PDA

View Full Version : Honest Opinions and Advice Needed



Boudicca
January 2nd, 2014, 08:16 AM
Hi all. Happy New Year :)

I was really hoping that some of you might be willing to offer some views/advice on my hair. It is long, but it's thin - and I'm really unhappy with the look of it. I never wear it down, since I feel it looks straggly. It's in a bun most of the time. I wear it in a plait at home - but the plait is pretty thin. I treat it as well as I can in an attempt to make it thicker (buns, plaits, coconut oil, no cones, no hairdryer/straighteners/curlers/product, multivitamins) - but I don't really see any return. There is a thinness issue at the crown which drives me crazy (you'll be able to see it in the photos)

I don't know if extra info would help. It's never been dyed. My ponytail circumference is just shy of 2 inches. It can hold a curl/waves - but the shape 'breaks' easily if that makes sense (one gust of wind and I'm left with frizz). The one time I had it cut short (just below my shoulders), it tended to ringlets.

I'd really appreciate some honest opinions. It's actually getting me down.

http://i192.photobucket.com/albums/z136/Boudicca_01/Hair1.jpg (http://s192.photobucket.com/user/Boudicca_01/media/Hair1.jpg.html)

http://i192.photobucket.com/albums/z136/Boudicca_01/Hair2.jpg (http://s192.photobucket.com/user/Boudicca_01/media/Hair2.jpg.html)

http://i192.photobucket.com/albums/z136/Boudicca_01/Hair3.jpg (http://s192.photobucket.com/user/Boudicca_01/media/Hair3.jpg.html)

Maktub
January 2nd, 2014, 08:31 AM
I love your hair color and shine !

Your hair does seem thin. Considering everything you said and the pictures, I would seek the opinion of a doctor and start by a good health-check and then go from there.

I'm sorry you feel bad about your hair. Sending you great thoughts :grouphug:

chen bao jun
January 2nd, 2014, 08:35 AM
Second the dr. check idea. Try to tell him everything. Think of every medication you are on, any other symptoms and also, are you on birth control pills? They are heck on some people's hair.

WoolSweater
January 2nd, 2014, 08:35 AM
Your hair looks like my mother's hair (at the scalp), and she has hormone related issues which cause the thinness. I'm not trying to diagnose you, but I agree that a visit to a doctor is in order. Now, *which* doctor is a good question, but for thinning hair, I'd say an OBGYN or a dermatologist. I'm suggesting a doctor because hair thin at the scalp like that is not usually "normal", so I would want to make sure nothing medical is wrong.

I'm sorry you're struggling with your hair. :( I would say wearing it up would be best for now so it doesn't tangle or get caught on something. Also, after all the medical things are worked out, maybe try a henna gloss? Or cassia? Both those things give a boost to hair's thickness. Good luck. :flower:

Applegirl84
January 2nd, 2014, 08:38 AM
:hugs: I can see your frustration. You've obviously worked hard to grow it so long and it sounds like you take great care of it. I second getting dr's opinion.

Bene
January 2nd, 2014, 08:41 AM
If it were just the length, I'd tell you to trim to nape and start from there. But looking at the scalp, I think you should have a doctor see you. This isn't just a hair issue.

Chiquita Banana
January 2nd, 2014, 08:47 AM
I love, love, love the color! And you've done a great job at growing it out and protecting it with the buns and braids. I, too, think you should see a doctor though about the thinning. It could be something as simple as a hormone adjustment? Hugs to you!!

Boudicca
January 2nd, 2014, 08:56 AM
Hi all.

Thanks so much for the kind comments and support. It is deeply appreciated :)

I take the progesterone only mini-pill. I used to take the combined pill, but I had to come off it, as I had terrible migraines and the doctor said I was at risk of stroke. The mini-pill is the only one I can tolerate. When I've tried to go pill-free in the past, it's been nightmarish (greasy hair, bacne, moodswings- basically being 14 again :)) I've got an aunt and cousin with the same issues - had to come off the combined pill, and have thin hair.

I'm in the UK, so I can't get to an OBGYN or a dermatologist - I'd have to get a referral first, which would be pretty unlikely. I suppose I could try my GP? Ask for bloods?

Gothchiq
January 2nd, 2014, 09:03 AM
I would talk to a dermatologist. I had serious hair loss issues in high school and they had helpful medications. I would also go to the regular doctor and have my thyroid hormones, iron levels, and other similar measures of health checked. If those measures turn up nothing, then it's time to consider various cosmetic options. There are scalp serums that have ingredients like horsetail, mint, etc that are helpful in curbing hair loss. (edit: just noticed it would be hard for you to see a specialist. So talk to the GP first and then see if s/he thinks you should have a referral.)

Maktub
January 2nd, 2014, 09:06 AM
I think abnormal hair thinning is a cause for concern and investigation for doctors in general because it can be a symptom of different things. Be sure to make a list of everything you can think of before going to a generalist and then telling them everything your are concerned about.

For example :

How is your sleep, emotions, stress, migraines ?
What kind of nutrition do you have ?
Have you noticed any skin or nail issues ?
How was your hair, at your scalp, before the progesterone pills ?
Is there a moment or year when you noticed thinning started ?
How is the hair of other people in your family at your age ?
Are there thyroid issues in your family ?
Can your work or home environment impact your health ? (chemicals, high stress, water system, etc.)
Have you lived any important traumatic event in the last years ? (can lead to hair follicles dying)
Do you know what your natural menstrual cycle is like (length, PMS, etc. ?) and other hormone-related things ?

Start by thinking of every thing you can that could have impacted your health, and go see a doctor with this. Hair thinning might be a symptom of something else.

Boudicca
January 2nd, 2014, 09:15 AM
My hair has never been fabulously thick - but I don't recall it looking this bad until my early/mid 20s (I'm 32 now). It's been easy to ignore it for the past few years because I've been doing 2 post-grad degrees - I'd just bun it and hit the books :)

I had to go on accutane to treat a bad acne outbreak in my mid-20s, but the thinning issue preceded that. For me, skin, headaches, and hormones seem to be closely linked.

I've been on some form of BCP since I was 16 - mostly as a way to manage menstrual stuff. I was sick of the PMS, tiredness and discomfort. I'm petrified of coming off the pill in case I trigger my acne.

Just realised that there's a link to some older pics in my signature. Is it just me, or has it got worse? Might be the length that's making it look even worse, too.

monsoonstorm
January 2nd, 2014, 09:15 AM
I would talk to a dermatologist. I had serious hair loss issues in high school and they had helpful medications. I would also go to the regular doctor and have my thyroid hormones, iron levels, and other similar measures of health checked. If those measures turn up nothing, then it's time to consider various cosmetic options. There are scalp serums that have ingredients like horsetail, mint, etc that are helpful in curbing hair loss. (edit: just noticed it would be hard for you to see a specialist. So talk to the GP first and then see if s/he thinks you should have a referral.)

Ditto this.

I was once told, that if you ask a doctor for a test, they *technically* cannot refuse (liability issues), but they will probably tell you that you're an idiot for wanting them and do their best to talk you out of them (obviously they cost money and come out of their budget!) But they cannot refuse. If they did, and it turned out to be that exact problem, they'd be in a world of trouble. Best thing is to be firm, be understanding, explain your reasoning and don't back down. Book a time with a temporary doctor if you are worried about it affecting your relationship with your usual GP.

First suspects would be hormones, thyroid, deficiencies.

Note down everything you can, when you noticed it start, other changes, weight/appetite/sleep etc. Make sure that you let the doctor know that this is significantly affecting you, if you address it in a "it kinda sucks" manner, they'll be more dismissive and may not take it seriously.

I hope you find the answer. Good luck!

