My 23 Year Old Daughter Is About To Stop Loestrin BCP Due To Major Hair Loss

by Y on January 4, 2021

I received this email and am posting the question, and my response in case it can perhaps help other women confronted with the same situation .

Hi – I just came across The Women’s Hair Loss Project. We are desperate.  My daughter’s situation sounds similar to yours. She’s been on Loestrin for 4 years – since sophomore year in college. Her hair has started thinning, and lately, it’s accelerated to where her part is very wide, her hair is very thin, the top of her hair pretty bad.  All doctors said blood work fine, it’s female pattern hair loss, start rogaine 5%. She’s so desperate that she finally agreed to listen to me and go off the Loestrin but wants to start ortho tri cyclen (sp?) because doctor [Doctor name removed] said it’s a hair protectant. So she’s planning on starting that and the Rogaine at the same time. We are so scared. Something doesn’t feel right. I’m afraid for her to do both at the same time because if something goes wrong, we won’t know which. I think she should get off BCP pills completely. Just want to hear your opinion. Please.  Look forward to hearing from you.  Thank you!!! -S

21+ years after my hair loss began – wigged up. My story is long, but this is the relevant part. I hope it helps.

Dear S – 

I should state what I think is already known… but just in case, I’m not a doctor – My experience with hair loss is living with it for 21 years and going to great lengths to find an answer to this problem, treat it a number of ways, and along the way deal with the sufferings it brought, disappointments and regrets and having it be one long ass journey to trying to find myself again. 

It has been awhile since I have answered an email as post, but yours stood out to me and I wanted to provide my thoughts as you had asked for, and in the process put this as a post so that others may be able to potentially benefit from it as well. 

This is a tough situation, as I think many situations are when dealing with hair loss and any decision seems terrifying and also we get to a place of desperation where we can allow that to cloud what may be (or not) the right judgement we need for making the best decision for ourselves. 

One thing about hair loss is there is no one size fits all, although I think most doctors just treat it that way. It is very typical for a woman with hair loss to have all blood work come back as normal, frustrating, but super common. I think it’s the one time in our life we are praying something appears on that blood work panel that we can point to, treat and get this uncontrollable situation, under control again. It is disappointing to find out we are (on paper) seemingly normal.

Who knew normal could be a disappointment, it is. 

My thoughts on treatment are based largely on what I did, but also what I wish I would have done differently – and the knowledge that in sharing my story on my site, and what I wish I would have done years ago, I know some women read my story, took the road I wish I travelled, and it worked out for them. Not in massive numbers (that I am aware of ) but a couple I can think of, and that was enough for me to wonder if I really did screw myself over and realize there is legit validity in waiting before rushing to treatment. 

I think I sighed and did an eye roll simultaneously reading that birth control pills are still being offered up as a hair protectant. Again, I’m not a doctor, but in my desperation, I fell in this trap and regretted it – big time. 

Getting off the pill Loestrin FE began my hair loss battle, and I was so afraid and so desperate – even though I swore to never, ever get back on the pill again, a year later (maybe less), I was singing a different tune. When I was told that the pill Ortho Tri-Cyclen would help to re-stabilize my hormones, and that could restore/ stabilize my hair loss situation, I went against my gut and I caved.

Desperation prevails. 

Getting off a pill, can cause hair loss. Getting on a pill can cause hair loss and both actions can kick in a person’s own genetic predisposition for androgenetic alopecia aka Female Pattern Baldness, but sometimes, the hair loss that is caused by EITHER action isn’t permanent and the reason I know this, is there are a lucky few that ride it out and find their hair has restored without doing anything. 

Regret.

I didn’t allow my body sufficient time to potentially restore anything, I was treating it with anything I could straight off the bat.  First Nioxin (fail) then Rogaine 5% (fail) then Propecia, the drug actually just for men (fail) until, I found a doctor who told me if I took 200mg of Aldactone (spironolactone) which is a blood pressure medication with mild anti-androgenetic properties,  and got back on the birth control pill, a “hair friendly one” as though that can possibly exist – that, that could get my situation under control. 

Desperation prevails over logic. 

I did it. 

I regretted it everyday, and wondered if I just let my body be for a couple years, what would have been? Would my body have stabilized? Did I just ensure my hair loss for life, by further mucking up my system within a year of my hair loss. 

The punch line is, my hair loss progressed anyways. Slower, faster? No way to know. 

My hair started falling out in 1999. I started my site in 2007, at the lowest point of my hair loss life, in utter despair and depression. Those meds didn’t save me at all, my trajectory to the depths of what I consider mental hell was steadfast and I was sitting on the floor of my shower pasting my hair on the walls while taking the pill and Aldactone— many years after the fact. 

What taking the pill did do, is it made me hate myself for getting back on it. I already felt I caused my hair loss by taking the pill Loestrin, and then I failed myself by giving into desperation and going against my gut – and getting back on the birth control pill, the one suggested – Ortho Tri-Cyclen. Even when I started to have side effects I was stuck on the medication.  After X amount of years I started having black spotting on the pill and my gynocologist wanted to switch me to a different one, that was not even remotely an option to me. Changing the pill could cause a shed, not an option. I was stuck. 

