rogaine

So Sorry That I Took My Hair For Granted - Amber's Hair Loss StoryHello Everyone. I am so happy to know that I am not alone in my hair loss devastation. I am a 28 year old mother of four. I’ve been experiencing heavy hair loss and extreme changes in the texture of my hair since the pregnancy with my daughter 5 years ago. Much to my dismay, my doctors were telling me that I was pulling my hair back too often or that my hormones just needed to get back to normal or that the straightening process I had done had caused the loss. So for five years I have watched my very thick, very curly hair become thin and straight thinking that one day it would magically reappear. It was two weeks ago that I had a scalp biopsy and was diagnosed with andogenetic alopecia. To boot, I am losing it from all over my head, not just the top. My dermatologist is pretty cruel and just chuckled and said “There’s nothing you can really do. Use Rogaine.” I am devastated. My daughter has hair just like mine used to be and I’m actually jealous of her. I’m debating whether to have the fifth child that my husband and I wanted but I don’t want to spark any excess shedding episodes. I have started Rogaine as it is the only FDA approved medication for women but I am feeling very lightheaded and somewhat dizzy so I’ll probably have to stop. I realize like many of you that this has quickly become an obsession. I know that I am not my hair. But let me tell you, after four children, my body is beat. My hair is the only attribute I have left and I’m losing that now too. I’m at an incredible loss. I can’t imagine what it will look like when I’m 40. Please give me any feedback you can and I hope this post helps someone feel not so alone as this site has helped me tremendously.
Thank you,
Amber

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Dear Amber,

You are not alone in your feelings and struggles. I wish I knew why most doctors are so insensitive and callus toward the women who seek out help for their hair loss. I can’t explain why they do it, but it is an unfortunate very common occurrence. Was your dermatologist by any chance a man? They seem to be the least understanding.Just like the birth control pills can somethings kick in the onset of androgenetic alopecia early so can the hormone shift of having children, sometimes there is just no rhyme or reason, but undoubtedly we are never prepared. There are other “treatments” used to treat women’s hair loss such as low androgen index birth control pills and aldactone (spironolactone). All hair loss treatments carry the risk of possibly igniting some extra shedding at first. It’s the whole, “has to get worse better it gets better type thing.” It’s all a very personal decision what a woman chooses to use to treat herself, and she has to fully understand the postives vs. the negatives. Hopefully in time there will be more studies done to figure out what exactly causes women’s hair loss and then with any luck a real solution for women’s hair loss will follow. [click to continue…]

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Hair Biopsy Results _ Diagnosed With Telogen Effluvium and Androgenetic AlopeciaWell, in my situation, my family doctor first ordered blood work to look for an underying hair loss cause and found nothing. So she referred me to a dermatologist and on my own I sought out an endocrinologist because I have other symptoms. An endocrinologist is now looking into a possible underactive adrenal gland now because my cortisol level was borderline low. At the same time, my dermatologist did a biopsy of my scalp and found telogen effluvium AND androgenetic alopecia. SHOCK! No women in my family have this problem. So, I am wondering if you’ve heard of any possibility that this could be a false -positive for the androgenetic alopecia. Can anything else mimic alopecia? There’s no way to tell how much of my hair loss is due to TE or how much is due to AA, but as a result I have been advised to start using Rogaine for Women. I was told Men’s Rogaine is too strong while not helping any more than the women’s Rogaine. I also am going to use Nizoral 1%(doctor suggested) for dandruff that I already have and that may get worse with Rogaine. I just pray the Rogaine works. I don’t want to waste time and hair.

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Hi, welcome to the site! I’m not a doctor and I don’t have a lot of first hand experience with scalp biopsies so I’m hoping that perhaps Andrea or another women who has actually had this test performed, can help in providing greater insight. I’m also sending your question over to The American Hair Loss Association so that it can be answered by an actual physician because I want to make sure you get the right information. I wish I could answer your question about whether or not scalp biopsies can return results that are false positives for androgenetic alopecia. Logically I think that it is always possible in any test. I am curious to know if any other women have received the same results as you, being diagnosed with both telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia. If I was concerned about the resulting diagnosis I probably would consider having the test be redone by a different physician. Doctors are people too and they do make mistakes.

