Getting Off The Birth Control Pill After 13 Years – My Biggest and Hardest Hair Loss Decision

by admin on July 24, 2013

Getting Off The Birth Control Pill After 13 Years - My  Biggest and Hardest Hair Loss DecisionI’m sitting awake in my hotel room in Florida. My mind flooded with thoughts and my fiancé snoring soundly beside me. I had no chance of sleep I tell ya… no chance.

As usual, Florida time means PRP time. I did have my 8th PRP therapy treatment with Dr. Joseph Greco yesterday afternoon. At first glance all seems the same, snoring fiancé, PRP, Florida, hangover…. but it’s not. About a month or so ago I made a very hard personal decision for myself, and  just to bring you up to emotional speed on this one, just starting to type the word “decision” started the tears rolling down face, because it’s a decision wrought with so many emotions and so much pain.

My hair loss started in 1999 (I was 21 years old) after the cessation of the pill Loestrin FE, dumb luck struck and that one act caused the following years of misery, sadness and self loathing as I tried to cope with losing my hair. I was so incredibly alone when this happened, I was desperate, beyond desperate and I was willing to try and do anything I could to just get the shedding to stop and hopefully get my hair to grow back, so I made a choice I have regretted ever since. At the suggestion of a physician I got back on the birth control pill. While the pill can be the cause of hair loss, doctors also use it to try and stabilize the hormones to treat it. I didn’t want to, I was so scared, but I did. Many times I’ve wished I was stronger and just said no. No to the doctor and no to myself. I knew what the pill did to me the first time, why get back on something I would forever be a slave to? Good question. Answer: Desperation and lack of foresight.

Getting back on the pill essentially meant never being able to get off it. The amount of shedding that occurred when I got off the pill the first time was INSANE, I’m talking about waking up to fist fulls of hair on my pillow. I had a ton of hair back then and while no one wants to loose their hair, looking back I had hair to spare. I have none to spare today I can assure you. Knowing this, I started to feel very trapped on the pill, how could I ever get off again? I was stuck on a medication I had so much animosity towards and worse my hair continued to decline so I had no way of knowing if it ever helped in the first place, and since we all know we just love to poke ourselves in the eye with our torture sticks, I’d constantly remind myself that I never really allowed my body the chance to heal on its own, to stabilize it’s own hormones without the use of any medication. Maybe in a few years time all would have resumed to normal, or maybe not, but I’ll never know.

So as the years past I’ve continued to take the little devil pill nightly, almost twitching every time I have to open the little pack. Freaking out if I fall asleep without taking it and having to take it a few hours late, lord knows I don’t want to upset the birth control pill hormonal gods and cause a shed, almost feeling feeling like I’d have to say a prayer for taking the pill late, “Dear Ortho TriCyclen, forgive me for I have sinned, I drank too much and passed out, that is why I was late taking you, please don’t punish me and make my hair fall out even more.” Okay maybe that’s dramatic, but you know what I mean. I’ve had abnormal bleeding, and cramping that is likely a result of the pill, and my gynecologist want to switch me to a different pill many times, but I’ve informed him that would result in a switch in doctor first. There was no way in hell I was going to change or get off the pill. Changing the pill to me is the same as getting off it, it could trigger a shed just the same.

I’ve lived this way for years. A slave to a pill I did not want to take, feeling trapped on it… essentially forever. While I have never wanted to have kids, it did sting as well that if did want that, choosing to have a child meant, making the choice to say goodbye to whatever hair was left (potentially) then trying to get pregnant after an over decade long stint on a pill that keeps you from getting pregnant, then wondering what all the hair loss drugs I threw down by body over the years would or could potentially do to that baby, I could go on and on with this. Excuse me one moment, while I reach for my torture stick again… This point really is moot, I don’t have the mommy gene, and I don’t think it was ever in the cards for me, but still a suckie thing to live with just the same, yes? We want to feel like every choice is ours, this is OUR life, but many of my choices left me feeling trapped, imprisioned and terrified.

I’m 35 years old now and part of taking back my life from hair loss, is choosing to no longer put my health second to it, this included getting off my 200mg of Aldactone last year, and it includes facing my biggest fear, getting off the birth control pill. Getting off the pill means I may have the biggest shed to end all sheds, I kid you not.  Without having enough hair to endure that shed, if that happens I have made the decision that I will shave my head fully, put bangs into all my wigs, and as I said to a friend recently… “simply pray I look as cute as Zooey Deschanel.” 😉

It may be hard for some people to understand why this is so hard for me since I do wear hair full time, but wearing hair full time doesn’t mean you want to sit in a pile of massive shedding and watch your hair decline even further in a matter of weeks/ months. My hair loss is progressive, this I know and accept, but I’d like to keep it at the same declining pace thank you very much, and not send it into warp speed or anything. I’ve reached a good place in my hair loss life and I fear rocking the boat, but I fear not doing it even more. If I don’t do this now, when will I? 40, 45? 65? Will they put a little birth control pill pack in my coffin with me when I’m dead? Oh that’s a fun image. Seriously when? It happens now or it happens never, and I’m done with sacrificing my health for my hair. Mind you, I’ve had a hard time over the years dealing with the fact that I feel I caused my own hair loss by taking the pill in the first place, I feel I would be emotionally finished if I knew I took the pill and THAT (the pill) was a cause of some future devastating health condition, because it would have ALL been for my hair. My hair isn’t worth it, especially now, but really it never was worth putting my health second to it. I absolutely have to take this part of myself, my life, back…now.

I made the mistake of googling up getting off the pill after 13 years and reading about all sorts of issues women encounter, including acne, insomnia, hormonal issues and on and on, and that it could take over a year for the body to recover. Oh goodie and I thought I JUST had to worry about hair loss. UGH! But that is certainly even more of a reason to address this now. I feel my body will be more responsive at healing and dealing now at 35 than in later years to come.  I know there are a plethora of other reasons why women are prescribed and choose to take the pill, and I’m not saying it’s the worst thing for everyone on the planet, I’m just saying it was the worst thing for me, physically and emotionally.   I don’t think there are ever any absolutes when it comes to matters of health and treatments, we are all different and individual and as such our bodies respond differently as well and our needs are different too.

Here we are, Florida, there is daylight out and still more snoring :) I have found that the PRP has been successful in helping me to decrease my overall shedding and that is why I have continued to do it over and over. I live in Los Angeles, but fly to Florida to have this done not because I like super long flights with layovers in Atlanta, but because I believe it has been a positive thing in my life. I scheduled my last PRP session around the time I got off my Aldactone and I didn’t experience any appreciable shedding from getting off it that I could see,  though I also did cut my hair short so that probably helped visually too, but whatever it is, I’m sticking with it. I’m hoping the PRP can save me from the shed I fear in getting off this pill. Hoping. Hell or high water, I’m done with treating my hair, other than treating it to new gorgeous wigs of course 😉 Yes PRP is a treatment, but it uses your own blood, there are no meds, it’s something I’m comfortable choosing to do.

Four more days. My pill pack ends in 4 more days, and that will be the end of it. For better or worse, I choose to no longer be a slave to my hair loss in every which way and that includes taking medications for it. So goodbye to my past, and hello to the future. I hope other women don’t wait as long as I did to return to the land of the living, I hope choices they make are because they are genuine well thought out choices and not random stabs at desperation. I’ve talked abut the pill a lot in my earlier posts on this blog and whenever someone would ask “should I take this or should I take that?” my answer always was and is: Make the choice you can live with, not just for today, but for 15-20 years from now too. I’ve made choices I’ve had trouble living with, but it’s never too late to right the wrongs I’ve done to myself and never too late to do that for yourself as well.

Much love from Florida, now who has the mimosas?

XOXO

P.S. If anyone has gotten off the pill and experienced positive health benefits and improvements from doing so, please please drop a comment below to share it with me. I could definitely use some positive inspirational “getting off the pill” love. LOL

{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

Eliza July 24, 2013 at 6:16 am

Wow, that was powerful and courageous and hopefully offers you some relief from sharing your story. Thanks for reviewing your journey. I’ve only started following your blog for about 2 months and wasn’t too familiar with your journey, but I’m thankful that I found this blog. I was 3 days into taking Ortho Tricylene when I found your story. My hair had been shedding for at least 2 years and I never correlated it with taking the pill. Somewhere in my research it suggested to get back the pill to help stop hair loss. So out of desperation as well, I went on the pill then somehow I stumbled onto your story a few days later. You saved my life and my future. Thank you!! I got off the pill right away!! I’m still desperate, my hair is still shedding like crazy, I feel that guilt from taking the pill a few years ago and blame myself, and I’m mad because I never knew how horrible the pill is, but glad that I do know now to save my daughters and friends from such an agonizing experience. I don’t know if my body will ever hormonally heal itself, but at least I’m in control of it now. I hope you all the best as this definitely a big step for you. Stay strong and hopefully there will be some sunshine in these cloudy days ahead :)

Clara July 24, 2013 at 6:46 am

OK, not politically correct but totally true so here it goes. Sex gets much better when you get off the pill. There I said it 😉

Carol July 24, 2013 at 6:56 am

I don’t think the pill is the solution, it may even be part of the problem. “Kudos” to you for making the decision to go off of it. I’ve had my own struggles going on and off the pill, and I am currently off of it trying to deal with my PCOS symptoms and major hair loss after my first pregnancy. Biotin alone did not help me, but then I stumbled across an interesting supplement called Pregnitude. It is mostly myo-inositol, so now I am taking pure myo-inositol tablets as a lower cost alternative. Within 2 months of taking it, I had a NORMAL cycle. I wanted to sing from the mountain tops! Myo-inositol helps reduce free testosterone and insulin levels. Just an interesting supplement to look into, I highly recommend it.

ikke1978 July 24, 2013 at 7:01 am

Hi, took the pill from 16 till 26 (35 now). I didn’t take it for hair loss back then, but i just wanted to stop taking hormones when i was 26 and see how my body would react. I didn’t have hair loss at the time. Not before taking the pill, not during and not after taking the pill. Well, i have hair loss now (started at age 32, but i don’t think mine is because of hormones). Still, a lot of docors wanted me to get back on the pill to try and see if my hair loss would improve, but like you now, ik also want to put my health first.

What i wanted to tell you is that i feel soooo much better being off the pill. In the beginning it was a bit hard. I would say, the first 6 months after quitting the pill, i got more acne, i gained some weight and was more nervous. After the first six months i felt a lot better. My weight went down a lot (a bit to much for me), i slept a lot better, am less anxiuos and feel more in control.

Hang in there, you will feel much better once your body can correct itself on the hormone-level. I never will take the pill again, messes up your body and the way you see life. Looking back, i think the pill made me depressed and anxious.

Hang in there, hugs..

Angela July 24, 2013 at 7:17 am

It amazes me every time I read your posts, how similar our stories are. My HL started because of different reasons but I was very young as well. About 15. I tried everything and anything and finally decided 22 years later to wear supplemental hair. I went all in and shaved my head and am bonding a topper. It is the best decision I’ve ever made. I am also on Spiro and Yasmin. I decided to stop the spiro and have been tapering off very slowly. I’ve gone from 150mg/day and right now I am taking 62mg/day. I am decreasing the dosage every 2 weeks by 12mg. So, it’s taking me a long time but so far I have avoided water retention, acne, etc. Going off of Yasmin will be next and it scares the CRAP out of me. I have never had the mommy gene either so I’m not worried about how it will affect my future kids but I am scared to death how it will affect the pathetic hair I have left on my head. I started using tricomin when I started to wean off the spiro and it is seeming to help with the shed, but I know it’s not strong enough to prevent the BCP shed :( I will keep you in my thoughts and look forward to reading more of your posts :)

Erin July 24, 2013 at 7:17 am

Thank you for sharing your story. I stopped taking birth control pills five months ago after being on them for nineteen years (I’m 35.) While it did not stop or slow down the shedding (which was the goal) it has not increased either. I did the googling before I stopped the pill as well and was terrified, I’m still getting by with my own hair but just barely. I don’t want to have children either and I have to say that it’s just not fair that all the good methods of birth control we have available to us as women involve filing our bodies full of harmful chemicals/hormones. As far as the other side effects go, try not to worry too much. It wasn’t that bad, my body started regulating itself again after about three months.

