birth control pills

Birth Control Pills and Hair Loss

by Y on May 3, 2021

Birth control pills and hair loss is very common, I just don’t think that women know how common it is until they are affected by it.

I had made this video for instagram, and felt I wanted to share here, as I think more women should have this information and I also wanted to provide a home here for women to share their own experiences as well. If you want to view the comments that were shared on instagram, you can find the post on my IGTV there: https://www.instagram.com/whlpnetwork/

Birth Control pills can cause hair loss that is temporary, however, it can also kick in our genetic pre-disposition for hair loss and that is what I definitely believed caused the beginning of my hair loss in 1999 – Getting off the pill Loestrin FE.

Read My Hair Loss Story From August 2007, of “How Did I Get Here?

Some doctors believe that getting on a “hair friendly” pill can stabilize the hormones and help hair loss. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a “hair friendly” pill.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

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. 

[click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

What Caused My Hair Loss?

by Y on May 29, 2020

What caused my hair loss? What caused your hair loss? Me and my wig sit in the sun to discuss this topic. I’d love to know what caused your hair loss, and would love to also know if you don’t know. I think often many women live their whole lives not knowing, I think that is pretty common, but the more we share, the more we can learn from each other…. and sometimes it will just forever remain a mystery. It’s hair loss, it’s complicated, so that’s a thing.

In this video I discuss the cause of my hair loss, which was getting off the Birth Control Pill, Loestrin FE in 1999. I also discuss my own regrets in jumping the gun on treatment and not allowing my body to maybeeee have a chance to resolve the situation on its own. Things I’ve pondered in the past a million times over. Maybe it would have, maybe it wouldn’t. I’ll never know, and while we can’t look back or go back, I can certainly share my story so that perhaps it helps another. Would love to hear from you with what caused your hair loss and also if you don’t know, definitely share that too!

Sending much love to all!
XOXO
~Y

{ 0 comments }

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. [click to continue…]





{ 75 comments }

I’ve seen enough fabulous hair pieces and wigs to know that it remains a very realistic, viable option for women who deal with hair loss. But the question always remains, where do you go? I know I’d definitely want to go somewhere that was caring, compassionate, patient, and a place that wasn’t pushy and truly had my best interest at heart. After all we aren’t buying iphones, we are buying something so intimately personal, I think a little TLC and hand holding is in order.

There is no question in my mind that a lot of women close the door to wearing hair because their first attempt turned out to be an awful and traumatizing experience, or the product was subpar, and from that they probably figured there was no point in continuing to try. Unfortunately, wearing hair isn’t really SO common that you can just turn to your girlfriend and say, “Love your hair, where’d you get it?” It’s also a completely different experience when you are buying hair because you NEED it, as opposed to buying it because you just think it would look neat with an outfit. One situation has deep rooted emotions and the other is really more of an optional accessory. For that reason, it is crucial to find a place that actually deals with women losing their hair and understands the devastation and feelings that encompasses it.

I think finding a good hair replacement salon is probably tantamount to finding a needle in a haystack, so I wanted to share the names of two shops that seem to truly be helping women.

I have heard several positive stories about:

Lee Anthony
1001 W. 17th Street, Suite H
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
949-515-0631
leeanthony.com

One WHLP member stated that Lee actually told her that it was too soon for her to need to wear something, which I think definitely shows honesty and integrity.

The place I most recently heard about is:

Wigs Today
6338 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 9006
323-954-8809

If you make a visit here, make sure it’s the address I listed above. I did find another place in Los Angeles by the same name, which had horrible reviews, but I’m pretty certain this isn’t the same place. According to the listing I found on Yahoo: http://local.yahoo.com/info-20415634-wigs-today-los-angeles#overview this place was only recently established in 2009.

I am super cautious about ever recommending a product or service provider, but I feel confident that the experiences I have heard about regarding these salons are from real women who have been a part of the site for quite sometime with no ulterior motives.

As a final note, I’d also run (not walk) from any place that asked you to sign a contract, gave you a hard sell or made you feel uncomfortable in any way whatsoever.





{ 11 comments }

I had written awhile back but wanted to send you my story again, and this time post some positive updates.