SlightlySoprano
January 2nd, 2014, 09:16 AM
I agree with everybody on the go to the doctor part! Definitely ask for a full blood test to see if they can check your hormone levels, including thyroid. In terms of your hair, I think it looks STUNNING all the way up to about hip length, so *if* you were to trim back, I wouldn't go higher than hip! I'm dealing with *exactly* the same issue, thin hair all over the scalp, but my hair is only about APL and actuality he same texture as yours, and I'm not sure if it is growing at all...

lapushka
January 2nd, 2014, 09:20 AM
From looking at your scalp, I would guess something is wrong. Show the doctor your hair/scalp, and ask for blood work. Your GP should be able to take care of that perfectly.

monsoonstorm
January 2nd, 2014, 09:21 AM
I've been on some form of BCP since I was 16 - mostly as a way to manage menstrual stuff. I was sick of the PMS, tiredness and discomfort. I'm petrified of coming off the pill in case I trigger my acne.

To be honest, I think acne is more manageable than thinning hair. *IF* it is down to the pill, and you do decide to stop, don't forget there will be an adjustment period. Your body may react fairly wildly at first and go into overdrive (re: spots/mood swings etc) but it will settle down.

lapushka
January 2nd, 2014, 09:22 AM
BTW, has it always been this thin, or is this a recent development. That also matters!

Anje
January 2nd, 2014, 09:30 AM
Yet another vote for having a doctor check it, and ask for tests. I sorta think it looks like Ludwig-pattern hairloss (would need more angles), but that's more of a description of the shape and not a reason. As for the length, thickening up would be nice, but it appears to be in lovely condition. Addressing the scalp problem will do a lot more to fix the length than a decision to trim or not would.

WoolSweater
January 2nd, 2014, 09:44 AM
Have you had surgery in the last year? Anesthesia can cause dramatic hair loss. I don't know about all places in the USA, but in my state, I can call my GP doctor, tell him my symptoms, and what branch of medical services I would like a referral to. Maybe it's the same in your area of the UK. That way you can avoid two doctor visits. It wouldn't hurt to try and give your GP doctor a ring and see if they can help you.

I'm on the mini-pill too, and I've noticed increased shedding. I keep telling myself it's not the pill, because like you, I do not want to go off of it and get all the insane side effects, plus going back to the terrible periods and PMS. So I understand your predicament. :(

Boudicca
January 2nd, 2014, 09:58 AM
SlightlySoprano - just wanted to say that you definitely can't see thinning in your avatar! Your hair looks lovely and thick!

To put my acne in context, it was sudden cystic scarring acne that made the accutane necessary - I'd put up with low level stuff for years.

I think everyone's responses here are making me realise that I should see the GP. I'm too good at burying my head in the sand. I've just realised that it's probably not normal to always brush your hair back so that no-one can see the thinness at the crown! And even after that to have to manipulate the hair at the sides to avoid scalp showing!

Sorry WoolSweater - just noticed your post after mine. I've not had any surgery. Referrals don't work like that here. I'd have to visit my GP, and he/she would have to feel my condition warranted a visit to a consultant. Even then, I could wait months for an appointment (possibly up to a year). I waited about 4 months to get to a consultant to get accutane, even with painful, scarring acne.

The pill situation is a real horror, isn't it? I suspect my hormones are possibly a bit wonky - but the thought of going off the pill and all the consequences: bad periods and PMS, skin breakouts, etc, is just horrid.

monsoonstorm
January 2nd, 2014, 10:08 AM
The thing is, it *could* be an underlying adrenal/hormonal issue that was making your periods so bad in the first place.

I hope you manage to get somewhere with the doctor and don't have to wait too long. Even getting a GP appointment where I am can take 3 weeks, so I understand your frustration :(

Don't take no for an answer!

restless
January 2nd, 2014, 10:20 AM
I suspect my hormones are possibly a bit wonky - but the thought of going off the pill and all the consequences: bad periods and PMS, skin breakouts, etc, is just horrid.

How long has it been since you were completely free from pills? Sometimes as we age, the cycle changes and some issues might have disappeared. I know my teenage years were pretty bad in some aspects but as Ive gotten older things have changed.

For what its worth; I think your hair is absolutly lovely with the little ringlets on the very ends and one can tell for sure that that hair has been well taken care off even if its thin. I really hope you go see that doctor and get things solved so you can regain some thickness and be proud of your hair again. Its not okay or normal to have to rearrange the hair to keep the bald spots hidden, especially not for a young woman like you.

Magalo
January 2nd, 2014, 10:21 AM
What I'm about to write is about birth control and may not be related to your hair loss, but whatever. I was on the pill (both estrogen and progesterone) for 5 years before switching BC because I was afraid of the side effect, but I guess I didn't realized how many side effects the pill had itself. Shedding, horrible migraines, painful cramping during my period, terrible PMS (mood swings), but I didn't stop the pill because I was afraid of getting acne and heavy period (like before). Two months ago I got an IUD inserted (Mirena) and WOW. I had a bit of acne at first then it cleared. No migraines, no PMS, extremely light period, and I can't tell if it's making a difference for my hair yet but I hope it will. :) My hormones are so in control now! Best decision I have ever made. You shoudn't be afraid of switching BC!

jel
January 2nd, 2014, 10:31 AM
If you already have hormonal issues you are aware of, I would suggest you request a referral to an endocrinologist. But first ask your GP to run some basic blood tests; when I had severe shedding a few years ago, it transpired that even though I have PCOS the shedding wasn't hormonal. I was actually very low in ferritin (which was fixed fairly quickly just with supplements).

Good luck, and BTW, your hair looks really soft and gossamer-like... fairy hair!

Agnieszka
January 2nd, 2014, 10:40 AM
When you go to your GP please be firm and don't let them tell you it's stress etc. Demand blood tests (hormones, thyroid, iron and ferritin). Dermatologist probably will put you on minoxidil ( takes ages to get an appointment with them, like 2 months or more)

What I would do personally is I would ditch the pills and go for healthy diet for some time, I would make an appointment with GP for blood tests and cut the hair at least to waist. I had problem with hair thinning on the top of my head and improved it with high dosage iron pills, so there was a solution in my case, I'm sure there is also in yours. Hugs.

WoolSweater
January 2nd, 2014, 11:09 AM
Coming to Boudicca's defense a little here, it's not always an option to just ditch medication (sounds like you get to skip through a field of wildflowers while chucking your pill pack in the air). Her original underlying problem can be more of a problem than symptoms of a birth control. Would you rather deal with your original problem, or side effects? Which one, to you Boudicca, would be worse? Sometimes going off a pill can cause certain female problems to worsen, and would cause hormonal problems tenfold. So I'd be careful to just hop off medication. Consider it carefully and weigh any and all pros and cons. Also, you said the combined pills would give you nasty side effects, so Mirena will cause the same issues. Even though it's not a pill, it's the same combined hormones and can cause the exact same symptoms like you described. I tried to go on it (having the exact same symptoms as you in regards to combined hormones), and my headaches and migraines never stopped. So, consider how you feel on the mini pill, and decide if you'd like to go off and deal with the original problem, or stay on and deal with side effects. Good luck! :flower:

patienceneeded
January 2nd, 2014, 11:14 AM
I'm going to agree with the others that you need to see your doctor about the thinning at the scalp. Not normal.

Now, about your BC. I, like you, was on a "regular" BC pill for years. Then, I switched to the mini-pill, as it was supposedly safer. Heavy periods, acne, all the stuff people go on the pill to stop. Years later, I went off the pill in order to get pregnant (I was on BC for 10 years). There was a brief adjustment period, but nothing major. I was surprised.

I got pregnant right away and proceeded with my life. About 4 months after my daughter was born I was at my GP (I was actually there because DD had another ear infection, she and I saw the same GP). The GP was asking about my health as well...DD's constant ear and sinus infections were a bit draining on us both. I had been getting migraines about every 2 weeks, had a muscle in my eye that WOULD NOT stop twitching, and was generally feeling very run-down. I mentioned that I had an appointment with my OBGYN and was thinking it was time to get back on the pill. MY GP looked at me incredulously and said, "you've been on the pill?" She then informed me that with my history of migraine the BC pill, even the mini-pill, put me at a higher risk of stroke and that she would in no way recommend I go back to the pill. I mentioned the whole "heavy periods, irregular menses, acne" line of reasoning, and was told that and IUD would do the same thing as the pill but without the potential stroke risk for me. So, I read some research and went to talk to my OB.

