Around July 2015, I suffered a hair setback when I used a protein treatment. In order to recover, I decided not to relax my hair as planned and started using wigs as a protective style. In October, I got a new wig and it was a bit tight. I wore it for a few weeks, thinking that it would loosen up. That month, I noticed some thinning at the front of my hair. I thought it was the tightness of the wig so I stopped wearing it.
I went back to my normal regimen and I was still losing hair. It finally got to a point where I had a bald spot (about 2 inches in diameter). It was smooth like the back of my hand. There was no indication for the hope of hair growth.
During all of this, I had an awful skin rash that wouldn't go away. My skin can be sensitive and reacts to slight changes. Normally, I use a cream my doctor prescribed and it goes away after a few days but this one lasted for months.
Off to see the Doctor
In early December, I went to a different doctor about my skin. I thought he would prescribe some cream or other medicine to treat the rashes. He asked me questions about my diet and talked about eating more fruits and vegetables. “Who vegetables don epp?”
At the time, I had a horrendous diet. I would usually eat twice a day and the meals were not balanced. I couldn't remember when I had fresh vegetables or fruit. My job involves standing and talking for long periods of time. When I would get home from work, I needed to lie down for hours before I could do anything else. I was basically running on fumes. The doctor told me if I improve my diet and rest more, the rash would go away. He gave me a follow-up appointment with the resident dermatologist a few weeks later.
After my appointment with the doctor, I decided to get a full checkup and to see a trichologist. I needed to know what was happening to me. My visit to the trichologist was informative. I was diagnosed with androgenic alopecia.
Being the nerd that I am, I asked plenty of questions and did further research on the internet. Based on this information gathered, I would continue losing my hair if I did nothing. With androgenic alopecia, once the hair is lost it does not come back. Needless to say, I was worried.
The trichologist recommended Rogaine to help keep the hair I had left. I was wary of using Rogaine because if I stopped using it, the hair would fall out again. There are also various side effects.
After meeting with the trichologist, I had my appointment with the dermatologist. She said the hair loss was due to stress and it should grow back with time.
So, I had some conflicting information. Was my hair loss due to stress or a genetic issue or something else?
I also did a full check up with various blood tests. Most of the results were normal. Only two of the results had low levels: hemoglobin and alkaline phosphatase. Low levels of alkaline phosphatase are usually rare (Source link). When it happens, it is an indicator of protein deficiency or malnutrition. (Source link) Hemoglobin is a protein present on red blood cells that helps to deliver oxygen to various cells in the body. Low levels of hemoglobin can be associated with various blood disorders.
Plan of Action
With all this information, I took my time over the Christmas holiday to develop a plan to help with this problem. (click here to view plan)
Geared up, I pushed forward on my path to hair growth. I was prepared for the worst which is that my hair would not return. If this happened, I would reevaluate and make changes. In the first month, I began to feel better and my skin rash healed. I wasn't as tired and I had more energy for my everyday activities. By the end of the first month, I noticed that my bald spot wasn't smooth anymore. It felt rough like hair was growing in. By the third month, the spot was essentially covered. The progress has been so encouraging.
Jan. 2016/Feb. 2016
To be frank, I did not follow everything in my plan to the letter. Hello, exercise. However, the parts I did really seemed to help. I plan to continue and have my scalp and hair checked at the end of the year.
What can you do?
There are a few things that I think helped me to deal with my hair loss. They may help you as well.
1. Be an advocate for your health: No one can take better care of you than you. You have to be aware of what is going on with you.
2. Take action: Nothing can change if you don't change.
3. Be encouraged: You are not alone in this struggle. Many people deal with hair loss every day. I almost didn't share this story on my blog because of embarrassment. People have reached out to say they are going through something similar.
4. Be patient: Rome wasn't built in a day and your hair doesn't grow back overnight. It will take time before you see changes.
I'm very happy that my hair has improved. Everything that has happened was due to the neglect of my health. It may seem vain because it took my hair loss to start getting my health in order. I'm glad that everything has improved.
Nat Says: Thank you for sharing your story with us Uzoma. Studies have shown that a poor diet and stress can trigger hair loss in some people. Take care of yourself, find balance in life, work, and family, and be very observant of the signs that your body gives when you are not being your own best friend.
To follow Uzoma visit donttouchthehair.com