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Hair Loss/No hair growth for six years

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Hello, I am a 45 year old female. When I was 38, I had a three month period of excessive hair shedding, and then it just stopped.  The doctor said it was telogen effluvium and my hair would grow back - that was six years ago.  I have not had one hair grow back since then and I'm going to need a wig soon.  I've lasted this long only because I started out with very thick hair. I saw many doctors around that time (2008), not specifically for the hair loss, but because of other health problems, and I was ultimately diagnosed with Lipedema. While seeing all these specialists, I got many different opinions on why my hair is not growing back - including female pattern alopecia, but my hair loss came on suddenly and the loss is diffuse over my whole head - no pattern and my hair line is receding. The doctor who diagnosed the Lipedema said it's due to too much fluid in the skin and some inflammation.  No other doctors agree with her, saying they don't see it and that wouldn't have just happened overnight.  Someone mentioned the Metoprolol I take, but the hair loss didn't start until ten years after I started that medication.  I am inclined to think that it was originally telogen effluvium brought on my extreme stress, and then my hair never started growing back, because my ferritin level was only 10. My dermatologist and primary care doctor don't agree that this could be the case, but my MD reluctantly agreed to put me on iron supplements. Unfortunately I haven't been able to stay on them long enough to see results because of side effects.  I think I'll give it another try, because psychologically I'm not doing well with this. I've had vitamins and heavy metal levels checked, as well as hormones and thyroid. All is okay.  I really appreciate any insight or opinions you have. Thank you so much,  Michelle

Answer
Hi MIchelle,
It is complicated. The three months of TE due to stress and medical problems doesn't help me much in trying to figure out whether you had an ovarian cyst which was pumping out too much testosterone and aging your hairs prematurely or whether you had some metabolic illness which has not been yet diagnosed. It may be that you should have a biopsy of your scalp to help with the diagnosis. A serum ferritin of 10 is so low that any hair which fell out would have a very hard time growing back. Most dermatologists will tell their patients that we consider a level of 60 to 70 as the lower limit of normal in order to be able to grow hair.
 I'd suggest Ferro-Sequels iron supplementation "Optimal absorption with less gastric upset. Dual action formula! High potency/Easy to swallow. Ferro-Sequels are specially formulated Timed-Release caplets that are easy to swallow. They deliver iron slowly to maximize absorption, and gently to reduce stomach upset. Ferro-Sequels Timed Release caplets dissolve slowly and gently."
 I agree with you that "it was originally telogen effluvium brought on my extreme stress, and then my hair never started growing back, because my ferritin level " -- but it may be you had some other medical issues which have not been addressed. Why is you serum ferritin only 10?

Hair Loss

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

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

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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 www.hairdoc.com

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