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female balding

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Gottagetthrough posted 5/29/2014 11:43 AM

My sister discovered a sizeable bald spot in her head this weekend. Its under other hair, so you dont see it unless her hair is wet, and sort of matted.

Its about the size of a tiny closed fist. (its pretty big).

Its an oval shape.

She had blood test to see if its her thyroid, and it is not. She has an appt with the dermatologist tomorrow.

She is very negative (a debbie downer type) and is not happy with her job. Says its very stressful. She also is 50, overweight, and has had a hysterectomy. She has high blood pressure and is on meds for that (starts with a L )

She has (had) PCOS but its not male pattern baldness...

Any guesses as to what this is. We were looking up symptoms and it looks like stress related alopecia or trichotillomania IF she did it in her sleep... but she has never noticed a lot of hair on her pilliow (she said she noticed a little more, but not anything to concern her)

purplejacket4 posted 5/29/2014 15:05 PM

It's probably alopecia and she needs to see a dermatologist. These usually respond well to steroid shots under the skin.

Gottagetthrough posted 5/29/2014 19:09 PM

thanks, purplejacket. she has a dermatologist apt tomorrow, so hopefully she will get some answers!

she is still set on it being her tyroid, even though tests came back ok. I think she is hoping she can take a pill and the hair will grow back (and symptoms like depression and bp and weight will also go away)

but I think (from my internet searching ) that its alopecia, too.

tushnurse posted 5/29/2014 19:20 PM

Alopecia secondary to PCOS is very common. Plus stress and middle age. A dermatologist is definitely in order.
She needs to take a deep breath and consider this a wake up call. Work to eliminate stress. Start eating right and start exercise.

She needs to make herself a priority.

Gottagetthrough posted 5/29/2014 19:47 PM

Work to eliminate stress. Start eating right and start exercise.

she's an amazing person, but unfortunately she doesn't see it & has never taken care of herself. I hope that the doctor tomorrow can give her some help.

[This message edited by Gottagetthrough at 7:52 PM, May 29th (Thursday)]

heartbroken_kk posted 5/30/2014 08:41 AM

I have alopecia universalis, however it started similar to your sister's symptoms with a spot like that. My diagnosis was pretty traumatic, when I was 13 years old. Losing your hair brings up all kinds of fears about not being attractive and desirable. Your sister will need support for the feelings that come up. I highly recommend IC if the condition doesn't improve with treatment.

A dematologist can treat the localized area with intradermal injections of steroids. I also took oral steroids. When I was receiving treatment it worked and my hair grew back. Unfortunately for me it never resulted in a cure. I do know that other people have better luck.

Alopecia areata is an auto-immune disorder. Nobody knows what really causes it. Your body randomly gets triggered one day into misidentifying your hair follicles as "not self" and mounting an immune response that turns off hair follicle production of hair.

Frankly I think tying its arrival on the scene to stress can be more harmful psychologically than helpful. I don't think you should in any way blame stress as the cause. It may make no difference whatsoever if she manages her stress better or worse. This type of alopecia is very similar to other autoimmune disorders like vitiligo, psoriasis, lupus, etc. The good news is that there are no other medical issues that are connected to it. I am otherwise very healthy. I did suffer from depression due to the self-image issues, but IC has been very helpful for that.

[This message edited by heartbroken_kk at 8:53 AM, May 30th (Friday)]

Gottagetthrough posted 5/30/2014 09:35 AM

praying that my sister gets some good news at the dermatologist... she is depressed (has been for decades) tried anti depressants, IC, etc

she cant take a huge blow like this. she is not married (always felt undesirable) and lives alone. not a huge support system

i do thank you for your input though. im hoping she can find some support or steriod shots work well for her

[This message edited by Gottagetthrough at 9:37 AM, May 30th (Friday)]

Gottagetthrough posted 5/30/2014 10:49 AM

Temovate topical

dr said it looks like the balding is on the upswing (ie, hair is growing back) When i looked at the spot, it looked like there were white hairs about the same length of her natural colored hair...

we are wondering if this spot has been there for a while and we never noticed it...

gave her Temovate topical and did some further thyroid blood testing that she asked for... she has passed out many times in the past few years, and her recent vitamin D leves were very low (this after she had just gotten a sun burn and been outside a lot)

thanks for the support guys. i hate seeing my sister have to go thru this

trumanshow posted 5/30/2014 14:17 PM

I also have alopecia. It started like those spots off and on since I was 8.

Dark Inertia posted 5/31/2014 00:00 AM

I will talk to a friend of mine at work tomorrow, she had cancer and her doctor gave her this "recipe" to help her prevent losing her hair while going through chemo. She swears by it.

absolut posted 5/31/2014 00:16 AM

omg what's the recipe?
I'm obsessed with thick hair. Mine's pretty good but I'm always trying to make it thicker!

Also, jmo, as I have an aunt who deals with this... she is also overweight with pcos... stress doesn't cause it. That's a myth. Men lose their hair, kwim? The medical profession just pathologizes everything about women.

Do whatever the doctors say but tell her not to let it become a big issue. If the spot starts to bother her, buy a clip-in extension. Treat it like a cosmetic problem once you're done doing the medical stuff and call it good.

Best wishes.

heartbroken_kk posted 5/31/2014 13:51 PM

Second what Absolut said. I definitely treat my alopecia as a cosmetic problem. Since in my case it covers my entire head I wear a wig. Problem solved. I have no medical issues and require no other treatment.

But getting to acceptance wasn't easy. Be gentle with your sister.

Hopefully it will regrow. It does for many people.

Audrina posted 6/1/2014 20:35 PM

I had this happen to me a few yrs ago. One big bald spot. It freaked me out and sent me online researching alopecia areata like crazy.
My doctor prescribed a cream but I never applied it to the bald spot.

I wanted to see whether the hair would grow back and it did within a few months.

I haven't had a reoccurrence but sometimes I think about it. And I panic.

Crescita posted 6/21/2014 16:54 PM

I saw this article today, hopefully more options for treatment will be available soon.

Gottagetthrough posted 6/22/2014 06:53 AM

Thanks for all of the responses! Audrina- sounds like u and my sister had the same experience. Good size bald spot, doc prescribed cream, but spot grew back on its own. My sister has been applying the cream, but when he gave it to her he said it looks like its already growing back. She just went back friday and he told her it was growing back and to stop cream

doggiediva posted 6/22/2014 08:03 AM

I have a friend who has alopecia (severe)..Not sure what caused it in her case, but she doesn't have the middle age weight gain, high bp, etc..From what I can tell she manages her physical and mental stress well...
She treats it cosmetically by wearing cute scarves, hats, caps, etc..One year she got this cute and very short hair cut, a la " Sigouney Weaver"..Her head wasn't clean shaven, but almost..She had fun showing off her cute dangly earrings..
Nice if one has the features to carry this hair style off well, lol..
I am glad your sister saw a dermatologist..
I also take issue with those MD's who automatically assume a woman's symptoms are stress driven when a female patient presents for medical work up on something difficult to diagnose..

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