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View Full Version : Losing my hair one patch at a time - Alopecia Areata



lara grace
April 4th, 2013, 02:15 PM
This is incredibly hard to write. I started my hair growing journey a few years ago, after wearing extensions for a long period of time. My hair finally reached waist length, I was happy with the colour, everyone always complimented my hair, everything. My album photos are very old, here's a recent picture before this all started:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/487400_3851972472942_1490078070_n.jpg

I'm a college student and have been going through a stressful period leading up to exams along with problems in my personal life. I never thought it would manifest itself physically like this. About a month ago I noticed the base of my scalp by the nape of my neck was a bit itchy. Didn't think much of it, my scalp is usually a bit itchy. Over the course of a couple of days, the patch started to feel more like skin than hair. I looked at it in the mirror, and was horrified to find a bald patch the size of a golf ball.

I got a doctors appointment for the next day, and she immediately told me it was alopecia areata caused by stress, and that it's unpredictable and anything could happen. It could grow back straight away, or spread and never grow back. Or grow back in a few years. Of course I was horrified, my hair is my defining feature, I'm sure it is the same for many of you. I was given a steroid lotion, Betacap and Daktakort, a miconazole nitrate and hydrocortisone cream. I was told to put them on twice daily for two weeks, which I began immediately. I had hope, it was one patch in a hidden place.

A few days later, I found another patch, the size of a 20c coin on the right side of my head, near the parting. Again devastated, but it was still disguisable. Continued putting on the creams.

Fast forward to last night, and I feel that itchiness again. I hesitantly look in the mirror and find 6 more small patches, about the size of my little finger, all over my scalp.

I don't even know why I'm writing this here. I think I just need to talk about it to people who appreciate and love their hair as much as the LHC does. My friends don't understand the journey and time I went through in growing my hair from shorter than collarbone length and taking care of it. I am so terrified that I will lose all my hair. I'm 20 years old, my hair is the only thing I am confident about in myself and now it's falling out in patches.

Has anyone else experienced this? Thanks anyone who read all of this. All the information and support on this site has been invaluable over the years.

Rivanariko
April 4th, 2013, 02:23 PM
:grouphug: I am so sorry to hear that you're going through this on top of everything else. It can't be helping your stress level!

My only advice is to try to find some ways to "burn off steam" and cope with your stress, as your doctor said that she thinks that it is related to stress. I hope that you can find a solution! But remember, at the end of the day it IS only hair, and there are many other lovely things about you! Try to take care of yourself the best you can over the next several weeks and hopefully things will work out!

MaryMarx
April 4th, 2013, 02:24 PM
Oh, that's so sad. :(
I really hope that the latest patch you found was the last ever. :)
Try to have a positive mind, and do all you can to minimize the stress.
(Also, I don't want to sound like a new age hippie, but relaxing and mindfulness have been proved to have great results in problems like headaches, sleep problems, psoriasis and all kind of things.)
:grouphug:

heidi w.
April 4th, 2013, 02:32 PM
You must take super good care of your hair. No pulling; no dying which I suspect is going on right now. None of that kind of stuff. I think you need to use a lot more conditioner on the length only; not on the scalp at all. It can be done. Just lean to one side or the other to get the conditioner rather heavily on the length of hair. Find some kind of detangler agent so that pulling is minimized when detangling. Sleep on a satin or sateen pillowcase. I sleep on one every single night and wash it frequently. If you have an itchy scalp, then something is bugging you somehow. Probably the SLS in shampoos is a bit of a problem as well as the aura alopecia. With great care, you can keep what you've got.
heidi w.

Vanille_
April 4th, 2013, 02:36 PM
I am so very very sorry that you are going through this. My recommendation would be to try to treat the cause, not just the symptoms. If this is indeed stress related, explore every option to lessen your stress. Yoga, meditation, walks in nature, breathing exercises, taking time for yourself, a hobby... the list is endless. But please do something!

I just want to say that you are such a beautiful girl. Your eyes are bright and your smile is so sincere. Even without any hair at all, I could still see beauty radiate from you.

Please believe that you can handle whatever comes.

shutterpillar
April 4th, 2013, 02:40 PM
I have no suggestions, as I have never had to walk in those shoes before, but I just wanted to express how sorry I am that you are going through this. :( I wish that this will only be a temporary problem and that you will be able to find a solution to help your condition so your hair will grow back. :blossom:



I just want to say that you are such a beautiful girl. Your eyes are bright and your smile is so sincere. Even without any hair at all, I could still see beauty radiate from you.

Please believe that you can handle whatever comes.

