I recently had a hair restoration appointment in Los Angeles. A few months ago I went to a hair restoration clinic in Las Vegas, but I was still left with confusion about exactly what was causing my hair loss. This place in LA mainly does hair transplants, but they also look at your hair under a video camera microscope to determine why your hair is thinning. Plus they use a tool called Haircheck, which I will write about in a separate post soon. This initial appointment was free. Before the appointment I had researched the hair loss restoration clinic and I felt like I was going to a reputable place that wouldn’t try to sell me a hair transplant if I wasn’t a good candidate (and I don’t want a hair transplant anyway because I don’t think I have enough hair to work with currently).
First my hair was looked up with a hand-held camera wand to detect whether or not I had miniaturized hairs, and if I had them on top, or on top and in the back of my head. Shockingly, the doctor said he didn’t detect any miniaturization, except at my hairline (where my hair is receding, and where I can visually see the thinning hairs). He said a lot of women naturally lose hair at their temples but that even women without hair loss can lose hair there as a part of the aging process. Otherwise he said since I don’t have thinner hairs in the back of my head, that indicates I don’t have female pattern baldness! I swear all of the hairs on my head are thinner than they were ten years ago, but I forgot to ask the doctor about this – if it’s possible that all of your hairs can equally shrink in diameter.
Next the doctor used the Haircheck and determined I have less hair on the top of my head than in the back. Yikes! He said people without hair loss would have equal amounts of hair on their entire head. So I’m slightly confused how this doesn’t indicate female pattern hair loss, since my hair is falling out in a pattern (more on top). I was left with the impression that I have male pattern baldness, yet if there was no miniaturization, except at my hairline, I’m not sure how that makes sense either? The doctor actually thought I had telogen effluvium (chronic, of course, since I’ve had hair loss for ten years) due to the lack of miniaturization. And he thinks with TE I could lose more hair on the top of my head, even though I’ve read you usually lose hair equally all over your head. I do lose tons of short hairs (which I thought meant I had miniaturization because a lot of the short hairs are skinnier), but losing short hairs can also mean you have TE.
I told the doctor I was on Spironolactone, and that it hasn’t been working, and he thinks it’s making my hair worse so he urged me to get off it asap. I told him I’ve been using Rogaine on the top of my head and he doesn’t think that would have an effect on my hair either way, but I do wonder if it’s helping, hurting, or doing nothing. Next I asked about taking Propecia since I have less hair on the top of my head (which sounds like male pattern baldness). He said he would prescribe it to me if I promise not to get pregnant and go off the Spiro. He wants to have me off the Spiro for six months and then re-check my hair and see if I have more or less hair on top – so that would be another trip to Los Angeles. I am confused because if Spiro makes my hair worse, how would Propecia help my hair? The medications are similar in what they do. I think it’s because he thinks Spiro is prescribed for women with female pattern hair loss, but Propecia is prescribed for male pattern hair loss. Anyway, I want to try Propecia but am really worried about the potential it could cause cancer, since cancer runs in my family. How much does it increase the risk - a minuscule amount, or a ton? The research is inconclusive, especially since most studies are done on men taking Propecia.
The doctor said I was absolutely not a candidate for a hair transplant (hair restoration). So I felt better knowing the doctor was being honest and wasn’t trying to rip me off. I didn’t ask him why I wasn’t a candidate – but I guess because I have thinning over the whole top of my head, there wouldn’t be enough hair to transplant, and all of those transplants could cause good hairs to fall out from shock loss. The doctor said my hair wasn’t that bad, but I told him I was at my wit’s end and am ready to start wearing a hair piece immediately – I can’t wait any longer. He insisted I wait it out and come back for the Propecia prescription in six months. And he confirmed that once I start with the hair piece it will be hard to turn back, due to traction alopecia.
In the end I left feeling more confused than ever about my hair loss! Could I really just have chronic telogen effluvium that never ends, despite my “normal bloodwork” and all of the things I’ve tried? But there’s no denying my rapidly receding hairline – so I have male pattern baldness too? I was hoping for a 100% confirmation of what was going on, but now I’m at a loss of what to do next! At least I liked this doctor and felt good (but baffled) after leaving the place – usually I feel horrible after hair loss appointments. Have you had your hair looked at under a magnifying camera to determine if you have miniaturization, or have you been to a hair restoration clinic? If you live in the Los Angeles area, have you had any positive hair loss doctor visits?