When I talked to my OBGYN about the IUD idea and he seconded my GP's opinion. He told me that, if I had informed him about my migraines, he would have taken me off the pill years ago. "But isn't the mini-pill safer?" "No." I had never considered that my migraines were health information that my OB needed, but apparently they're pretty important to mention to all doctors. I had the Mirena IUD inserted 1 year after DD was born. I just had my second one (they last 5 years) done last summer. It works like a charm. In fact, on the Mirena I haven't had a period in, well, 6 years. I have some minor spotting about every 6-8 weeks, but that's all. I rarely get migraines anymore. I have no acne. No cramping. My hair hasn't been effected at all.

Long story short - see your GP about the thinning. Have some blood work done, etc. However, see your OBGYN as well, or maybe even first. Find out what other BC options are available to you. An IUD may be a very good idea. I figure I'll continue with my Merina IUD every 5 years until I'm old enough not to need BC at all.

Edit: I am not suggesting you simply abandon your BC method and chuck your pill-pack without speaking to a licensed OB. I'm giving another option that (some) find just as good, if not better, than the pill. The main reason I'm talking about the IUD option is the migraines...from what I was told by more than one doctor (3 GP's and 2 OBGYN's) people who suffer from migraines (especially regular migraines) are at a higher risk of stroke while on the pill, even if it's only the mini-pill. Does it mean you will have a stroke if you don't switch? No, of course not. It means your risk of stroke while on the pill is higher than the risk of someone else who does not suffer from migraines.

Still, see a GP as well. It could be that the thinning is completely unrelated to your BC method.

monsoonstorm
January 2nd, 2014, 11:15 AM
Mirena is progesterone only.

It can cause it's own issues over time (don't believe what they say about the hormones staying "local" in the womb), but it's no worse than any other form of hormone based birth control in that respect. I was on it for around 10 years.

Doctors may not consider her for a mirena due to her age/not having a child, especially in the UK, land of "whatever is the cheapest/easiest will do nicely".

Boudicca
January 2nd, 2014, 11:16 AM
You guys are so kind - I really appreciate all the advice and sweet comments.

I've taken BCP for more than half my life now, with only a break of a few weeks. There should probably have been more investigation back when I was put on it when I was 16 (why is the PMS so bad, why is the tiredness so extreme) - but they just put on the cheapest pill and that was that.

I promise that I will see a doctor as soon as I can. I'll also make sure I'm assertive during the appointment, and not just acquiesce like usual.

Edit - a quick chat with a relative just revealed that my cousin (who had similar issues to me - hair nice and thick as a child, progressively thinner after puberty arrived) has PCOS.

Ooops - lots of posts while I was still typing, I'll respond here:

I'd want to talk with a doctor before doing anything with my BCP. My options in this area are severely limited (it says 'contraindicated for combined pill) in red capslock on my record due to the risk of stroke. I was having regular severe migraines on the combined pill before an observant nurse asked some questions and took me off it. It is difficult for me to be off the pill. My scalp gets very greasy, and my back and chest also get oily and break out. I get painful, tiring periods, and dreadfully bad PMS (apologies if this is too much info).


especially in the UK, land of "whatever is the cheapest/easiest will do nicely".

I wish this weren't the case - but it is. I spoke to a friend who is a nurse, who said that I should probably never have been put on the combined pill in the first place (bad family history of stoke and cardiovascular problems) - but that they always try it first since it's cheapest.

summerseason
January 2nd, 2014, 11:20 AM
I'm so sorry about your hair frustration! I can relate! I decided to go to the doctor about the issues I was having and it turned out my hair loss was mostly due to multiple food allergies, nutritional mal-absorption, and a systemic yeast overgrowth. It made me sad to find myself in such a bad state health-wise because I had always fancied that I took really good care of myself! I hope that you are able to find the answers you need quickly! <3

WoolSweater
January 2nd, 2014, 11:50 AM
Here you are not allowed to go on Mirena unless you have had a child. Again, state-to-state/UK differs.


Quick edit: I went on it due to extreme, debilitating female problems. But it is not done here unless you have had a child, or you are at a life risk. I know there are also rings, perhaps this is un the UK? I think these are combined, but low dose, and are not a pill. Not sure about the child thing with the rings? :(

WilfredAllen
January 2nd, 2014, 11:51 AM
your hair is very, very pretty, but there does seem to be thinning from BSL down. Perhaps you had a medical issue or nutritional deficiency a few years ago?

WoolSweater
January 2nd, 2014, 11:54 AM
Have you ever been tested for allergies to foods? I'm sure your GP could do it if they felt like it would help find a conclusion!

Boudicca
January 2nd, 2014, 12:22 PM
I'm so sorry about your hair frustration! I can relate! I decided to go to the doctor about the issues I was having and it turned out my hair loss was mostly due to multiple food allergies, nutritional mal-absorption, and a systemic yeast overgrowth. It made me sad to find myself in such a bad state health-wise because I had always fancied that I took really good care of myself! I hope that you are able to find the answers you need quickly! <3

I'm sorry to hear that. Did you manage to get your issues resolved?

I don't think I have any allergies, as far as I know.

Just had a word with my mum (always have to brace yourself when you ask for your mum's input on your appearance :D) She said my hair as a child (pre-puberty) was thick. She used to be able to put loads of little plaits in it to make it look crimped (ah, the 80s :D) She also thinks that it looked worse after Accutane.

I noticed on a UK website that Mirena should be used with caution with migraine history - so I'm not sure if they would be happy prescribing this to me. They suggested the sub-cutaneous mini-pill implant - but the feel of it under the skin skeeved me out :S

woodswanderer
January 2nd, 2014, 12:22 PM
I took the progesterone only pill also years ago as recommended because of my migraines. I can't prove anything, but I feel it was the cause and start of my current hormonal issues. I personally prefer to go through the annoying adjustment period to get off of it and just get a para guard i.u.d. It is non hormonal.

Boudicca
January 2nd, 2014, 12:23 PM
woodswanderer - your hair is awesome!

woodswanderer
January 2nd, 2014, 12:28 PM
Thanks...love your color. Good luck figuring out the issue.

red-again
January 2nd, 2014, 12:48 PM
I'd be really looking into what your relative said about pcos. You really do have almost textbook symptoms.
I'd see your gp, get a referral for an ultrasound which will look for changes/ signs of pcos in your ovaries, also get a referral to a gynaecologist and while you are waiting get your gp practice to take bloods.
In addition to the routine full blood analysis they offer, specifically ask your dr to request iron, serum ferritin, thyroid hormones, and female sex hormones (called different things depending on lab the surgery uses, but oestrogen, progesterone, prolactin etc)
Even if the pcos results are negative those tests will hopefully point to something that you can work on.
Good luck

Agnes Hannah
January 2nd, 2014, 02:05 PM
Boudicca you have beautiful hair, my hair is BSL, thin and fine, 2"pony, so I understand your fine hair issues. Please see a doc though, and tell them everything, even if you think it may not be relevant. The more information you can give, the more they will have to go on. All the best, we are all behind you!!
I am going to add you to my list of hair inspirations,hope you don't mind, but I love your hair.
AgnesHannah
x

Amahaitz
January 2nd, 2014, 02:06 PM
I just wanted to say that your hair is beautiful--the color, the curl, and the length.

Boudicca
January 2nd, 2014, 04:08 PM
Yet another vote for having a doctor check it, and ask for tests. I sorta think it looks like Ludwig-pattern hairloss (would need more angles), but that's more of a description of the shape and not a reason. As for the length, thickening up would be nice, but it appears to be in lovely condition. Addressing the scalp problem will do a lot more to fix the length than a decision to trim or not would.

Would it being Ludwig-pattern hairloss explain why I have good new growth at the nape, but definite thinning at the crown? That really confused me.

