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.
Fast forward to 2008. My husband and I wanted to try to have a baby and I dreaded having to come off the pill. I felt like I had worked so hard to get my hair back, and now I was going to have to let it go again. I was terrified that if I tampered with it, it might not come back again. Also, everyone kept telling me that fluctuating hormones could kick in AGA and I was pretty sure I already had AGA since I have some thinner spots, so I was even more scared. But, having a child meant more to me. I went off the pill and 3 months later, luckily, I got pregnant. However, the shedding started even though my hormones had changed due to the pregnancy. My hair fell out in buckets. All of that long, healthy hair went down the drain. It looked horrible yet again. This time though, it only lasted 2 months, because I was pregnant and I was benefiting from a surge of estrogen! Eventually, my hair didn’t shed at all. The entire pregnancy, I would lose maybe one hair a day, it was a beautiful time of not having to worry about my hair, and I was off the pill and completely au natural. It felt great.
I knew that post-partum hair shedding was going to be waiting for me after I delivered our little girl, so I just enjoyed having thicker hair again and savored each day. I figured I would just get back on the pill after her birth. I learned that if I wanted to breastfeed, I wouldn’t be able to be on the pill. I enjoyed breastfeeding so much that I thought, oh well – if I had to be bald so that I can breastfeed, then I’ll do it. It’s worth it. At 2.5 months post-partum, my hair came out in bunches. I Was losing over 200-300 hairs a day and didn’t have much to begin with! I Wanted to go back on the pill so badly, to stop the loss… But something inside of me said, don’t go back on the pill, don’t cave, stop tampering with your hormones and just let them figure it out. I knew that I might not get my hair back, but I didn’t want to stop nourishing my child for my own vanity! Plus, I just wanted to see what happened, even if it meant losing more hair than ever before
and encouraging AGA to take over my of my scalp.
Well, here I am at 5 months post-partum. I still shed every day but not as much as it was 10 weeks ago. The hair IS coming back in, slowly but surely. My ponytail feels a bit thicker these days. I have a great regimen to support my hair: Nioxin Shampoo and Conditioner, Thicker Fuller Hair Serum, and Air Dry. Prental vitamins, and Fish Oil supplements. I am not going bald, in fact, I think my body is enjoying getting back to it’s old self. No synthetic estrogen needed.
What I believe is that this is all a journey. Tomorrow, I might wake up and have a massive shed that renders me so thin on top that I’d have to get a topper of some sort. Or, I might wake up with a fuller head of hair than I’ve ever had before. It seems to ebb and flow. I started this journey in 2004 and here I am 5 years later after pregnancy and again stopping the pill, and I still have hair. I feel like I am winning, I feel like I am beating it.
I wish that doctors/OB’s/GYN’s would tell you that when you go off the pill, it is like having a baby. Your body craves that estrogen and lets go of everything it doesn’t need temporarily. I think lots of us have gone back on the pill quickly in order to reverse that loss because waiting it out seems so scary. In my case, I think I had to let my hair hit rock bottom on it’s own, which I am doing right now so that it can adjust and regulate itself.
Do I think I will have thick hair again? Nope. But I would like to have more kids and I just don’t want to have to come off the pill yet again, sending my body into artificial shock for no reason. I am going to continue healthy hair habits, and pray that it keeps coming back enough on it’s own that I can make do without obsessing about it constantly. I can’t believe that I’m here, that it’s 5 months post partum, and that I’m ok.
For those of you who are experiencing similar pain, you know this is a small victory. I want to encourage everyone to be on their hair journey and have hope, have optimism that you can figure it out. Even if it means that you need to supplement with artificial hair to make yourself whole again, do it. Do what it takes to feel good. Post positive successes, and results. Encourage others. Let’s beat this!