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25 year old Androgenetic Alopecia journey

Discussion in 'Treatments for Androgenetic Alopecia' started by lmunoz10, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. lmunoz10

    lmunoz10 Member

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    Hello all!

    So, here we are. I'm a 25-year-old librarian with everyday stress just like everyone else. I have a full-time job and a child who I take care of alone most of the time since my partner travels for his work.

    I shockingly noticed my thinning in August 2016 when I parted my hair down the middle and looked into a mirror at work. Honestly, I felt like I was hit by a train. I HAD to admit something was wrong. I was ignorant on this topic and didn't really know female hair loss was even a thing! Here is a picture of my hair that very day: [​IMG]

    I was in denial for a long time, trying to make excuses that would prove to me that it was caused by something temporary, but blood tests at my general doctor and dermatologist proved that everything was just fine. Just like you, probably, I scoured the internet high and low for information and answers from people like me.

    I wouldn't say I have an extensive history of hair loss in my family. My father and his brothers are the only ones. Everyone else, including my grandparents have gorgeous hair. I have 3 older brothers (the oldest is 10 years older) who also still have a full head of healthy hair. Why me, right? 25% chance landed on me, despite me being a female! I went through a pretty dark grieving period and every time I would find hair on my clothes I would immediately get hit with anxiety. Sometimes I would wake up feeling fine until I strolled in front of a mirror and saw the reality. I can go on and on about how terrible some things were but I am feeling generally better now, although I still have some ups and downs. I have to keep telling myself that I still am who I am. I am still a wonderful parent, partner, and beautiful woman. If my hair gets terribly thin, I'll just shave it off and try my best to be a strong person. I'll have earned my "badass" badge.

    It is worse when I part down the middle:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I get by by parting my hair on the side, which worked well for some time but the continual thinning is becoming more and more noticeable:
    [​IMG]

    Well I hate to ramble on so here is the bottom line:

    It doesn't fall out in clumps. Sometimes only 10 fall out during my morning routine and sometimes it's 20, 30, 40. Rarely more thatn that. I guess it's just a gradual shedding but the shed hairs are not being replaced well enough.

    I started taking Biotin, Daily Vitamins, Vitamin D, Iron, and Fish oil supplements in October 2016 because I thought, well perhaps it doesn't help but it can't really hurt, either. I didn't really notice any improvements in my hair loss with the vitamins, but I will continue to take them.

    On November 14, I began applying 5% Women's Rogaine and I will continue to post updates as time goes by.

    Best wishes to all,

    Liz
     
  2. lmunoz10

    lmunoz10 Member

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    2 week update

    Hello all!

    I know 2 weeks is pretty soon, but I have been anxious for time to go by and thought I would give an update on some of the changes I'm seeing.

    I don't know if this is part of the initial dread shed but I have been very steadily losing about 50 hairs per day during my morning routine. This is slightly higher than it was before. The number of hairs doesn't sound too alarming but there is a noticeable difference. My hair just LOOKS thinner, more see-through, one-dimensional and also a lot of my scalp is showing even on my side-part. I haven't noticed some of the other side effects that people report (yet) like facial aging or facial hair.

    In order to deal with how noticeably thin it's getting, I resorted to buying Toppik after reading some great reviews. I bought the smallest possible sizes of black, medium brown, and light brown. Black and medium brown are too dark, and light brown is too light. I ended up mixing the medium brown and light brown which looks okay, but to me, the color seems a bit off and doesn't completely match my scalp. I don't think anyone looks closely enough at my scalp to really notice, though.

    My dermatologist told me to try this for 8-12 weeks and then follow up. I'm hoping that when I go back for my follow-up, I can try Spironolactone.

    After two weeks, you're really not supposed to see an improvement and there is a shed stage that everyone says you will go through at first. I am shedding, whether it's the normal shed or Rogaine shed, but I'm still hopeful for the future. Time will tell.

    Thanks for reading and stay strong.
     
