I just wanted to run something by everybody to get your take on it.
Last fall, in September of 2012 I fell under extreme psychological stress due to a misdiagnosis of an STD. It was extremely distressing and I was under excessive stress day and night for 3-4 months. Then I continued under moderate to high stress for another 2-3 months until my second round of complete testing cleared me of all testable STDs and the one I had been misdiagnosed with (Thank God!).
In about December to January, I noticed a bit heavier shedding from my scalp hair, though I didn't notice any thinning. I noticed the heavier shedding from my pillow cases in the morning and sometimes when I was working at my desk at work I would notice quite a number of hairs. Nonetheless, this has now ceased and I don't notice a whole lot more shedding going on.
Now, almost 8-9 months after the initial stressor, I began noticing high amounts of shedding from both eyebrows. I've counted anywhere from 10-25 eyebrow hairs per day. They have a small bulb on the ends of them. I've noticed this going on since some time in May and now we're into July. It hasn't really slowed down, but stayed around the same rate. My eyebrows are thick, so most people haven't noticed anything going on.
Would it make sense that I might be experiencing telogen effluvium from my eyebrows? My dermatologist didn't really look closely at me, he just went based off my described symptoms that that is what it would be. He ruled out alopecia areata since he said that the shedding has been going on for so long and we haven't noticed significant thinning and clumps of hair usually come out at a time to form bald spots.
With telogen effluvium, they say you should experience higher shedding rates about 3-4 months later and I would assume that is because of the average length of the telogen phase of the hair cycle. I'm experiencing increased shedding from my eyebrows 8-9 months after, which coincides with the average telogen phase length of eyebrow hair (~9 months).
I just wanted to run this by with you guys. When I look at my eyebrows, I do see some new growth in there. I was also diagnosed with a very mild form of seborrheic dermatitis, but I just have very mild flaking/dandruff in the eyebrows. There is no inflammation though.
I just wanted to ask another question. Since my eyebrow hair loss has been continuing for about 2 months now and people do not notice thinning, would I be able to rule out alopecia areata incognita (the diffuse thinning type)?
I haven't been able to find a source yet on the internet that says how long that process takes. The closest thing I have found is that usually the thinning is noticeable within weeks of the start of hair fall with alopecia.
Since my issues were prolonged stress (months of stress where I did not sleep well and I had lost about 15 lbs in 1.5 weeks) would it make sense I would have persistent TE, which is a more gradual shedding?
For diffuse hair loss from eyebrows as well, alopecia totalis and telogen effluvium should be ruled out. In alopecia totalis, there is hairfall of scalp as well as eyebrow and eyelashes. The cause is stress or some autoimmune disease. My sincere advice would be to get an examination done from a dermatologist or trichologist.
Regarding the investigations which can be done to confirm the cause of hair loss, some of the important ones to be done are:
1) Iron studies and thyroid function tests
2) Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone levels
3) Trichoscopy (in this hair and scalp structures may be visualized at many-fold magnification)
4) Scalp biopsy.
I suggest you to consult a trichologist and get these investigations done.
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.
I don't know what to do! I have a dermatologist but he observes me from 6 feet away and he never puts on a pair of gloves...it's pathetic!
I don't believe I have alopecia totalis as I am not currently losing scalp hair. I had only noticed a very short period of increased shedding back in December and January. Right now, the shedding is only affecting my eyebrows. I think persistent telogen effluvium seems consistent with my eyebrows due to the almost 9 month delay in shedding them; besides, the hairs that are shed do not look like exclamation mark hairs.
I barely notice them thinning, but they don't feel as full (how could they when I'm losing up to 25 a day). I notice little hairs growing in, so that's got to be a positive sign.
I have extremely mild seborrheic dermatitis; mostly very oily skin with mild flaking and no inflammation.
I just want to reassure you that I'm experiencing the same thing. I had a severe trauma (emotional) and had PTSD for many months afterwards. My eyebrows and some of my eyelashes began to fall out, with a white bulb on the end of them, so I put it down to TE. None of my other hair is affected so it's not alopecia, and all my bloodwork has been fine. I see new regrowth and I still see some falling, but I guess it's balancing out now. Prolonged stress has a massive impact on your cortisol levels, and your whole hormonal system, so it takes time to heal. I recommend healing your adrenals with lots of rest, relaxation, Dr Wilson's adrenal rebuilder, vitamin C, Vitamin Bs - cos stress health starts with the adrenals. How are you doing now. And how are your eyebrows? Love and healing to you my friend.
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