Stay strong, you are such an inspiration and I look forward to your posts!

Erin

Erin M. July 24, 2013 at 9:20 am

I stopped taking the pill about a year ago or so. Prior to that I was on Seasonale ( which I am pretty sure worsened my hair loss – I know you are aware of problems with this pill, Y) then Ortho Tricyclen. It took awhile, maybe 8 months, for my periods to normalize. I have regular periods now, some PMS – but I have never had really bad PMS, I didn’t notice more shedding. My shedding, in fact, is minimum and has been for about 8 months. I should say though, I never experienced crazy shedding. When I shed though, it just didn’t grow back…wah! :) I am 7 years older than you, Y, so am closer to perimenopause. Good luck with your choice to stop taking birth control. I think you’re making the right decision for your health and I’m really proud of you.

Rachael Jean July 24, 2013 at 10:07 am

Dear Y
When I first met you you were in your 20s and of course that’s a terrible time to be losing hair for a beautiful woman. Remember I was always talking about nutrition back in those days and everybody was talking about chemical solutions to their hair loss. Needless to say nutrition didn’t bring my hair back but I sure feel good. I probably have less of the shed then I could have. I do wear a topper and I can get away without it too.

Now that you’re in your mid 30s and you have been wearing hair you’ve grown out of that desperation of the beautiful young woman losing her hair.

I am so proud of you for getting off of these chemicals. Hormones do shift your body in ways that are not natural. It is good to let your body find its own homeostasis. That means balance. The body is a self healing organism and wants to heal on its own without interruption from chemicals they don’t allow it to do that. I have a feeling after the initial shock of not taking birth control pills that you will be feeling better than ever. Most women don’t usually have problems getting off of birth control pills. They have the problems when they’re on the birth control pills.

They say the people that lived the longest are the ones that after a terrible situation will say well, it could’ve been worse. That optimism keeps people alive and healthy longer. Gratefulness and the knowledge that life could be worse Really helps me in the long run.

Good luck to you my dear. I will forever be grateful to you for setting up this forum for us to discuss this very sensitive hair loss issue. Though I’m okay about myself today I wasn’t when you first put up this forum and it helped me to get to the peaceful place I am today. I wish the same outcome for you.
xxooxxo from Rachael Jean

Jess July 24, 2013 at 11:47 am

Dear Y,
I have been reading your blogs regularly since I found you about 6 months ago. You have helped me through the hell that has been my life for over a year. It’s because of you that I did not take my doctor’s advice to go on birth control pills; reading about your regrets – it made sense to me. It seems that every decision that I’ve made has been a bad one, except that one. I wish I had found you before going on Spiro. I’ve been on and off, on and off, on and off the stuff. Every time I go off the shed gets bad and I go back on. I’ve had every test known to woman kind. Apparently all is well with my hormones; however, I just had a positive rheumatoid factor test and have elevated ANAs. No one can really pinpoint what caused my hair loss. I have a long and complicated story that I’d like to share some time (when I figure out where to share it?) I blame the hair loss on silicone toxicity – I had breast implants for 8 years and had/have many of the nasty symptoms that others have had, including hair loss. As for your decision to get off the bc pills, you are my hero! I’ve been too much of a basket case to get off my meds. You also have inspired me to get a Follea wig (although I’ve been having trouble getting a size that fits). You look spectacular in the wigs and I could never tell that you are wearing them. You actually look somewhat like a younger version of me, which is why you were the deciding factor for Follea approval from my husband. He agrees that your wigs look like your natural hair. Anyway, sorry this is so long. My prayers are with you as you transition off the b.c. pills. – j

Andrea July 24, 2013 at 11:58 am

I am 39 years old and have suffered from hair loss since I was a toddler. Unfortunately, I do it to myself, but that doesn’t make it any less painful or me any less desperate to find a cure when I can’t stop myself from pulling my hair out. I’ve struggled with feeling confident and comfortable in my own skin my whole life. I was on the pill for 15 years or so before I went off of it to have children. I don’t recall any bad side effects, so I hope that is good news for you!! It did take me about 1 year to get pregnant with my first child, but that doesn’t appear to be a concern for you, so no worries there. I’m commenting on your post because I have an appt next month with my OB/GYN and was considering getting BACK on the pill. I’m very nervous and after reading your article and the comments section, I’m not sure if this will be a good fit for me or not. My goal was to help regulate my hormones a bit. I struggle with PMDD (or possibly PeriMenopause) and it truly affects the quality of my life during PMS times, which is about 2 weeks out of every month – 50% of the time. I get moody and depressed and I have painful periods, but more importantly, I just want to be my normal happy self and not struggle so much emotionally. IF I decide to go that route, I will definitely report back. I never knew that taking the pill could cause HL and I’m so sorry that you’ve had to endure so much. HL, no matter what form it comes in, affects us all so much. I wish you the best of luck and pray that, with time, your hair may just become healthy again through your body’s natural healing abilities. Thinking of you!!!

Cassy July 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Dear Y,
You are doing the right thing for your body especially at 35. My dad was a PhD in Chemistry. He said the pill scared him because no doctor could possibly know the side effects of putting those chemicals in the body. He use to say he could not believe the ease some doctors had in prescribing. If you needed the drug that was one thing but if you had a choice – don’t put any chemicals in your body. By the way when I went off the pill it did not make a difference in my shedding. Give yourself time for your body to stabilize. I had a doctor tell me once to never underestimate your body in its ability heal itself. That was the best advice any doctor has given me!

Katsa July 24, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Maybe you will be like me and can look forward to an improved sex drive.
All that lovely not worrying about making a baby goes to WASTE on me when I’m oral contraceptives.
Good luck with the transition.

Michelle July 24, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Dear Y,
I don’t have any true words of wisdom for you or experience I can share about getting off the pill. What I can share, is that you have been a remarkable inspiration to so many of us here. I wish we could just ball up all of our gratitude in a little pill form that you could pop in your mouth and use to fight against the evil shed monster (ok, I sound like a crazy person but I assure you I am really quite normal). I guess I am just wanting to wish you good luck in this next phase of your HL journey and know that you have the support and love of all of us.

Also, if you or anyone else is looking for 100% natural forms of birth control you may want to research the the Pearly or Lady Comp. I have been using the Pearly for a year with no issues. They have great customer service given by an RN who is very knowledgable and communicates in a way that is very easy to understand. I already have three little boys and DO NOT want a fourth but also wanted a safe, natural way to avoid pregnancy. This seems to be working with zero side effects :)

XO
Michelle

lina July 24, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Hi Y,
I know how torn this decision is for you.
I hate bcp, I’m sure that started my HL journey into the dark, when I was 18.
Your reasoning behind why you want to stop are 150% valid. Your health is more important. You hear people say “if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything” – it is so true.
You are so much stronger than you were at the onset and you are in control of you – how great is that, to not be a slave anymore.
I was on so many supplements, vitamins, medications even when my hair was so shit, I mean obviously nothing was helping it and yet still I popped, popped, popped. I finally decided to open my cupboard and do the hand sweep while holding a garbage bin! I said, body – do your thing and figure out where your happy place is.
Let me tell you, my hair isn’t better, it isn’t worse – it’s the same but I actually feel healthier and my scalp doesn’t itch so much.

Just because you are getting off your bcp, does not mean you have to have a big shed, it sure doesn’t.
Stay strong and firm in your resolve. You will not face whatever is around the corner alone. We are all here for you.

You are an inspiration and I am so very lucky to be able to share your journey.

Big hugs

joanne July 24, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Dear Y,
you are amazing. you are courageous. you are generous. you are beautiful. you are inspirational. you are funny. you are wise.
with these few descripts of who we all see when we see you, please know that nothing can change who you are – no amount of shedding, no birth control pill fallout, will change one thing about you… except getting off it will make you stronger and healthier. we all want that for you. you want that for you. it will happen. it happened for me, it happened for many others i know.
there is always the re-balancing. it’s different for everyone. but most feel better sooner than later. knowing there are no more chemicals screwing up your body, nothing more hurting you is in itself, a relief that permeates you everywhere. now, the healing can begin. no regrets, just healing. allow that for yourself.
breathe, walk, see friends, laugh, do yoga, eat ice cream, smell flowers and look at how beautiful you are as walk past the store window. live your life.
it’s a true gift, beautiful girl. one, many are grateful for.
you have saved so many, including me. we love you so and we all stand with you.

Mary July 24, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Good luck my friend

Christine July 25, 2013 at 4:44 am

Y, I know this will not easy your worry and pain, but if things did not pan out for you the way that they did, you would not have started this site. You have helped thousands of people! You may have even saved a life! Not only have you saved the women going through HL, but think of the children who get their moms back, the men/women who get their significant other back, or the friends, parent, family who get the women with HL back! This disease is an isolating one. It causes us to withdrawal from everything and everyone. Without this site, I venture to say most of us would still feel alone and disconnected from our loved ones and our lives. Sharing our feelings and solutions with each other is comforting, validating, educational, and healing! You have brought us together from a cross the globe and made us friends! Please when you are feeling down think about this major imprint you have made on the world and smile.

PS you will put Zooey Deschanel to shame 😉

admin July 25, 2013 at 5:07 am

Thank you so much to everyone, your responses here, through email on Facebook… having been so amazing and touching and have really meant the world to me. This kind of support moves mountains, and I don’t feel alone in pushing out this next mountain from my path, I feel you all with me. I received lots of messages from women telling me they didn’t have any crazy changes or shedding when they got off the pill, and while it’s different for everyone, I am going to work on being positive that I’ll get to be one of the lucky ones too, especially with the addition of my PRP that I just did. Hoping… Hoping. I always greatly value you the time everyone takes to write and to share, it really means a lot to me.

@Eliza – I’m so glad you made that choice for you, to cease the pill early on, as upon reflection for years down the line, you found you’d have been in my shoes… stuck, and it’s just a horrible thing to live with. Congrats on taking back control, while our hair loss may continue, things shift (in awesome ways) when you feel in control of things again, and are making the choices for your life and not soley for your hair.

@Clara – Ok, ding! first laugh goes to you. I did smile and laugh when I read your comment, I read it out loud to my fiancé has he was walking by me and I heard him say “Awesome” LOL

@Carol – I’ve never heard of Pregnitude, but will definitely google it up. It’s wonderful that with that you where able to get a normal cycle. After reading stories of women getting off the pill ending up with very erratic periods, I’m definitely going to follow up on this supplement. I agree, the pill is often part of the problem, and in many cases IS the problem, but still for other women I know it works for them, and that’s great. For me, it was the devil pill.

@ikke1978 – I love hearing that you felt so much better being off the pill. LOVE hearing that. Words that I need to imprint onto my brain, it just feels like it is the right thing to do. I am prepared for the transition, whatever may come. I will ride it out, and know eventually I’ll pop out the other side, a freer person, knowing I’m done putting my health second.