And also, absolutely 100% this! You are gorgeous!

leslissocool
April 4th, 2013, 02:50 PM
I am so sorry you are going through this :grouphug:.

I had alopecia when I was pregnant, just like yours I had PATCHES of hair falling. Mine was caused by hormones though, after I had the twins it started to grow back.


My only thought would be do tests. Hormonal/thyroid tests, to absolutely make sure is not also hormonal. Stress is often link to hormonal issues, so that's one thing you might want to cover (itchiness and dry patches on the skin is usually a sign of hormonal issues). I also suggest yoga and relaxation techniques, hot baths. Hot yoga, massages, acupuncture.

You are absolutely gorgeous, I agree with Vanille hair or not you have such a genuine smile and overall beauty.

Nebulae
April 4th, 2013, 03:02 PM
Oh, so sorry to hear you're going through this. :grouphug:

Vanille_ put everything that I thought of into words so well already... You are beautiful and please make some time for yourself to relax even if your life is stressful.. I don't know anything about this condition but it sounds like it's best treated from the inside. Wish everything sorts out soon!

Anje
April 4th, 2013, 03:16 PM
Hugs. It sounds so stressful, upsetting, and scary -- all things you need to reduce to get the hair to grow back, no less!

For what it's worth, we've got several longtime members here with gorgeous long hair who have suffered from alopecia areata. Hopefully they'll come out of the woodwork and tell you how they coped and what worked for them.

You can get through it. Hang in there!

lapushka
April 4th, 2013, 03:27 PM
This is quite frightening to go through. Back when I was 13/14, I lost a lot of hair (hormones) at one time, hands full, and it was quite drastic and horrendous to go through. It recovered in a year to two years after that, luckily. I had vitamin supplements, I had creams and lotions. I wouldn't totally despair. It could all turn around. Or... it might not. You can't ever be prepared for that. Maybe try wigs if the bald patches become really apparent and you don't want to let anyone see.

jeanniet
April 4th, 2013, 03:57 PM
A friend's daughter went through this--she started losing hair in middle school, and wore a wig all through high school. The trigger for hers was unknown, or at least it wasn't stress. She's in college now, and her hair has grown back to the point where she doesn't wear a wig. So there's hope. I know how difficult it is for you; it's so hard for a young women to experience this kind of loss.

You might contact your university's counseling center to see if there are any low cost options for you in terms of anxiety/stress counseling. It's obviously not an uncommon thing for students to go through, so they may have some referrals for you. And you're a lovely young woman!

ETA: I should have mentioned that medical treatment was no help for my friend's daughter, unfortunately. Time was the only healer. I know that's probably hard to hear. If it helps any, if you do have to resort to wigs, they can be very natural-looking (she played soccer) and you should be able to find something close to your hair's natural feel.

embee
April 4th, 2013, 04:04 PM
What a very nasty thing to have happen! :( Much sympathy. Never been there myself, but would be so sad and discouraged if it happened to me.

Everyone is quite right though, you are a pretty girl even discounting the hair. There is bound to be a way to relieve some of the stress you're under - walking, dancing, singing - something surely can help.

Eat the best you can, be very gentle with your hair, and we all hope the bare patches will fill in soon.

Kyaatje
April 4th, 2013, 04:34 PM
I don't have anything usefull to say, only wanted to give you a hug

kdaniels8811
April 4th, 2013, 05:21 PM
I am so sorry this is happening and understand how you feel, I lost all my waist length to chemo. Fortunately it is behind me and I just hit BSL. Take good care of you and yoga and exercise are great stress relievers. Good luck!

jacqueline101
April 4th, 2013, 05:45 PM
I'd do the things Heidi W suggested. I'd do the lab and treatment your doctor suggested.

Bunnysaur
April 4th, 2013, 06:16 PM
I'm in the same boat as you :(
Except my hair is falling out all over, not just in patches. managing the stress really helps, I know magnesium supplements are said to help relax and destress people who take them, but I've only just started one so I can't say. \
*hugs*

Bunnysaur
April 4th, 2013, 06:17 PM
I'm in the same boat as you :(
Except my hair is falling out all over, not just in patches. managing the stress really helps, I know magnesium supplements are said to help relax and destress people who take them, but I've only just started one so I can't say. \
*hugs*

Emichiee
April 4th, 2013, 07:14 PM
I am so sorry you are going through this :(

Alopecia is an auto immune disease also and your body basically attacks the hair follicles.
Since auto immune problems are caused by inflammation, it would be important to keep inflammation down.
There is a gluten connection to Alopecia Areata btw.:
http://paleohacks.com/questions/26441/curing-my-alopecia#axzz2PXvqipLe

Maybe it is not just stress. At least it might be worth a try going on a Autoimmune or Paleo diet.
This girl seems to have much success with it:http://www.freckleditalian.com/2012/01/on-going-paleo-thirty-days-later.html?m=1 (She has AA)
Even if it is just stress and nothing dieatary, reducing inflammation will still take stress away from the body.

