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Old 09-26-2006, 05:42 PM   #1
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Unhappy severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

hi everyone, i'm new here.

i am having severe hair loss. my ferritin level was at 16 over a year and a half ago (range is 10-300) when i went to the doctor with an anemia checklist from the internet with EVERY symptom on it!!! dr said all labs were normal and did nothing.

in july, i went back to the dr. because the hair loss was becoming severe with no regrowth. all my tests were "normal" again so dr referred me to dermatology with an appt 3 months away! then i read about iron being overlooked in hair loss. my ferritin is at 14. so two weeks ago, i called to push the dr. who said it wouldn't hurt to take some iron. i'm losing 400-800 hairs per shampoo!! started ferrous sulfate (1-65mg + multi vit 36mg) two weeks ago.

appt with derm. this week. he said "your iron is low. could be that." no trmt other than take iron and in december he wants to do a biopsy on scalp to pinpoint cause. has anyone done a scalp biopsy?

 
Old 09-27-2006, 11:58 AM   #2
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Re: severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

Hi there:

I had a scalp biopsy some years back and it wasn't bad at all. Just a little poke to numb it and you're done in like 5 minutes. It will be sore for a few days--they'll probably give you some cream to put on it to help.
Do you mind if I ask how old you are? I'm 27 now. I started losing my hair severly when I was 19--like you---probably around 600 hairs a day or so. My hair used to be thick and curly--very pretty. Now, it is thin and straight. Over the years it has just been a nightmare really--no known cause for it at all. However, just recently I got my DHEA-S checked and it was very very low--which can cause hair loss. I started a 25mg supplement about a month ago and (knock on wood) my hairloss the past week has been quite a bit less. I also started taking biotin as well. Hope this helps you

schao

Last edited by schao; 09-27-2006 at 11:59 AM.

 
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Old 09-27-2006, 12:47 PM   #3
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Re: severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

thanks for replying schao. i just turned 40 and it started probably a few years back but very slowly and i couldn't tell it wasn't growing back. i had a lot of VERY unusually curly, super fine hair. until like the last 8 months i couldn't really tell and i thought i was freaking out for no reason and the increase of loss kept getting more and more dramatic and i started being able to see my scalp. then i knew i had a BIG problem. i had so much checked, inc. DHEA-S. the only thing is a high MPV (mean platelet volume) and ferritin is low end of normal.

so was the biopsy helpful/worth doing? did they learn the cause from it?

 
Old 09-29-2006, 08:33 AM   #4
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Re: severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

Well, to be honest, I was glad I got the biopsy--but the only thing that came out of it was it showed my hair was going through the tellogin effluvian phase--I think that's what it's called--where youre hair is going through it's cycle of falling out. Well, I guess I've been in that phase for 7 years now!!
Do you know what your # was for DHEA-S and the range? Mine was like 31 with a range of 40-300 (something like that) and depending on your age you should be at a certain # in there. For my age, I should be at least at 120, and I think as you get older it goes down. Other factors play into it I'm sure but that is kinda what I gathered. My doctor first told me that my # was fine--but it really wasn't. I always get a copy of all labs I get done to make sure the doctor is telling me the truth. Hope this helps a bit.

schao

 
Old 10-03-2006, 02:53 PM   #5
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Re: severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

yeah, mine was 181 and range 45-240, so that seems reasonable. i always get the labs!! that's how i questioned the ferritin issue as "in range."

so, SEVEN years!!!! i think i'll be bald in seven months or less. do you wear a wig or something?

Last edited by debratheartist; 10-03-2006 at 02:54 PM.

 
Old 10-09-2006, 02:33 AM   #6
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Re: severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

I know genetics can play a big part in what type of hair you have, but if your hair starts to drastically fall out in amounts you have not seen before i would be worried. This is what happened to me about roughly 6yrs ago. At the same time i had been on some medication for 4 months and i blamed it on the med's plus the major stress i was going through in my personal life.

Well two or so years go by, the stress died down, i had been off the med's for ages and my hair was close to half the amount i'd had when i'd first noticed that i was losing so much. I thought i would lose it all. I was also having routine blood tests every year as a health check. My dumb doctor always gave me the lab results, but i didn't understand a lot of the terminology or how the ranges worked and my doctor always said everything was "normal".

Speed up to this year and i'm seeing a new doctor and she does my blood work and says i'm seriously low in iron. I dig out ALL my old blood tests from the last 6 or so years and find my iron has been extremely low for all this time. I had never heard of iron possibly being a cause until a few months ago when i read it on these boards.

My problem was the initial hair loss, but also the fact that my hair grows back, but i end up losing a lot of it quick. I'm on iron supplements and am monitoring how things go.

One other thing i've been doing, which i started a thread on, is using dried nettle and making a tea out of it and using it as a final rinse after washing my hair. It really seems to have cleansed my scalp and my hair feels so much stronger and thicker.

 
Old 10-11-2006, 10:20 AM   #7
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Re: severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

thanks audrey, i'll look up the nettle thread. anything natural or soothing would be very helpful at this point. i have tremendously sensitive skin and some flaking and my hair is so dull and brittle and just messed up. so this tea is after detangler/conditioner? and do you rinse with water after the tea is poured on or leave it in?