When I was first diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia back when I as 21/22 years of age I was told to take the Mens Rogaine and that it was perfectly safe and would be more effective. I know that a lot of doctors do tell their female patients to go ahead with the stronger dose as well, but you have to do what you feel comfortable with. You can always go for the higher strength Men’s Rogaine at a later time should you choose to do so. Also, a few women on this blog have been saying that the Rogaine Foam is easier to use and eliminates some of the problems that the regular Rogaine can sometimes cause, such as greasiness and itchiness, since it doesn’t have the propylene glycol. Although currently the Rogaine Foam is only available in the 5% minoxidil Men’s version. You can read the comment Gretchen wrote about it here.

I used to use Nizoral myself because I read somewhere that the active ingredient Ketoconazole actually had some mild anti-androgen properties that would help in hair loss. [click to continue…]

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Disorders of Hair: Androgenetic Alopecia

by admin on November 8, 2007

Disorders of Hair: Androgenetic AlopeciaI came across this article today while doing some hair loss research on the internet, and I thought it covered a lot of questions that women have about hair loss. The article is about both male and female pattern hair loss and provides a good overview. It was published on medscape from ACP Medicine Online. Here it is:

David A. Whiting, M.D.

Androgenetic alopecia is the common type of nonscarring hair loss affecting the crown. It results from a genetically determined end-organ sensitivity to androgens. It is often referred to as common baldness, male-pattern alopecia, and female-pattern alopecia.

Epidemiology and Pathogenesis

Androgenetic alopecia affects at least 50% of men by 50 years of age and 50% of women by 60 years of age.6,7 Males have more androgen than females and therefore are usually affected earlier and more severely. Male-pattern alopecia often starts between 15 and 25 years of age. Male-pattern alopecia has two characteristic components, bitemporal recession and vertex balding [see Figure 1 -- omitted], which in pronounced cases can progress to complete balding of the crown.6,7 Female-pattern alopecia is more likely to start between 25 and 30 years of age (or sometimes later, after menopause). It is characterized by an intact frontal hairline and an oval area of diffuse thinning over the crown [see Figure 2 -- omitted]. Bitemporal recession in women is much less obvious than it typically is in men, or it can be nonexistent. In general, androgenetic alopecia in women progresses to mild, moderate, or severe thinning but not to complete baldness. The best predictor of outcome is the degree of progression in affected relatives.

Androgenetic alopecia is an autosomal dominant disorder with variable penetrance. Susceptible hairs on the crown are predisposed to miniaturize under the influence of androgens, notably dihydrotestosterone. In both sexes, miniaturization results from a shortening of the anagen cycle, from years to months or weeks. Miniaturized hairs are characterized by reduced length and diameter; this accounts for the appearance of hair loss.8 Androgenetic alopecia largely spares the back and sides of the scalp.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of androgenetic alopecia is usually obvious from the clinical pattern of hair loss from the top of the head.9 In some men, a female pattern of alopecia (see above) causes diagnostic confusion but has no other significance. In women, a male pattern of alopecia (i.e., bitemporal recession and vertex balding) occurring with menstrual irregularities, acne, hirsutism, and a deep voice is significant. The virilism indicates significant hyperandrogenism, the cause of which must be identified and treated [see 3:IV The Adrenal -- omitted].

Scalp biopsies are rarely necessary to diagnose androgenetic alopecia. Biopsies cut horizontally are sometimes useful, however, in differentiating female-pattern alopecia from chronic telogen effluvium (see below). [click to continue…]

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Losing My Hair... Am I Vain? Rosalinda's Hair Loss StoryHi, my name is Rosalinda and I have been losing my hair since I was 17 years old. I am now 22 years of age. I started out with a huge thick mane and now I can pin everything up with two bobby pins. Sad! I dread taking showers or brushing my hair. I close my eyes when I take my hair out of my brush. I’ve heard from doctors that stress can cause hair loss and I stress about my hair loss all day long. I went to see a movie this weekend and I spent half the time looking at Eva Mendes’s full head of hair. I feel vain for thinking about it so much, it’s driving me nuts. I am on Yasmin and have been on it since I was 19. My hair loss started before I began the pill and I have been assured by many doctors that Yasmin wouldn’t make my hair fall out. I don’t want to leave the pill because my cramps are so severe I can’t function when I have them. I have had blood work and I am “fine” thyroid and anemia wise.