@Angela – Our stories are similar indeed. I think decreasing the Aldactone like you are, weaning yourself off is the right thing to do, that is what I did last year. Just took my time getting off it. I friggin love not taking that pill anymore. I cringed everything I took that one too, wondering what taking a blood pressure pill/ Diuretic was doing to my body over the years when I was never someone who had high blood pressure, I think my biggest side effect from that was dealing with water retention for awhile, but it passed and it’s just awesomely freeing. I know the pill will be like that only better… eventually 😉 Congrats on wearing supplemental hair and moving forward, taking your life back and ditching the pills your way. I will definitely keep everyone posted as the months progress, until I pass the 6 month mark, I won’t feel like I’m in the clear shedding wise. If no major shed has occurred by then, I doubt it will and you’ll find me dancing around in vegas doing the “no birth control pill no shed” dance LOL

@Erin – Yes! One more story in the bank, of off the pill and didn’t increase my shed! I need those so much! and I’m much relieved to hear that your body started regulating after 3 months. All these posts are helping to keep me positive throughout this.

@Erin M – I’m definitely hoping for the best but bracing for the worst too. It seems everyone is different in how they come out and their bodies recover from the pill. I know it could even be a year or longer, that is always a possibility, but I’ll get through it. I guess if there ever was a time that I was SUPER kind to my body with being healthy with food / exercise / sleep, now would definitely be the time. I’m much relieved to hear it didn’t increase your shedding.

@Rachel Jean – You have been here with me since the beginning. I just looked up when your first comment on this blog was and it was Dec 2007. Seeing your name come up in the comments always reminds me of this journey many of us have travelled together and so far. It’s true, I’m left the desperation of losing my hair behind (thank god) and now just desperately want to be totally free of the bad choices I’ve made and have had to continue to live with. Feeling that I’m hurting my body, that at this point is feeling worse than my hair. I will definitely be working toward being more healthy overall, as I mentioned in the comment above, if there was ever anytime to get my health in order with proper nutrition/exercise, now would be that time. I’ve seen your posts during my darkest hours and on my happiest ones too, and I’m sending you a big hug that spans 6 years of tears, struggle, laughter and achievement, highs, lows and everything in between.

@Jess – I’m so happy you made that choice to think what was best for you and not just take the doctor’s suggestion of the pill. We have to always look towards our best interests for now and for decades from now. Like you said it just made sense not to take. Unless we will be harmed or worse off for not taking it, why put our bodies through that? Doctors really push the pill and without offering ALL the potential side effects that can occur going on it, being on it, and the side effects that can happen down the line when you get off it. I think they are doing a world of disservice to their patients. Full disclosure on everything we throw down our guts is vital for our well being. If we are informed and are making informed decisions, well then that’s all good, it’s the right thing, but I think it’s rarely the case. I also tried to get off Aldactone years ago around 2002-2003 I think (I’m trying to think what house I was living in at the time LOL) and I too just started shedding so I got back on and at a higher dosage. I was super scared to get off it last year, but I did successfully. I weaned it down and also did PRP at that time to try and help with the shedding. It’s hard to get off these meds, we are bound to them, and for me I felt a slave to them, I felt OWNED by the. Terrible feeling. When you are ready, and for me honestly I wasn’t ready until AFTER I started wearing hair, but when you are ready you will make that leap for yourself too. I’m so excited you got your husband’s approval for getting a new Follea! That’s wonderful! I also did get your email by the way and will write you back soon.

@ Andrea – Anytime I hear someone didn’t get any side effects from getting off the pill that is definitely good for me to hear. I think that if you make a fully educated decision on whether or not the pill is right for you, and then decide accordingly towards whatever that choice is, THAT will be the right one. Many of us took these pills without thought and for some of us, out of desperation. Not everyone gets hair loss from getting off the pill or going on it, but for some (like myself) it is the actual cause of trigging our own genetic predisposition to androgenetic alopecia (female pattern hair loss). Do your research, discuss with your doctor and make the choice you can life with. I feel that choice, is the right one.

@Cassy – I agree with your dad, the pill is scary! In my attempt to further scare myself and figure out all the potential awful things that could happen to me when I get off the pill, I read somewhere that there are no LONG term studies for the usage of the pill. Like nothing after ten years? Can that possibly be right? Oye vey. I don’t know if that’s true, but thought to myself “Well isn’t that just peachy.” LOL. I agree, if you need the drug then that’s a totally different thing and if you are making an informed decision. I’m yet again happy to hear another person didn’t get any increase in shedding when getting off the pill. All good news! I’ll let my body do it’s thing, for better or worse, but I at least know long term I’ll definitely be on the side of better.

@Katsa – Many Thanks!

@Michelle – You don’t sound like a crazy person, you sound awesome!! Okay, so I just googled “Pearly” and “Lady Comp” that looks like an amazing device! I am going to research it more.. fabulous share, thank you!

@Lina – How comes when I tell my body to do it’s thing it reaches for a brownie ? I’m kidding.. sorta. Your words are always inspirational to me, I know the pits of hell and the ashes from which you have emerged and are continuing to grow as time passes, reaching for taking back your life. Always an amazing thing to witness and be a part of. I have a tendency to always want to think the worst thing could happen to me, and I definitely need to change that for sure, as with the other comments indicating and yours as well, getting off the pill doesn’t necessarily mean anything will get worse, but the possibilities of better… well those are endless.

@Joanne – Healing beings now, yes it does. I take comfort and heart in knowing I am doing right by my body, there will be peace in that no matter what happens, there will be no regrets, and as with everything else I know it will just make me stronger, and YES I will eat that ice cream :) I appreciate that you and all the women here have been so supportive of my decision offering such amazing words of encouragement.

@Mary – Thank you

@Chirstine – Well let me start by saying.. super kind on the Zooey Comment! :) You made me smile big this morning! and I very much appreciate deeply what you wrote, it has provided me much comfort in even my darkest times to know that through my sadness and pain, that something beautiful did come out of it. It never fails to touch my heart or make me get teary when I get a comment or email from a woman telling me how much she was helped from the site. I know one of the most important things for many of us going through this is to know, we aren’t alone… and we definitely are not. While for some of us hair loss will be life long, it doesn’t mean our lives are over, far from it. Healing takes time, it happens at our own pace and it happens in different ways for different women, but it does happen. I’m scared for my next step in my hair loss journey but so blessed I get to take it with all of you by my side.

———————

A million thank you’s again. I feel loved, I feel supported and I know I’m doing the right thing. As I walk through the valley of “Get the friggin pill out of me” I shall fear not, because I know I am doing the right thing by my body, I know that if I fall into a puddle of weakness, sadness and despair, you all will be here for me, to first sit in the puddle with me while I shed my tears for that moment, and then help to pull me out, and that’s and amazing feeling. Much love to you all…. XOXO

Lori July 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Wrote a long response & lost it all :-/ Long story short, I’m dealing with a similar situation to yours…I decided to come off Ortho Evra in 2011 (was on it for 10+ years to control acne). I was scared to death of acne coming back (plus hair shed, which it did happen, but i still had hair after!)…my doctor recommended several vitamins (Z-bec, D3, B6, fish oil, biotin, iron), so I took those religiously as I came off the bc, plus I try to stick with the “Paleo diet”. I believe that organic beef/milk/eggs is important as the extra hormones in them can affect our bodies. Plus, good exercise! Following these three components, my acne surprisingly didn’t return. Sure, I get a couple little ones once a month, but I was elated that the drop in hormones didn’t spark a major break out. I really think eating healthy foods keeps keeps my acne at bay, because when I go through bouts of eating lots of sugary foods (i have a baaad sweet tooth! ha) I tend to break out more.

Anyways, thanks for encouraging so many of us over the years…I’ve been reading around this site since ’08, and am getting close to wanting to purchase a follea wig. I still have quite a bit of hair, but it’s wispy and frizzy & I never have a good hair day. I’d like to start experimenting with a wig so I can become more comfortable with it when I need to switch to wearing it full-time. Sometimes I feel guilty for being so down on this whole poopy hair thing, but many others are suffering with much worse. I truly believe that God only puts us through as much as we can handle. Best of luck coming off your bc…regardless of what happens, you’ll still be the same awesome & strong woman!

jen July 25, 2013 at 5:33 pm

I sooooooo needed to read this today as I had my endocrinologist appt. He wants me to stay off hormones and birth control and see if my hormones can get back to normal on their own. and I was devastated he did not put me right back on my estrogen. but then I read this and it made me feel a little more at peace …atleast for today….with my decision to at least have a little faith in my own body. I will probably shed …a lot and it might not ever stop BUT I know that im totally not alone. and there are people who understand and its going to be OK

Angie T July 25, 2013 at 7:25 pm

I took the pill on and off from the age of 15, to say, about 26 or 27? During that time I was on various different kinds. My HL started in my early 30’s so I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, BUT, what I can tell you…my body feels much better being off them.

I have two kids, my youngest is 8. I got my tubes tied when he was born and closed up shop, just like that. My periods aren’t always regular but that’s life. All in all, it’s so much easier to just NOT have to worry about it, you know?

Besides which. They say taking the pill after thirty five is especially dangerous, even if you’re in good health and don’t smoke. I think this will be a good decision for you. It’ll take some getting used too. I hope the PRP continues to control the shedding and good for you for taking the bull by the horns. You’re WAY cuter than Zoey Deschanel, who, by the way, bugs the crap outta me! 😉

Much love your way and please keep us posted on how it all goes!!

Pure Hapa July 26, 2013 at 7:28 am

Thirty years ago, when I was 25, I got a blood clot that almost killed me. It was attributed to the Pill. A second clot later on in the same leg now means I am a Warfarin (blood thinner) lifer. With age and experience I am now an anti-medical establishment, anti-common-wisdom rebel. I’ve seen doctors do lots of harm to myself and my friends and family. I believe we are over-medicated and mal-nourished, and my husband and I refuse to take pharmaceuticals – in my case the exception is the warfarin, which there is no natural or dietary alternative for.

We live unnatural lives – unnatural foods, handfuls of harmful drugs, cooped up indoors, sedentary, in small family units or alone. All unnatural. I am trying to live more naturally as much as I can.

My heart goes out to you, Y. You’ve had a hard road with the hair loss, but I think you seem to have turned a corner and have seen that you have not been in the driver’s seat of your life. Hairloss has been your pilot, fear has been your leader. Now you are trying to release yourselves from those shackles to take charge once again. No matter what happens with your hair, getting off the pill will give you psychological freedom and natural bodily balance.

Life is a long row to hoe – remove this rock and continue down the row. Don’t look back – no regrets. Keep moving forward. Life has many twists and turns and you are still young. At 53, I feel quite youthful and feel like like I have a lot of great years ahead. My hair is thinning, but thanks to your site, I now know that I can face wearing hair in the future and it will be a bump in my road but not too bad, all things considered. I think having the benefit of age and experience helps me to weather hair loss better. I have more mental and emotional armor.

Thank you for continuing to share your feelings and maintaining this wonderful site. Keep your chin up!

Stacy July 26, 2013 at 9:16 am

You are a gorgeous woman! Inside and out. Thank you.
I was on the pill for 15 years and had no problem coming off them. BUT I got pregnant right away. Twice! That was the goal though;). I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve heard you are very fertile coming off the pill. Something to think about if you don’t want kids. 😉
Thanks again for sharing your journey. You are an inspiration.

kateincanada July 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Dear Y,

If it weren’t for you, the rest of us would still be floundering around in various stages of confusion, depression and mild terror at losing our hair.

