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Forum Name: Pneumonia

Question: Strep Pneumonia, hair falling out, bump on rib


 ihasan - Tue Jul 24, 2007 6:32 am

In short, I am 27 year old female who used to be very active and healthy and nonsmoker. 4 months ago I had a severe bout of strep pneumonia (in both lungs) and was hospitalized for 10 days. I have been to numerous doctors and had tons of xrays, 3 catscans (with contrast), several blood tests and pulm function test...everything is coming normal or above normal.

HOWEVER, I am still having a 'squeezing' pain in my lower right lung when I take a deep breath in or yawn. They are saying this might be damage to the lung wall from the pneumonia. Will it ever go away?

I have also noticed a bump on my left rib (close to the sternum) that has not gotten bigger or moved. But it has been there since I got out of the hospital and is at times tender. What could this be?

Lastly, it has been 4 months since I got out of the hospital and my hair is falling out. It has been falling out for about 2 weeks and is getting noticeably thinner but no bald spots. Could this be related to the pneumonia? And when will it stop falling out?

As you can see, I have been through quite a rough patch for the past 4 months and am getting more depressed each day. Given my symptoms are the doctors missing something?

Sorry it's so long. Thank you in advance.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sat Jul 28, 2007 3:02 pm

User avatar Hi Ihasan,

Chest pain for some time following a severe pneumonia is not uncommon. It may very well be that you have some inflammation of the lining of your lung (a condition called pleurisy) that is causing some of your pain, especially with deep breathing. This type of pain is usually well treated with anti-inflammatory medicines.

The spot on your rib may be a normal area that has now become inflamed, also potentially started by the pneumonia or simple brought out the fact that it was there. Costochondritis can cause significant pain due to the inflammation of the cartilage portion of the rib.

Regarding your hair loss, you may want to have your thyroid level checked. Testing your cortisol level may also be helpful.

Follow up with your doctor is important to help make sure you are being treated appropriately.

Best wishes.
 ihasan - Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:26 am

Thank you for your response. But regarding the hair loss...
My latest bloodwork came back okay. There were no signs of thyroid problems or any numbers that were out of range.

So I am curious is it common that the hair loss is related to the pneumonia? And if it is, how long would a 'normal' time frame be for it to last?

And at this point assuming that is what it is related to...how long should I let it keep falling out? When should I be alarmed and seek further testing?

Greatly appreciated~
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:34 pm

User avatar It would be uncommon for pneumonia to cause hair loss. You may have a condition called alopecia ariata. This is where the hair begins to fall out, often in circles.

I would suggest that you see your doctor about this. You may need to see a dermatologist to get a diagnosis.

Best wishes.

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