I wish you much strength and hope it will resolve quickly!

Ambystoma
April 4th, 2013, 07:37 PM
I'm so sorry to hear you're going through this - I hope everything resolves for you as quickly as possible :grouphug:

Nellon
April 4th, 2013, 07:41 PM
I am so so sorry this is happening! I know it must feel devastating, but you'll pull through! And as many others have said: you really are such a pretty girl in other ways as well! But again, I can really feel how difficult this is. Big big hugs, and you're in my thoughts and prayers. Hope it resolves itself quickly.

Macaroni
April 4th, 2013, 11:35 PM
Definitely have your thyroid checked and in the meantime, maybe add acupuncture to your stress relieving management. Hugs.

Mesmerise
April 5th, 2013, 03:01 AM
First, I'm so sorry you're going through this! Over the last couple of years I've had massive shedding (it will ease for awhile and pick up again) and my hair is heaps thinner, and although I have no large bald patches, the hair at the front and on the sides is noticably thinner (and there seem to be bald bits... just not actual patches). I worry about it a lot, as I always believed my hair was my best feature. As it is, I'm probably going to end up cutting it off...

I would also follow Emichiee's advice here:


I am so sorry you are going through this :(

Alopecia is an auto immune disease also and your body basically attacks the hair follicles.
Since auto immune problems are caused by inflammation, it would be important to keep inflammation down.
There is a gluten connection to Alopecia Areata btw.:
http://paleohacks.com/questions/26441/curing-my-alopecia#axzz2PXvqipLe

Maybe it is not just stress. At least it might be worth a try going on a Autoimmune or Paleo diet.
This girl seems to have much success with it:http://www.freckleditalian.com/2012/01/on-going-paleo-thirty-days-later.html?m=1 (She has AA)
Even if it is just stress and nothing dieatary, reducing inflammation will still take stress away from the body.

I wish you much strength and hope it will resolve quickly!

MaryO
April 5th, 2013, 04:24 AM
On no, this is horrible! I recently read that the paleo diet help for all sorts of weird things, I suppose it's worth looking into?

Good luck, keep us posted!:grouphug:

faellen
April 5th, 2013, 05:14 AM
Agree with Emichiee that this may not be just stress related; alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder, does your family have any history of autoimmune diseases? It could be hereditary. A steroid injection instead of the cream may work better.

I'm really sorry this is happening to you and can't imagine how you must be feeling. Maybe try some of the suggestions already posted in this thread, and keep us updated on how it goes! Even if stress isn't the cause of the alopecia, it can certainly be the result of it and stress-relieving techniques will be beneficial to you.

longNred
April 5th, 2013, 06:53 AM
YOU are beautiful.

you will make it through this. you've gotten some really wonderful advice - I agree wholeheartedly with Emichiee, it's been my own personal experience that so much can change for the better through diet. I do hope you find something long lasting, beyond the creams and steroids. do keep us posted it you can. wishing you all the best!

gilber007
April 6th, 2013, 07:57 PM
If it helps any at all - I've had the same thing happen to me. On at least 6 different occasions. The first two times I had AA were the worst. The first was when I was 4 and I lost about a quarter of my hair in round patches. When it grew back it had gone from fairly curly to basically straight. My second time was when I was 14 - a freshman in high school. I lost about half of my hair. All of it up to my ears and little round patches over the top of my head. It took months for the hair to start growing back in, and I had to use all of the topical things your doctor recommended. My hair was fairly short at that point because it was the popular thing to have short hair - but short was still shoulder length...and it grew back curly. ;-) I've not lost more than a 2-3 inch patch the other times. The fifth time I had to have steroid injections after it had stabilized for about 6 months because it wouldn't start growing back. The sixth time is actually current. I found a 1cm patch about 3 weeks ago, it's about 1.5cm now. My hair has been between BSL and waist length the other times (between those lengths at present). With those episodes, I've basically just tried to be very gentle with my hair and especially my scalp. I've been loose braiding before bunning it instead of twisting it at the scalp. I try to use a different style each day so that my hair isn't pulling at one spot. Even though AA isn't tension alopecia, it doesn't hurt to avoid the tension anyway.

And I'm totally going to look into those articles posted earlier.

