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Young Uninsured Newbie In Need Of Guidance For Treatment And Evaluation

Discussion in 'Treatments for Androgenetic Alopecia' started by JT9, May 19, 2019.

  1. JT9

    JT9 New Member

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    First of all, I want to say that I am so happy to have found this online community. I feel such a great amount of warmth and support from all of you here, and like others that have been discouraged, feel a lot better about my situation.

    I just turned 23 this year. I used to have a medium-thick amount of hair, and never had a problem apart from the normal few strands lost per day. I started dyeing my hair when I was 18, but had never once allowed the dye or bleach to touch my scalp. And this is what follows:

    May-July 2018: I begin my journey abroad, living in the Middle East and my diet begins to change (not many vegetables, lots of bread, cheese, milk, and meat)

    August 2018: I visit a hair salon to re-dye my hair, because at that point I had half natural black and half purple. I wanted to bleach it back up. I told the asshole not to touch my scalp but he did anyway. It was the first time i felt bleach on my scalp so I was not sure how much of this was normal, but it was burning and I was on the brink of tears screaming at him to wash it out. The bleach job was, of course, horrible. My hair was stiff, my scalp felt stripped naked, and i didnt wash my hair for over 1 week so that my scalp could retain its moisture again. **but all my hairs were still in place**

    End of August 2018: I move to another country to live for a few months. My diet, again, wasn't exactly what I was used to eating back home. I gained a little weight. I was also getting very stressed out about my situation there.

    November 2018: huge clumps of my hair begin to appear in the shower. At first I think its nothing, but soon i realize that I might be losing hair.

    December 2018 - April 2019: I continue to lose my hair slowly. There have been times were its a lot of shedding, other times when its not as much (or perhaps I wasn't paying as much attention). I left my previous post and began backpacking/motorcycling around different countries. Much of the adventures were pretty rough - again, not a steady amount of good food, in the sun a lot, etc.

    Now: I'm finally back home and really began noticing my hair loss. It has been a pretty significant change. I was hoping that it would have stopped by now, but in fact it seems to have accelerated. My hairline is slowly receding, and the hair at either tips of my face, my temples, etc. Hair is evenly shedding throughout.

    I went to see a dermatologist, who basically gave me some prescription shampoo to relieve the mild dandruff I have. She also gave me a set of blood tests to do.

    but because I am uninsured, I cant afford the blood tests (it's around $2,250). Insurance is an entirely different story, but I am in the process of receiving medicaid, so I am hoping that will be able to help me pay for the blood tests because i am young and unemployed at this point. The doctor says she think it might be genetic, because my parents (who are in their 60s now) both have thinning hair. But i don't want to believe it because it is just a way to write off that I am doomed, and also both my sisters who are in their late-twenties do not have this problem. She told me if I couldn't do the blood tests, she would suggest minoxidil so I can try to retain what I already have.

    I should also note that the rest of my hair (eyelashes, eyebrows, body hair) is completely normal. My nails are also strong.


    All in all, I would like to ask the following:
    1) What measures can I take while I am waiting for insurance to pay for my bloodwork?
    2) Could my bad dye job have been the cause or a major factor in my hair loss or is it just some coincidence with uncanny timing?
    3) What are the key vitamins I should be taking? Will this help at all? I've been popping some biotin pills for the past month but thats it.
    4) Should I proceed to use minoxidil while also trying other treatments? Or to take it one thing at a time? I just want to see what works and what doesn't, but I also know the clock is ticking and I've got a huge handful of hair that falls every day.
    5) What are your suggested list of anti androgens? And is there a better growth stimulant than minoxidil?
    6) I know there are many other young women my age who are facing this, but I cannot know for sure the likelihood of this being genetic. Am I in denial or am truly doomed? Will eventually grow this back since I am so young? Is there hope?
    7) Because I am uninsured, its extremely costly for me to see a dermatologist. I do not think medicaid will cover seeing her either.... Is it possible to go through this without seeing a doctor?

    Appreciate your thoughts. Thank you in advance
     
    #1 JT9, May 19, 2019
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  2. idk

    idk Member

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    Hi JT9

    Firstly, sorry you are going through this at such a young age.

    Its sounds like your hair loss started as telogen effluvium which can arise from any physiological 'shock' to the system. So you look when the hair loss started, count back 3 or 4 months and see what was happening to you then and you should be able to pin point your trigger. Here it appears it was the nasty bleach job. Telogen effluvium is usually self limiting, in that it will run its course and then your hair begins to recover, usually after 6 to 12 months. However, as you mention that your diet is not the best and you are experiencing stress, this can extend the shedding.

    Without blood tests, you need to be careful with the supplements you take to avoid over dosing especially with things like Iron and Zinc which can have detrimental effects on health/hair.

    I would look for a good quality B complex supplement or a multi vitamin/multi mineral - just be careful about the iron content or opt for one without iron. This will help to provide any nutrients you may be lacking while your diet is not at its best.

    I assume that your are female and menstruating, if that is the case, you could supplement a low dose Iron during the week of your menstruation just to top up your iron level. I would not go over 20mg per day without knowing what my current Ferritin, serum iron and transferrin saturation are.

    I supplement 10mg myself as I am vegetarian and my levels are on the lower end of the normal range, so this helps me maintain the levels.

    For excessive shedding from stress, I have found personally that N acetyl cysteine (NAC) 600mg together with 1000mg Vitamin C daily, helps to stop my shedding usually after 2 weeks. Then you can taper off.

    Dermatologists are not always great at dealing with hair loss. There is lots of information about hair loss from good sound sources on the internet.

    With Minoxidil, you have to be aware of the possibility of the dread shed. I have not used it myself. I prefer the natural route and the dread shed is something that I don't want to risk myself.

    I would try the following:

    1) beging supplement of vitamins/minerals, NAC + C
    2) Fix diet/reduce stress
    3) Check iron levels once you get your medicaid, low ferritin can increase chance of telogen effluvium and excessive shedding.
    4) Once the above are done and no improvement is showing, consider Minoxidil, I would seek out advice from those who use Minoxidil.

    Hope this gives you some ideas. Just remember that hair loss recovery can be slow sometimes and can go up and down.

    Goodluck!
     
  3. Marsha

    Marsha New Member

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    Great advice, thx. I would add when possible get a scalp biopsy and check for seb dermatitis (my diagnosis). If this is correct I have great results with Luxiq (expensive) when episodes occur.
     
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  4. JT9

    JT9 New Member

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    Thank you so much! This is super helpful!
     
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