You go girl! Don’t look back, stay off the pill. It hasn’t really done you any good anyway. If you and your fiancé are ‘no kids’ people than someone should get the snip, so someone else doesn’t have to go through major surgery. Even laparoscopic surgery is major, they’re still messing around in there and cutting off bits, just because the incisions are small on the outside, doesn’t make it any less invasive.

As my DH said to me years ago, when it was time to make that decision, “You’ve had to take the pill, and go through one miscarriage and two births, now it’s my turn. ” Love my man, what a mensch! :0)

Ironically, a few months after he had the snip, I had to have my cervix and uterus removed because the cervical cancer I’d had a brush with 9 years before, had reared its ugly head. Oh well, that made it doubly sure that we were no longer fertile. lol

Anyway, enough of me, this is about you and your brave and right decision to nix the pill. Good luck, we know you can do it.

Thank you so much for being there for us. Hugs.

kateincanada July 26, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Oops, …people than someone…that should read then, not than. :0/
Sorry about that!

admin July 27, 2013 at 6:59 am

Everyone’s comments of love and support have meant so much to me. Thank you!

@Lori – I’ve done that, write something and then zip zap, my computer eats it up and I’m left with a blank paper! Thanks for taking the time to write it again, much appreciated. I always try and the operative word being “TRY’ to go Paleo, but then somehow just fall off the wagon and a muffin miraculously appears on my plate, but I’m going to give it another shot for sure (now more than ever with getting off the pill) and continue to do so till I have my health is in perfect order or as perfect as can be. I do know foods affect breakouts and acne and hormonal swings and I don’t need to worsen thing by my poor food choices. You should never feel guilty for being down about what is happening to you, that’s what I mean when I say we like to pull out our torture sticks and poke ourselves. We ALL do it, but we have to try and be more kind, gentle and forgiving of ourselves and what we are going through. When you feel the time is right you’ll venture out into hair wearing-landia, and get a feel for it. When the time is right for you.

@Jen – A doctor that actually encouraged you to stay OFF the hormones? awesome! Looks like you found a good one! I believe everyone is different and we have to do whatever works for us, but I think the less crap we throw down our bodies the better (in general).

@Angie T – I’m so glad to hear you felt so much better being off the pills, I don’t even know what “Normal” will feel like. Could all these little ailments I have been having over the years be because of the pill? Yes, or maybe they aren’t, but it’s a possibility. I am mentally ready now to drop this pill, and accept whatever comes my way. I haven’t been able to say that at any other time, but I’m ready now for sure. This year hit me hard with the pill, because like you said all those crazy dangerous warnings say if you are over the age of 35!! Thank you for the comment on Zooey. Morning smiles for me :)

@Pure Hapa – You just commented on one of my worst fears, and why I feel it so paramount to make this switch. Blood Clots happen from the pill, they don’t stick that warning on their super expensive TV ad for kicks and giggles. They have to. I’m so sorry that happened to you, and I fear for what we all do to our bodies with the meds we take, I regret it. I do. I wish I was stronger years ago to have the foresight to make the right choices not just for that moment, but for decades down the line. Amazing words you sent me, and especially true, ” Hairloss has been your pilot, fear has been your leader. Now you are trying to release yourselves from those shackles to take charge once again.” YES YES & YES! I am in the driver’s seat now and do refuse to live as a slave to my hair loss, I know with this final step of removing this pill from my life, I will feel incredibly free!

@Stacy – Thank you!

@Kateincanada – Your man sounds wonderful and supportive! I’m sorry to hear you had to deal with cervical cancer and having your cervix and uterus removed, you have such a strong and amazing spirit – which is inspiring. I’m inspired by all the words from all the women here, inspired and feel totally blessed.

It’s last pill in tonight. The end of the pack. Next week would be the week skipped anyways, while I have my period, and the new pack would have started next Sunday. So I suppose the official day of the first skipped pill will be next Sunday. The pharmacy auto refills my pills, I should call and cancel that or just let it sit orphaned and unattended with no owner in the little pick up rack at the pharmacy. A pill with no home…. not this home anyways LOL

Hugs and much love to all … xoxo

Lauren July 27, 2013 at 8:43 am

Ahh! I just wrote about this very thing, too! Well, not exactly…it was more about how I’m pretty confident that birth control is really what started my hair loss (Ortho Tri-Cyclen, then Depo, then a multitude of others). Now that’s I’m “preggo my eggo” I haven’t been on any chemicals for awhile, since January. It’s always interesting to see how different things affect different people. I don’t really shed AT ALL…I just don’t re-grow hair. So, I didn’t experience any shedding going off the Spiro & Rogaine (first), then going off the birth control (Nuva Ring, second). My hair has definitely changed though — the texture growing in is much finer. It definitely looks what someone recently described as “cotton candy.” I don’t know what the future holds for me. I’m going to lose a TON of hair after I have this baby, just like I did with my first, and am going to evaluate then. I have alot of traditional PCOS symptoms when it comes to my cycle so I may or may not need chemicals to control that. I just don’t know. I DO know what it feels like to be a slave to the stuff, though. I wish I could re-set my body, somehow. Or at least go back in time to my 16 year old self and beg her not to start the birth control to being with. :) Cheers to you!

sandy July 27, 2013 at 11:02 am

hi
i wanted to email this to you in case you didnt like the site but i cant figure out how to email you. there is a lady named rachel fleit who is featured on refinery29.com. its a slideshow of her fashion style. she is posing in the website and she looks lovely. i think it feels nice to see someone stylish, beautiful and bald. http://www.refinery29.com/2013/07/49578/rachel-fleit-pictures

Nancy July 28, 2013 at 9:34 am

I took the pill for a year when I was 23. Not to treat hair loss but as my birth control method. It made me feel insane–depressed, moody, and just not a happy human. It was a relief to get off of it and that was that. And that was 30 years ago. Remember, your health is more important than the hair on your head. You can buy good hair and make everyday a ‘good hair day’, but good health is simply priceless.

Pure Hapa July 29, 2013 at 7:03 am

Didn’t see Lori’s post before – I’ve been Paleo for over two years. Primal, really. I follow Mark Sisson on Mark’s Daily Apple. Since going 95% Primal my husband and I have seen benefits such as – no more lifelong digestive issues (husband), no more bloating after meals (me), no more pain from bunions, hip bursitis, aches and pains from sports, calmer, more mental clarity, no more daily sinus congestion and post-nasal-drip (me).

It’s been nothing short of astounding. Sadly no help in the hair department, that I know of. Who knows though? Maybe if I hadn’t gone Primal my hair would be thinner. Dunno. Just know that we are in our 50s and feel like we are much, much younger and can hold our own with any younger folks. And we look pretty good naked!

amber August 2, 2013 at 10:25 am

I have been on birth control pills since 2000, only switching once in 2006. I started loosing my hair in 2009, i just grabbed to style the top and a clump of hair fell out. Ever since then it has gradually gotten so bad that I can see my scalp and i feel about 75% of hair gone. I am not sure what to do, i set up an appoint with the gynecologist to maybe switch bcp pills hoping that will help. Also set up an appointment with the dermatologist but i don’t have high hopes on that one. My mother and boyfriend think i am crazy. Not giving me much hope they act like i am not experiencing anything

Anne September 13, 2013 at 8:25 am

Good for you for dropping the pill! I know it’s tough to go off… I did for about 8 months last year because of my hair loss and it was a challenge with mood swings, change in period, and everything else. Well, my fear of losing more hair had me back on the pill 3 months ago and who knows what this will bring. Starting up again I didn’t even really feel any traditional symptoms. My hormones are so screwed up (I was on the pill for 13 years already) that my body just doesn’t know what to do with itself anymore.
Since all of this is so bad for you it’s good to let it all go! Continue on your journey knowing your health will be better in the long run. Thank you for sharing!

Jen October 15, 2013 at 5:35 pm

I just stopped taking the pill 5 months ago, because I am scared of being 32 and on it for over 10 years. I have still not gotten my period, scared to have sex until then, and loosing my long blonde beautiful hair. I cry in the shower as I pull clumps out and I just felt a horrible bald spot on the top of my head. Reading the internet has made me cry with the thought that I will need to shave my head and buy a wig…that’s not me, I don’t even wear makeup unless I have to. Does anyone know if it stops or grows back or any hope at all? I feel so lost, yet happy to not be alone anymore.

Christina October 30, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Hey, I’m almost 26, and I’ve been on birth control since I was 19. I started taking Yasmin, then the generic, ocella. I don’t want to sound gross but I thought it was giving me excess discharge so I switched to Apri (I think it was called) for a few months but I broke out pretty bad. I think it was then that I switched to tri-sprintec, and I’m pretty sure that’s the one I’ve been on since. My husband and I moved from Colorado to Ohio in 2010, and it seemed like my hair got thinner. Idk if maybe it was stress or what. I should probably say that I have scalp problems that I still don’t know the cause of. I’ll randomly break out in scalp acne and dandruff and the only thing that works is antibiotics. I started breaking out once before I was on birth control and several times since I’ve been living in Ohio. Anyway, a few months ago I noticed my hair was falling out a lot. It wasn’t really falling out in clumps but it seemed like more came out in the shower, when I brushed my hair, and I would always find hair on me during the day. So, I switched birth controls to microgestin 1/20 FE. I noticed after about a month that I started to break out more on my face but that kind of subsided and then my scalp broke out again after being clear for a while. I’ve been on antibiotics for less than a month and it seems to be cleared up. It kind of seems like I’m not losing as much hair. I got blood work done to find out if I have alopecia but I don’t have the results, yet. I’m not sure if I should just stop taking the pill. I’m scared of having the heavy periods like I did in high school and the acne. I had such a problem with acne that I took accutane for 6 months when I was 20. Idk if that could have given me any long term side effects but I was young and dumb. All I cared about was having clear skin. To be honest, I’m scared of how I’ll be without the pill because it’s been so long. My situation seems so different from other women cuz I have these scalp problems and my mom lost most of her hair at a young age. I’m not sure if it’s just going to happen or if it’s because of the drugs I’ve been on. I just want to figure this out and stop being depressed because my hair isn’t as thick as it was when I was 21. Sorry for the crazy, all over the place story. I’m just confused and don’t know what to do…

V November 17, 2013 at 12:25 am

Hello Y, I stumbled into this forum for what looks like similar reasons as everyone else. I am 34 and after a long on and off again battle with what I thought was only my irregular cycles never really paying attention to my hair loss till this year:( that I come to realize how bad it really is. My story is similar to ikke1978 when taking the pill at a young age which was Ortho TriCyclen I took it as a method of birth control only thanks to my then doctor’s advice. I was oblivious to the health hazards yet all was well for a long time typical irregular but normal 5-6 day periods once a month till my late 20’s is when my cycles went crazy and I began my journey with test after test and about 5 different doctors everything they all tested me for came back normal through all this I was still taking the same pill. My third doctor changed my pill to TriCyclen Lo and I took this for several months with the change being the dates of my cycles and when I say CYCLESSS I mean more than one and by crazy I mean I had a period the first week of the month and the last week of the month so 2 periods in one month. I went through all this for almost 3 loong years yes 3 looong years. Now after all that I suddenly had enough and quit the dam pill about a year ago and my hair seems to be the same still thin due to all the falling much like everyone else all in all for me quitting the pill didn’t change much sadly it still continues to fall the same but I noticed it worsens during my period. It took me a while for my body to get back to what seems normal meaning my periods only got closer together and stayed about 8-10 days long still. Which brings me to my dilemma now after everything I have been through and have read I know I know WHY would I still try and go back on this horrible pill well I have to see for myself if it can regulate my periods once again like in the beginning of this mess plus I do not want to get pregnant. I forgot to mention I already have a 16 year old. I am not sure how this has anything to do with your question but had a question of my own about what you said when you went back on the pill and wanted to keep it strictly the same.. Why? And thanks to Carol for sharing that pill info. I also find myself relating to Jess’s story and only end up asking myself more questions whether it has anything to do with my implants only I have Saline and Not Silicon. Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself Y I wish you much more health and happiness hope to hear from you again soon.

