GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Hair loss can be devastating to a person for many reasons, especially if it's happening for a woman. Hair can reveal a lot about a person from the texture, length, style, and color. And, it can be traumatic when the hair we generally take for granted suddenly starts to disappear.
While there are a number of treatments, from creams to surgery, one local woman is finding hope in a fairly new procedure.
"It was devastating," recalled Jamie Crum. "I've been noticing my hair was just getting thinner and thinner, and I noticed my ponytails weren't as thick as they used to be. I was seeing a lot more scalp than I was used to seeing, so I definitely know that there was some hair loss going on. "
For a woman in her 30s, gradual hair loss started to affect her confidence.
"I think a lot of it is just genetics," Crum explained. "I have a family history of just women with very thin hair. I also experienced a lot of stress at the time when I was really noticing the hair loss, so I think it was a combination of all of those factors."
The hair loss was getting harder to ignore, but Crum figured it was something she had to live with until she reached a pivotal moment.
"I had a photoshoot, and when I got the headshots back, I was in shock."
With a number of treatment options for hair loss, Crum did some research and eventually opted for a non-surgical, more natural option called platelet rich plasma, or PRP.
"There's a lot of medical uses for PRP," explained Dr. David Rosner, owner of Remedy Hair Restoration and Medical Spa in Grand Rapids. "You can do facial aesthetics with it, you can do joint injections with it, and then you could actually do hair restoration with it, too."
"It starts with a simple blood draw, and then we have a specialized centrifuge which actually concentrates the platelets, and then it goes right back into the patient." Dr. Rosner explained.
Crum has had two treatments and is already feeling hopeful.
"I'm noticing some new growth coming, some sprouts and just the overall difference in texture and density," she said.
"I can confidently tell you that pretty much a majority of my patients actually start seeing results after the first treatment results," Dr. Rosner added. "The density and the diameter is something that's really important to people, and that's what PRP is able to do."
Some patients might have some swelling a couple of days after the treatment, but it's usually tolerated well. Plus, there's no downtime after treatments, with patients able to go right back to work.
"One of the nice things about PRP is that we're not injecting anything foreign into the body," Dr. Rosner noted. "We're just concentrating the platelets from the patient, so it's their own blood."
For Crum, the shame she once experienced with her hair loss is now replaced with optimism. She's encouraging anyone else dealing with the same issue to research PRP and see if it's right for them.
"I want people to know, especially females, that they're not alone if they're experiencing hair loss. It's not just a thing that men experience. I want women to know that there are things that they can do to reverse the hair loss and prevent future loss and get some of the confidence back."
Dr. Rosner recommends a series of three to four treatments about every six weeks, followed by a maintenance treatment once or twice a year.