  3. lmunoz10

    lmunoz10 Member

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    4 week update

    Hello everyone,

    Today marks 4 weeks since starting Rogaine 5% foam. It's actually gone by quite quickly. I have been pretty consistent with it, and have only missed 1 day due to a special occasion. I put it on all over since I'm a diffuse thinner in the evening as soon as I get home from work and I put some on only on the worst spots in the AM after I shower, before I blow dry.

    I'm still shedding every single day and some days the shed is quite high. Now, the normal number of hairs shed is around 50 but the numbers can go up to 70 or a bit higher. This is ONLY during my morning routine of washing, combing, and gently styling. This has definitely made a difference since the top of my head is noticeably thinner. I will post pictures tomorrow since right now I'm at work and have Toppik in my hair. I'm being patient for now, since I know this is pretty normal and results take 12-15 months.

    Okay, here goes nothing.
    This is how I part my hair every day, when I go to work. Don't really see much difference besides more thinning at temples.
    [​IMG]


    Parted down the middle is the worst. It is sobering just how much thinner it's gotten in only 4 weeks.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    You can see my scalp all the way to the back.
    [​IMG]


    I don't have any other side effects at this time. Nothing else to report!
     
    #3 lmunoz10, Dec 12, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  4. lmunoz10

    lmunoz10 Member

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    So I've hit the two month mark. Everything looks relatively the same. Shed has decreased from 70 hairs in my morning routine to about 40.
    I have also finally noticed the dreaded facial hair. However, it was not what I expected. I thought I was going to start growing a luxurious beard but it really is nothing like that. It's very tiny, wispy peach fuzz all over my forehead and cheeks (next to my mouth) that I really can't even see until I get super close to a mirror. However, this wispy peach fuzz does get surprisingly long so I have just tweezed the whole area. It really isn't as big a deal as I thought it'd be.
    My hair still does fall out easily, like 4-5 hairs every single time I run my fingers through my hair even if I do it for 15 minutes straight. It also is worth mentioning that I also got off of my birth control pill (Lutera) that I have been taking for over 5 years.
     
  5. Lily

    Lily Senior Member

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    It's a long, slow journey - no quick answers and in some instances no answers at all. I'm much older -69- and have been losing hair for 15+ years. I now wear a HH topper.
     
  6. lmunoz10

    lmunoz10 Member

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    Thanks for your comment! And yes, I have finally accepted that this is just something I have to deal with for the rest of my life, and treatment of any kind will always be slowww. I haven't given up yet.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hey all! I've hit the three month mark. I am pretty sure my hair has filled in some since the 6-week and two-month updates. Just to remind you, I got off the birth control pill two months ago after having been on it for about 5 years. My shedding was a little bad at that time and would climb up to about 80 hairs during my morning routine, but now things have slowly dropped to about an average of 40 hairs per day. I take vitamins on and off, and I use Rogaine 5% once a day.
    Here are the pictures-
    Where I part my hair:
    [​IMG]

    Parted down the middle:
    [​IMG]

    View from the front:
    [​IMG]

    I still use Toppik every day and I think that at this point, no one would notice that my hair is thinning unless I tell them. No side effects except peach fuzzy facial hair. I found waxing and plucking them would make my face break out LIKE NO OTHER, so bad that it's not an option anymore. I may try hair removal creams. That's about it. I hope this is helping some of you who are new or struggling with what to do next. I know it really helped me to read up on other girls' stories.
     
  7. Chasrogers01

    Chasrogers01 Member

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    I can't see any of your pictures! Sad face. Anyway, good luck!
     
  8. lmunoz10

    lmunoz10 Member

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    Oh, no! I'm sorry. I don't know why I can't seem to upload my photos. As a last resort, I pasted my photos to a Word document to create sort of a hair diary/timeline. I had to upload it to Google docs, because this wouldn't even upload a simple Word document attachment either!
    Here's the link to the Google document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1z9tzXG908S4YRdDvTzjmsMMZRXfaqIESShLKASOp_Nc/edit?usp=sharing

    I really couldn't figure out any other way to share. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I hope you'll be able to see the photos in the Google doctor.