Louise December 1, 2013 at 7:47 am

Hello! Thanks so much for sharing your story – thought I would share mine to help others too.

I was on the pill for 15 years, Yasmin the last 9 years. I used to have lovely thick hair – the strands were always fine, but I had lots of it. Anyway, turns out I had slow progressive hair thinning, only realising it about 2 years ago. Especially on the crown and the front of my scalp. I started eating healthily, then after lots of research on the pill and all its detrimental effects on the body, I decided to come off it altogether. Thank God I did, and I haven’t looked back since.

Since coming off, I have had a burst of hair growth everywhere, unlike I have ever seen – under my arms, on my legs – wow! I have even noticed my scalp hair growing back (thank God!). I also no longer feel numb, I feel more alive and my libido has come back full force!

It was a bit of a rough ride coming off – symptoms akin to DRUG WITHDRAWAL. My moods were up and down, I couldn’t sleep, I had anxiety, but after my body adjusted, I felt more alive and happier than ever – boy was it worth it. I WILL NEVER GO BACK ON THE PILL AGAIN.

If the pill stopped hair growth on my body (underarms, legs, etc..) then it must have had the same effect on my scalp. Don’t believe the doctors when they tell you the pill is beneficial – NO drug which stops your body’s natural process and injects you with FAKE, SYNTHETIC HORMONES can be good for you, and it sure as hell can’t be good for your hair.

Would men take a pill to stop the natural process of their bodies making sperm? Would they do it AND put up with damaging their bodies, decreasing their libido, suffering all the side effects? I think we all know the answer to that – and neither should we be putting up with it.

Lasting comment for any lady wanting to come off pill is to prepare your body for it – eat as healthily as you can, plenty of fruits/vegs, no refined sugar/foods, and buy yourself a juicer. Also take a superfood drink every day. Your body will need all the support it can get after coming off.

Lynda December 2, 2013 at 4:05 am

Hello, I just came off of the pill after 30yrs. It has only been two months and I am hoping for a smooth transition. My hair started falling out 7yrs ago and it is finally growing stronger. I am an avid runner, vegetarian and naturopathic practitioner (July 2013). I did not realize the affects of these hormones until my prescription drug plan stop carrying my normal brand and substituted another one. My heart started racing for 3hours and I thought I was dying. Making the decision to stop the pill did not make my husband happy but I am no longer going to wreck my body. I am standing up for my health and praying to God that I can reach a state of homeostasis after such a long input of these drugs. Thank you for the inspiration. I will keep you all posted. #Nomorebabies

Kim December 4, 2013 at 9:33 am

My case is not connected with birth control pills, but anyway, it’s all about hormonal disbalance, as doctors say. I was having a bad case of spring fever this year. It all started about 8 months ago when I experienced excessive and sudden hair loss. I washed my hair. A whole flock of hair fell out. I thought that I had a dye job gone wrong. But this is kinda strange because I used the same brand of hair coloring as before. Each day I noticed that more hair fell out. I saw my hair lying all around my work desk, on the chair where I sit in the office. I also started to have headaches and my blood pressure dropped below your normal average. I ordered several types of hair care products. Three types of dietary supplement formulas and one hair care lotion. Formula 1 was used during week one with no visible results whatsoever, formula 2 during weeks 2 and 3 – same lack of results as before. Finally, I got to try Hairgain Formula (90 capsules) by Military Grade Nutritionals. The description said, this product is the only nutraceutical which possesses prostaglandin D2 blocking properties. I should have used these from the beginning. At first I was kinda put off by its black packaging which is really a cliche for male products but decided to give it a try anyway. I’ve been using this formula for about two weeks now. The thing that I noticed instantly is that during day 3 of its use my hair got its natural shine back. What is also special about this product – it is the only nutraceutical which possesses PGD2 blocking properties. I no longer feel any headaches. My blood pressure has normalized. Kudos to the manufacturer. Awesome product, to say the least.

Holly December 8, 2013 at 8:25 am

I have been on birth control on and off my life of 39. after my 3rd child i was 36 then decided to get mirena, thought wow five years of no pills! after about 2 months my hair was shedding i was freaking out. and the mirena was out. Hair loss continued.. The only option the doctors said was go back on the pill so off course trying to save my thinning hair i said i would try it. I went on Yaz and the hair loss did stop. Been on yaz ever since. I stopped taking the Yaz in Oct of this year; i just turned 39. The shedding has started again.. I am so tempted to call and get the prescription back.. Its consuming me. My long brown hair is getting very fine all over again, the memories of tears after the shower are starting to come again. Is there any other supplements to help? is there something out there? I’m not sure how strong i will be not to get back on.. I can’t even afford a good wig!

VB December 31, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Dear Y,

I was wondering if you could give us an update on your progress being off birth control.

I got off a generic Yasmin over 3 months ago and now I am experience triple the shed daily. I have plummeted into a deep depression. I just came back from a holistic internist and he supports staying off the pill, but also said that there’s no medical data that shows it would be harmful to go back on. That being said, he was not giving me any recommendations, just simply offering the options. I was relieved I still had a choice, but am fearful for the same reasons we all are of being on hormones for so long… 10 years and I’m 42.

Anyway, I have a tough choice to make. It would be great to know how you are doing. If it has gotten better since.

V

Deborah February 7, 2014 at 11:20 pm

This is my fifth cycle being off the pill and I have hair loss a big bald spot on the top of my head. The Dr has done blood work and can’t find anything the matter. I was on birth control for 16 years and am wondering…no, WANT to know if this is what’s caused it. I feel like I’m going crazy. The upside of being off the pill? My sex drive is back!! :) Man, I just really wish I knew if going off the hormones is causing it. That’s the hardest part for me :(

Lolo February 16, 2014 at 12:10 am

I started on BCPs at age 16. I have tried at least 10 different kinds of BC, due to spotting or due to discontinuation of pharmacy stocking/supply or production or something. I was on it for a total of 16yrs. I did stop once, just to see how I’d feel, and the hair loss started at this time. After 4 months I restarted the pill, feeling trapped by my BCP. I remained on the BCP for another 5 years, all for which the hair loss continued and continued.

I went to every doctor I could – multiple dermatologists, OB/GYN, endocrinologists, allergists, etc. All my labs were pretty normal, but my hormone levels were always low or undetectable, which doctors would always respond that this meant the BCP was “working”. I am a mastered-prepared ICU RN and so I do know a bit more about health and medicine than your average person. I think my body just stopped making estrogens (or was making almost nothing) because it had been overwhelmed by synthetic hormones for years. I personally believe my low hormone levels coupled with a genetic predisposition to hair levels (thanks dad and gramps!), set me up for all this hair loss. Also, I have a supposedly benign liver enzyme deficiency (Gilbert’s disease). Recent research is now suggesting that those with Gilbert’s have a difficult time metabolizing and breaking down synthetic estrogen (among many other medications), and I wonder how this maybe have contributed to my low estrogen levels. Research is unclear about the effects of large amounts of unmetabolized synthetic estrogens circulating in the body.

Anyhow, my hair loss continued for years (5-6yrs) after restarting the pill. I always had thick, wavy hair that people envied, but after 16yrs of the pill, I probably had lost 50% of it. I noticed this and was obviously depressed and felt helpless. One dermatologist told me this hairloss was my new baseline!! Yea, cause that seems reasonable…?? For years I asked my doctors if the BCP causing the hair loss, and they ALL had reasons for which this was not the case. The literature (research) did not offer data supporting hair loss as a side effect, therefore this was not a possibility to most doctors. In medicine, new practices and algorithms only change when supported by new research, and research on the long term effects of the BCP didn’t really exist. Studies are still rare as BCP being used so widely hasn’t been in practice for long enough to have many subjects off of it long enough to be considered “long term” at this point.

I was beyond frustrated, but I had my career and went back for my masters degree, and I was just happy to be baby-free at this time. I combed the internet for help and comfort and ideas for what people were doing to combat the hair loss, but the idea that BCPs were causing hair loss was a lot less hypothesized a 5 years ago. I was convinced they were associated, but few experts were. I remember sitting in an 8-hour presentation in nursing grad school about how birth control pills were man’s greatest gift to humanity/science/population control, and was near tears throughout the entire day due to feeling so frustrated and betrayed by an industry I love at the same time.

By this time, my naturally very wavy/almost curly hair had become mostly flat and lifeless and more dead….which depressed me even more. I used to remember earlier times of my life when there was all that curl of new hair around my scalp, and I used to flat-iron the crap out of it so I could have straight hair. I hated the look of those super short fly-away hairs that spiraled everywhere. Now those fly-aways were absent, and made me more sad. I missed those crazy hair-days.

Finally, I found a doctor who told me to stop taking BCPs. This doctor was my new boyfriend (!) and we had just started having sex…um yeaasssss. Surprising, for a surgeon (and for a BF), he was very encouraging and supportive of me to get off all the synthetic hormones. He agreed that they just couldn’t possibly be treating my body well after all these years. At this time, my hormones were undetectable, but doctors said this was the “birth control”. By normal standards, my levels were indicative of post-menapause. Not that I wanted to, but I wouldn’t be able to conceive either. I explored other BC options, but all of them included other synthetic hormones or therapies that would make my periods really bad (the whole reason I started BCPs in the first place!). So my BF and I mutually decided to risk it and stop the BCP. So far the pull-n-pray and iphone period apps method is working. BUT, this triggered more shedding…again. I am not going to even begin to get into the clumps of hair loss in the shower and all over the floor and the hair disabling my vacuum and excessive amounts found in my BF’s bed. (I used to secretly brush off the whole bed after we’d had sex, and he was in the bathroom cleaning up haha.) You guys know all these depressing signs all too well.

HOWEVER, I have been off BCPs for 10 months now. About 6 months into being pill-free, I started noticing that I had new hair growth (!!). At 10 months, I presently have new hair that is almost 4-6cm in length, but it’s not as thick as the old stuff. But I know it’s brand new, healthy hair as it’s starting to create those spiraling fly-away hairs that I despised for so many years. It’s so nice to see these baby hairs again!

The hair loss continues unfortunately. Knowing that every hair is at a different place in the growth cycle and that going off BCPs essentially tells hair to stop growing and fall out, it looks like I still have lots more loss to endure sadly (as there is still lots of old hair on my head). If my loss continues, and is truly my new baseline, at least the new, healthy stuff is coming in again. I do hope the loss stops at some point :-/

I thought I would share my story as most stories out there document the early stages of the loss story, with contemplations of going off the BCP, but most don’t follow-up with updates. Which makes sense, as it takes 6-12 months to start seeing noticeable changes, and this time frame is likely different for everyone.

