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Trying to figure this out

Discussion in 'The Undiagnosed' started by nina2nicknbell, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. nina2nicknbell

    nina2nicknbell New Member

    Oct 9, 2015
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    Hi everyone,

    I’ve been reading for a just a few days, trying to orient myself and understand how very big this issue is. I had no idea until I started searching around and doing some research. But wow. I am really freaking out - I had no idea how complex this can be.

    My story is:

    I went through a period in the mid 90’s when I was really struggling. My relationship was falling apart, my father was ill, then passed away, there were lots of family issues, my job was really stressful, I got down-sized, and then started having some issues with my health. I was stressed and struggling, I got really depressed and it was hard to function. It was just a time of major crisis. I think it actually threw me in to peri-menopause (at age 40). I could tell my hormones were off, and thought I might have adrenal fatigue, but couldn’t get any of the doctors I consulted with to confirm that. Most just dismissed me and told me my levels were “normal†and I was fine. But I noticed then that my hair started to thin. I got some nioxin, went to a therapist, started taking anti-depressants and things started resolving in about 2 – 2 ½ years. I didn’t feel like I really came back to my old self that completely and I've been on anti-depressants this whole time. But my hair did come back.

    I was in peri-menopause for almost 10 years. I felt really crappy, but again, the doctors were no help. Tests were “normal†and there was a lot being said about HRT and breast or uterine cancer, so I wasn’t really encouraged to consider it, either before I went through menopause or after. It’s been about 8 years since menopause. I still have what I think are hormone-related issues, but they are undiagnosed. I didn’t have any other issues with my hair.

    Until 2012-13, at another crisis point in my life. Family issues, relationship issues, work issues, etc. Same-same but the details were different. I have had migraines since I was younger, but then they escalated. Basically 15 - 20+ times a month. Multiple drug-protocols that made me sick and didn’t resolve the migraines. Went out on a medical leave for 3 ½ months. Then, basically just before I came back from leave, I was told I was being down-sized. Again. Much more dramatic hair loss this time, but I just started the nioxin again, and got some minoxidil. The minoxidil was effective; my hair fell, as predicted, but within 6 weeks or so, I was seeing new growth, especially in the front. My hair came back fully and I kept up the treatment for about 6 months, then slacked off. It was ok for a while, but then I started seeing my hair thin again. I ramped up the minoxidil again, going from 2 % to 5%. I assumed it was just stress-induced, and had NO idea how complex hair loss can be, so didn’t discuss with my doctor. Then I noticed that my scalp was itchy a lot, and it felt like it was scaly and that I had little sores or scabs sometimes. It drove me crazy for a while, but has gotten better. But I wasn’t getting any new growth. And really, over the past 4-5 months I think I’ve lost about 50% of my hair, mostly in the last 6 weeks or so. I had nice, semi-thick bangs, which are now completely gone. I can even tell a difference in the last 2 weeks. I’m having a hard time styling. I have to keep using smaller and smaller clips to put my hair up. I’ve lost hair diffusely as well as in front. I’m going to go see my stylist and have her cut my hair shorter. My doctor, again, is dismissive. Just age, just menopause, etc., but I’m not so sure. No one else in my family has experienced this. I’ve had stress-related hair loss before. And menopause was years ago. I had to fight her to order hormone and vitamin tests. But she only did very limited ones, and still hasn’t referred me to the dermatologist. I have Kaiser (GRRRR), so I guess I’ll jump up and down. And change doctors. I already have an appointment with a holistic doctor who specializes in hormone issues. I was thinking of getting a list of blood tests from her and taking it back to Kaiser. Many of you seem much younger, so your experience may be different than mine in some ways, but I’d love whatever info or recommendations you could give me.

    And especially, if there are good sources for reliable information/research in addition to this site and if there are some steps I should take now, while I’m waiting for appointments, and so on. At this point, I just want a diagnosis – whatever it might turn out to be. Oh no pics, yet. I’m gray at the roots, so it’s hard to see where my scalp ends and my hair begins. As soon as I get touched up, I’ll take some.

    Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post! Thinking it throgh as I was writing, hoping I could create a “full history†so to speak.


  2. Noalani

    Noalani Established Member

    Jun 20, 2014
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    Hi Nina! I wanted to welcome you and let you know you're not alone. You are so right when you mention how complex this hair loss issue is for women.

    I, too, have dealt with postmenopausal hair loss, due to hysterectomy at age 42. I went into surgical menopause and never did hormone replacement. That was 9 years ago, so over the last few years my hair has taken a hit. After seeing a few specialists and also seeing an internal medicine MD who I really trust, I was prescribed spironolactone. This was almost five months ago, and I feel it has helped slow my rate of hair loss, as well as contribute to some re growth. The passage of more time will give me a more definitive answer.

    In my research, I found the PDF below (created by a New Zealand hair loss doctor) and have found it to be of great help in answering my questions about women's hair loss. It's written in laymen's terms and is comprehensive. You might want to read through it or print it out, read it, come up with your questions, and schedule an appointment with a hair loss specialist MD.


    Wishing you the best of luck with recovering your hair! Feel free to come here regularly and vent, ask questions, or share a positive result.

    With aloha,
    Anne Noalani

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