Hey! I'm new here.

Discussion in 'Looking For Advice (my story)' started by passedtime16, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. passedtime16

    passedtime16 Guest

    Hey guys. I just joined this forum but have looked through some stories in the past and gotten helpful info. Yesterday I went to a Dermatologist who was great and diagnosed me with (lucky me!) female androgenetic alopecia. I've been pretty sure that I've had this for over a year now, after much research. My boyfriend of nearly 2 years didn't believe me that my hair was thinning, and neither did my mom (pretty much the only 2 people I've seriously discussed it with). I'm glad now that I know it's not just in my head. So I will try to tell you my "story" as briefly as possible:

    I love my hair texture, I really do. I've always had fine & wavy hair, though it has gotten more curl to it as I've gotten older. I love how shiny I can make my hair be; I just hate my see through scalp and how OILY my scalp gets!! When I was little and didn't have thinning hair (never had massively thick hair though, always on the thin side) everyone said they loved it. I wish I appreciated it while I had it! I used to have the "almost black" dark brown hair color but the last few years it has unfortunately been growing in with that dull reddish-brown color which seems to be a sign of miniaturization, from what I've read (which is when the individual hair follicles become thinner, meaning my hair itself is getting finer). I really hate the color but other people have told me that they like the red hue. Go figure.

    When I was in my early teens, I had an eating disorder (which I've been over for the past 2ish or so years) and figured that my hair thinning was just caused by that. In other words- I thought it would be REVERSIBLE. I realize now that my early onset androgenetic alopecia may have been spurred by it; my own doing! Stupid me! I wish I had known this was possible then! But the last few years, it's really started to concern me and make me very self conscious. I hate how I can't do certain hair styles, and how wearing things like pigtails or braids are a no no when out in public, because it blatantly exposes just how little hair I have. I also hate when girls will touch my hair and say (as if it's not an insult!!:mad:) "wow! Your hair... *touches like I'm some kind of wild animal*...it's so THIN!:eek:" Although that has stopped recently, probably because my "so thin" hair now looks more like it's thinNING. :rolleyes:

    I'm hoping I've caught the hair loss still at a point where it's treatable and at least somewhat reversible. I probably should have pursued treatment a few years ago, but I didn't know better, and of course doctors will never pursue it themselves unless you force it, it seems. My mom thinks there's nothing wrong and I think I'm still at a point where not everyone notices (at least from what I know). I can still wear some hairstyles where it's not very noticeable- such as messy buns or putting it up with a clip, and there are hair days occasionally where it looks just fine and that always makes my day, I'll tell ya! I wish my "bad hair days" were just the random calic (sp?) or frizzyness, like most girls my age (I'm 20), instead of blunt thinning spread all over my crown that I anxiously try to cover up. :(

    The Dermatologist told me to use Rogaine (5%/men's kind) foam and gave me a prescription of 50 mg Spironolactone, which I am to start taking every night after I have blood work done to check for various iron deficiencies/hormonal imbalances/thyroid imbalances. I have been diagnosed hypothyroid for the past year but the levoxyl medication I'm on hasn't helped too much with the hair loss, other than letting it grow at a bit faster rate. I doubt I have hormonal imbalances at all; no menstrual problems or hirsuitism of any kind, and I've been checked many times for anemia- even while I had an eating disorder, and never had a problem with it either. So I don't think I'll find a cause from any of these. She also told me about vitamins called Elon- anyone ever heard of it? I looked it up and they're almost $40(!!), though I've seen some great reviews. The vitamins in it seem to be mostly biotin and other fad hair growth things which don't usually have an effect unless you actually have a (rare) deficiency. Zinc is apparently also very important, but the vitamins I already take have 100% zinc so I think I'm good with that. I'm just surpriseid an actual doctor would recommend something like that.