In addition to new hair growth, I think getting off the BCP is helping my body return to normal in other ways. After having years of sleep issues compounded with terrible night sweats and hot flashes, I do notice I am sleeping 50% better and not waking up in damp clothes or linens hardly ever (estrogen levels have likely risen, but I’m waiting for the 1yr anniversary to have them retested). I did have to take a 5-day dose of prednisone recently for an unrelated problem, and these steroids caused a few nights of terrible night sweats and days of hot flashes. It made remember the old days and made me soooo glad those symptoms are 90% over! I have not really noticed an increase in sex drive – still waiting on that one haha. My face broke out initially, but then cleared up to its normal occasional zit by month 3. My mood and emotions are also noticeably improved!! My moods used to swings every which way, and I would end up crying at least 2-4x a week. Most of the time, I wasn’t really sure why I was crying haha. Panic attacks and anxiety were at an all time high, something that didn’t usually bother me much throughout my life. I’d wake up with heart palpitations, adding to my sleep problems. But I feel so much more stable these days, despite a stressful life and very stressful job, and have really had almost no emotional breakdowns…which is really nice for me…and the BF. His being a doctor helps, as he understands most of this pretty well and doesn’t cop out that he’s got a crazy GF haha.

Ok, wrote WAY too much already…I will post updates with the hair loss/growth as they happen. Good luck to everyone reading this. If you decide to stop the pill, please commit to it and stick with it for a solid 12 months (despite the hair loss). Don’t make the mistake that several of us did and get back on it for a short term fix. It will trap you like a battered wife syndrome haha. If you want to stop being a slave to the pill, tough it out. The body WILL correct itself within in time. Have faith :)

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need encouragement. Hang in there everyone :)

jody February 20, 2014 at 11:21 am

hi, i came off the pill in october and have been dealing with so much hair shedding and it becoming soso thin. i have no other medical issues and also have no have never lost hair in such vast quantities before, do you think this is to do with the pill? and did it eventually stop and grow back for you guys? im going to go to my gp next week but a reply would make me feel so much bettter as my confidence has been knocked alot. reading your stories helped me see how many people were going through the same thing xxxxxxxxx

Kim February 28, 2014 at 12:26 am

I know birth control is scary but I have come to realize that hereditary hair loss usually start around 34, and for some earlier, birthcontrol actually prevents you from prematurely loosing your hair due to heredity. It’s a tough decision because the longer you stay on birthcontrol the longer you keep your hair, but how long can you even stay on birthcontrol for cause I don’t think you can be on the pill when menopause comes right. My mom went off birthcontrol at 30 and started loosing her hair, I just went on birthcontrol at 35 and my hair is now starting to shed. This tells me that the pill was preventing hereditary balding. Either way it sucks. My doctor prescribed progesterone skin application guess ill see if that works has anyone else tried this ?

Kim February 28, 2014 at 12:30 am

Sorry I meant I went off birthcontrol when I turned 35, that’s when I noticed my hair started shedding but prior to going off my hair was really thick.

Kim February 28, 2014 at 12:33 am

I’m actually considering going back on birthcontrol cause I have way too many problems when I’m off it I have acne, hair loss, irregular periods, and excessive weight gain, and I notice the aging process spend up being off the pill. It’s almost as if the estrogen/progesterone keeps you young, I know many people may not want to hear this but what if its true ?

Lis March 2, 2014 at 6:49 am

I can so relate to you. I have been on the pill for over 10 yrs and two years ago this May 2014 will be 2 years now! It has been challenging we are the same age and the thing that has affected me the most is my hair loss. I was known for my long curly hair all my life and now that is no longer so. But I too make this choice for my overall health. I no longer suffer from headaches lasting 4 days,I no longer have bloating, PMS or weight gain. Although I have not exercised since I have been able to loose about 8 lbs with good diet and healthy choices. My body feels normal again, my body feels light and not weighed down. The cravings too have diminished so has the severe acne. It is the best choice that I ever made because I know for me, the pill would have just done more harm to me than good. I am using a vitamin called Pantogar, not too sure if there is any improvement but I am praying that things will get better as far as my hair goes. I thought I was probably the only person ever to experience this! The doctors in Trinidad were I live just tell you to go back on the pill and offer no alternative healthy choices. I cannot do that so I made a bold step and did what I believed was right for me.

Stacey March 12, 2014 at 12:46 am

It’s wonderful to find stories from women who are dealing with the same emotions as me. I am 35, and stopped taking birth control in September 2012. My hair began falling out so quickly, and I had no idea why. I am a little nervous now, though, reading everyone’s posts. I have an IUD with low dosage hormones (Mirena), so once that comes out, I hope my hair loss doesn’t just go absolutely crazy. My hair has been falling out for a year now, but in cycles. I suppose that goes with the natural hormone cycles? About every 3 months it starts again. I had always suspected that going off the pill was why it started…it was the only change in my life I had made, but the doctors did blood tests and everything came back normal. Unfortunately, women in my family have hair loss anyway, so I guess I am screwed regardless, huh? I’m not quite as fearless as you are yet, with accepting and growing.

I am really interested in how the IUD will affect things, though…I am really surprised more women don’t go the route of an IUD.

Tara March 16, 2014 at 11:40 am

I have also been off of BC since October 2013. I have been dealing with hair loss and excessive shedding ever since I was pregnant with my second child. I was 33 years old. And I was only on the pill because it did wonders for my skin. I am now 37. And I wonder why in the heck did it go so wrong- when I have been on it since I was 25… Every DR. said it’s not BC, but after researching online- it had to be, right? I have now seen little shedding and my hair is growing back. My hair loss was in my bang area and temple area. It’s been 5 months now and I have a few breakouts on my face, chest and back. I was contemplating on going back on the pill, because I’m sick of getting zits. But I have to remember that the hair loss was way more depressing than getting a zit around my period, is something I’m going to have to deal with. I would say that I have very normal hair loss now. It’s so weird when you are dealing with this, you just know whats normal and not normal. If you ask anyone that hasn’t dealt with this issue- they don’t even know how much they lose because it’s not an issue. I used to feel stray hairs on my arm, neck and and around the house, now I don’t see that anymore. For me it was the BC that caused the hair loss. I have noticed that I look older- more wrinkles.. BUT I probably would have felt that way on the pill too. I am almost 40 LOL! I would love to hear if anyone went back on the same pill and had the same problem again. I was on generic ORtho- trycyclin – Trinessa. Anyone else had hair loss on Trinessa??

Melissa April 2, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Just wanted to let people know what worked for me. I was on Diane-35 for 7 years and after discontinuing I experienced major hair loss, oilier skin, and breakouts. I started taking saw palmetto whole berries and the hair loss stopped, skin was less oily, and acne decreased. I tried the saw palmetto extract at first, which is recommended by most people, but saw no difference. I then read of people getting results with the whole berries, so I tried that, 1170 mg (2 capsules) in the a.m. and p.m. (total of 2340 mg). The whole berries stopped my hair loss almost immediately. I still take them 8 years later because they help me with oily skin, but I have tried stopping and the hair loss did not come back, just the oiliness and acne, which is something I’ve always had to deal with. Another thing that’s helped me with oily skin and acne is spearmint and lemon balm tea (especially lemon balm), made me moody and sleepy for the first month, but I don’t experience that now. I drink tea made from 1 tsp of lemon balm and 2 bags of Traditional Medicine organic spearmint tea. Hope this helps somebody. :)

Anne April 21, 2014 at 8:41 am

Stacey – the IUD is what triggered my hair loss. I have been struggling to get my hair back to normal since. It did improve slightly after having the IUD removed, but it has never returned to what it was.

chica April 25, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Hi, I know this is kind of old, but be happy you went off BC, when you did, before it caused other problems. I was on it for 13 yrs, for hair and horrendous cystic acne (that was actually cause by going on it in the first place), and last yr, I started getting pains around my liver …tadah I got a liver hemangioma (benign tumor) caused by high levels of estrogen. Yay. And looks like this thing is gonna be with me for life. Since going off the pill last year, I had a massive Breakout (helped by dim) but I’m never ever gonna have good skin, and my hair is shedding. Even though its been a year now, its only getting worse. I believe for most ppl their hormones just won’t regulate after the pill. I just started taking vitex, lets see if that does anything. I tried everything from all clean diet to every supplement (MSM, biotin, etc) nothing helped. I don’t wanna do rogaine since its just another medication, and i heard lots of ppl get wrinkles from it, since it messes with collagen formation. Have you found an answer? Good luck to you and we all feel for and with you :)

Diane May 8, 2014 at 11:17 am

All I can say is wow. I had no idea about any of this. I am 49 (wow I didn’t lie). I have been on the pill since 16. I went off it twice for a year each time to have my 2 beautiful boys aged 24 and 20. OMG I have been on the pill for over 30 years! My hair started thinning at about my late 30’s so 10 years. Every week I would have to clean out my brush because it was full. The past 3 years have been the worst. Its so thin now I cant put it in a pony tail anymore. I hate washing or brushing my hair. I actually got up this morning and started googling what kind of doctor I should see about this….. Im so confused. In reading all your posts I am more upset because I have been on the pill for sooooo long and I had no idea. Now what? Do I go off it and lose the balance of my hair? HELP….. I feel lost now.

Betty May 20, 2014 at 10:39 pm

I am 21 years old and have been shedding for 7 months rapidly. I have had my family MD and a wholistic gyno tell me it is caused by being on birth control for 7 years and suggested I stop BCP to see if it gets better. I am on Ortho-Tri Cyclen and I know my hairloss correlates in some way to the pill because every time I start a new pack the hairloss is painful and aggressive and it tapers off slowly until I reach the placebo pills in the pack and I get almost completely better. When on placebo pills during my period is when my hair perks up and gets full and shiny looking with less hair loss and no red scalp. Every time during my period at first I thought it was getting better until I start a new pack and it gets worse again. I notice this pattern. I want to be pill free. My concern is that I will just lose more hair when I get off and I already have lost 75 percent of it and it is barely there. I do not know what to do

Beth May 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm

How strange that I read this today! I am 45 years old – once had a glorious head of hair. Went off and on the pill a couple of times in my twenties with no hair problems. At 37, I decided to try to have another baby (had the first at 23). Went off the pill and expected some challenges to follow, but not hair problems. I began to lose hair by the handfuls. Went to all kinds of doctors and was told a variety of things – none of them helpful. Finally, it was determined that I was hypothyroid. I began taking meds for that and the hair loss improved some, but I was still so disappointed because it was a barely noticeable improvement and I had expected it to take care of the problem 100%. Fast forward to 2013 – I went to the doctor for intense fatigue, searching for a way to improve my energy after trying diet changes, exercising, supplements. For the record, I am already an otherwise healthy person – thin and active and I eat little or no junk most of the time. My doctor checked my iron which was not low, but my FERRITIN level was. Ferritin is responsible for storage of iron in the body. Mine was on the low end – not in the abnormal range, but low. My doctor prescribed a supplement to help raise my ferritin level and, voila, MY HAIR LOSS SLOWED DRAMATICALLY and new hairlettes began to sprout!!!! On a follow-up visit, she asked if I had more energy, when I said that I did, but what I was most thrilled about was that my hair seemed to be rebounding since I began the new supplement. She replied “oh yeah, ferritin definitely has an effect on hair loss.” So I urge you all to give it a try!! NOTHING TO LOSE! So now…last week I went for my annual GYN exam. Had nothing new to report except that my cycles were getting very long and irregular. My doctor suggested I go back on BC pills. I have agonized over whether to do it. Believe me, at 45 – you miss a lot of things that those pills can provide. Estrogen improves skin, hair (you’re devoid of moisture by this age) – and of course you can set your watch by your dependable monthly cycle. But the hair loss is what I’m terrified of. I asked my doc about it and he said “sure but it will grow back.” So tempting!! It’s also tempting for me because I have a history of early onset Alzheimers in my family and recent studies show that BC pills later in life (~5ish years before menopause) can actually help prevent development of the big A. So I feel kind of like you, Y, except in reverse. I now feel like maybe I SHOULD go on the pill because in the bigger picture, possibly holding off Alzheimers trumps worries about hair loss. Aaaaiiiigggghhhh!!!! What to do?!?!

