My Success Story - BaldTruthTalk.com
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  1. #1
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    Default My Success Story

    Iíve decided to write down my -almost- 2 year long journey of recovering from hair loss. This is going to be one long text but very helpful and hopefully, it will save you months and months of research and from jumping from one doctor to another. Even though this is my experience and perhaps you donít care to read it in so much detail, make sure you do because you might identify with certain behaviors, symptoms and patterns.

    My hair loss started in August; it was a huge amount of shedding, especially when I showered and the few hours after it and, during some harsh months, it happened every hour of every day. I got appointments with 4 different dermatologists in the span of six months. Some gave me hair&nails vitamins and sent me home; some told me it was genetic so I should just give up now (even when I told them that no women in my family have alopecia). None of them prescribed a blood work! Obviously, neither did they think about other diagnosis tools like a scalp biopsy (which I was told is harsh) or a test with a densitometer. After months of going through a devastating amount of shedding, I did my own research. (Why did it take me so long? Maybe because we are taught and told that doctors always know what theyíre talking about, and would do whatever it takes to cure, that they hardly ever make mistakes, etc., but I learned the hard way that, in many cases, this is not how it works and we should do our own research and ask them a shit ton of questions about it and even be a little winy about our demands and questions for them). In my research, I have found that different types of hormones, vitamins, minerals and certain diseases could play a role in hair loss and no doctor has ever tested me for that.
    These include: Hormones: DHT, Dhea-s, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, prolactin, follicular stimulating and luteinizing hormones, androstenedione, thyroid hormones (tsh, t4 and t3), insulin and cortisol. Minerals and vitamins: serum ferritin, serum iron, total iron binding capacity (TIBC), transferritin, zinc, vitamins D, B12, A, E, B6, B7 (biotin)and magnesium; Antibodies like FAN, RNA, and certain immunoglobulins to check for celiac disease and other allergies and autoimmune diseases, and VDRL (test for syphilis). Make sure you make a checklist with all these, take it to your doctor and push as hard as possible to get the blood work prescribed. Once you get your results back you can start working on your problem with the right doctor, whether that would be a dermatologist, an endocrinologist, a gynecologist or a hematologist: it depends on your test results. If you can, have 2-3 extra medical opinions at hand and choose what it looks best for you.
    My culprit was iron. 3-4 months prior to my hair loss I started a diet and lost 10 kgs in just two months and became really obsessed with losing more and more weight, completely disregarding my nutrition. For whatever reason, I thought meat (beef, poultry, and fish) would make me fat and stopped eating them. My serum iron was 30 (normal range is 60-110) and my ferritin was at 15 (normal range 11-300), even though it was normal and so was I told by all my doctors, I later learned in this type of forums through the experience of many women, that people need different levels of ferritin for their hair shedding due to this deficiency to stop. Meaning, for some people who suffer from this, hair loss will stop and then regrow at a ferritin level of 50, 70 or 100, depending on the person. Since my serum iron was extremely low, I was prescribed ferrous sulfate pills which I took with vitamin c or orange juice first thing in the morning and I waited 2 hours to have breakfast (oj really helps getting some calories in while you wait to have actual breakfast) and I had a serious change in my diet: I started eating beef 3xweek and the rest of the days, chicken and tuna. I also took those vitamin&hair pills to recover from my nutritional deficiencies, which also contain amino acids (present in proteins, which clearly I didnít eat back then) which are key to hair. After two-three weeks my shedding stopped completely and three months later I saw baby hairs growing. Best sight to behold, ever.
    (WARNING: this change was due to the iron pills that bettered my anemia, the vitamin and amino acid pills helped a lot but in the long run. Take into account that if you donít have and iron deficiency, iron pills wonít make magic but I would give it a shot if you have a Ďlowí ferritin level, always with a doctor supervising since iron overload could poison you and have an undesired effect as well and may upset your stomach. Many thricologists agree that alopecia in most young women is caused due to this deficiency)
    At the moment when the shedding stopped, I had a blood work done and my ferritin went from 15 to 35, which made me figure out that my sweet spot is around 30-40 and that I should keep it that way. TIP: if you are or will be on iron pills and shedding eventually stops, make sure to get a blood work done so you know which ferritin level is ideal for you.
    After 6 months, I quitted taking iron supplements because you canít take them forever unless you are severely anemic (which might be your situation, who knows, you should check it with a hematologist since there are other harmless ways like iron injections, depending on the case). One and half weeks later, my shedding started again (ferritin went down to 13) so I got back on the iron pills. After I recovered from this and even though my problem was almost completely solved and thank God, I could see a difference in my hair body, texture and I saw actual hundreds of baby hairs growing, I knew I was not going to be able to take iron pills for the rest of my life. So, since no doctor advised me correctly on what was I supposed to do next, I did my own research again: I started to investigate what hindered iron absorption and Iíve found that a lot of things interfere with it (polyphenols in tea, especially green, white and black tea, chocolate and caffeine), so, I gave up tea and diet coke and started drinking decaf. This really helped and I highly recommend it but it wasnít enough.
    While researching, I also found out that IBD or inflammatory bowel disease, such as gastritis (which many people suffer from, some people have awful symptoms like heartburn and is obvious to them but some people have more Ďsilentí symptoms and donít know they have it at all) hinders vitamin and mineral absorption, especially iron. I went to a gastroenterologist, reported him my whole medical history and he prescribed me an antibody test to check if I had celiac disease, which I didnít, and an endoscopy and a colonoscopy. They found out I had severe (worst level possible) gastritis and a bacteria called helicobacter pylori which is the most common bacteria in the world. Some people live with this bacteria just fine and never realize it and some have acute symptoms; to me, it provoked my gastritis and made it worse each day. I was prescribed a combination of antibiotics to kill the bacteria for a week and pantoprazole (a proton pump inhibitor like omeprazole, PPIs reduce acid in stomach and protects it) for 6 weeks. You can already imagine what caused my gastritis to worsen, besides the bacteria, right? Iron pills and pure vitamin c Ėwhich is super acid- on an empty stomach (which is still one of the best ways to absorb iron in the short term while you are recovering from anemia) every single morning for many months. My doctor said I had to stop the iron supplements and vit c and get my stomach cured. You can already imagine how much I was panicking; I had had finally found the way to make my hair stop shedding and regrow and now I had to remove it from my daily routine. Nonetheless, I did it expecting the worse and to my surprise, my hair loss didnít come back! As it turns out, the gastritis limited vitamins and minerals absorption and made me bleed internally a little bit. I still take precautions though, I donít drink tea and choose decaf because they still make me irritate.
    I also want to give you an amazing piece of information Iíve found: thereís this amino acid called Lysine, its daily intake is around 1-3 grams. I took 500mg (according to a study, you need at least 700mg to make sure you obtain the benefits) lysine supplement a day to reinforce my now well-balanced diet (meat and eggs have the majority of your DV% of amino acid intake). Apparently, lysine, besides being an essential amino acid, helps to naturally block excess DHA (hormone responsible for pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia) and it naturally betters iron absorption. It is ill-advised for people with surplus calcium, osteoporosis and kidney or liver failures; so if you have any of these, make sure you ask your doctor. You will still need this amino acid daily but the best way is to get it from the foods you eat, but perhaps a small amount supplement wonít hurt you, just make sure to ask. Even if you donít have any of those diseases, donít take lysine isolated, or any amino acid for that matter; take it with food and other supplements that contain more types of amino acid, this helps your body process it better and can cause less undesired side effects. Still, amino acids supplements in their right amount are noble and hardly ever cause problems.