I don’t even remember all the tests the doctors ran. The three doctors I have seen have attributed my hair loss to stress and genetics. The dermatologist recommended dandruff shampoo and rogaine. Rogaine helps keep my hair from falling out, I do notice a difference when I try to get off of it. I am currently using extra strength for men (dermatologist said to do so) but it makes my scalp very itchy and full of dandruff. Does anyone else experience this? So I have a choice…head full of dandruff or a head with some hair, *sigh*. I am going to see a doctor again on Wed. to do blood work again, since the tests I took before were two years ago. I am also thinking of buying the laser comb. It is pricey $395-$500. Yikes! I laugh to myself because I just paid $700 to do laser hair removal surgery on my legs. Ack!

I’m trying to rearrange all of my hair situations my body has. Too funny. I noticed that no one on the blog site really had anything to say about the laser comb. Perhaps I can be the guinea pig for all of you. Take pictures and what not. What do you all think? Should I do it?

-Rosalinda

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Dear Rosalina -

Thank you so much for writing and sharing your story. I know the exact movie you made reference to, “We Own The Night” because I did the same thing as you. I couldn’t watch anything else other than Eva Mendes hair during the entire film. I’ve had that problem for quite sometime now, I actually wrote about that in this post titled “Hair Loss Can Quickly Become An Obession

Are you Vain? I don’t think so. I think you react in a very normal way to a disturbingly uncontrollable situation. Reading your email was like reading my own thoughts on paper. Trust me when I say I know exactly what you are going through, you used the words “thick mane” to describe your hair. I would as well to describe my former tresses that have since been replaced by thin fluffs of wispy hair. I actually use to get my hair thinned out at the hair dresser! Can you believe that??? My heart weeps when I think about that.

Since your hair loss started 2 years prior to you getting on the pill surely it cannot be responsible for the onset of your hair loss. In my opinion a doctor cannot state definitively whether the pill will make your hair fall out or not. Do they have a crystal ball? Likely not, and since most educated physicians know the possibility of hair loss occurring from the treatment of any synthetic hormones, they shouldn’t state things as facts that they have no way of knowing in advance. It really bothers me when I hear things like that. [click to continue…]

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Treatment of Female Pattern Hair Loss With A Combination of Spironolactone and Minoxidil I want to thank Kate for emailing me this Case Report about the use of spironolactone and minoxidil in treating female pattern hair loss. The Case Report appeared in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology Volume 48 Issue 1 Page 43-45, February 2007

CASE REPORT

Treatment of female pattern hair loss with a combination of spironolactone and minoxidil

Carlijn Hoedemaker, Sylvia van Egmond and Rodney Sinclair

Department of Dermatology, St Vincent’s Hospital, University of Melbourne, and Department of Medicine and Skin and Cancer Foundation, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Summary

A 53-year-old woman with clinical evidence of female pattern hair loss and histological evidence of androgenetic alopecia was initially treated with the oral antiandrogen spironolactone 200 mg daily. Serial scalp photography documented hair regrowth at 12 months; however, the hair regrowth plateaued, and at 24 months there had been no further improvement in hair density. Twice daily therapy with topical minoxidil 5% solution was then introduced and further regrowth documented, confirming the additive effect of combination therapy.

Introduction

Female pattern hair loss is a common, psychologically distressing, age-related, androgen-mediated condition that presents with increased hair shedding and reduction in hair volume over the mid-frontal scalp.1

Binding of dihydrotestosterone to cellular androgen receptors induces susceptible scalp hairs to undergo a progressive and orderly transition from terminal to vellus hairs to produce patterned baldness. Antiandrogen therapy with either spironolactone or cyproterone acetate is commonly used to treat FPHL, as is topical minoxidil.2 The mechanism of action of minoxidil is unknown, but does not involve androgen pathways.3 The use of topical minoxidil together with an oral antiandrogen might have an additive effect; however, combination therapy has not been previously reported. [click to continue…]

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Jeni’s Hair Loss Story

by admin on October 14, 2007

Jeni runs a great blog on beauty and skincare called “Savvy Skin” and has contributed several comments on The Women’s Hair Loss Project. Now she is sharing her story. Here it is:

I’m 28, and I used to have really thick curly hair up until recently, and now I have probably half as much hair as before. I first started noticing that my part was really thinning back in September and I freaked out. After doing research, I first assumed that it was from the pill (ortho tri-cyclen) and I stopped taking it shortly after. I had been off and on it for over 10 years, but never really noticed any hair thinning before, or even the few times I went off it. I always lose a ton of hair (people always comment about my hair falling out all over the place), and I guess my hair has decreased over the years, but I never saw any baldness before Sept. My dad’s hair is thin on top, and my mom’s hair is thin now (but she has diabetes, is hypothyroid, takes a lot of medications, and eats terribly, so I don’t know if hers is AGA).