Agnes-Hannah and Amahaitz - thank-you both so much for the kind words :)

Wilfred-Allen - that would round about when I was on Accutane.......

Thanks for the advice about tests, red-again - I'll take a note for when I go to the doctor.

Anje
January 2nd, 2014, 04:24 PM
Would it being Ludwig-pattern hairloss explain why I have good new growth at the nape, but definite thinning at the crown? That really confused me.
It might be. It describes thinning on the crown and top of the head that leaves your forehead hairline a staying in the same place and typically a bit thicker than further back.

Monsterkitti
January 2nd, 2014, 04:47 PM
Good luck with the doctors, i know how difficult it can be to get help from UK docs for something like this :/

The mini-pill implant was pretty good for me in comparison to the regular pills. The shedding was much less for me on it however the mood swings initially were a bit rough.

Other people have said it but you obviously put a lot of care into your hair it looks in lovely condition apart from the thinning issue

Firefox7275
January 2nd, 2014, 04:53 PM
You won't get an automatic referral to a consultant from your GP but that may not be necessary. A good GP should run bloods at the very least to check for hormone imbalances and/ or specific nutrient deficiencies. US citizens can get a little hung up on specialists.

In the mean time take an honest look at your diet and lifestyle. Do you consistently meet or exceed ALL our governments guidelines for healthy eating and lifestyle - from oily fish to fibre to maintaining a healthy weight (low is as bad as too high)?

Magalo
January 2nd, 2014, 04:54 PM
WoolSweater, Mirena contains levonorgestrel only, no estrogen or progesteron. And since it releases hormones in the uterus, it doesn't go through the blood stream (like a pill does) and therefore, the side effects are very minimal in comparison to a pill.

In Canada, anybody can get a IUD, there's no age limit and you don't need to have given birth.

WoolSweater
January 2nd, 2014, 05:14 PM
WoolSweater, Mirena contains levonorgestrel only, no estrogen or progesteron. And since it releases hormones in the uterus, it doesn't go through the blood stream (like a pill does) and therefore, the side effects are very minimal in comparison to a pill.

In Canada, anybody can get a IUD, there's no age limit and you don't need to have given birth.


I'd say side effects can't be something that's used as a blanket term. Kind of like, "everyone looks good with red hair". I think for some people, the implant would be great. Others might have even worse side effects, I know I did. And I know several other women in my predicament that wanted to get the implant, but couldn't, because none of them had any children/were too young. :( & yes, I got the ring and the Mirena hormones confused for a moment, I'm sorry. But still, having tried both, the side effects were even worse than on a pill. But Boudicca, who knows, it could be wonderful for you! I still don't know if your pill is even the cause of the hair loss however, so blood tests are a great idea.

Kiwiwi
January 2nd, 2014, 06:24 PM
A lot of people have already given you advice.
I just wanted to say I think your hair has a beautiful colour and it looks quite full and thick up until just below the shoulders.
I'm also pretty sure you are a curly. The picture looks like brushed out curls. Like my hair looks when I brush my hair. Maybe it's an idea to find info on The Curly Girl Method? :)

I'm sorry you're having troubles with your hair! I hope you'll find a way to deal with it.
*hugs*!

Boudicca
January 2nd, 2014, 06:26 PM
It might be. It describes thinning on the crown and top of the head that leaves your forehead hairline a staying in the same place and typically a bit thicker than further back.

That sounds right. My forehead hairline isn't as bad as the crown area.


Good luck with the doctors, i know how difficult it can be to get help from UK docs for something like this :/

The mini-pill implant was pretty good for me in comparison to the regular pills. The shedding was much less for me on it however the mood swings initially were a bit rough.

Other people have said it but you obviously put a lot of care into your hair it looks in lovely condition apart from the thinning issue

Thanks Monsterkitti. I'm going to try to be much more strident than I usually would be at the doctor - like you say, UK docs can be pretty dismissive. Thanks also for your comment about the condition. :)



In the mean time take an honest look at your diet and lifestyle. Do you consistently meet or exceed ALL our governments guidelines for healthy eating and lifestyle - from oily fish to fibre to maintaining a healthy weight (low is as bad as too high)?

I don't drink or smoke. I don't drink fizzy juice. I eat my fruit and veg and lean meats. My weight's a little low right now - but the thinning preceded that. I could maybe try to get more oily fish?

I will definitely be asking for bloods. I'll be as brass-necked as I can manage! :)

Sorry Kiwiwi - only just saw your post after I posted. A fellow curly! :) You're right - that is my hair brushed out. Left to its own devices, it will wave and ringlet. At bra-strap length it will make properly big ringlets without any help at all.

Firefox7275
January 2nd, 2014, 09:15 PM
That sounds right. My forehead hairline isn't as bad as the crown area.



Thanks Monsterkitti. I'm going to try to be much more strident than I usually would be at the doctor - like you say, UK docs can be pretty dismissive. Thanks also for your comment about the condition. :)



I don't drink or smoke. I don't drink fizzy juice. I eat my fruit and veg and lean meats. My weight's a little low right now - but the thinning preceded that. I could maybe try to get more oily fish?

I will definitely be asking for bloods. I'll be as brass-necked as I can manage! :)

Sorry Kiwiwi - only just saw your post after I posted. A fellow curly! :) You're right - that is my hair brushed out. Left to its own devices, it will wave and ringlet. At bra-strap length it will make properly big ringlets without any help at all.

People so often focus on the fruit and veg but that is just one of the healthy eating guidelines and not really more important. Furthermore it is a minimum, the research supports closer to nine servings! There are many other guidelines, from serving sizes (small for meat) to a wide variety of foods.

Be sure you consistently meet or exceed them all: I struggle to recall the last time I met a nutrition client who did let alone eats optimally. Think oily fish, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, eggs, natural dairy, even organ meats and molluscs if you are adventurous. Note that chicken breast is often thought to be lean and healthy but it's shockingly low in vitamins and minerals. The body needs plenty of healthy fats for hormone balance (controls everything from sleep to appetite).

If nothing else you will be able to confidently state to the doctor you meet all the guidelines so it's not obviously that. Weight is critical, if you have lost to get to your current weight you will have had a period where you may have been slightly undernourished and continue to be so since you have not regained the weight. If you are physically active on a daily basis as you should be (10,000 steps), it is difficult to get all the nutrients the body needs on a reduced calorie diet.

HTH.

Ashflower89
January 3rd, 2014, 07:58 AM
I definitely agree with a Dr. visit after seeing the crown thinness you mentioned. It doesn't look terrible though, its very shiny and your waves are very pretty. To me, it seems like your length starts to visibly thin out between BSL and waist. I don't know if you're against cutting, but if the thinness is really getting you down and you want some immediate relief while you're trying to figure out the crown issue, I would suggest a cut between BSL and waist. You would lose about half your length, but your ends and your overall hair would look SO much thicker. And hopefully, if you find something to help the crown problem, your hair would continue to thicken up as it makes its way back to the length you have now.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you should definitely cut it, I'm just saying that if you get down enough about it, and you're willing to set yourself back in length for thickness, I feel like the BSL/waist area is where you'd see way more thickness. Good luck =)

spidermom
January 3rd, 2014, 08:08 AM
I was thinking along the same lines as Ashflower89. I think the top wouldn't look as thin with less weight on it.

Of course it's obvious that you favor long hair and have taken good care of it. If cutting would depress you or you hate the thought of it, don't do it.

I had a lot of inches cut away a couple of months ago, and I'm really glad that I did. My issue is ends that dry out and split all to pieces no matter what I do. It becomes very hard to manage at around tailbone length, and with my hand injury, I just couldn't do it anymore. Sometimes cutting really is better.

Kherome
January 3rd, 2014, 08:19 AM
I agree with those that said to get to a doctor, because I don't think the thinness at the scalp is normal? It may indicate imbalance or illness. Also I would cut back to BSL, and continue the good care you've given it. By the way, why are you avoiding cones? Cones are not evil or bad for hair. Some people do better without them, but others do better. Perhaps you could try them and see if they offer some protection?