Sorry to ramble. But I know from experience that sometimes it helps to know that someone else out there has gone through, or is going through, the same thing.

Angelica
April 7th, 2013, 05:12 AM
Oh I am so sorry for what you are going through. I can well understand your distress, you are still lovely remember that, and I am sure your hair will recover. Have you seen a specialist? A trichologist? you need to sort that itching out. Try a shampoo that is recommended for itchy scalps. I also agree that acupuncture may be worth looking at, some people swear by that, because it treats the whole body and can check out what imbalance you have. Make sure you see a reputable practitioner though, some are quacks. Also why not try a herbalist? Some people have had success with this also. Above all remember that you are not alone with this condition, and plenty of people have, in time, grown their hair back :)

robert.brown987
February 15th, 2018, 06:00 AM
Oh Sorry! That is very awful. I wish that it should never happen to anyone but I know the fact that diseases are unavoidable. First, I'd like to advice you to build up your confidence. Following are the few techniques that can help:

1. The first step to make peace with your problem is to understand the reason behind it.
As you mentioned that stress is the main cause. Try to figure out what is cause for stress and don't be stressful about exams. Take it calmly, everything goes fine and also don't worry about personal problems. Find the root cause of those problems as well and try to figure out the best possible solution.

2. Strengthen your mind. There are techniques like meditation and yoga that can help you in strengthening not only your mind but your inner soul. These will add peacefulness in your life.

3. Deflect negative comments! Try not to react for negative comments.

4. Find someone who can understand you. Explain your problem to them and tell them that you need help.

Secondly what I want to say is Alopecia Areata is curable. Put a smile on your face. Yes! It's true. Past one year ago, even I suffered the same. Now, Its completely cured. For this I'm very thankful to Dr. David Kingsley who suggested me to use this alopecia areata (https://www.richfeel.com/alopecia-treatment/) treatment. I found it to be very effective. I even tried some home remedies like onion juice, garlic juice, lavender oil and Licorice Root but didn't notice any significant changes. It might be due to short period of time. When I was suffering my soul intention was fast recovery. I'd recommend you to try this out as natural products have very less side effects but then I didn't find any side effects from Dr david kingsley's treatment. Finally I'd like to tell you that BE HAPPY! I hope at least now this forum made some justice to you.

Eriu
February 15th, 2018, 07:54 PM
I'm so sorry! I just wrote a post about my hair and how it's something that gives a sense of control over my life, and joy in my appearance. I'm so sorry these things have been threatened for you. I can't imagine how desperate and powerless something like that would make me feel, and my heart goes out to you. I don't have any real advice to add but this, if following any regimen [eg, diet changes] is in itself stressing you out, stop!

As for advice for a future worst case scenario, I have a friend with alopecia who wears wigs. Whenever someone compliments her hair she winces and says "Thanks, it's a wig." Then the person feels the need to ask a follow up question, and she ends up having a personal and painful conversation with a near stranger. I'd say the same to you as I do to her, "It is your hair, it's hair and you own it, just say thanks." She'll say that feels like taking credit for something she doesn't actually have. I tell her she picked it out, paid for it and styled it, so she certainly deserves a compliment as much as someone who lucked out with their genes. Over 10 years I've been telling her this, and she still gets upset when people compliment her hair. Please don't do this to yourself. Please let it teach you how to set your own boundaries. [eg. My friend was very bothered when someone adjusted her hair for her to hide a spot, but she also reacted poorly if you just told her it was showing, and I know she didn't like it to be showing. I wish I'd had the wisdom to actually ask what she wanted me to do, I wish she'd had the nerve to just say.]

Also as to people's comments/jokes; When my friend started losing her hair in high school we all thought it was temporary [her mother suffered from very mild alopecia and it always grew back quickly] and I teased her quite a bit. I thought I was adding levity to the situation, using humor to tell her it was no big deal. A year later she shaved her head and bought a wig and I felt like a jerk. {I was an absolute jerk} If you experience anything like this tell people your not ready to laugh yet, tell them they hurt your feelings, that this is unacceptable to you. Some of us just don't know how to help. If they don't care well now you know who they really are!

I wish there was something I could actually do for you, just remember you are wonderful and worthy, hair or no hair!

Eriu
February 15th, 2018, 07:59 PM
Oh gosh! I'm sorry, I just realized the OP was from 2013. Silly me I should have checked. I considered deleting the above post, but I think I leave it in case it helps someone else.

SeRe
February 15th, 2018, 08:17 PM
This ayurvedic hair oil can help: https://ayurmedinfo.com/2012/04/27/malatyadi-tailam-benefits-how-to-use-side-effects-ingredients/