    Thanks,
    Liz
     
  9. Chasrogers01

    Chasrogers01 Member

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    Hi Liz, I can see the pics! Your part definitely looks better in the last photo. I am 3 weeks ahead of you on the Rogaine. I have been using it 16 weeks. My hairloss looks similar to yours, but my hair is longer with natural curl. My texture and color also look similar to yours. I have noticed an improvement in my hair. It definitely thickened up my existing hair but has been slow at regrowth. I'm sticking with it. It's my only option. My hairloss specialist told me I have a 90% chance of keeping my hair if I will keep up the treatment. I don't know if this is true, but I'm hopeful. Best of luck to you! Don't give up! We need to give this at least a year to see full results.
     
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  10. misa

    misa New Member

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    Hi Liz,

    Thanks for sharing your pictures! I am sorry for your hairloss, I completely am in the same situation as you, I am 24 year old and my Androgenetic Alopecia started when I got off my BC pill.
    Your hair looks better 3 months after using rogaine, so you're on the right way, that's great!
    I've been using rogaine since sept. 2016, but still do not have results yet, hope it's going to improve like you!
     
  11. Lily

    Lily Senior Member

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    So glad you've had some success - I noticed you have lovely eyelashes. I never did but even worse after years of hair loss.
     
  12. lmunoz10

    lmunoz10 Member

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    Thank you, Lily. I've noticed mine have steadily been falling out too, which I find strange. Didn't know this applied to eyelashes as well. And as far as the success, I'm glad I am seeing some improvement too. Like many others, at this point I just want to maintain. I just want to feel like I'm a little bit in control and can slow down the hair loss. I'm still shedding a good amount every day, but it seems to be holding up okay anyway.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hey! Yeah I can tell by looking at my temples. They have filled out since the 6 week pictures. I'm glad you've noticed an improvement too!! I'm sticking with it, too. Awesome! Those are some good chances. My dermatologist didn't give me any information like that but so far I'm optimistic about maintaining like this for some time. Thanks and good luck to you too :).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hi Misa, no problem. When I first found out I was losing my hair and that it was a permanent or semi-permanent thing, I was absolutely devastated to say the least. I was just in a depressive funk, a lot of random crying, being too embarrassed to go out, feeling unattractive, thinking "why me?" but once I started diving into this community and seeing how open women were with their stories, I realized that this is actually quite common. When people shared their step-by-step journey details with photos it sort of helped me wrap my head around the whole thing and taught me that this is manageable and doable. It definitely removed some of that feeling of impending doom. I was taught how dealing with it was within my reach.

    I'm sorry you are going through this too, and so young like me but there are many others just like us. And my results have been veeeery minor for now, but yeah I've heard it takes like a year to two which makes sense since growing hair doesn't happen overnight. Good luck and thanks for your comment!
     
  13. misa

    misa New Member

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    Hi Liz,

    Sorry for the late reply! I also felt like you, and there was a period I was just thinking about my hair, all my life was turning around it. This is so depressing to see hair falling and thinning, starting to notice the scalp and stuff... hopefully, I've bought some hair fiber that can hide it, and I feel a bit more confident, even though I know it is not a long term solution at all. It is true that lot of woman are going through it when seeing all the testimonials on this forum, however in "real life" I notice so few woman who got alopecia, when I am looking around me in train, in the streets..., at least not as young as me. So yes, I wonder "why me?", but thanks to my new life in a new city, I have less time to think about my hair.

    I hope your hair continues to grow thanks to minoxidil, even though it is at a slow pace :) I've seen an endo last week, and I will start Androcur next month, I hope it's going to work! Good luck to you too ^^
     
  14. lmunoz10

    lmunoz10 Member

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    Hey everyone! I will not be giving Rogaine updates for the next year or so because we are expecting! As far as I know, it's not completely known if it is safe to use minoxidil while pregnant or breastfeeding so I'm just going to stay away from it. I read online about expecting women with Alopecia Areata and I seemed to have read a lot of testimonials stating that their hair loss stopped completely or lessened dramatically. I was hoping for the same, but so far, my hair loss has remained consistent and even has been ramping up for the last week. I went from losing about 40 hairs in my morning routine to about 100. I have also noticed that I have miniaturized hairs like mad, too. Maybe it's just a phase while my hormones settle down, maybe this is how it's going to be. For now, I feel I've got better things to worry about. It is what it is, and we're excited about our little new person. After I stop breastfeeding, I do expect to get back on minoxidil and continue giving updates.