 
Old 10-12-2006, 04:03 PM   #8
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Re: severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

My hair was falling out and my ferritin was just under the normal range. I have read that not doctors cant determine at what level hairloss occurs. My hairloss stopped after 2 months of taking the iron and I continued it for 2 more months (under doctor supervision though) that was 5 months ago and havent really noticed any major regrowth, just very slow growing strands here and there. By the way, when my hair was falling out I was still having normal regrowth happening.
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Old 10-13-2006, 09:42 PM   #9
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Re: severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

Hi

I'm new to this board as of tonight. I need advice desperately!! I just came from the dermatologist today and was diagnosed with AGA. I am so depressed. I'm 38 yrs old and I have no family hx. My DHEA is also low,132. When I mentioned that to the dr. today, she said it's in the normal range and we would only be concerned if it was high. I have also read that at my age it should be higher than 132 so I believe that's the reason for my hair loss. I feel like noone will help me. I want to scream from the rooftops for someone to take the time and help me!!! If anyone knows of a specialist in Minnesota that would be good to see, I would love to hear about it!! Maybe an endocrinologist is the answer. My ferritin is 43 which isn't exactly high. I'm so desperate for answers!! Thanks for listening.

 
Old 10-16-2006, 02:23 AM   #10
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Re: severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

Basically after i have shampooed and conditioned i use the nettle tea as a final rinse. As i pour it over my head, i massage my scalp and i let the tea catch in a bucket and then i'll repeat the process about 3 times so my head gets a good rinse with the tea. Instead of nettle you can use sage or rosemary.

I dont know how much of my hair it will help to grow back and how fast, but it's helped a lot of with the oilyness and you have to be persistent with it and not just do it once or twice, but keep at it.

Just google it and you will find loads of info and natural hair receipes to try.

For good measure i'm still taking the iron supplements, but have eased off a bit. I'm not sure if you are supposed to take them long term.

 
Old 10-31-2006, 06:32 AM   #11
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Smile Re: severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

I'm sorry I'm coming into this thread so late... There were a couple of points that I wanted to respond to... Your 'optimum hair growth' ferritin levels need to be 70+ Debra - yours were WAY too low!!! There are a number of natural ways to replenish your iron levels without having to take a multi-vitamin... I always found they constipated me a bit... (sorry if TMI) A number of people have said that adding blackstrap molasses to their diet or taking a different supplement such as SlowFE (not sure if that is spelled right?) will help with the constipation...

On the scalp biopsy... your derm will be looking for mainly two different things... He will be looking for the density of the hair shaft itself to see if there is any miniaturization going on... (a common symptom of AGA - female pattern baldness) AND he will also be looking at the root of the hair shafts to see if they are broken off in an "exclamation point" form or if the hair follicles have just stopped producing... It will help diagnose you as long as your derm knows what he/she is doing...

Hope this helps a little!!!

 
Old 10-31-2006, 04:20 PM   #12
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Re: severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

thanks mudd,

i've been checking in on a regular basis so it's nice to hear from you that even if other levels are normal it's still WAY too low for ferritin. actually, i'm taking 2 of the 65mg ferrous sulfate and 18mg in a multi of iron now. the hair loss was cut in half in the FIRST week but it has not gotten any better since then. i'm still losing several HUNDRED hairs per shampoo and it's getting very sheer at this point. the biopsy is not for another 6 weeks and i still think i need to do it at this point.

i'm not constipated but i do drink 1 cup of coffee in the morning more than 2 hours before any iron supplement. does the molasses help with iro uptake and absorption or is that just for constipation?

 
Old 11-01-2006, 12:51 AM   #13
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Re: severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

In regards to iron and constipation, when i was on the iron in tablet form i would get constipated and i normally would never ever have constipation problems, but when i tried the iron in liquid form i didn't experience any problems.

 
Old 11-01-2006, 06:51 AM   #14
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Re: severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

The molasses is used mostly for uptake... I think it tastes horrid and I would rather eat a pound of spinach a day than drink it!! I agree that a scalp biopsy is a good idea... please keep me updated on your progress!!

Audrey ~ I agree! Iron in liquid form is much easier on the system and it absorbs easier into your system...

mom to bunner ~ Do you happen to remember what your cortisol levels were on your blood test?

 
Old 11-01-2006, 11:08 PM   #15
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Re: severe hair loss, scalp biopsy???

Today i had a visit with my naturopath for something unrelated to hair problems but i thought i'd raise the issue of iron. She also stated that iron in liquid form is better and easier to absorb for the body than tablet form. I've been using one which has other vitamins and minerals in it.

My iron level was 6 when it ought to be between 11 - 29 umol/L. I don't know what umol/L stands for. My Ferritin is 8 when it should be between 18 - 200 ug/L, that kind of scared me that it was so low. That was back in april and i've been off and on the iron supplements and my naturopath said when iron levels are that low that i should stay on the iron supplements for a bit longer as iron wont correct itself over night, even if you do feel better within yourself. She also said that iron is a definite reason for so many hair loss complaints and not to expect your hair to grow out over night either, it's a slow and lengthy process but one your are supposed to not give up on.

Gold star to this board and the contributors is what i think as my regular doctor never connected iron to hair loss and my previous doctor never thought i had any iron problems when in fact i've had low iron for roughly 6 yrs that i know of. I've had more benefit from this board and my naturopath than any GP so far!!

 
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