    Other information you may find useful that you can check with your doctor: combined contraceptive pills help with female pattern baldness (still, alopecia is listed as a side effect so check it with a gynecologist), protect your scalp from direct and harsh sunlight, you could try applying Rogaine (a lot of people agree it works), only if youíre a man you could try Finasteride (again, check with your doctor since it has quite a few side effects and some man cannot take it), try to get to know your scalp better by asking a thricologist or dermatologist (Iíve found that I had a greasy and dandruff-prone scalp and had no idea about it, so you can buy your shampoo accordingly), I use the Wet Brush, an inexpensive brush that allegedly strips less hairs from your scalp when brushing, especially wet hair; I also use Líoreal Serioxyl which is a thickening serum that I only apply on the ends of my hair when wet (never my scalp) and it has given my hair a thicker texture. When I shower, the final water rinse of my hair I do it with cold water to minimize pores and when washing your hair, never use water thatís way too hot.
    Disclaimer: as you can already tell, Iím not a doctor so you should take my advice with a grain of salt and ALWAYS ask your doctor that knows your full medical history. What you just read is my own personal experience that aims to help you do more research, learn to get to know your body and have a one-on-one talk with your doctor, making sure you make your statement loud and clear.

    Iím hoping this helped you. Ask me any questions if you need and Iíll be glad if you can report me back in a few months on how your hair loss is going after you find your main underlying cause or causes. Remember to carry your checklist with you to your doctorsí appointments and make yourself heard by them.

  2. #2
    Junior Member VeronicaGibbs's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your personal experience with us. I'm touched by your story. I have enlightened myself from your story. I hope others who are having the same problem will be highly benefited from this post. You have discussed the matter with detailed so its a huge opportunity for people to learn a lot. I appreciate you helping thought. Thanks, cheers, xoxo.

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