    ... I know I've rambled a bit, so sorry about that. I'm very tired right now! Basically, I was wondering if anyone could offer their experiences (especially in the long-term) with Rogaine Foam and Spironolactone, as well as the Elon vitamin brand. I'd like to have an idea of what I can hope for. From what I've researched, it seems that Rogaine is more powerful for women (yay!) than men, and has about a 40% chance of RE-growing hair; and Spironolactone (from limited studies) has about the same efficacy rate. So I'm thinking that combined I have a pretty good chance of at least SOME improvement.

    I'll show some pictures of me on good hair days, to give you an idea.
    I recommend to those of you who have long hair to wear shirts that either have a lot of designs on them, or complement your hair color. If you have dark hair like me- wearing browns, blacks, and dark blues/purples are good. I also highly recommend blunt cuts. I recently had most of the layers in my hair evened out, and it looks much less stringy.

    (If the pictures don't work, just go to the link)
    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=dr9l02&s=5

    Here I had bangs which I am now growing out and really exposed balding areas near the front:
    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=1q1jdf&s=5

    From the back, straightened (i never blow dry or straighten it anymore, which makes my roots oily and the rest frizzy/lifeless):
    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=wgyxyh&s=5


    Back of my head on a good hair day. You can see near the top how it starts to thin:
    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2ib21l3&s=5
  2. Women's Hair Loss Project

    Women's Hair Loss Project Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Natasha (saw your name on the network) :)

    When I read your story I saw so much of myself in it. I think it's important to NOT blame yourself for your hair loss. I know you think you caused it because of your eating disorder, and while the possibility exists, the possibility ALSO exists that it would have happened anyways. I've always carried a huge guilt or perhaps better stated as "self-hatred" for feeling responsible for my hair loss, because "I" took the birth control pill that started this. Well "I" didn't know any different and no one told me that was a possibility so I don't know why I've chosen to carry the burden for so long. It happened, that's all I know and I just have to move forward from that point.

    I do think you caught your hair loss pretty early and that the use of treatment could help to stop or slow the progression of your hair loss and even help regain some lost hair. You should also know that any treatment used for hair loss has to be taken indefinitely, if it is stopped then any benefits you saw from it will be lost and your hair would revert to where it would have been had you never taken anything at all. I don't think doctors spend enough time explaining that. I mention it because over the years I have begun to feel "trapped" on the medications I take.. which is 200mg Aldactone and the low androgen pill, Ortho-Tricyclen. You are probably wondering why I would taken another pill when the pill started the whole thing, I wonder that myself. But I was told that in cases of hormonal hair loss that it *can* help, so I went back on. The pill I orginally took happened to be on of the highest androgen pills on the market, Loestrin FE.

    Anyways...

    I don't have any experience with The Rogaine Foam, I did use the Men's Rogaine 5%, but it really didn't do anything for me, so I stopped using it. I have heard positive reports from some women who say it has helped them, so I think it just depends on the person.

    Spironolactone i've taken for approximately 9 years. I just wrote to someone else about that today:

    http://forum.womenshairlossproject.com/showthread.php?t=74

    You definitely have a good chance at treating your hair loss, you just have to figure out which route is RIGHT for YOU. I would be remiss if I didn't also point out that any treatment you use could possibly trigger a shedding at first. Sometimes you will hear this referred to as the "dread shed." It doesn't happen to everyone but it can happen. Not sure if you doctor pointed this out, but it's good to be prepared and not surprised should it happen.

    I saw your pics, you are a very beautiful girl! I love your tips on wearing clothing with lots of designs. At times I do also dress to hide my hair loss. I have lighter hair so white shirts are awesome for me, black is the worst. Hair cuts are important, I think we so often avoid them because we feel uncomfortable with ourselves, but many times a trim or a shorter cut or different style, can help to hide the hair loss better.