I first went to a dermatologist who said it could be AGA but couldn’t tell, and he just recommended Nizoral since he saw dandruff. Then I went to a general doctor who had no idea about anything, but she determined I was depressed, and suggested anti-depressants. I actually was really depressed (even before the hair loss), so I started taking anti-depressants, even though I was afraid it could make my hair worse. She claimed my hair loss was probably just because I was depressed and that it would grow back. I asked for all the various blood tests, and everything appeared normal. I started using Nioxin shampoo, Nizoral weekly, started taking a better multi-vitamin, attempted to eat better, including more iron and protein. For several months I‚ve also been taking Evening Primrose Oil, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Iron, & Flaxseed on my food.

Things not getting better, I saw Dermatologist Dr. Richard Strick at UCLA in Los Angeles because he supposedly specializes in hair loss. He looked at my scalp and said I definitely have TE (telogen effluvium) and that things should just get better eventually. He said I could use Rogaine to speed up the regrowth, or just wait it out. He seemed pretty sure of himself and didn’t suggest anything else. The cause of the TE remained elusive.

A few months had passed and it was time for a visit to the endocrinologist because now I was sure I had a low thyroid [click to continue…]

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Hair Loss From Nuva RingI have noticed thinning of my hair around the crown over the past couple of months. I think I understand some or all of the contributing factors, but now I don’t know what to do to try and stop it. I had been on OrthoEvra (the patch birth control) for a few months, stopped it because it was giving me horrible anxiety, went on the Nuva Ring for the past three months, and finally decided today that the anxiety has returned as well as headaches, sleeplessness, and now hair loss. I didn’t know until I read things on this site that stopping the birth control might result in the hair loss getting worse, but I really don’t think I can continue on it because of the emotional/mood swing effects it has on me. I’m 30, and have had one child
(5+ years ago). I wonder if I can wait out the next 6 mos. while the birth control leaves my system and my hormones return to normal. I wonder if I should try Rogaine NOW, before it gets any worse (it’s really minor, but it’s starting to be noticeable enough that I try to style my hair over the thinning area or pull it back). I wonder if I should go back on birth control but I really shouldn’t do that. I wonder if this is permanent. HELP!

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Hi, thanks for writing. I always say this at the beginning of my responses to emails so that there is no misunderstanding. I am not a doctor and cannot give medical advice, this is just my thoughts and opinions.

I did some searches in Google for “Nuva Ring and hair loss” and there are several cases of women who are experiencing the same thing as you. Since it is birth control, it does alter your own hormones, and anything that does that can cause hair loss. But you should realize everyone responds differently to the effects of the pill. For some women going on the pill can cause hair loss, which seems to be your case, and for others the hair loss begins when they discontinue the use. It sounds like you already made the choice to get off the pill and are currently not taking it due to the many unpleasant side effects you were experiencing. In my opinion that was definitely a good decision.

I think it is too early to tell whether or not your hair loss will simply be a temporary shedding or the onset of androgenetic alopecia. It would probably be a good idea to consult a knowledgeable physician in this matter. Experienced doctors can tell whether or not the hair follicle is miniturizing which is usually an indication of female pattern baldness. But it is very possible this will just be a temporary shedding (telogen effluvium) similar to the hair loss many women experience after having a baby. As mentioned in my response to Sarah’s story, I actually met a woman who had hair loss from going on the pill, she stopped taking it an told me eventually all her hair grew back. It all depends on the individual. [click to continue…]

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Spironolactone – Hair Loss Story Question

by admin on October 6, 2007

Spironolactone - Hair Loss Story & QuestionHi! First of all I want to say that this is a GREAT forum/blog and I give you a lot of credit for starting it, sharing your stories, and wanting to help others. THANK YOU, and I really appreciate all you’ve done and gone through. Stay strong, continue helping others and you will get through this!

