Testimonial | 22-05-19
To suffer from spot baldness as a young person
Elsa, 12 years old
Elsa got her first bald spot in 2015. After a long journey of numerous doctor visits, testing, dietary supplements and uncertainty, Elsa’s parents found a treatment that claimed to stimulate hair growth and had yielded results in patients with alopecia areata. They contacted Nordic Hair Clinic and began PRP treatment. Here is Elsa’s story about her journey to getting her hair back, a story that’s all too common when it comes to patients with alopecia areata.
“In February 2015, Dad saw my first bald spot. We sat at the dining table and ate dinner when he asked me to come and show him my scalp. I was really sad, but somehow I didn’t care so much. It was just a small patch; it probably didn’t matter. The hair would grow back,” says Elsa.
But Elsa thought a lot about it, she didn’t want to tell others in her class and it felt like she was keeping a big secret. The more time that went on, the spot grew bigger and bigger, and Elsa became more aware that the bald spot could be seen if she wasn’t careful to hide it. She started wearing braids to keep her hair in place and hiding the growing bald spot.
“It was boring to have my hair in the same style every day, and classmates began to wonder why my hair looked the same day out and day in. I replied for the most part that I thought it was nice and comfortable. But it wasn’t. What I really thought was it was boring and ugly.”
The constant concern with spot baldness
More bald spots began to appear in the hair. Elsa played a lot of sport and it became another worrying factor to ensure that the hair did not slide to the side and showed any of the patches. At football, she always had a hat on, which was hot, but then Elsa could at least feel confident that nothing would show when she played.
“You walk around constantly worried all the time. I didn’t want others to see anything. I was mostly thinking that I couldn’t be like everyone else. Not that everyone should look the same, but I felt like why would this happen to me,” says Elsa.
Elsa’s parents searched for treatments and solutions frantically. Elsa tried various treatments and all the samples that were needed were taken. She met with many different doctors and felt that nobody could help her.
“Between 2015 and 2016, I felt like I was going around in circles. I went to school, to the doctor and had tests done. My hair grew occasionally, and then it would fall out again. In the end I had lost about 35% of my hair. Then my mother found PRP. That’s when everything changed.”
The turnaround with PRP treatment
Elsa was at first very skeptical of the treatment. She thought it sounded strange to use her own blood plasma and she was worried that it would hurt. Her mother booked in a time for a consultation. Once in the clinic, they received information about various treatments that were available that could trigger hair growth again.
“I was terrified. I had numbing cream in both arms and over my whole head. But the treatment went fast and did not seem like a big deal. It was such a relief. It was just a few pricks and then it was easy. The staff were very friendly and helpful. After that, I underwent the treatment a few more times and then my hair started growing back. Instead of bald patches I now had small amounts of hair there. It was so nice,” says Elsa.
The hair loss spread to the entire head
In 2017 Elsa lost all her hair. It was a very difficult period and Elsa started wearing a wig to school which was very hot for the scalp.
“It was such a strange feeling. I had no hair left on my head. It felt totally unreal. But then I knew that I had PRP to fall back on. So it didn’t feel as bad. It was just nice to know that I have something that can help me get my hair to grow back. A solution. And, well, after the treatment, my hair grew back. Isn’t it magical?”
Then it was not long before Elsa’s hair was long enough to not feel the need to wear a wig.
“There is probably no girl at my age who wants to be without hair. PRP has definitely helped my hair to grow back faster. I dare not even think about how it would look if I had not had the opportunity to get PRP. I feel bitter that the health care system in Sweden does not have PRP as a treatment option if you have alopecia areata. This should be something everyone should be able to be helped by,” says Elsa.
Living with alopecia areata, from a mother’s perspective
“I booked an appointment directly with a doctor in Huddinge when we first discovered that Elsa had a bald patch. He confirmed what she had and sent the referral to the children’s ER. Elsa had to go through with blood tests that did not show any serious cause. It was just alopecia, you’re welcome, and nothing more. I am so hugely disappointed with the health care system,” says Elsa’s mother.
It wasn’t until Elsa got to see a private dermatologist that they felt they had met someone who really listened to them. Meanwhile, Elsa’s mother continued to read about the disease, and they continued to try different solutions to get the hair to grow again. Elsa suffered from more patches and lost more hair, which caused great stress to herself, but also to her mother.
“You want to do everything for your child. I tried to find a reason, meet with naturopaths, conducted tests outside of Sweden… The uncertainty. That was the worst. When will the hair fall out next time, how much will be lost this time? Will the eyelashes and eyebrows fall out, or just a bit of hair? Is it getting worse? How does Elsa feel? Is she sad? There will be a lot of planning: she wants to have a wig, help with it, help with hiding the patches,” says Elsa’s mother.
“There will be no cure, you must fight for ever. We have tried to stay on top of it the whole time. It costs an awful lot with all supplements, doctor visits and tests.”
When they came to Nordic Hair Clinic, it was a great relief to see that the hair began to grow back. There was time to stop a bout of hair loss with several PRP treatments. However, PRP cannot stop the disease altogether and it cannot be predicted when a new bout is coming on.
“It’s a hassle, but every time we hope it’s the last. It’s so nice to have PRP as an option. It is a difficult disease that hangs over you the whole time. A constant concern. It is difficult when it is such a visible disease that many people are unaware of. Since there is no cure, and Swedish healthcare does not offer PRP, you feel very lonely,” says Elsa’s mother.
Before a PRP treatment begins, it is important to have a consultation, which is always free of charge with us. During the consultation we examine the hair and can then advise and estimate how many PRP treatments that may be needed for the patient to see a result and how to keep that result for as long as possible. By default, we usually say that 3 PRP treatments are needed, one month apart, to trigger hair growth. Alopecia areata, and its various variants of the disease, however, is a complex disease that may require more PRP treatments to see results.
Do we treat children?
Normally we do not treat people under the age of 18 and, in the rare cases that we do, a Guardian must be present. In every consultation with a minor, we do an individual examination of whether we consider ourselves to be able to help them. This assessment is based on several parameters such as symptoms, other diseases, whether the person is under medication, has a fear of needles, etc. In some cases, the person’s veins may be too small and then it is better to wait for treatment.
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