I've been lurking here for a bit and I figured I may as well put my dirty laundry out too. I am 29 years old and have had relatively thick hair all of my life. I used to have to use a paddle brush to brush my hair it was so long and thick, at the time I thought it was a pain to take care of. When I was 15 my mom convinced me to perm my poker-straight hair and ever since it has been curly, though my younger brother and sister have naturally curly hair. At 16 my mom decided I was out of control and took me to the doctor who put me on birth control pills. I was a straight A student with early acceptances to Ivy League schools, all that changed though. The first pill the doctor put me on was Aleese which I reacted poorly to, I started to become depressed and all the uncaring about yourself which goes with that. I also ended up with cystic acne all of a sudden so the doctor changed my pill to Ortho-Tricyclin which worked out a lot better for me. Please note, I do not have any sort of PCOS or endo or anything. I have a religiously regular schedule, no cramps and not heavy periods… Insert a lot of stress in my life between 16 and 20, culminating to not getting to go to college, getting kicked out of my parent’s house twice and ended up living in Reno with a boyfriend because I had nowhere else to go. In an act of childish rebellion I cut my hair short into an A-line bob and shaved about an inch and a half of the back of my head. (My Dad’s culture values long hair as a sign of fertility and I refused arranged marriages). My hair was never as thick as it had been before this, which at the time I was happy about because such heavy and long hair had been contributing to my migraines. So here I am living in Reno, NV which I hated, with no friends, I was over qualified for all the available jobs, I didn’t have a car and pretty much nothing going for me. Not only was I depressed but my doctor again changed my birth control, telling me the Depo-Provera was going to be so great because I would never have to remember to take a pill and it would last for three months, plus my insurance covered it as an inoculation rather than as birth control so it was free. Sounds good when you live far away from everything and everyone you know and can’t seem to get a job thus no money. I had a disturbing reaction to Depo, instead of having my religiously regular menstrual schedule it inverted; I bled for three weeks out of the month. I immediately called my doctor who told me that was just my body adjusting to the new drug and to give it a chance. Bleeding for nine weeks didn’t help my depression at all, it also made me anemic. In hindsight it was stupid to let my doctor convince me to try one more shot, but I did and nothing changed it was the same misery as the first three months. So I quit Depo and went back to Ortho-Tricyclin. My boyfriend and I moved back to California and I got a job finally and we bought a house, it seemed like life was finally going somewhat well. Then my company got bought out which caused a ton of stress and of course I am horrible taking pills so I kept forgetting to take my birth control as I was stressing about whether or not the buyout was going to cost me my job and now I had a mortgage at the old age of 21 and I was going community college on top of it all. Well, I thought the new birth control patch would fix one of those things for me, so I asked my doctor to switch me over to it since I had finally lost all the weight I had gained in Reno and met the weight requirement for it. Finally something I could control! I stayed on the Ortho-Evra from 21 to 27 with what seemed no issued, not only could I not have to remember to take a pill every day but I could also control my cycle, it seemed like a win-win. During that time, I left previously mentioned boyfriend, moved back to Nevada (Las Vegas this time) got a new boyfriend, bought a second house on my own, enrolled in University and worked full time, broke up with the new boyfriend, had a ton of family drama and almost had a mental break down. About then I also stopped taking Ortho-Evra…I wasn’t having sex so why take unnecessary drugs? It was at 26-27 I noticed my hair was getting thinner, disturbingly so to me. As people do when a relationship ends I tried to change things, and as women do I tried to change my hair. So I went to the salon and I had my naturally black/dark brown hair lightened to red…then platinum blonde. I figured it would be fun to try to be blonde, plus it was lighter so maybe where I saw my scalp showing through (everyone else said my hair was ‘normal’) wouldn’t be so noticeable. The blonde lasted a whole day because I kept freaking myself out anytime I went by a mirror and because to me I could still see my roots and they were still black which looked like I had a dirty head, super not sexy. I dyed my hair back to a deep brown and left it alone. During this time I went on and off Ortho-Evra because I was changing my cycle to fit my schedule, since I was traveling a lot for work. My hair seemed to be fine but I mentioned it to my doctor and she said unless it was falling out in clumps it was normal in times of stress for hair to fall out. Who am I not to believe the person with the medical degree? When I finally stopped the birth control I didn’t seem to overtly shed, nothing seemed different and I guess I forgot about my hair. Year 28 of my life found me moving to Seattle, probably the dumbest idea for me ever. I went