View Full Version : Telogen Effluvium?

10-01-2012, 08:55 AM
Here's a bit of a backstory. I am currently 19 years old.

I've always had very thick hair my whole life. My father is balding and my grandfather has no front hair. My dad said this started around the time he was in his late thirties. My grandpa said around his forties.

I've had very thick hair all throughout high school. In May of my senior year, right around the end, I dealt with a very traumatic breakup that shook me a lot. In past years, I had eating problems and a bit of cocaine substance control issues.Side note: I have been on retinoids since my junior year of high school for acne and doxycycline.

Needless to say, once my breakup happened, my eating patterns became irregular. Towards the end of the summer, I noticed a tiny bit of thinning, but nothing severe at all to worry about. Then I went to college and became a vegan.

Over the year, my hair thinned a little bit, but nothing too drastic. I wore a beanie every day for the most part, and when I took it off it was noticeable, but after I ran my hands through my hair, it would be fine. It looked like this in February of 2012: http://i45.tinypic.com/25jlety.jpg

Then I decided to end my veganism and started binge eating. I gained about 20 pounds. During that time period, while still on retinoids and doxycycline, my hair shedding became a bit excessive, but still, not very noticeable.

In June, I went to a moronic dermatologist that was covered under my insurance for acne and for hair loss. For acne, they prescribed me a higher dose of my retinoid, and I personally decided to stop taking doryx doxycycline because of reviews of hair loss I saw online. For the record, I only started taking doryx the summer right before college.

That being said, without really even looking at my hair, she prescribed propecia and rogaine. The propecia seemed to be working fine, but when I started romaine a bit later in the month, the shedding became excessive with bald spots.

After a month of propecia and two weeks of rogaine, I stopped taking the balding treatments. I also decided to eliminate my retinoid treatment completely as well. I hoped that by stopping everything, my body would stabilize and my hair would grow back.

I stopped treatments mid July. Now it is the first day of October, and not much seems to have changed, except that my hair has gotten longer, but still thin.

The shedding is still happening. I did a scalp test--pulling a large group of hair--every single day for the past 2 weeks. About 4-5 hairs come out every single time I do it. Every time I shake my head, hair is falling out. I am losing hair.

This is what it looks like when fully parted and patted down:

This is what it looks like normally: http://i50.tinypic.com/ztb2c1.jpg

I do not know what type of hair loss I have. I wish I could know whether or not it was male pattern baldness (which I thought it was at one point) or this telogeun effluvium thing I am reading about online. I am too afraid to go to a dermatologist given that they handed out medication that seemed to make it significantly worse. Do you think that it is possible that stress + eating irregularities are doing this? I have had an immense amount of family and personal stress the past 4 or 5 months, but I am permanently stressed out for the most part. Also, do you think my obsession with my hair loss could be making it worse? It seems to be diffuse hair loss, from what I have researched, but I do not know much about this. Any advice/suggestions/similar stories?

10-01-2012, 09:16 AM
I'm in the same boat as you. I don't have insurance and can't afford to see a doctor, who I have to pay even before he runs any tests.

I went online and found this place that sells Iron/Thyroid and other blood tests cheap. They draw blood at a Labcorp (they are everywhere) and you get your results online.


I just did it Thursday. 80 bucks for both tests (Thyroid and Iron), not bad.

10-01-2012, 11:31 AM
you should get on my combo asap.

10-01-2012, 04:57 PM
Hey man, I know the feeling. You're certainly not the only one, but I do have some advice/stories.

1.) When I was younger, my friend had an older brother who went to college (~19 years old) and was, not to generalize, the nonathletic (definitely didn't work out) type and began vegan-ism. By Christmas break his hair was patchy and incredibly thin. This prompted him to put new-found beliefs down and he gave in to eating meat again. I'm not sure what else he did in conjunction with that, but I do know his hair rebounded pretty well over the next ~6 months.

2.) I, myself, have quite a bit in common with you. This summer I worked as a barback/bartender, working 40-70 hours a week. A lot of shifts were "clopens" (close till 4 am, get a few hours of sleep, and be back there at 8 am). I woke up insanely sore, lacked an appetite (though I had hardly ate), and would hit it again. I should also mention barbacking was very labor intensive, and I was out on a warf, which means I was out in the sun for hours and hours. Furthermore, I was working an internship that offered me opportunities for advancement. Nothing wrong with that, except I began stressing and pushing myself even more. I was working one job, then driving to the next. I worked a ton of 12-18 hour days. This started in May, and I noticed the hair thinning around late June. I then proceeded to stress about it, because my dad is bald, and being the neurotic person I am, perpetuated myself into a oppressive lifestyle. Now, it's October, I've been done with the barbacking gig since early September, and I've taken some basic steps to try and promote hair growth: I use coconut and corsol oil twice a week on my scalp, take Biotin and Fish oil supplements, eat at least two square meals with meat, massage my scalp, and most importantly I TRY to NOT stress and worry about it. I genuinely feel like my methods have helped, but I'm not professionally trained to go wildly recommending.

I'm sure you've read all the literature and understand what's going on. All I can say is be respectful of biology/genetics by seeking professional consultation, but DON'T worry (easier said than done, right?) When showering, wash you're hair and don't look at your hands. Do things that relax you. Get enough sleep. Eat WELL. I know you might not agree with eating meat, but you realize that we've evolved as a species eating meat, and our body expects it. Consider seeing a nutritionist for guidance on food.

It's a bit of a bummer man, I know. I have a funny shaped head, so if I go bald, it's going to be a bit extra of a bummer - haha. Maybe you have a nice shaped dome and look good with short hair? Either way, life goes on.

Sorry for the short novel of a response. I just joined this site to help others and seek help myself. I'll be doing my own intro soon (might just copy and paste this lengthy thing - haha).

Best regards buddy.

10-24-2012, 05:19 PM
So, I still have not been to a hormone doctor. There's a chance I may have a thyroid problem (?), but I decided, all in all, to just shave it and see what was going on.

I don't really know what exactly it is, still. I have these two bizarre bald spots exactly where I applied the rogaine in the summer. I tried comparing my hair to the Norwood scale, and am unsuccessful. Any thoughts?



10-25-2012, 04:19 PM
Don't attack people unless they start claiming bullshit about some drug or something. People come here asking for help and often times they come in with their own ideas and theories because they want to believe "there is another way"

It takes convincing correctly, not beratement and putting people down.

10-28-2012, 08:26 PM
I don't exactly have the funds to seek professional help at the moment. Dermatology isn't usually covered under insurance.