I'm writing to solicit some views/comments re: my unusual sudden hair loss. I'm in my late thirties and for the last one month, I have suffered sudden hair loss/shedding on the top of my head. Prior to this, I have a fairly thick hair and I only noted the top shedding a couple of weeks ago. I saw a dermatologist over the weekend and she diagnosed my condition as 'adrogenic alopecia' which is a male pattern baldness and is genetic (considering my father also suffered from hair loss) and/or hormonal in nature. She said and I had read as well that one main cause of hair loss is stress. She recommended a shampoo, Biotin capsule and a 5% Minoxidil scalp lotion to taken over a period of one month. The only thing I could identify as main culprit of this is (physical) stress. I mentioned to her that for the last couple of months, I've been doing 70-minute runs (with 15 minutes walk intervals) on the treadmill, 2-3 times a week, burning about 500 calories each run. This is the first time I've done this type of intense exercise; previously, the runs were quite light lasting about 45 minutes with intervals of walking and burning about 250-300 calories only. My weight now stands at 59 kilos. After each run, I get really exhausted/stressed out and would require me to recover for a day and will run again the following day. And I must admit, my diet has perhaps not been enough to replace all the nutrients/calories lost during my runs and this can be immediately noted by some weight loss (from 62-63 kilos). However, I don't feel any wrong with me apart from this sudden hair loss. I have not been to the gym for almost a week now, just trying to rest and stay away from any strenuous activities. Initially, I thought the hair loss is a result of some allergic reaction (to something unknown) or some liver problem.
I've recently came across another term, 'telogen effluvium' (TE) which is a form of hair shedding which causes the hair to enter a resting/telogen phase and caused by several factors including stress. However, the hair loss/shedding is temporary in nature and will grow back after a few months when the main cause has ceased. I've read the line between adrogenic alopecia and telogen effluvium is most of the time, blurred. My case seems to fall under this category. I'm planning to get some blood test and/or biospy this week to be sure that there are no other causes.
I'm getting panicky as the shedding seems to be continuing to spread (considering if it is really TE, I could shed my whole hairs before regrowth could begin) but I fear I would be bald in the next couple of weeks. I'm now thinking of going to the barber and have the whole thing shaved off. But I still want to understand the situation the fact this happened so suddenly.
I have attached some pictures for reference. Any useful professional inputs/suggestions would be appreciated.
During telogen, the resting hair remains in the follicle until it is pushed out by growth of a new anagen hair. In telogen effluvium, a large number of hair enter telogen at one time.
Minoxidil is often prescribed in telogen. You also need to pay attention to your diet. Your hair needs vitamins and minerals to grow that it can only get from the bloodstream. So if you want to speed up your hair growth and thickness you should limit the intake of fat and salts. Selenium, zinc and magnesium are some of the minerals that your hair needs and also amino acids and vitamin E will help in growing hairs.
It is very difficult to precisely confirm a diagnosis without examination and investigations and the answer is based on the medical information provided. For exact diagnosis, you are requested to consult your doctor. I sincerely hope that helps. Take care and please do keep me posted on how you are doing.
Thanks for the comments. I consulted second dermatologist and he agreed with me on telogen effluvium case (he did examine my hairs unlike the first one who just looked at it) but he did not completely discount the cause of the hair loss could also be attributed to androgenic alopecia. He then suggested for me to have a blood test instead of biopsy which I initially requested but he deemed it invasive and not warranted for my condition. The blood work revealed I'm a bit anemic and has a hypothyroid condition but not to such alarming levels and the internal medicine doctor did not recommend any medication but a follow-up in a month's time.
I've been religiously using the shampoo, taking biotin capsule and applying the minoxidil lotion. I can still see hairs on my hands every time I shampoo and on the floor but not as much as before. I have stopped running in the gym and just do crunches at home and improving my diet.
However, I'm still confused with the exact nature of my hair loss. I still want to believe it's a case of telogen effluvium but I'm worried that all the hairs I've lost won't grow back. I guess it's a matter of wait and see.
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