teenager with sudden onset of significant hair loss

Posted by concerned mom @wschultz, Mar 16 10:15am

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.

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.

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