from a hyper-sunlight desert to a hypo-sunlight cold miserable place. All the friends I had up there turned out to be flakes, my job was miserable and I cannot tell you how thankful I was to get laid off (yay bad economy!) and the doctors I saw were rude. However, I thought my hair was good when I got there because remember I hadn’t fussed with it; I wasn’t really shedding to the point where I noticed. In Seattle there was a guy, and so I started taking Ortho-Tricyclin again for about four months before I stopped because I just didn’t want to take anymore chemicals anymore. I stopped taking Advil, etc too since I was trying to be more healthy in general. I figured this would help with my depression that I re-found in Seattle, I also had a bunch of medical tests done when I realized my hair was falling out again. Once more I had low iron, but this time I also had pretty much non-existent Vitamin-D levels which is what my doctor attributed to the hair loss and I was sent off with a prescription for both vitamins and told to take pre-natal vitamins in addition (she said everything else was within normal levels). At this point I was trying to comb my hair over to wear to work to hide how big my part had gotten because I was embarrassed and ashamed; neither helped me deal with the misery that was my job or living in a dreary city. The prescription vitamins didn’t seem to help, my (at the time) future-mother-in-law bought me Nioxin shampoo/conditioner but it made my hair really dry and it started to burn my scalp so I started using Pantene. Finally, I got laid off and I just couldn’t deal with living in Seattle since nothing had gone even remotely right there so I moved back to Las Vegas where I was happy even when my life sucked. Since I’ve been back in Vegas I’ve started a crazy vitamin regiment, I’ve also started using castor oil on my scalp. I do have bad habits though, since my hair is wavy-curly I straighten it with a curling iron about once a week, I also tend to tie my hair into a knot in the back to keep it out of my face. Lately I’ve taken to wearing a head band because the little hairs in the front of my hairline get into my eyes and face and when I am studying it is just super annoying. Using mirrors I can see my part is not only getting bigger but it’s moving down to the crown of my head, looking worse than I thought. Its stressful but I am trying to ignore it so I don’t stress. I went to California to visit my younger sister; she’s three years younger than me. Let me mention here that all the women on both sides of my family all have full heads of thick luxurious hair like a shampoo commercial, my dad is bald as are all of my uncles, my older male brother has a full head of hair as does my older sister and my younger brother, half of my male cousins start balding in their late 20’s early 30’s. My younger sister is 26, and she pretty much is bald on the top of her head, like male pattern baldness where there is the thick friar’s looking ring of hair but the front and center is empty. My younger sister has never taken any birth control, she’s very…regressed I suppose, she never wants to grow up and besides going to work she really doesn’t have to so she doesn’t. Her acne is gone through the use of ProActiv which is great for her but it’s her hair that disturbed me, even more so after reading these boards. She refuses to see any sort of doctor and blames it all on stress from living with my insane mother. I am so afraid to lose my hair like her, she doesn’t care about her appearance but I will completely admit to my own vanity. After reading these boards I have decided to try to go without any birth control to see if I could recover or at least stop my hair loss. I’ve only been taking some of the vitamins for about six months, the rest I have just added with the advice from these boards, so thank you ladies. I use a 2:3 ratio of castor oil mixed with grape seed oil that I massage into my scalp where my hair is thinning and leave for 10-20 minutes before washing out with conditioning crème only once a week. The castor oil mixture seems to darken my hair and since using it my hair in the thinning areas seems to feel a bit thicker/more full. I'm hoping this helps, otherwise I'm not sure what to try next - a scalp biopsy or just go back on birth control or something....I try not to think about it because the inability to control it just stresses me out more. My vitamin regiment is as follows, notations taken off the bottles: *Prenatal Vitamin (1 tablet, 1x a day) [The levels in it are: Vitamin A, 4000 I.U. – 50% daily value, Vitamin C, 120 mg – 200% dv, Vitamin D, 400 I.U. – 100% dv, Vitamin E, 30 I.U. – 100%, Thiamin (Vitamin B1), 1.8 mb – 106%, Riboflavin (Vitamin B12), 1.7 mg – 85%, Niacin, 20mg – 100%, Vitamin B6, 2.6mg – 104%, Folic Acid, 800 mcg – 100%, Vitamin B12, 8mcg – 100%, Calcium, 200mg – 15%, Iron, 28mg – 156%, Zinc, 25mg – 167%] *Vitamin D3 (2 tablets, 1x a day) – 2000 I.U – 500% dv, calcium, 111mg – 11% dv. *Vitamin B12 (1 tablet, 1x a day) – 1mg (1000 mcg) – 16667%, calcium, 30mg – 3%dv. *Iron (1 tablet, 1x a day) – 65mg (equivalent to 325 mg Ferrous Sulfate) – 361% dv. *Biotin (1 tablet, 1x a day) – 5000 mcg, - 1667% dv *Vitamin C (1 tablet, 1x a day) – 500mcg – 833%dv *Evening Primrose Oil (1 gel-cap, 3x a day) – 1000mg *Flaxseed Oil (1 gel-cap, 3x a day) – 1000 mg *Saw Palmetto (1 gel-cap, 2x a day) – 450 mg <3 Thank you ladies, you've all be an inspiration and comfort.