My Experience With Female Hair Loss

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Female hair loss can have many different causes. Among them is androgenetic alopecia, also known as female pattern hair loss.

As we describe here, the diagnosis can be overwhelming, as there are few treatments available and they don't work for everyone.

But there IS hope - and reader Bonnie from Canada contacted us to tell us about her own experience with various types of hair loss, and how certain medications have helped.

Here is Bonnie's story....

I lost 50% of my hair when I was 39, due to telogen effluvium after going off of my birth control pill. I was also diagnosed with a biopsy to have early stage androgenetic alopecia.

My endocrinologist put me on spironolactone 200 mg and my dermatologist added minoxidil 5% to the treatment plan, and all my hair grew back. Actually really thick as well, and it stayed that way until I hit 54. 

Last fall I ended up with a temporary inflammation in my thyroid glad that caused my hair to fall out in huge clumps. I lost 50% of my hair again and it shed for almost a year.

I am now taking finasteride 2.5 mg and my hair slowly stopped falling out after 2.5 months on the medication. I have a ton of sprouts all over my head so I think it working for me.

Lucky for me I have been a great responder to medications. But it was so horrible losing half my hair over 12 months. It was falling out everywhere. My hair is long so it's going to be a very long recovery process.

I know a lot of people are not sure of their diagnosis but most women with thinning hair over 50 have some androgenic alopecia.

The medications tend to work for both androgenic alopecia and telogen effluvium, according to my dermatologist. He is Dr. Donovan, the most recognized hair loss doctor in Vancouver, Canada.

I also use low level laser 3 times a week.

When I first lost my hair I wore and wig and hairpieces until it grew back. The best thing about those is no bad hair days!

I recently order another one, just to cover up this fuzzy mess until the news hairs start to lay down.

The picture below is my hair in my early 50s after being 23 years in recovery.

Recovery from mild androgenetic alopecia

This  photo of me is my hair now, at age 55. It's hard to tell in pictures but the gray parts are the new hairs growing back in. It is super thin from all the shedding.

New hairs after treatment from androgenetic alopecia

This last photo is my hair now, in partial recovery, so I am getting there. This time my dermatologist added finasteride 2.5 mg.

Partial recovery from female pattern hair loss

I am letting the new hairs grow in gray... I just want to show you can get your hair back with treatments, at least most of it anyway.

I didn't wait around hoping my hair would recover, and I knew the medication would help, as this was not coming back on its own. It would have been a huge mistake to think it was.

I have an androgen sensitivity disorder. I had other symptoms of androgen issues, basically I was sensitive to my own circulating androgens. Those androgens caused some major skin and hair issues, so I needed antiandrogen therapies to recover. 

I knew I needed to treat it.

If you have acne, oily skin, seborrheic dermatitis, hair loss, or facial hair, those are a signs of androgen issues.

If you have dry skin, and thinning and breaking, hair that type of hair loss can be a results of falling estrogen levels.

I am also on HRT natural estrogen patch and natural progesterone...our hair loves estrogen.  I don't have PCOS but it can cause the same impacts as androgen disorders can.

Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing your experiences. For those of us whose hair loss is casually dismissed as 'part of the aging process', your story is a reminder to push harder for a true diagnosis and investigate what treatments may be available.

Have you been affected by any of the types of hair loss mentioned here?

Do you have any tips or advice you'd like to share?

Whatever your experience, I'd love to hear from you! Please share your story by completing the simple form below...

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