I want to ask you about your thoughts on Spirinolactone, but should provide you some context first. I am 28 years old and started losing my hair around August of 2006. I was under a lot of stress with my job and not taking very good care of myself nutritionally either. So, I started with a family physician and had blood work done. Everything came back fine. She recommended I take a daily multivitamin. She also recommended me to a dermatologist. I finally saw a derm in January of 2007 (it takes FOREVER to get in) and they did some additional blood work and told me to start taking biotin as well as the daily multivitamin. Again everything was “normal” and that was it. In March of 2007 my excessive shedding stopped and my hair felt better again. So I thought the vitamins and biotin were helping and
thought stress had a lot to do with it, too.

THEN, in August of 2007 I started losing a lot of my hair again and am continuing to shed excessively. This time around the hair loss is more noticeable and my scalp is much more noticeable than the first episode. I did just move to a new state, change jobs, sell our house, etc., etc. I thought maybe it was stress again but knew I needed to see a derm to be sure. I live in Winston-Salem, NC and they have an excellent dermatology practice at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Medical Center. They have doctors that specialize in female hair loss!! So, I finally went early this week (after getting an earlier appointment because of a cancellation). I saw 2 doctors that were fantastic. They spent a lot of time talking through everything and came to the conclusion that it’s likely androgenic alopecia. BUT, they had me take every blood test possible in case it’s related to low iron, thyroid, etc. I’m still awaiting those test results. They also think some stress could be involved, but when they performed the hair pull test on me it was positive in some areas and not in others, likely female pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia). I am supposed to start using Rogaine for men and they will prescribe Spirinolactone if all of my blood work comes back “normal.”

So, do you know much about this drug? Does anyone else on the site know? [click to continue…]

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Debra asked this question on the “calling all thickening shampoo” thread, but I decided to repost it here so that other women can have the opportunity to find it easier and perhaps comment as well.

She Wrote:

I love reading these comments. I started loosing my hair about 3 months ago. My family doctor recommended I go see a dermatology. Dermatology told me to use Rogaine for women. I had to stop after a few weeks as I noticed i was loosing more hair. Than I had the biopsy done. Now he is telling me to use Rogaine for men! holy cow. What to do? Need your help please?

Hi Debra-

Welcome to the site!

I am not a doctor so I can’t give medical advice, but I’ll give you the information I’ve found out over the course of the last 8 years losing my own hair.

Did you recently go on or off birth control pills or any other medication? I don’t think I a personally agree that the dermatologist you saw should have advised you to go on Rogaine after only 3 months of hair loss. 3 months is a very short amount of time and you could have just been experiencing shedding caused by any number of factors.

It is not uncommon at all to start shedding more hair after beginning any hair loss treatment such as Rogaine. The hair shedding should be temporary. After a 1-2 months if the treatment works, new hair should begin to grow, hair growth works in cycles. When Rogaine causes hair shedding it may induce the hair shaft to fall off, the follicle would then enter a dormant phase in the cycle (temporarily) while the matrix is restructured for future growth, hopefully with a thicker and stronger hair shaft. In the meantime through you may lose more hair, but after waiting for several months you may have thicker and stronger hair with any new hair growth, assuming the Rogaine works. [click to continue…]

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My Hair Loss Story – How Did I Get Here?

by admin on August 30, 2007

So how did I get here? I find myself asking myself that very same question on a daily basis. The year 1999 was the year that forever changed my life. My hair loss began after having stopped taking the birth control pill Loestrin FE. Later I found out that it is or at least was, an extremely high androgen index pill. Who knew? Certainly not me and certainly not my gynecologist who prescribed it to me.

So the following months after I stopped the pill my hair began to shed and shed like crazy. It was all over the place and coming out what seemed to be by the handfuls. I tried to find answers online, but I found nothing. I went to so-called “hair experts” also known as dermatologists who aren’t any wiser than the other dermatologists, but just know how to capitalize on the vulnerability of women. They were of no help either. Blood work… within normal levels. I felt frustrated that I couldn’t point to it on a paper and say “ah ha that’s it, my estrogen is low” or “there it is, I need more iron.” There simply was no explanation. I should point out that I also saw very expensive “hair experts” who told me I wasn’t losing my hair. What? Like they would know better than me, I’ve only live in this body… umm forever. Of course if I revisited those same doctors today they wouldn’t be telling me that now. This certainly isn’t one of those instances where you want to be right and say “I told you so.”
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