Boudicca
January 4th, 2014, 08:19 AM
Many apologies - hadn't seen these posts.


People so often focus on the fruit and veg but that is just one of the healthy eating guidelines and not really more important. Furthermore it is a minimum, the research supports closer to nine servings! There are many other guidelines, from serving sizes (small for meat) to a wide variety of foods.

Whoa - 9 servings!? I'm nowhere near that. As a Scot - I think I'm doing well as long as I'm not having fried food, or a roll and pie for lunch.


If nothing else you will be able to confidently state to the doctor you meet all the guidelines so it's not obviously that. Weight is critical, if you have lost to get to your current weight you will have had a period where you may have been slightly undernourished and continue to be so since you have not regained the weight. If you are physically active on a daily basis as you should be (10,000 steps), it is difficult to get all the nutrients the body needs on a reduced calorie diet.

I cut back quite a bit on how much I was eating to get to my current weight - which is why I started to take a multivitamin. It's really interesting to read your post on this though - I do think it's scary how many doctors will actually just assume that if you're slim, you're also fit and healthy.

Hi Ashflower89 :) I think that I'll consider a trim if - like you say - I can get the scalp issue sorted out. One of the things that has stopped me from trimming is that I can use the length (thin though it is) to make it look like I have more hair than I actually have. If I could get some regrowth on the crown - then I'd possibly start to trim up.

Hi spidermom :) Sorry to hear you have a hand injury. I've got a bad history with cutting my hair (I've always regretted it the moment I've heard the scissor noise) - so I would probably be more likely to do a very slow trim up.

Hi Kherome :) Everyone's response about the scalp thickness has made me realise that it's not normal, and that I should stop ignoring this and see a doctor. I couldn't get an appointment on Friday, but I will be ringing on Monday. The more reading I've done, the more I suspect it's do to with my hormones and BCP. I avoid cones probably because it was one of the first pieces of advice I read here. Also, I thought they weighed hair down (which I try to avoid since mine is so fine)?

Angelica
January 5th, 2014, 07:53 AM
I just want to offer some reassurance and tell you that your hair actually looks very nice and I like the length. It's purely up to you whether you want to shorten it, myself, I probably wouldn't. I am sorry about the thinning and that it is getting you down. My hair is nowhere near that length, but it is very thin, which is why I don't wear it loose and braids are pencil thin. However my hair has always been the same, there is no unnatural hair loss. I think seeing a doctor is a step in the right direction to get everything ruled out. Good luck and I hope you make good progress.

FuzzyBlackWaves
January 5th, 2014, 10:59 AM
Hi all.

Thanks so much for the kind comments and support. It is deeply appreciated :)

I take the progesterone only mini-pill. I used to take the combined pill, but I had to come off it, as I had terrible migraines and the doctor said I was at risk of stroke. The mini-pill is the only one I can tolerate. When I've tried to go pill-free in the past, it's been nightmarish (greasy hair, bacne, moodswings- basically being 14 again :)) I've got an aunt and cousin with the same issues - had to come off the combined pill, and have thin hair.

I'm in the UK, so I can't get to an OBGYN or a dermatologist - I'd have to get a referral first, which would be pretty unlikely. I suppose I could try my GP? Ask for bloods?

I just wanted to say that I'm amazed to meet somebody else who was at risk of a stroke on the pill. It's possible that you have PCOS or something similar, I have it and I can relate to the acne and mood swings. It can also cause difficulty in losing weight, irregular cycles, loss of hair on the head and excessive body hair. A hormone panel might be the best way to go with this.

dulce
January 5th, 2014, 11:34 AM
I have PCOS,and when younger had to go off the pill due to the risk of stroke as it caused my blood pressure to skyrocket.A few years later I had 3 pregnancies all with early pre-eclampsia[pregnancy high blood pressure and protein in the urine] and gestational diabetes,all by my 2nd month.Most people who develop these pregnancy problems get it in their last trimester. Imbalanced hormones can cause all sorts of problems,ask your gp to check with blood tests for all the hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS.There are oral meds now that can help with hair loss if it's due to raised testosterone.Have him do a testosterone panel[total t,bioavailable t,and the sex binding humane globulin hormone?-can't remember the exact name but if you tell him this ,he'll know what you are talking about.Also if you do have PCOS,a no suger ,lower carb diet and exercise helps rebalance the hormones..

Boudicca
January 5th, 2014, 06:37 PM
Hi Angelica :) Thanks so much for the support - it's really kind of you. I know what the pencil thin braids feel like! :)

Hi FuzzyBlackWaves :) Were you told the same thing? I started having like 3 headaches a week on the combined pill and the nurse whipped me off it. I went back to the doctor to try and go back on it, because I was so scared of a big acne breakout, and he just told me (very seriously) that I would have a stroke if I continued on the medication. The more I read about PCOS, the more I feel a lot of symptoms sound familiar.............

Hi dulce :) I'm just going to mention the PCOS straight out (especially since my cousin has it) and ask for the necessary tests.

alexis917
January 5th, 2014, 06:43 PM
Definitely agree on seeing a doctor. But your dedication to growth is impressive, and your color is beautiful! Much love, I hope it turns out you're healthy!

Boudicca
January 6th, 2014, 09:59 AM
Hi guys - just wanted to update. Managed to get a doctor's appointment today. She has ordered a full blood count, including iron, thyroid, B12 and Ferritin, kidneys, liver, calcium, thyroid, and a hormone panel - to try and hit the obvious suspects. If that comes back normal, I'm still to be referred on to dermatology.

Thanks so much for your kind comment, Alexis :) Super glossy hair in your avatar!

dulce
January 6th, 2014, 10:07 AM
If the dermatologist is stumped,ask for a referral to an endocrinologist[specialist in internal and hormonal disorders]that's how I got officially diagnosed.

Maktub
January 6th, 2014, 10:33 AM
Hi guys - just wanted to update. Managed to get a doctor's appointment today. She has ordered a full blood count, including iron, thyroid, B12 and Ferritin, kidneys, liver, calcium, thyroid, and a hormone panel - to try and hit the obvious suspects. If that comes back normal, I'm still to be referred on to dermatology.


Good thing ! Keep us posted !

walterSCAN
January 6th, 2014, 10:45 AM
Hi guys - just wanted to update. Managed to get a doctor's appointment today. She has ordered a full blood count, including iron, thyroid, B12 and Ferritin, kidneys, liver, calcium, thyroid, and a hormone panel - to try and hit the obvious suspects. If that comes back normal, I'm still to be referred on to dermatology.

Thanks so much for your kind comment, Alexis :) Super glossy hair in your avatar!

Oh good! I know I haven't posted yet, but I've been watching this thread and hoping you'd get the tests/ referrals you need. Crossing my fingers for you that you'll get it figured out and under control soon!

cranberrymoonz
January 6th, 2014, 11:13 AM
Hi all.
I'm in the UK, so I can't get to an OBGYN or a dermatologist - I'd have to get a referral first, which would be pretty unlikely. I suppose I could try my GP? Ask for bloods?

Yeah, try your GP first. Bloodworks may give you an answer. If they don't, don't give up and ask for referral:)

lapushka
January 6th, 2014, 11:19 AM
Hi guys - just wanted to update. Managed to get a doctor's appointment today. She has ordered a full blood count, including iron, thyroid, B12 and Ferritin, kidneys, liver, calcium, thyroid, and a hormone panel - to try and hit the obvious suspects. If that comes back normal, I'm still to be referred on to dermatology.

Thanks so much for your kind comment, Alexis :) Super glossy hair in your avatar!

Thanks so much for updating! I do hope that it all comes back normal. If it's not, then at least you know what might be causing the hair loss. Hope you gain some insight into this. Let us know what happens next!

Boudicca
January 7th, 2014, 03:23 PM
If the dermatologist is stumped,ask for a referral to an endocrinologist[specialist in internal and hormonal disorders]that's how I got officially diagnosed.