Vi June 2, 2014 at 2:00 pm

My 23 year old daughter went off of birth control at the end of January after being on it for 12 years for a bleeding problem. By the end of April she was loosing a tremendous amount of hair. We went to the dermatologist who recommended biotin and rogaine. I have contacted her gyno today and asked him if he ever heard of the correlation between bc and hair loss. He stated very matter of factly that he did. I, as the mom never knew any of this. We are seeing another dermologist in a month who specializes in womens hair loss. I cannot stop crying and am so heartbroken for my daughter. All of blood work has come back fine including thyroid function. I do not know what to do for her and I don’t have any answers if her hair will continue shedding or will it eventually stop. I feel as though I failed as a mom who is suppose to protect their children. My daughter is not sure if she wants to start the rogaine. I think I just need to talk to someone and also if anyone has used rogaine with success. Thank you to all of you strong and beautiful ladies for sharing your stories

Rochelle June 18, 2014 at 7:38 am

I can only imagine how you feel, I mean I do only you have been dealing longer. I am 24 been dealing for 3 years. I have been in and out if doctors and frankly I don’t know what I have they say androgenic alopecia but I feel it could be many things, poor eating habit mentally abusive relationship or birth control been on Yazmin for four years and I told myself to get off, I read what it can do to you and hair loss I thought hey must be that. I need to try something my hairloss is gettingaworse and worse.I to don’t want kids, but don’t wanna get my tubes tied yet so going on a IUD I have been off the pill a month and I have the beginning of cystic acne. It’s one thing after another. I also will be trying low level laser treatment.I also am taking dht blocking pills incase I do have pattern baldness,but after reading you makes me think if I should just get off those to and let my body heal it’s self.

Betty June 24, 2014 at 7:00 pm

This is Betty again. I have been off birth control for about a month now. Shedding is worse but I feel like my hormones are just freaking out right now I think they will calm down. Hair and skin is very oily and I got a few pimples but nothing too bad. On the positive side I feel better physically and mentally. Have never been happier. And sex drive is back. I am eating a lot more and craving unhealthy food but this could be good considering I am significantly underweight. I am excited to have a fully functioning female body. I heard your body can’t produce much hair if it doesn’t ovulate and while on the pill you do not ovulate.

Jenny July 4, 2014 at 3:14 am

I just stumbled onto this blog while googling “hairloss due to the pill”. I’m 31 and I started taking levlen when I was 17 due to becoming sexually active. I came off it at 21 to become pregnant. Back on it when I was 24 then off again at 25 for more children. I got back on levlen at 27 ongoing. 2 years ago I noticed that my hair was becoming thin, which was surprising as I had not noticed any greater hair loss then the usual odd strand. I started to look through photos and could tell, not too obviously, that my hair indeed did seem thinner. Over the next few months I developed headaches occurring up to 5 times a week, fatigue, anxiety (never had anxiety before), moodiness and general disinterest in the things I used to love. This became progressively worse over the next year with a couple of anxiety attacks severe fatigue and general unwellness.

In January this year I decided to write all my symptoms down and visit a gp who would listen, to which I did. He sent me for ct scans, X-rays, MRI and blood tests for everything he could think of and everything came back within range and normal. These tests were all done over a month and he was at a loss as to the cause. He decided that I would need to be referred to a physician so that I could get a doctor with more indepth medical knowledge. I was so down at this news but thanked him as he had really cared and tried so hard to find and solve my problem. As I got up to walk out he says “could it be your pill?” I told him I didn’t think so as I’d been on it so long with no issues and he replies “ok, maybe not then”. When I got home I researched the symptoms I had to side effects of the pill and all of my symptoms fit. I stopped taking the pill that night, no second thought at all. That was the 10th of February 2014. A week after stopping, my headaches dropped to only 1 for the week. Fatigue and anxiety minimal. Within 1month I was full of energy, getting things done that I’d been putting off for so long and only 1-2 headaches a month. I’m elated but for one thing. My hair is still falling out.

I’m not sure what to do about it. Wigs, lasers, transplants, shampoos, extensions, I have no idea. I don’t know when or if it will stop but although this seems selfish, it makes me feel so relieved I’m not the only one. Reading all of your stories brought tears to my eyes as my hair loss doesn’t seem to be as bad as it obviously can get. I get away with a hairband, side part or cap at the moment but I am scared of it getting worse. I wish you all good luck on this crazy journey.

emma July 20, 2014 at 4:52 am

I am 33 years old and I went off BCP at my 28 birthday. I have been od it for 9 years. When I went off – I experienced major hair loss, oilier skin and hairs on my face ond body started to grow very fast. :( Now. after 5 years, a all my hormones are ok (I check it with my doctor), but my skin is oily and my hair is growing everywhere but on my head. I am starting to feel very depressed, especially now, in summer, when I have to dress swimsuit (and I have a hairy belly).
My doctor says that I must be senstitive to androgens (testosteron), though all my hormon levels are ok. I am thinking on using saw palmetto (that Melissa mentioned).

Stephanie July 23, 2014 at 7:31 am

How are you doing these days off of the pill? I’ve been on BC for about 15 years and went off of it … yesterday. Today, I had the thought that it could make me lose my hair and I immediately started crying. I joined Hair Club about 5 years ago and it has stopped my hair loss, but between quitting Rogaine and BC, I am so terrified of going back to the way things were before.

Cristina October 5, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Thank You for your post. I have taken pills from 16 till 32 . I came off of it almost 3 years ago. I have never felt better in my life. It is true I had some hair loss and hair thinning occurring after within a year everything should come back to normal but remember as we age so does the hair so less and less hair quality and quantity :((

Kimbra October 28, 2014 at 11:58 am

I love this site and love the posts from others. It is inspirational to know that I am not alone in the battle with hair loss. I currently take 200mg of Spironolactone (generic for Aldactone) a day and I also take Orthotricyclen. Oh. And I also use Minoxidil.

So, perhaps I should start with the fact that I started taking BCP at the at of 15 because I still had not started my period. The doc thought that I should be on it and get started on my period. I wish that I could have seen into the future to find that I would start losing my hair once I stopped the pill. But, of course, hindsight is 20/20. And I also was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 23 so my endocrinologist was adamant about me not getting pregmant without planning as it could have detrimental affects on my and the unborn child’s health. Anyway, at the age of 29 I stopped taking the pill so that I could get pregnant. And I got pregnant within 2 months after stopping the pill. Yay! But, 3 months after delivery I started the pill again because the endocrinologist, of course, didn’t want me to have any unplanned pregnancies. At this point, I still wasn’t aware of any hair loss. It wasn’t until about 2 or 3 years after giving birth that I noticed a lot of shedding. Hair was on my pillow every morning. It clung to my fingers as I shampood and conditioned my hair. And I found it all over the bathroom (sink, shower, and floor).

I still didn’t think anything of it! Until one day at work a peer asked me if I was losing my hair. And from that day forward it has been a losing battle. I saw a dermatologist that immediately put me on Spironolactone (I was still on bcp at this time) and minoxidil. That seemed to really help a lot. I didn’t have all the hair back. But, you could no longer see my scalp from a distance. I was happy. But, 2 years into this therapy I started to become concerned with the side effects of these drugs. I was actually have what I considered to be one of the more serious side effects of chest tightness. It scared me. So, I did research on natural supplements that I could take to help stop hair loss and help regrow hair. I even went as far to change to a “fungus free” diet. I did the fungus free diet for 6 months while taking the natural supplements. And that didn’t help either. I was losing all the hair that I had grown in thos 2 years of Spiro/Minoxidil/BCP therapy. So, about 3 months ago I decided it was time to go back on Spiro/Minoxidil. I didn’t have any plans on going back on BCP, but then I had some blood work done that indicated my estrogen was dangerously low. So, back on BCP I went.

I am 38 years old and miss my once gorgeous, curly, brown locks. And I am contemplating stopping the Spiro/Minoxidil/BCP again as I just really don’t feel comfortable with taking them. I also don’t see much results. The hair loss had died down quite a bit, but I have yet to see any regrowth. So, now I am at a point in my life where I need to seriously weigh the pros and cons of being hairless vs taking meds to attempt to keep my hair. I have gone as far as to think that if I do stop the current therapy that I will probably end up shaving my hair as I really don’t care to walk around with side/back hair and no top hair. And I also don’t care for wigs. I have tried them and they are just too uncomfortable and I would rather have my own “real” hair.

Much love, admiration, and encourgement goes out to all who struggle with this. I pray that you all have the courage, strength, and wisdome to do what is best for you physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Kimbra

Debbie December 13, 2014 at 10:59 am

I am 49 years old and have taken the pill since I was 18. In recent years I have noticed shedding. I am thinking of quitting taking the pill to reduce HL but from reading this it sounds like it will only get worse! Any thoughts?

Emma January 7, 2015 at 3:01 am

Debbie, if you don`t wont to stop taking bcp, maybe you can try folud acid? I read that it may help, because bcp can cause lack of folid acid in.organism, and it could lead to hair loss.

jade February 7, 2015 at 3:28 am

Try a bcp with a very low androgen activity such a one containing desogestrel.

Kristina March 26, 2015 at 10:47 am

I just recently got off the pill. I was forced to take it originally to receive accutane for my horrible acne at the time – as a girl, regardless of sexual activity, it’s required to prevent any accidental births. Whatever.

I actually kept up with it 4-5 years after finishing accutane because I loved the way I could control/predict my unpredictable menstruation periods and then it started to make me feel sick as if I really were pregnant and stopped.

I started losing chunks of my hair, the one thing about me I had so much pride in, and I had no idea why until I figured it HAD to be the bc. I was and am still embarrassed to look at pictures of myself or walk outside knowing how visible my scalp is now… It has been about 6 months since I stopped and just this month I think I also stopped shedding uncontrollably. I don’t know when I’ll grow my hair back, I think people say to take vitamins or something but… I’m glad I read this. I was actually considering about going back on the pill to get my hair back… I’m just glad I don’t have to worry about taking a stupid pill that made me feel like throwing up everyday.

Emma May 15, 2015 at 9:51 pm

Hi.

I went on birth control at 19 and my already fine hair, which I had enough of, went very very thin. My family were shocked. I went on it for irregular periods and bad skin, and somehow I justified my thin hair for the sake of being able to control when I got my periods and clear skin.

Fast forward 11 years and I finally made the very hard decision to come off the pill. I was sick of the bloating and ended up with melasma on my face. Ugh.

Been off the pill 4 months now.
Pros to coming off the pill- less bloating; new hair growth along temples and less dry hair (yay); weight loss; regular periods that are lighter than before
Cons- a little uncomfortable at ovulation time but this is getting less and less each cycle; Quite bad acne that has spread down to my back, I have gone on a course of antibiotics mostly for the backne because it was red and swollen and sore, the face acne was healing by itself except for the stuff along my jawline.

The pros do outweighs the cons. I am hoping a course of antibiotics will kill of the acne, knock it in the head since I got it quite quickly, it is much better but who knows once I’m off the antibiotics. Just have to cross my fingers and hope!
It’s a bit early to know if the melasma has been affected or not.
It’s funny, but since being on the antibiotics for only two weeks, I’ve lost three and a half kg. I think there might have been a lot of bad bacteria in my gut from the pill. I am taking loads of probiotics to try and counteract the antibiotics so maybe I’ve had a flora imbalance in my gut for a long time?

