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Suffering From Female Hair Loss All Over and Hair Roots Falling Out - Help - Thursday, June 19, 2008

Question:

I have always had thicker hair, but not all the hairs were the same thickness. Even before hair loss started, I noticed this. I have been to two dermatologists who diagnosed me with Androgenic Alopecia. The second one told me that I was experiencing a combination of hair loss conditions. He told me that he couldn't do anything for the hair that was already thin. For genetic baldness however, he was very optimistic. I was on minoxidil for about 4 or 5 months in 2006 when I experienced excessive hair loss (200+ hair shedding a day). Later I found out that this is normal so I stopped taking it - also because it was making my scalp itch. After that, the thinner, shorter hairs kept falling out. I tried minoxidil again in 2007 but stopped after hair continued to fall out. After taking 10 ampoules of iron and vitamins for 30 days, the hair loss stopped. Even the miniaturized ones were less in number.

I am losing hair everywhere on my head. I am also seeing a little bubble attached to the root on occasion within the last year. What is that? When I scratch my head due to stress, I lose some hair also with a white bubble attached.

Next month I am moving to UK and I will contact another doctor there. I will ask him to test the hormone level and do a proper analysis of the hair roots. But until then I wanted to do something (anything) to stop hair loss. Is there any doctor you can recommend in London? I just want to avoid any scams.

Answer:

With thinning hair all over your scalp and loss of hair follicles with the bulb attached, it sounds like you are experiencing something other than or in addition to genetic balding.  The "bubble" you are seeing is most likely the hair root attached to the skin.  With genetic hair loss (androgenetic alopecia), typically the only hair affected is hair on top of the head, not hair on the sides and back.  Androgenic alopecia typically follows a certain pattern. See the "norwood scale" and "ludwig scale" for typical hereditary hair loss patterns.  Genetic balding can also follow a diffuse thinning pattern where all the hair on top of the head is thinning.

Male and female pattern baldness is facilitated by DHT, a hormone typically found more abundantly in men, but is present in women also.  Hair follicles genetically susceptible to DHT will begin to miniaturize if DHT levels increase beyond the follicle's survival threshold. 

Diffuse alopecia (patterned and unpatterned) is typically characterized by thinning hair all over the scalp including the sides and back of the head.  There are a multitude of potential causes for this which is why I suggest getting tested for a thyroid condition, low serum ferritin levels, an iron deficiency, hormonal fluctuation (which can also cause androgenic alopecia as described above), etc.  Also, certain medications can cause hair loss so be sure to discuss all medications you are taking with your doctor. Even malnutrition can cause this type of hair loss. Make sure you are eating enough and getting the proper nutrients your body needs. This is probably why iron and vitamin supplements were working for you.

As an educated hair loss patient (I'm not a doctor), based on your description, it appears that there may be a number of causes for your condition.  Hair loss isn't so cut and dry and many balding men and women can't be neatly categorized into one form of alopecia.  Giving certain hair loss characteristics different names is an attempt to classify and understand one's condition - but it is often more complicated then diagnosing someone and then recommending one single treatment.  After all, no baldness cure exists to date.  But many non-genetic causes of alopecia can be resolved by treating the condition causing it.  In many cases, this type of hair loss can be stopped and even reversed.  But for those who have androgenic alopecia (androgenetic, genetica, etc), there are limited non-surgical treatment options and hair loss and restoration surgery isn't for everyone.

In the UK, you may consider consulting with one of our expert Coalition hair loss doctors who might be able to further assess your situation:  Dr. Bessam and Dr. Nilofer Farjo.

Bill Seemiller - Managing Publisher of the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q & A Blog.

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