Thanks for this advice, dulce. The doc wasn't going to do a hormone panel until I asked (she said it would tricky to interpret because I'm on the pill) - but I will keep pushing.


Good thing ! Keep us posted !

Thanks Maktub :)


Oh good! I know I haven't posted yet, but I've been watching this thread and hoping you'd get the tests/ referrals you need. Crossing my fingers for you that you'll get it figured out and under control soon!

Thanks walterSCAN :) I think it's the first time I've been waiting for test results and wanting to hear that something isn't right. An obvious culprit would mean I might be able to get some control in this situation.


Yeah, try your GP first. Bloodworks may give you an answer. If they don't, don't give up and ask for referral

Hi cranberrymoonz :) When she talked about referring me to a derm without me asking, I nearly fell off my seat! Rare for a UK dcctor! :)


Thanks so much for updating! I do hope that it all comes back normal. If it's not, then at least you know what might be causing the hair loss. Hope you gain some insight into this. Let us know what happens next!

Hi lapushka :) Thanks for the reply :) The test results should be in in a couple of days - so I don't have too long to wait. Then a follow up phone appointment with the doc to discuss next steps.

Firefox7275 - just wanted to say you were spot on - one of the first things I was asked was whether I had lost weight recently. I told her that I had lost a stone and a half over the last year, but that the thinning preceded this.

Isilme
January 7th, 2014, 03:46 PM
Be sure to tell your doctor everything you know about the health in your family since many things are hereditary! Besides this I have no advice but to stay determined, visit another doctor if your current one isn't willing to cooperate.
Good luck!

tigereye
January 7th, 2014, 03:57 PM
Hi. I see you've taken advice on heading to the doctor. I don't have much advice about the hair until you head back from bloods or the dermatologist, but I am familiar with the birth control issue. My GP and dermatologist are determined to keep me on birth control because of my acne (though they refuse to put me on accutane to sort it once and for all). I forced them to change it when I began getting migraines for the first time in my life, and began blacking-out. The migraines stopped when I went on the mini-pill instead, but the dizziness that accompanied the black-outs has not, which is quite frightening considering my twin brother had a venous sinus thrombosis, (blood clot in one of three major veins taking blood away from the brain) leading to a stroke a year and a half ago. It's really hard to get an IUD unless you're already a mother, preferably in your thirties. I stand no chance, even with the family history.

Boudicca
January 7th, 2014, 05:06 PM
Hi. I see you've taken advice on heading to the doctor. I don't have much advice about the hair until you head back from bloods or the dermatologist, but I am familiar with the birth control issue. My GP and dermatologist are determined to keep me on birth control because of my acne (though they refuse to put me on accutane to sort it once and for all). I forced them to change it when I began getting migraines for the first time in my life, and began blacking-out. The migraines stopped when I went on the mini-pill instead, but the dizziness that accompanied the black-outs has not, which is quite frightening considering my twin brother had a venous sinus thrombosis, (blood clot in one of three major veins taking blood away from the brain) leading to a stroke a year and a half ago. It's really hard to get an IUD unless you're already a mother, preferably in your thirties. I stand no chance, even with the family history.

I'm really surprised they didn't change you immediately to the mini-pill when you started to experience the migraines (especially given your family history) - I've never seen a nurses face go so serious so fast as when I mentioned that I'd been having about 3 headaches a week. She took me straight off the combined pill, and said that it was mini-pill or nothing.

Have to say, although I'm scared that changing pill would trigger a break out for me - the proper acne flares I've had both happened when I was on the pill, not off. The second time, I was prescribed Accutane. How come your doctor won't let you go on accutane?

WoolSweater
January 7th, 2014, 05:26 PM
I'm excited that your doctor seems to be very understanding! Please keep us updated. Best of luck to you!

tigereye
January 7th, 2014, 05:29 PM
I'm really surprised they didn't change you immediately to the mini-pill when you started to experience the migraines (especially given your family history) - I've never seen a nurses face go so serious so fast as when I mentioned that I'd been having about 3 headaches a week. She took me straight off the combined pill, and said that it was mini-pill or nothing.

Have to say, although I'm scared that changing pill would trigger a break out for me - the proper acne flares I've had both happened when I was on the pill, not off. The second time, I was prescribed Accutane. How come your doctor won't let you go on accutane?
The GP wanted to put me on accutane, but said only the dermatologist could. They changed my meds shortly before the dermatologist appointment (lymecycline antibiotics and topical isotretinoin) and my skin cleared up massively so the dermatologist though there was no need (even though I had pictures of how it had been only a month before and she said that had she seen it then she wouldn't have hesitated to prescribe me a course of accutane). But instead of leaving me what was almost (though not entirely) working, she got rid of the antibiotics (without making another appointment for me down the line), I went on the mini-pill (which the GPs knew worsened acne, but there is no other BC option through the NHS for unmarried under-30s without kids and a family history of stroke), and BAM! Return of the worst bout of cystic acne I've had in years, and then acne that has basically put me back where I started, on yet another dermatology waiting list, only this time, I'm even more worried about scarring.

My hair has been thinning too, I think due to the pill, but so far it's just shedding, and baby hairs are coming in in their place. We can fight through this together :flower:

Boudicca
January 7th, 2014, 05:57 PM
That sounds almost exactly like my situation, tigereye, except that my GP put me on differin and solodyn to control the acne and minimise scarring until I could get to the derm. It didn't completely clear it, but did keep a lid on it. However, the derm felt that solodyn was not a good long-term option, and believed me when I told him how severe the acne outbreak had been - so I still got the accutane. I hope that you get what you're looking for with your skin this time around. Accutane was a difficult medication, and I had a lot of side-effects, but I don't regret it.

I'm really sorry to hear that you're thinning too. If this does turn out to be down to hormones for me - and they come up with some other BCP solution, then I'll let you know what it is - in case it can help you too. :hifive:

Thanks WoolSweater! :) I was really happy that I didn't have to argue my case to get help.

Hi Isilme :) I made sure to mention about my cousin's PCOS.

Scarlet_Celt
January 8th, 2014, 07:41 AM
The GP wanted to put me on accutane, but said only the dermatologist could. They changed my meds shortly before the dermatologist appointment (lymecycline antibiotics and topical isotretinoin) and my skin cleared up massively so the dermatologist though there was no need (even though I had pictures of how it had been only a month before and she said that had she seen it then she wouldn't have hesitated to prescribe me a course of accutane). But instead of leaving me what was almost (though not entirely) working, she got rid of the antibiotics (without making another appointment for me down the line), I went on the mini-pill (which the GPs knew worsened acne, but there is no other BC option through the NHS for unmarried under-30s without kids and a family history of stroke), and BAM! Return of the worst bout of cystic acne I've had in years, and then acne that has basically put me back where I started, on yet another dermatology waiting list, only this time, I'm even more worried about scarring.

My hair has been thinning too, I think due to the pill, but so far it's just shedding, and baby hairs are coming in in their place. We can fight through this together :flower:

I went through the GP to dermatologist process while living in Aberdeen last year. My advice is this - refuse antibiotics for treating your acne. I told my doctor that I wasn't about to accept being prescribed antibiotics, and that anyone would a dose of common sense would see that long term antibiotics aren't a good idea (especially in terms of how they affect the gut, which has a huge link to skin health). Consequently, I was placed on the referral for the dermatologist, and within around 4 months I had my appointment with the dermatologist. He was actually very reasonable, and agreed to put me on roaccutane if I wanted. As it turned out I managed to get my skin under wraps thanks to improving my skincare, altering my diet, and reducing my stress levels.

I hope you get to see a dermatologist soon and that they take your acne concerns more seriously this time!

Boudicca
January 8th, 2014, 12:03 PM
Phoned for the results today. According to the receptionist: 'normal - no action required'. However, I do have a phone appointment on Tuesday to discuss the results, so I will be asking:

1. Are any of the results at the 'low' end of normal, where there might be some benefit to me in supplementing?
2. I understand that sensitivity to normal levels of androgen can still cause symptoms for some people. Would it be worthwhile to adjust my BCP to try and reduce my androgen levels?