    Welcome to the Forum!:>
  3. passedtime16

    passedtime16 Guest

    Thank you WHLP! I appreciate the advice. I will keep my expectations low.
    I read the forum post you pointed out to me. I don't mind the diuretic effect of the Spironolactone, although I already pee like crazy! I eat tons of salt as it is and get bloated, so that may help with that. :p

    I guess I just hope I'm one of the lucky ones, and good luck to me.
    If all else fails, I'll make sure I'm very wealthy once I get a career and pay for micropoint cyberhair extensions (as opposed to the ones I had before, these actually work really well to specifically cover thinning spots- but they cost thousands and thousands of dollars) for the rest of my life, or at least until/if I need a wig!
  4. Ashah

    Ashah New Member

    Hi PassedTime16,
    I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story, I have been through very similar situations. I'm just so happy to have found this website because to be able to converse with others who have been there, is just so much better than talking with people who can never truly understand. My family and husband tell me my hair looks fine, and doctors have repeatedly told me that nothing is wrong with my hair. My last derm. also suggested Rogaine to me, but I have not yet tried it for fear of losing more hair initially. So for the past year I've been experimenting with herbs and vitamins and so far nothing definite to report but I'm trying to stay hopeful. My hair is very similar to yours, in looking at your pics. Mine is naturally curl/wavy but I don't straighten it. I've found that certain thickening products also help the appearance, not sure if we can mention brand names on this site! My hair used to be thick and dark, and over the past 10 years the hairs growing in are SO much finer and lighter in color, kind of a dull lighter brown. I began using Henna on my hair last year and it makes my hair feel wonderful, and also makes it very shiny and feel thicker. It also took care of the dull brown color as well, its much darker now and is red in the sun. Anyway, best of luck to you in whatever treatment you decide to pursue. I would love to hear what you decide and if it works for you! Thanks again for sharing, I enjoyed reading your story.
  5. passedtime16

    passedtime16 Guest

    Thank you, Ashah. If you actually are able to give me the names of those products, I'd of course appreciate it!
    I didn't know Henna would help make hair look darker. I despise the red that is more and more evident in my hair as it gets thinner. I dyed my hair medium ash brown this morning, which sometimes helps, but the color stays in my hair for like 5 days max (even with permanent color) and it's a pain the neck to do. I long for that dark, nearly-black one colored hair that I no longer have, but did when I was little!
    The "dull lighter brown" thing is right on. I try to keep my hair looking shiny with brilliant brunette products, but there's only so much they can do. They have little sparkles in them which helps a lot.
    I know what you mean about the Rogaine... I've been using it for around 3 weeks now, and my hair is definitely thinner than it was, and falling out more when I comb it. I don't have very bad side effects from it, and I figure that if I'm losing hair now it means it's working and it'll be worth it! I got the blood work done this morning and I am going to be starting the spironolactone tonight, so my hair will probably be falling out even more from that in combination. I actually hope an iron deficiency or that my hypothyroid is still low or I have a hormonal imbalance of some sort which can be treated and thus help my hair. I just hope that by the time the fall semester starts up again in August, it'll be growing in a little thicker. I don't even care if it stays as disgustingly fine and flyaway as it is; I'd be happy with just a normal, slightly wide part. I really would. That's all I am wishing for!
  6. Ashah

    Ashah New Member

    Hi passedTime.... Good luck to you with your treatments! I really hope they work out for you, and hope to hear back on the progress. I didn't mean to mislead you regarding the henna, if you have dark hair you will see a slightly red tint, but its mainly noticeable when you're outside or under bright light. My hair started out a medium brown, and after about 4 applications of henna (over the course of a year or so) my hair has darkened to a dark auburn - BUT there is a red tint. As for the products I like Rusk Jele' Gloss Body and Shine lotion. I use it on wet or dry hair. I also like Ouidad volumizing mousse, its for curly hair so if you wear yours straight you may not like this one as good. Anyway, good luck, and stay positive!
  7. finaleofseem

    finaleofseem New Member

    PassedTime,

    Just wanted to say hi, and that I'm on a similar treatment course. The "dread shed" is hard, but I've recovered from mine (been on Rogaine about 7 months now) and my shed is much more stable. I attribute it to the spiro and Rogaine combination.
  8. divinem

    divinem New Member

    Just wanted to say hello and welcome. Please keep us posted on your treatment progress.