So apart from the acne I have had a positive experience so far being off the pill (touch wood). Especially for my hair.

Good luck with your journey! X

Leslie May 27, 2015 at 6:59 am

PLEASE UPDATE US! Hope to hear good news :)

Karen June 16, 2015 at 8:44 pm

Hi Ladies! It’s been awhile since I poured over these posts desperately searching for someone to tell me good news about stopping birth control pills. I went off my pills (marvelon) 3 months ago, and I bring good news.

I was soooo worried about stopping because I’d been on the pill for 9 years straight, and when I tried to stop 4 years ago my hair was coming out in handfuls, so I immediately went back on it at that time. I thought I would just take it forever, and even did research to see if it was ok to stay on it after menopause even though that’s a ways off at 34.

I believe my body started fighting back against my pill. I’d never had any problems with hair or skin before, but 6 months ago I started to realize that my hair just seemed finer and more sparse. It didn’t grow quite as long anymore. I started to get acne, and a weird sort of rosacea looking rash. I even had pimples on my chest. I just feel like my body was trying to ovulate and it couldn’t and didn’t know what to do.

I did a lot of research on the pill and am convinced that it can be the culprit of many things from hair loss and mood disorders, to nutritional deficiencies and thyroid problems. I decided enough was enough. I had to quit despite my doctors belief that switching to oral tricycle would be the answer.

In preparation of quitting, I gave my diet an overhaul. No coffee (not that I ever had more than 1 cup per day), and I nearly eliminated all refined sugar and processed foods. Lots of protein and veggies and berried. Basically a well balanced diet. I started drinking sea buckthorn juice, and taking a silica supplement which is supposed to be good for skin, hair, and nails. I actually quit taking my multivitamin and b-complex because I read that these synthetic vitamins can take up the place of real vitamins in your body, and a carefully planned and well balanced diet should supply me with all I need since I’m fortunate enough not to have any food sensitivities. The exception to this is vitamin D since we can’t get it from food and I stay out of the sun. After a month eating like this, I finished my pack and I quit the pill.

I had built it up in my mind to be this terrifying thing. I have to say I think it may have been important that I finished the pack and did not quit part way through a pack like I had the first time. Ok and here’s what you’ve been waiting for….NO SHED!! My first period came 28 days later. I did have quit significant abdominal pain with my first ovulation but nothing a hot water bottle couldn’t handle. I felt like a woman again! My skin is glowing, not old and dry and flaky looking like it had become over the last couple years on the pill. I have had a few pimples around the time of my period but who the heck cares! I feel healthy and amazing. My second period came on day 29, and here I am on my third at day 28 again. My moods are better, my body is happy doing what it’s meant to do, and I no longer have to live with that looming fear of what is going to happen when I stop. I may be one of a fortunate few, but I had to tell you my experience because I sure was looking for one of hope before. You women are incredible and strong. Love to you all.

Kaylee July 1, 2015 at 8:11 am

So I am 24 years old and was on BC for almost 9 years and switched to a new kind this past January… I noticed my hair was thinning and freaked out and stopped taking it completely by the end of February. So its now been about 4-5 months and my hair is thinning more and more every week. I’ve always had very thin and fine hair so the extra thinning is extremely stressful. Especially towards the back of my hair line, that is where it is thinning the most. I also have some itchiness as well. But when the hair falls our sometimes there is a dandruff like flake at the end of the follicle?? Does anyone else have this??????????
I’ve read so many different posts where some people it takes years for the shedding and hair loss to stop and for regrowth, and others say up to 6 months… I hope I’m in that 6 month category but not knowing is so stressful. If my hair keeps thinning like this I’ll have bald spots all over by the end of the year! It’s embarrasing and depressing.
Also, does anyone have any suggestions for a good shampoo/conditioner to use? I’ve been trying to wash my hair every other day since the shedding got worse but I tend to have very oily hair. I’ve just been alternating between a dove shampoo and head and shoulders…. not really impressed with either though.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I don’t know what to do about this anymore! The docs all say I’m fine, but this is definitely an issue I’m struggling with.

Nora September 7, 2015 at 11:12 pm

Karen,
I was on BCP since 17. I’m 34 now. Because my period was irregular until it almost disappeared when i was 17. My hair was miniaturized like a new born baby. Bald! I mean bald, at the age of 17 for a girl. I was ‘diagnosed’ by PCOS. They said they saw multiple small cycts in my ovaries. I always had very thin hair. I stopped taking BCP several times since then..and no period without them plus getting to the edge of baldness. I got my brain MRI’ed 3 times over the years. My prolactin was slightly high but Drs were ignorant about it as my pitutery looked normal and the hormone level was just a little bit off. Until the last year when my goddess endocrinologist saw sth in the pitutery and put me on Cabergoline to lower my prolactin level. 6 months later she put me off the BCP. I was scared to death that i would lose all my hair again.
I got my period/spotting naturally almost on time afyer 16 years! I could scream of excitement. Since then I’m getting my very light period naturally. But, TO RHE EXPENSE OF MY HAIR. Yes. It’s been 5.5 months that I’m shedding worse than a dog. I got nervous breakdown. Lost 4 lbs in a month that i couldnt eat and sleep.
My dermatologist told it’s like a post partum hairloss. Hair follicles get dormant due to the hormonal shock. Hair falls out and it takes up to a year to stop. Though im seeing some baby hair regrowing back.
Here is my regimen :
Shampoo Nioxin cleanser 4 (miracle)
Prenatal vitamin everyday (high dose in Folic Acid, Zinc, Vitamin B and ..)
Biotin 10,000 mg
Rogane (have been applying for 3 years)
Laser comb (Hairmax. 40 minuets every night)
Fish oil (to let ur liver process out the BCP entoxication)
Toppik hair fiber (to hide my scalp front)
And prayers every night. I beg the Lord to give hair back.

I made the mistake of starting Spironolactone of 100 mg a day last month. Im so scared that it stops my period this month. I will stop taking them as soon as i get my this month’s period!

The hair is still falling out. I see a white flake sometimes at the dead hair’s root. This is a sign o Telogen Effluvium( hair follicles get dormant ).

Long story short. I was misdiagnosed for PCOS for 16 years. Took the BCP for no reason. The bcp took my hair and killed my sex drive when i was younger. Yes. I didn’t have interest in sex. I lost boyfriends to that reason. The bcp killed the sense of womanness in me. I’m depressed and feel unattractive since all my life i failed to be sexy and charming due to the bcp.

My advise to you. Be brave. All these brave stories ppl write helped me alot. I feel i owe every single one of you girls! Don’t be slaved to these synthetic hormones. It ruins your life.

Yani September 13, 2015 at 9:22 am

I have been on birth control since the age of 17. I’m 40 now. A few years ago, I stopped taking birth control. About the same time I stopped, I started having super cold hands and feet. I didn’t really think much of it as I work on the computer all day. Long story short, after going to several doctors, chiropractors nobody ever found anything. About 9 month later I realized that my hair had gotten thin. My hair dresser asked if I had a thyroid problem, that something definitely was going on. The timing of the hair thinning and the coldness in my extremities seemed to much of a coincidence. As I suspected that the cold hands had something to do with the pill, I went back on again. It seemed to fix the hair thinning but the cold hands took a while to get better. I went to a hormone specialist who did a bunch of tests but also with no clear results.
Thyroid ok, Sugar ok, other tests ok, Iron high, testosterone low. As I’m not having much of a period on the pill, I wasn’t surprised about that.

This year, I stopped with birth control again as I was having stomach issues and I seemed to remember that I didn’t bloat as much off the pill. I stopped for 4 month and noticed the hair loss almost 1 month after stopping. (The cold hand issue came back soon as well.) I should mention that maybe it’s not so much hair loss as hair breaking. I have a lot of short “baby” hair except that I don’t think it’s new hair but broken off hair. I went to the doctor again and did the sames tests off the pill. Thyroid ok again. I think I noticed the Iron Binding Capacity and Transferrin being low as well as Vitamin D.
I ordered Rogaine but as I was reading the instructions, it says that it’s not for hair loss due to recent discontinuation of birth control!
When I talked to my gynecologist about the hair loss, she didn’t think it had anything to do with the birth control :0
I guess, Rogaine knows more then my doctor about birth control?? I was prescribed a new birth control. I’m still experiencing the hair breakage. I don’t know if it will normalize with the new one or if maybe the ingredients of the new pill does not have what the old one had that made my hair stronger?
I just hope, that my hormones will normalize themselves at some point as I can’t be on birth control forever…

Madeline September 16, 2015 at 6:35 pm

Hi, I’m not sure if anyone still stumbles upon this page but it’s worth a shot. I’ll be 20 in a week and I quit taking Sprintec about 3.5-4 months ago because I didn’t want to put synthetic chemicals in my body when I wasn’t sexually active. About 2 weeks after quitting, I took a shower and noticed way more hair than normal was falling out and it was a downhill spiral from there. It’s now been 3 steady months of intense shedding and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any better. I’ve seen doctors that have simply told me to take biotin and that I shouldn’t worry too much but my hair is certainly down to half of what it was. My hair has always been thick, so it’s not like the birth control was the reason I had thick hair. I’ve had blood work done that turned up nothing unusual, and the timing makes it pretty clear to me that the birth control cancellation was the cause (must be- right?). I’ve reached the point of desperation and I don’t know what to do. A friend of mine’s mom who’s a nurse suggested getting back on the pill and basically being reliant on it the rest of my life, but that doesn’t sit well with me because I 100% want children and can’t deal with the hair loss again once I decide to stop taking bcp to get pregnant. I had pretty much decided to get back on the pill until I found this page tonight and now I don’t know what to do. If I choose not to, will this end? I already have severe depression and anxiety and losing my hair would be tragic to my already low self esteem.

Kaylee- I’m having the exact same problem. Along with the shedding it seems I have seborrheic dermatitis (eczema/dandruff and waxy-looking residue even after washing). This, of course, does not help my case with thinning, flattening hair. I tried using diluted apple cider vinegar as recommended online and it made nearly 100 hairs fall out in the shower. I saw a doctor today that recommended Head & Shoulders, which I used tonight. Issue is, it made about 60 hairs fall out IN the shower and probably 60 more AFTER the shower. The only thing that keeps shedding “minimal” (yeah right..) is using natural shampoos, which do not help the dandruff by any means. Be careful what you use, I’ve found that any strong products just make the hairs release even sooner which is devastating.

To anyone that can- please help.

lindsay October 5, 2016 at 11:40 am

I recently got off the pill at 24, after being one one form or another for the better part of the last 9 years. My biggest and most heartfelt suggestion is to focus on your nutrition. Though, personally, I am vegan, I think eating lots of plant based foods and taking any vitamins/ supplements I need to ensure I am getting my micronutrients has been key. I have worked with a naturopathic doctor to help here. It has been almost two months since I stopped and yes I am shedding. Probably losing about a quarter size amount in the shower plus more on my brush when I style my wet and then dry hair. From what I have read it could be much, much worse, but as I’m sure you know, any amount of hair loss can be traumatic. Hair loss comes from a hormone imbalance and proper nutrition is key in balancing your hormones. My suggestion is a focus on this, it can only help you, and it promotes so much self love and care which you certainly need during this time. This is what I have continued to do with fingers super, tightly crossed that this slows down soon. Sending you much love and acceptance. You’re beautiful and strong :)

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