I'm a bit gutted, to be honest. At least if there had been iron deficiency, or something, there would be a pill I could take to fix things.

monsoonstorm
January 8th, 2014, 12:20 PM
Phoned for the results today. According to the receptionist: 'normal - no action required'. However, I do have a phone appointment on Tuesday to discuss the results, so I will be asking:

1. Are any of the results at the 'low' end of normal, where there might be some benefit to me in supplementing?
2. I understand that sensitivity to normal levels of androgen can still cause symptoms for some people. Would it be worthwhile to adjust my BCP to try and reduce my androgen levels?

I'm a bit gutted, to be honest. At least if there had been iron deficiency, or something, there would be a pill I could take to fix things.

Definitely get the numbers. The UK has a very large "normal" range, especially when it comes to thyroid. Not only that, but their thyroid test is less than optimal as they only test for TSH and don't bother testing T3/T4/freeT3/freeT4 figures. The UK considers anything up to 5 as "normal" for TSH I believe, however, people can be having issues/symptoms with readings from around 2.5 up (from memory, it's been a while). The States has changed their normal range, but the UK hasn't. It wouldn't surprise me if other tests were run to equally lax standards.

We are the country that seems to think 3 yearly pap smears is ok after all...

monsoonstorm
January 8th, 2014, 12:24 PM
also, don't forget to push for a referral to a dermatologist! Cover all of your bases whilst you can!

I'm sorry it's not quite the result you were hoping for. Whenever things aren't right all we want is a diagnosis and it can be quite depressing when you don't get one.

walterSCAN
January 8th, 2014, 12:28 PM
Phoned for the results today. According to the receptionist: 'normal - no action required'. However, I do have a phone appointment on Tuesday to discuss the results, so I will be asking:

1. Are any of the results at the 'low' end of normal, where there might be some benefit to me in supplementing?


Not sure exactly what they were testing for, but don't forget to ask about the 'high' end of normal, too. Also, have you ever had any baseline testing done, or is this pretty much it? The normal ranges doctors use are averages for massive groups of people, and what might actually be high or low for you could fall into their 'normal' range.

Simple example: my blood pressure runs low. Normal resting for me is ~90/60. DH is an EMT and he has told me that based on his training, if he were to come upon me at a scene with my normal resting BP, he'd be required to get a paramedic and have them start an IV to get my BP up. Conversely, if I was at that scene with elevated BP, for me, say 120/80, they wouldn't know that they needed to do something to help me because that is really high for me.

But they don't know that kind of thing without a baseline, so you might ask about that/ if your doctor can do anything to control for it/ if your doctor would be willing to do a little more testing to try to establish a baseline. OR if your doctor would be willing to refer you to an endocrinologist who can do more and more specialized testing.

Do you still get your referral to the dermatologist after these results? (Not super familiar with the UK health system)

truepeacenik
January 8th, 2014, 12:47 PM
I'd not stop at a receptionist.

Although in the us that translates to "not fatal."

Keep advocating for your own health.
What are your options privately? Are many NDs practicing?

And I'm assuming you will still get the dermatologist. That might be where the fine details of numbers can hash out.

Boudicca
January 8th, 2014, 02:07 PM
Definitely get the numbers. The UK has a very large "normal" range, especially when it comes to thyroid. Not only that, but their thyroid test is less than optimal as they only test for TSH and don't bother testing T3/T4/freeT3/freeT4 figures. The UK considers anything up to 5 as "normal" for TSH I believe, however, people can be having issues/symptoms with readings from around 2.5 up (from memory, it's been a while). The States has changed their normal range, but the UK hasn't. It wouldn't surprise me if other tests were run to equally lax standards.

We are the country that seems to think 3 yearly pap smears is ok after all...

also, don't forget to push for a referral to a dermatologist! Cover all of your bases whilst you can! I'm sorry it's not quite the result you were hoping for. Whenever things aren't right all we want is a diagnosis and it can be quite depressing when you don't get one.

Hi monsoonstorm :) I will definitely be asking the doctor about the numbers. You're right - our standards are very lax. I think she was quite keen on referral to the derm - so hopefully I won't have to push for that too much.


Not sure exactly what they were testing for, but don't forget to ask about the 'high' end of normal, too. Also, have you ever had any baseline testing done, or is this pretty much it? The normal ranges doctors use are averages for massive groups of people, and what might actually be high or low for you could fall into their 'normal' range.

Simple example: my blood pressure runs low. Normal resting for me is ~90/60. DH is an EMT and he has told me that based on his training, if he were to come upon me at a scene with my normal resting BP, he'd be required to get a paramedic and have them start an IV to get my BP up. Conversely, if I was at that scene with elevated BP, for me, say 120/80, they wouldn't know that they needed to do something to help me because that is really high for me.

But they don't know that kind of thing without a baseline, so you might ask about that/ if your doctor can do anything to control for it/ if your doctor would be willing to do a little more testing to try to establish a baseline. OR if your doctor would be willing to refer you to an endocrinologist who can do more and more specialized testing.

Do you still get your referral to the dermatologist after these results? (Not super familiar with the UK health system)

They don't really establish a baseline like that here. The NHS is wonderful in many respects - but it lacks in many areas. I have low blood pressure like you (80/54) and the nurse has established through many years of BP checks for my pill that the reading is normal for me - but that's the only area where I've been aware of an established baseline.

I'll still be getting my referral to the dermatologist - she was pretty clear about that when I saw her. The usual arrangement is that referral is at the discretion of your GP. If they disagree, then you can try another doctor, or fight your corner. However - the next step will be the length of time for the referral. I've waiting 6 months for a derm referral before, and a whole year for a neurologist.


I'd not stop at a receptionist.

Although in the us that translates to "not fatal."

Keep advocating for your own health.
What are your options privately? Are many NDs practicing?

And I'm assuming you will still get the dermatologist. That might be where the fine details of numbers can hash out.

Hi truepeacenik :) The idea of advocating for my own health is new for me - but I'm trying to get to grips with it. I'm usually pretty passive when it comes to doctors.

What's an ND? I tried Google - but I could only get North Dakota - and I'm guessing that's not what you mean! :) Private would be expensive - but if I get frustrated enough I would consider that route. I've gone private before for physio - and at least you don't feel like you should be grateful for a 6 minute appointment.

Still get the dermatologist. If it's the one based at the health centre, then I've seen him before for my skin, so that might actually be good.

heidi w.
January 8th, 2014, 02:24 PM
You strike me as possibly having a thyroid issue. This is fixable but only if you go see a doctor that is an expert in thyroid issues. Borderline thyroid can be just as bad as having full thyroid.

Check it out.
heidi w.

Boudicca
January 8th, 2014, 04:00 PM
You strike me as possibly having a thyroid issue. This is fixable but only if you go see a doctor that is an expert in thyroid issues. Borderline thyroid can be just as bad as having full thyroid.

Check it out.
heidi w.

Thanks for this, heidi w. I'm writing down a list of questions I want to raise during the phone appointment - I will definitely add this to my list.

Wallabear
January 8th, 2014, 04:46 PM
Hi Boudicca,

I just wanted to chime in here and say you have a really lovely hair color, shine and such gorgeous curls. It shows that you take great care of it. I also just want to say that you have such a warm personality that spills over into your posts. :)

I read the forum and totally understand - I had a lot of the same symptoms and I can definitely see the corners of my forehead and scalp a lot more and it's tricky to hide it. I have been tested for PCOS (facial hair issue and acne triggered the tests) and it came out negative - I saw an endocrinologist and he said that it was due to higher free testosterone levels produced by the ovaries (same symptoms can come from different things for people). Not much I can really do, I think.

I'm really glad you saw your doctor, but hope that you find out what is causing the issue soon. I know how very disconcerting this can be - not knowing. Hopefully you'll be able to see a dermatologist and an endocrinologist if possible.

