teenager with sudden onset of significant hair loss

Posted by concerned mom @wschultz, Mar 16, 2020

My daughter is 19 and a freshman in college. She was a high school athlete and healthy. She multi-tasked 3 sports, Club Volley, MAYB, college credit hours and work. College is less stressful for her as she is taking 16 credit hours and not working. We feel that going to class and doing her best in classes is her job during her college years so we are not asking her to work a job. I don't feel STRESS is the cause of this sudden onset of hair loss.

About six weeks ago she noticed a small bald spot starting on her front hairline. We went to see a dermatologist and he took a glance at her and diagnosed her with Alopecia Areata. He did not want to do any lab work but started treatment of corticosteriod injections and 10 days of prednisone. My friend who is an OBGYN agreed to check her thyroid and check for Lupus. The Lupus came back negative and her TSH was 6.1 and T4 was within normal limits. The tests did show elevated ferritin levels. At that point we made an appt to see an endocrinologist. He did not want to treat her thyroid unless the TSH was elevated to 10 and only if her T4 went out of range. He did run tests for Hashimoto's, testrone levels and antibodies. Those were all negative.

At this point, weeks have passed by and the significant hair loss is now multiple bald spots growing into each other making large patchy spots. Her hair is constantly falling out all over and we are now looking at hair pieces and wigs. I wanted a second opinion and was able to see another endocrinologist and he started her on Synthroid.

Another week has passed. We are into week 7 and she is still losing hair by the handfuls. I am so frustrated that I cannot find a doctor who wants to dive deeper into the root cause of the hair loss. The doctors are wanting to treat the symptoms but I don't feel they want to figure out what might be causing the hair follicles to react the way they are. I understand she has an autoimmune disorder but what is causing this reaction? Is there anyone who can help? We are thinking we may need to take her to Mayo Clinic.

@wschultz

Thank you for your response. We just had a follow up with our dermatologist and he prescribed Hydroxychloroquine. We will see if this helps. I am hoping there are not any major side effects.

Jump to this post

Hi @wschulz. did you get my message a few days ago because that is what I am on. I hope it helps your daughter the way it has helped me. I have not found any side effects so hopefully it will be the same for your daughter.
A friend of my daughter also had this problem and she gets it intermittently. When it gets bad she has some hair weaving done to help while things improve. I have no idea what it costs. My hair started to settle down and grow back quite quickly and I could see new little hairs growing in a month or two. Good luck. Jennifer

REPLY

Thank you for reaching out! I hope this medication works for my daughter. It’s just hard to see her hair falling out every single day. I just pray she doesn’t go bald.

REPLY
@wschultz

Thank you for reaching out! I hope this medication works for my daughter. It’s just hard to see her hair falling out every single day. I just pray she doesn’t go bald.

Jump to this post

Our dermatologist has prescribed Hydroxychloroquine for alopecia areata but it does not seem to slow down the hair loss. Does anyone have other suggestions as to what might be causing her hair loss? We are treating her thyroid with Synthroid. Thank you!

REPLY

Hi @wschultz — I ran across an article from John Hopkins All Childrens Hospital on hair loss that has some information that may be helpful. Hoping that you find some answers to help your daughter.
https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/patients-families/health-library/healthdocnew/hair-loss

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.