One thing that I noticed way back when my hairloss journey started, was that the negative posts and testimonials by far outweighed the positive ones. My fear was that most women were losing this hairloss battle. My hope was that once they solved their hairloss nightmare, they were too busy not worrying about their hair to post their updates. I want to submit my story because I am having positive results as I attempt to figure out what has happened to my hair and how to stop the cycle of loss.

It was 2004 when my life changed. It was 3 months after I had stopped taking birth control (alesse) and my hair was coming out in ropes. I’ll never forget taking a shower before going out one Friday evening, and my hands were covered with hair. At the time, I had no clue that it was related to the cessation of using birth control. I thought I was dying, from cancer, from something. I stayed home that night and didn’t go out, I’ll never forget sobbing the whole evening, scouring the internet trying to figure out what was going on. My vanity was bruised. I remember feeling too ugly and embarrassed to be social or even go to the gym. I took a 3 week leave of absence from my job to go be with my then-boyfriend (now wonderful husband!) in Europe where he was for work. I needed his support and he was truly there for me no matter how embarrassed I was. I had extensions put in after much research, just to make me feel like I had hair again. I did everything I could to mask what was going on with my hair, while I devoured information to figure out what happened to me. It was then that I realized it was the birth control pill.

I made the mistake of jumping back on birth control because doctors told me that I might be responsive to a hair-friendly pill like Yaz or Yasmin. I chose Yasmin and figured I would just stay on it the rest of my life if I had to. Back then, all I cared about was how I looked, not about my health. I kept the extensions in for about 2 years. One day I went into the salon to get them done and my stylist said – “You know you don’t need these anymore. They are just your security right now. Your hair is fine.” What?? My hair was fine?? I was so used to the weight of the extensions that I didn’t believe her. She washed my hair and cut it without the extensions, and we blowed it dry. She was right, I looked totally normal. I was ELATED. I don’t think I stopped touching my hair for days. It was all mine, and I looked absolutely normal. It had thin spots, sure, but I could wear it up or down and it had body and I looked like me again. It was not nearly as thick as it was before the loss, but it was enough. [click to continue…]





{ 242 comments }

Three Minutes of Freedom

by Y on March 6, 2009

Get Out and Start Living

I got up this morning, walked the dog, came home, fed the dog. Threw on some workout clothes and hopped down to the gym (garage). I put my earphones on, I turn the ipod on, and I started the treadmill. The first song queued up is one of my favorites, and it just puts my mind at such ease and makes me smile. The song only lasts three minutes and thirty five seconds, but that’s enough. Enough to put my mind in the right mood and enough to set my day up with possibility. I of course played the song over and over since I wanted to draw out as much serenity as possible 🙂 I jogged along and felt content and… dare I say… happy. Sure my hair is falling out, it fell in the sink, it fell in my coffee, stuck to my sweatshirt, but I was happy. In that moment I felt right.

I think we need to take more time for ourselves, to do the things we enjoy and remind ourselves of living. It’s way to easy to obsess about our hair loss and worry about the future, but in doing so, we so frequently miss out on today, the beauty around us, the beauty within.

So now I know you are dying to know what song I was listening to. Well here it is for your listening pleasure (just click on the play button below) and your three minutes of freedom:

“Put Your Records On” By Corinne Bailey Rae – Best 0.99 cents I ever spent on iTunes!

[audio:https://www.womenshairlossproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/happysong.mp3]

Wishing you all a beautiful and HAPPY Friday!
Enjoy life, enjoy freedom, enjoy being you.





{ 2 comments }

The other day I posted the listing of certain birth control pills androgen index which I found on The American Hair Loss Association website. Later that day I received an email from Gracie pointing me to a great resource that provides more in depth knowledge about the hormonal components of various birth control pills. She also mentioned that in her own research she found out that most women seem to have more problems on lower estrogen pills, i.e. 20mg. I didn’t ask, but I think she meant mcgm (micrograms). Glancing over at the list I am about to provide you with, I found that the pill I took, Loestrin FE is among the lowest estrogen pills, listing at 20mcgm along with Aleese, Levlite, Micrette, and Ortho Evra patch. The pill I take now, Ortho-Tri Cyclen is 35/35/35 mcgm with a different type of Progestin (norgestimate) than the one used for Loestrin (norethindrone acetate).

