A bit of background - I went travelling in India early March '11, I picked up a rather nasty stomach infection, I spent about 2.5 months trying to get over it naturally, by staying well hydrated laying off diary and spicey food. Nothing seemed to work. I ended up going to the doctors when my hair was falling out on my pillow, showering and just styling my hair..I mean it was about 30-40 hairs a day max, but I couldnt' ever remember seeing any hair on the shower or on my pillow and certainly none whilst styling my hair!!
1st Visit - the doctor gave me anti-biotics for a week, stronger ones that amoxylin he said and specfically for travellers diaherra. He inspected my scalp and said there were no signs of Male Pattern Baldness and not to worry, the lack of absorption of vitamins and food over the last 2.5/3months was to blame.
(the week i had the anti-biotics my stomach and stool was very good about a week after the diahrea returned!)
2nd visit - the doctor didn't want to dose me up with anti-biotics again so he suggested a stool sample, at this point my hair was falling out at the same rate and I could see thinning all over the sclap, my doctor said it still looked like a very full thick head of hair. But to put me at ease did a blood test for things like - iron, diabetes, thyroid function and some other stomach illnesses like chrons and celiacs.
( I got a call from my doctor, she said the stool sample showed no infection and she suspected the anti-biotics had done more good than bad by killing all the good bacteria as well as the bad - she asked me to take 2 probiotics drinks a day and eat bland food. More worryingly for her, my B12 was mega low - at 100 everything else in the blood tests came back very good I was told, no signs of major stomach issues)
I was put on b12 injections once a week for 1 month, with a top up after 3 months and all of a sudden my stomach starting getting worse, i was warned that b12 injections might do that. My hair stopped falling out as much, down to about 5 a day my nails grew better etc.. and loads of energy etc... I'm waiting for my last b12 shot in october.
A few weeks on from that and my stomach has settled and my hair loss has reduced massively, I guess the hairs that have gone into telogen phase are going to fall out over the next 3 months. She did an intrinsic enzyme test to see if i had an issue with absorbing b12 and that came back negative, she seemed to think my diet of mainly white meats and no milk/cereals for the last 5 years (started a job with a long drive - so would often skip breakfast) had conributed to a low b12 level + the bad stomach for about 5 months now had depleted my store even more.
I do feel pretty good now, my stomach is back to normal, I can eat and drink what i want, I go once a day and it's very normal. MY energy levels are superb now, I feel like i can work hard, hit the gym and party with friends on the weeekend with no issues.
My main concern is my hair! i've lost about 25-30% of the thickness, no one else can really tell, but I have a patch where it's really evident and I can't spike my hair up as you can see my scalp now. My doctor says it will take up to 6months to grow back my hair, but it's been about 3 weeks since my b12 injections and my hair loss has reduced, but I was hoping to see new hair coming in. I am hoping someone has been through something similar ....
So my questions after the massive how long background (sorry)
1) How long does it take for your hair to grow back after b12 levels are restorted? I know my doc says 6months.... but did it take anyone longer or shorter or did it never come back?
2) Did anyone take any extra supplements? apart from improving the diet... i've read biotin might be a good supplement to take
any help would be great, obviously alot worse things that losing your hair, but i'm hopeful it will grow back and not continue to fall out once the b12 levels are back ... any advice or stories (good or bad) would be great.
I really will appreciate any advice and help
thanks for reading