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Hair Loss/AGA or CTE (low ferritin, wider part)



I started losing hair 6 months ago. It was a pretty rapid onset and I blamed it on financial and work related stress that peaked three months earlier. I went to a dermatologist after two months who said it seemed like telogen effluvium, but that it was in recess (not many TE hairs when he looked at the scalp, no pull test done). He said that he couldn't say anything about AGA as he didn't know what I looked like before. But the shedding didn't stop and actually became worse after I once got a brush tangled in the hair (4 months after initial onset). Then I went to another dermatologist who looked at my scalp and said AGA because it was thinner on the top. Since I didn't feel like he did an adequate check up, I went to a general doctor after that who ordered many blood tests. My ferritin was low (23), my vitamin B12 was low and I was vitamin D deficient. This was also after I had been taking supplements for four months (though not iron), meaning I probably had even worse blood results before.

I have some regrowth that looks normal but my part is wider and although the shedding is diffuse (I also had a positive pull test from the back of my head), I have more hair in the back than at the crown area and on the sides. My part has also been extended to the back, and my cow lick at the back now reveals a lot of scalp. When I put my hair up, you can usually see my scalp. I have also lost some tiny hairs but they make up for less than 10 % of shed usually (as far as I can tell).

I was on birth control when the shedding started (though I had switched two months earlier from a cypretone acetenate kind to desogen) and then I was off BCP for a month starting late August. I am now taking the original type with cypretone acetenate which the dermatologist who said I have AGA recommended. Two months later I can't see a difference yet, but I guess that is normal.

I'm just confused about what I'm supposed to do. I'm 21 years old and both of my parents have hair and all my grandparents have hair (my grandfather has been thinning but he's almost 80 and still has hair covering most of his scalp). My hair has always been thinner on the sides and at the top, have had a fairly wide part always but now the hair around it is less dense. I'm attaching a picture to show this. I had TE once before (two years ago after having a parasite) but then it stopped after 3 months. If this indeed is AGA, how quickly can it progress? If my part will continue to thin out like this I will be pretty bald within a year.

I really appreciate this site and hope to hear from you soon! Sorry for writing so much.

If both of your parents have thick hair then you should not have to really worry about getting AGA. It is possible to be the one who has the thinnest hair in the family just as someone has to be the shortest or tallest. There are at least six genes each parent can pass on to you to cause AGA so it is possible to inherit just the few balding genes that each parent may have and end up having more thinning that either of them BUT at your age and with the history you have given I believe the major problem now is due to TEs. Changing your oral contraception pill can cause a TE and you have done it several times in the past 4 months. Each time you do that many of the hairs decide to change their growth cycles and end up restarting. Those hairs will not be seen for another 4 months and they only grow 1/2 inch per month so you will have to be patient. You also have good reason to have had delayed regrowth of your hair because of the low ferritin. Now that you are bringing it back up to normal that should help the hairs come back to normal density -- but again it will take 4 to 6 months to see it.
I suggest you stay on the BCP you are on now and add 5% Rogaine Foam for men applied once a day in the morning for 6 months just on the top of your head in the thinning area shown in the photo. That should hasten the regrowth of the lost hairs.

Hair Loss

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Peter J. Panagotacos, <B>M.D.</B>


I have 30 years experience in the field of medical and surgical Hair Restoration and am Board Certified in Dermatology and Hair Restoration Surgery.


I have 30 years experience in the field of medical and surgical Hair Restoration and am Board Certified in Dermatology and Hair Restoration Surgery. More information can be found at my website

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