The pills listed as likely to cause worse acne and hair growth side effects (obviously not hair on the head, but perhaps your chin) are those pills high in androgenicity and low in estrogen content.

Such pills might include:
Loestrin® 1.5/30
Loestrin® 1/20 Fe
Estrostep® Fe
Levlen®
Alesse®
Ovral®
Norlestrin® 1/50
[click to continue…]





{ 13 comments }

American Hair Loss Association Androgen Index List of Birth Control PillsI get a lot of emails regarding the specific androgen index of birth control pills. I haven’t found the full and complete definitive list available online, however, the American Hair Loss Association lists a small number of pills from lowest androgen index to highest. The list is as follows:

Desogen, Ortho-Cept, Ortho-Cyclen, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Micronor, Nor-Q D, Ovcon-35, Brevicon/Modicon, Ortho Norvum 7/7/7, Ortho Novum 10-11, Tri-Norinyl, Norinyl and Ortho 1/35, Demulen 1/35, Triphasil/Tri-Levien, Nordette, Lo/Ovral, Ovrette, Ovral, Loestrin1/20, Loestrin 1.5/30.

Of course very last you’ll see Loestrin listed has one of the highest androgen pills. It wasn’t until recently it all clicked, loestrin sounds like LOW ESTROGEN. That is the pill of doom that I took that started this whole hair loss process for me. I suppose it is all luck of the draw. Many women have probably taken that pill and never had the hair loss troubles I have been dealing with for the past 8 years. But there is no denying the hair loss birth control pill connection, messing with hormones can results in some unpleasant occurrences. Depending on the doctor, some will openly admit that hair loss can occur from taking the pill, others will dismiss it as merely coincidence. The packet insert of all the pills that I have seen clearly state it as a possible side effect. Women of all ages need to be aware of this before considering taking any pill, don’t expect to hear that little tid bit of information from the doctor prescribing it to you.

Low androgen birth control pills are also commonly prescribed with the anti androgen spironolactone as a treatment for women losing their hair.

I would love to find a complete listing of all birth control pills and their androgen index. If anyone knows of any please send me an email so I can post it on the site.





{ 163 comments }

Seasonique Birth Control Pill Commericals

by Y on November 19, 2007

Seasonique Birth Control Pill CommercialsLately I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials for the Seasonique birth control pill. The commercial advertises to young women that with this new pill you can have fewer periods, only 4 a year I believe. I just don’t know how that can be considered a good idea, that isn’t how we were made. Women were made to have periods. I am not necessarily trying to just single out Seasonique, but really all birth control pills commercials in general. Young girls watching these commercials are going to be lured by all the positive things they claim to provide… clearer skin, less bloat, less cramps, fewer periods, less moodiness. Who wouldn’t want to get on the pill? A lot of young and older women who get on the pill are going to experience hair loss, it is even listed as a side effect right in the pamphlet provided with the pill pack. Obviously everyone isn’t going to be affected, but I’ve heard countless stories, including my own, from women whose hair loss began by taking the pill, or getting off it. In my opinion it has ruined many women’s lives. The hair loss and the devastating effects it causes to us emotionally, last far longer than that commercial will air on TV. Thats the truth, but they don’t tell you that when you see the young girls smiling, jumping up and down on TV shouting to the world how wonderful being on the pill is. There really should be better education about the reality of birth control pills and hair loss. Since I doubt the pharmaceutical companies are going to add hair loss to their brief warning disclaimer at the the end of the commercials, the responsibility falls on the physicians who prescribe it. I’m not telling women not to take the pill, everyone is free to make their own decisions. For me, it was the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life. I wish I had a do over for that one.

Incidentally I typed in “seasonique and hair loss” into Google, and wouldn’t you know it, there are women complaining it caused their hair to fall out. Women who choose to take the pill need to make sure that it is at least a androgen index pill.





{ 1 comment }