Sending you a ton of hugs and positive thoughts~~*

Boudicca
January 11th, 2014, 09:40 AM
Thank-you Wallabear - that's a really lovely thing to say:)

It is a really difficult thing - I think because it feels so out of our control? If there was damage as a result of bad handling, then at least we could take charge and start to fix things - but this just makes you feel really helpless. Since noticing the thinning, I've found that I'm being really controlling about my diet and exercise - just because at least you *can* feel in control of that.

Didn't they offer you any further investigation or treatments? Minoxidil?

Sending hugs and positivity your way too. :blossom:

Boudicca
January 14th, 2014, 12:50 PM
Wanted to update on the ongoing saga of my hair! :) Oh for the days when frizz was my biggest worry! :)

Had my telephone appointment. Apparently, my prolactin level is elevated - 519 when 300 is considered normal. This isn't panic stations - that would apparently be 1500-2000. I've to go back for another hormone panel in 3 months to see if it keeps rising. If so, I've to be referred to an endocrinologist. Elevated prolactin levels might indicate polycystic ovaries, or a problem with my pituitary gland which is causing it to produce too much prolactin.

I mentioned that I had read on androgen levels and hair loss, and asked about my current pill - Cerazette (desogestrel). He has changed my prescription to Micronor (norethisterone). I'm pretty terrified of any hormonal upheaval somehow making it worse. I'm trying to figure out which pill looks best - but the hormone stuff is all so complicated!

I suggested taking iron supplements, but he said no way - since my iron levels are apparently too high (202 when the max is 185)

So - no definitive answers yet - but better than working in a vacuum.

tigereye
January 14th, 2014, 02:19 PM
Wanted to update on the ongoing saga of my hair! :) Oh for the days when frizz was my biggest worry! :)

Had my telephone appointment. Apparently, my prolactin level is elevated - 519 when 300 is considered normal. This isn't panic stations - that would apparently be 1500-2000. I've to go back for another hormone panel in 3 months to see if it keeps rising. If so, I've to be referred to an endocrinologist. Elevated prolactin levels might indicate polycystic ovaries, or a problem with my pituitary gland which is causing it to produce too much prolactin.

I mentioned that I had read on androgen levels and hair loss, and asked about my current pill - Cerazette (desogestrel). He has changed my prescription to Micronor (norethisterone). I'm pretty terrified of any hormonal upheaval somehow making it worse. I'm trying to figure out which pill looks best - but the hormone stuff is all so complicated!

I suggested taking iron supplements, but he said no way - since my iron levels are apparently too high (202 when the max is 185)

So - no definitive answers yet - but better than working in a vacuum.

Did they test your thyroid? Most notably T3, T4 and possibly TSH.
And I'm pretty sure an excessively high iron level can cause hair loss, so that might be worth asking about if you return for a check-up appointment. Meanwhile, maybe avoid vitamin C supplements because that increases iron absorption.

No word from my dermatologist. Still at the bottom of a waiting list, methinks.

Boudicca
January 14th, 2014, 02:33 PM
He said that my thyroid was fine - but I think that if I'm referred to the endocrinologist, then they would look at it in more detail. I'm going to stop taking my multi-vit, and maybe donate some blood to get rid of some iron :)

How long have you been waiting? I was nearly 6 months.

monsoonstorm
January 14th, 2014, 02:39 PM
did you get the numbers from him? Like I said, the UK "fine" isn't necessarily fine. I'd get a full print out of the results if I were you and have a good look yourself.

tigereye
January 14th, 2014, 04:52 PM
He said that my thyroid was fine - but I think that if I'm referred to the endocrinologist, then they would look at it in more detail. I'm going to stop taking my multi-vit, and maybe donate some blood to get rid of some iron :)

How long have you been waiting? I was nearly 6 months.

My last was start of December. Never got word about a follow-up, which neither I nor my GP was happy about considering they had changed my meds, so they applied again. Yeah, I was about 6 months before, but we were hoping I might get bumped up considering it was their fault I wasn't given a follow-up which my GP thinks I should have had considering previous medication issues. I guess I'll ask my GP again in three months when I go back for my pill if I haven't heard of anything by then.

vanillabones
January 14th, 2014, 06:04 PM
I'm sorry you are/were feeling so sad about your hair :( but just sos you know I love the length and wave pattern or your hair and it is really inspiring to me! My hair is the thinnest at the tippy top of the crown as well (you can see it in my latest album pic.) I have to hide my 'scalp cleavage' daily but I've learned to accept it. I don't know if you'd want to risk trying it but I used monistat on the crown for awhile (2 or 3 tubes) when I was paranoid and wanted to thicken my hair. I think it really did help while I did it! It lasted awhile until I stopped. But I don't have any proof if it was just placebo and wishful thinking... and it is kind of costly and I'd rather buy other beauty related products. :confused:

Boudicca
January 15th, 2014, 06:37 PM
Thanks so much, vanillabones (love the username) :) I've been reading about Monistat, and it's definitely something I might try - especially since I have seb derm on my face. Thanks for telling me your experience of it. Every positive story makes me feel a bit better. (You have lovely hair, btw).

tigereye - the waiting time for dermatologists is infuriating. Maybe give them a nudge next month?

monsoonstorm - he gave me the numbers for the ones that were misbehaving - but not the others. I'll see if I can get more detail in my next appointment. :)

kiezel
January 15th, 2014, 07:04 PM
I love your colour, and I think the thinness also looks etheareal and fairy-like! Beautiful :)

Wildcat Diva
January 15th, 2014, 07:41 PM
I am sending you hugs and well wishes for being able to solve the dilemma so you can enjoy your beautiful hair to the fullest.

Boudicca
April 17th, 2014, 07:00 AM
Wanted to update for all of you who were so kind in offering me advice and support.

I got my bloods back for the repeat hormone panel, and my prolactin is back down to an acceptable level - so there will be no further investigation of that. The new BCP he prescribed me might have something to do with that.

So - he basically decided to give me a private prescription for Regaine (minoxidil). I asked about Saw Palmetto - since I read that this inhibits 5 alpha reductase, which means that less testosterone can be converted to DHT - but he hadn't heard of it before, and was therefore reluctant to offer an opinion on it. I also mentioned that I'd been using Nizoral, as I'd read that it acts locally as an antagonist of the androgen receptors, thus preventing the binding of testosterone and DHT. He was interested - but hadn't heard of it before.

So - I'm really excited about the Regaine, because I know it's the only thing that is clinically proven to regrow hair. I do think I'll continue using the Nizoral, though, since it seems to have a completely different action from the Regaine. I'm not sure about the Saw Palmetto. It sounds interesting, but I would want to be sure that it won't mess about with my BCP. I've been using MSM, too. Hard to say if it's doing anything for my hair - but my skin is lovely and soft. I'm taking regular B-complex, because I was too scared that mega doses of Biotin would give me acne. I've also been massaging castor oil into the hairline and crown pre-wash. I do think this makes a little difference at the hairline, but it's more because it seems to add body and slightly darken any fine/mega-light hairs.

I will take pictures at the start of the treatment and throughout, so I can track progress and hopefully be of use to anyone here who is thinking of trying the same treatment.

I wanted to thank everyone again for advising me that my hair loss did not look normal and to go to the doctor. If it hadn't been for you, I would never have had the gumption to go and insist that it was checked out and taken seriously. You're all fab. :flower:

restless
April 17th, 2014, 07:46 AM
Thank you for the update, its always nice to read how things turned out :) Im glad you found a doctor who seems to take you seriously and that youre getting treatment for the hairloss. I wish you all the best (and plenty of regrowth!) :)

ravenheather
April 17th, 2014, 10:56 AM
Aww so glad you have some things to try. Please keep us posted on your progress.

Peggy E.
April 17th, 2014, 11:25 AM
glad to read you are getting the care for your health condition. hope you are now on the way to the beautiful, thicker hair you've been working so hard to achieve.

echoing the others - do please continue to post updates!

patienceneeded
April 17th, 2014, 11:28 AM
Glad to see that the doctors visit was helpful! Let us know how things progress.