Getting off a pill made my hair fall out the first time, and the shed I encountered at that time was insane, I was waking up to a pillow of hair.  I was scared to get off Ortho Tri-Cyclen even when I had sub-optimal things happening, like bleeding black, because I didn’t have remotely the same amount of hair I had the first time I got off a pill,  I felt I couldn’t endure that type of shed I first had, or risk it. I couldn’t know for sure that would happen but fear kept me immobilized on the medication. 

In addition, how was I to know if Aldactone helped, or Ortho Tri-Cyclen? My hair was still falling out, but I had no long term baseline to compare to, I jumped the gun.  Taking things simultaneously removes the ability to know what is actually working if something is improving. I personally wouldn’t advise that, again this is based on my own biased personal story of regret and wishing I could do it again – differently. 

I resentfully took the medications for years, thirteen to be exact – all while my hair loss progressed. I only found the strength to get off the medications after I began wearing wigs (worth noting it didn’t save me from that as well, meaning feeling the need for a wig) and also I had started doing PRP treatments which I thought could help any potential shed that may occur from the cessation of the medications, but I was prepared at that time (13 years after starting Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Aldactone) to finally take the chance and stop those medications. I didn’t stop them at the same time, I stopped one and waited and then stopped the other, structuring both around the time I would do a PRP treatment to potentially help the shed.  

I felt so much better after I stopped taking the medications.. mentally. I felt free.  I felt I was potentially harming my body by taking medications that were not producing verifiable tangible results of awesomeness to warrant the usage. I wanted off and out.  I could justify it if I knew it was helping, I didn’t think it was, and I’ll never really know if it helped or harmed. 

I know this response is long and much of sharing my situation because I feel that’s how I can best help. If only we could see into the future, the things we didn’t consider, maybe that helps us make better choices for ourselves. It’s not to discourage any path, and any strong opinions I have are super biased from my own experiences. 

Ultimately, I believe we need to make the choices we can live with. We go in eyes wide open and with that we decide the path we can live with.  That is the best treatment course for us.  The doctor you saw cannot give you any guarantee the birth control pill is a hair protectant, that same pill that is being suggested is also cited by MANY women as being the pill that actually caused their hair loss. That is why I personally don’t believe there is a hair friendly pill out there. Our bodies are all unique and we have no way to know how ours will react to any given medication. Also there are plenty of women who took Loestrin and had no issue. In my body it was a fail. 

Again, I am biased, I wanted to run as far away as possible from the pill as I could, it caused so much damage to my life – and sitting stuck on a different pill, hating myself for getting back on it, was something I just regretted. I cannot emphasize how much I regretted that. 

When it comes to the other things I did to treat my hair loss, it pales in comparison to the emotional turmoil I dealt with, with the birth control pill for so many reasons. 

When you are first losing your hair, waiting a year or two sounds like a lifetime, I believe there are benefits to be considered by waiting and doing nothing (yet) when we are thrown into hair loss by a birth control pill or having a child.   Some women, do re-stabliize on their own, and their hair loss is a fleeting nightmare and they move on. I’m not saying it’s the norm, but it happens.  

I wish I gave myself the chance, my body the chance – to heal.  The opportunity to take medication and to treat our hair loss,  is always there, the benefit of doing nothing won’t present itself again after we start down the rabbit hole, and I’m not saying wait forever, but rather a solid time period. 

Again, I think this is such a personal and individual choice only we can decide for ourselves. Although I didn’t get benefit from Rogaine, some women do along with the other stuff that didn’t work for me. 

Something to consider with any hair loss medication, is anything that can potentially grow hair, can also cause a shed – also that treatment has to be sustained indefinitely in order to continue to maintain any benefits received by it. 

I’m not against treating hair loss, for a decade now I’ve done PRP treatments while wearing wigs. I’m in support of women doing whatever they need to do, to be able to live their life free from the suffering that hair loss can bring and while I am not a fan of birth control pills, for some women maybe that is what they need. I am one story, one opinion. 

Although I know we are suppose to live for today, I think considering the future of what we can live with is important too. 

I hope that helps. XOXO

Much Love,
Y

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Paula January 24, 2021 at 3:56 am

Hi
After reading your story I wanted to share my daughters. As it sounds just like yours. my beautiful daughter 32.She has been losing her hair for 5 years .she has had all tests at Doctors. Who I have to say ,haven’t been much help sadly. And all come back normal. She had her daughter 6 years ago ,after years of trying. Then hubby left .And she had suffered 5 miscarriages. She suffers from metal health.Came of pill as thought it could be part of the hair loss problem. She has gluten intolerance. I as her mum ,have been researching none stop .looking at sprays ,toppers,wigs,closures,mesh integration etc etc .Trouble is Jade is so nervous, to try wigs etc. Please please any help would be much appreciated.Kind regards Paula

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