are other tests that an endocrinologist can perform, too. Once that is done, think in terms of an EXCELLENT dermatologist. If you live near a medical school that might be the best place to go. While med school clinics aren't fancy, wait times may be long, and you may be seen by residents, the fact is they usually have the best and most up-to-date "brains" available in the medical system. Various types of testing can be done - scrapings, hair analysis, etc. Another thing...something we often don't like to discuss but think about depression. It's rampant in our society. You mentioned you had some stressful life events 2-3 years ago. That stress may be lingering under the surface, depression may have become your "norm" so to speak. Only you can address that aspect of your life but for all of us...I think stress relief is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. My relief is yoga and my dog. Others run, walk, play tennis, read. Whatever is yours.
    And I'll finally say this. A couple of months ago I bought a wig and it was the best thing I've ever done for myself. I did cut all my longer hair off (almost shaved) to allow it to grow back to it's natural (yucky) grey color, I shampoo with a good shampoo every day or two, add zero chemicals, no blow dryers (it dries in about 3 minutes! :)) and wear my wig. I really think it's beginning to look healthier although I can easily see the areas of hair loss. Still, I can slap the wig on and look great and feel great about myself. Loved my wig so much I now have 2 and will get a 3rd in another couple of paydays. :D Once all the color has grown out and my hair is longer I may or may not decide to color or highlight again. I may or may not decide to wear my "real" hair. In the meantime, my "store bought" hair helps me feel good about myself. I hope you will, too. Soon.
     
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  4. 3monkeys&me

    3monkeys&me New Member

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    Hi Papillonblue,
    I just saw this other post of yours. I totally had the painful, sore scalp about 1 year ago. Wind blowing a tuft of hair felt excruciating! I'm still now entirely sure what caused it. I had a scalp biopsy which ruled out scarring alopecia. Tried a boatload of products, prescription and otherwise. I think it was possibly caused by a hormone change. When I got off BCP, my hormone levels were a mess. I was also depleted in ferritin, Vit d, and b12. I supplemented to get these levels up, changed to a gluten and dairy free diet, and began taking kudzu (herbal supplement taken by Lyme's patients for neuroinflammatory symptoms). I had developed severe sebopsoriasis when I went off BCP so I installed a chlorine filter shower head, switched to an aloe-based shampoo and gluten free conditioner and began daily scalp treatments of aloe and glycerin (just a bit diluted in water). I am more or less in remission (still have hairloss though), but will have flares if I eatuse anything with glutwn. I feel like kudzu was a real turning point in reduction of pain.
     
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  5. PapillonBleu

    PapillonBleu New Member

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    Hello Mia88, thank you for your advice. I am sorry you went through this, I know how painful it can be. I will ask about scarring alopecia and androgenetic alopecia. The longer I browsed the forum, the more I saw that these two types were often what looked the most like what I have and what you wrote confirms it.
     
  6. PapillonBleu

    PapillonBleu New Member

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    Hello Mania1994, thank you for your kind words. It's like a lightbulb actually went off in my head when you mentioned thyroid issues. I haven't been tested for it yet, but my cousin (who's younger than me by a couple years) got half of her thyroid removed about a year ago. It seems like thyroid issues might run in the family...
    Your advice on how to proceed doctor-wise is a real goldmine, THANK YOU! I have to admit that I feel so utterly lost in all of this, and fear that because "it's just hair" that none of my concerns will be taken seriously. I will look into med schools, as you said they're often the most up-to-date when it comes to research and new findings. Sadly where I live there is no private system so to speak, so seeing a specialist often takes 4-12 months. I hope I'll be able to see someone sooner through a med school.

    My dog has been a tremendous help for me too :). I adopted him shortly after what happened a couple years ago, and his presence in my life has been a real blessing. Stress plays a huge part in health and happiness, and I have this gut feeling that something in my genes/body might have been "activated" because of my environment at that time, and that maybe that was what caused the beginning of my hair issues.

    It is funny that you're talking about wigs, because I finally started to look into them...I am technically growing my hair out right now, but it's not doing much besides highlighting my bald spots and just how unhealthy my hair looks in general. Maybe a really short pixie will trigger better quality hair growth. At this point, I would feel less self-conscious having really short hair and/or a wig than whatever I have going on now :).
     
  7. PapillonBleu

    PapillonBleu New Member

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    Hello 3monkeys&me, I'm sorry to hear you went through similar scalp issues. I think you are definitely on to something with the hormones. Mania1994 mentioned possible thyroid involvement, did you get yours checked? I went off BCP about 7 years ago, and have never looked back. I was put on it due to irregular cycles/painful periods, but it turned my body into such a mess that I just couldn't take it anymore. I feel that my hormones never balanced out naturally after that, as I still have an irregular cycle and really painful periods. I take vit D and b12 everyday, but never took ferretin. I heard that it is essential for hair growth I think? It's great to see how proactive you've been in all this and figured out a regimen that works for you! I will look into the kudzu. I have cooked with it a couple times when making Japanese dishes, but I had no idea that it could help with hair issues :).
     
  8. Meliss9

    Meliss9 Member

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    I have the same thing and it's ruining my life. Have u ever tried tevlium? It's a natural hair growth thing that I just stumbled across online. I've tried everything. I noticed when my hair gets that pain it's bc I have an oil buildup . Idk what else to do anymore it's ruining my life everyday and I try to appreciate everything I got but I don't even want to look in mirror anymore.. EVERYTIME I think my hair is growing back I get Set back again looking thinner. I'll never use rogaine shit or chemicals it's worse that day... I use soft curlers now but it's getting hard to hide. I feel it's got worse and worse and it effects every decision I make. Now summer is coming and I don't want to be in the daylight where hair looks see thru. I can't wear toppix in heat when I sweat, don't want to wear a wig so what do I do anymore!??
     

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