    Good luck all.
     
  15. Geslina

    Geslina New Member

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    I am in a different situation than you, as I am older and just in the early stages of menopause. My hairloss is likely hereditary and hormonal. I'm also using Rogaine, and I use Toppix and Great Hair Day from QVC. I also had a problem with the Toppix colors being either too dark or too light for my blonde hair. I also don't think Toppix stays on very well, it either disappears or gets clumpy and patchy looking after a few hours. Great Hair Day works better, and the blonde shade, though a tad reddish, is much more natural looking.

    Ive been using Rogaine 5% for 2 months and I think I feel some fine stubble in my thinning areas. I never noticed any actual shed when I started, I didn't notice any falling hairs ever, not even when my hair started initially thinning. Seems it was so gradual that it happened without me noticing, until one day I just looked in the mirror and was like, WTF???

    I guess I should be grateful that losing my hair didn't happen to me at a younger age, I can't even imagine how hard it must be when you are younger. And the lack of options is downright depressing. But there are a lot of women who have success with Rogaine, just pray we do too!
     
  16. lmunoz10

    lmunoz10 Member

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    Hello all!!! I’m back!!! So, I’ve had my little person. Her name is Maggie and she is now 2.5 years old. She’s amazing. As far as hair, which is what we are all here for, I stopped shedding while pregnant. It was great. I held onto that buildup of hair after birth until exactly 3 months postpartum. Then the postpartum shedding began and it was AWFUL. I filled trash cans at work with my hair. Gross. And so stressful. I couldn’t do anything about it, though, because I was breastfeeding. All I could do was hope that it didn’t get too extreme. At a certain point, it did stabilize a little bit... maybe after I had lost all that hair that my head had been holding onto but should have already lost during my pregnancy. I just tried not to worry about it and continued on with my extremely demanding life with a new human. When I stopped breastfeeding, I immediately picked up rogaine again (2% foam) and started using every day once a day in the morning, like I always had. Just decided to move on with my life having incorporated Rogaine.

    Then I noticed recently that my hair was still just thinner and thinner that it was getting pretty noticeable. The dread and fear when you see your hair look like that is the worst. That horrible feeling lingers for so long. Makes it hard to enjoy other things or focus on anything else. After seeing some Instagram posts by a local salon and reading some articles and testimonials, I actually decided to go to a local beauty salon that does Scalp Micro Pigmentation and spent $2,000 and several hours over a 3 day period getting my scalp tattooed to help camouflage the loss. I was hoping for a life changing procedure. Just something to lessen the panic and shame. The reality is that I honestly cannot tell a difference. I just am out 2k, a lot of hair fell out during and after the procedure. I don’t know if maybe the salon just didn’t do it right... but yeah... it simply did not help much. I will say that when they were messing around with my head, they pointed out that my hair loss was extremely bad in certain areas but looked normal in others. I realized that the areas that were fine were the areas in which I applied Rogaine. Rogaine REALLY WORKS, guys. If I had not gotten myself on it, my hair would have been a complete lost cause at this point. Rogaine has allowed me to still be able to pass with a head with enough hair to be socially acceptable. I am so grateful I tried it. It was definitely hard to do. I felt so unwomanly and ashamed at first when I had to order it and put it on my scalp because Rogaine is strongly associated with men. I never got any side effects at all. After a while, I switched to drops instead of foam. Another thing I began doing is I just take the label off the bottle and draw on the bottle. I make the bottle pretty with flowers, hearts, and sometimes write things like “babe juice” on it. Yes it’s silly. But, it makes a difference in the morning when you reach for it to use on your scalp. It’s a lot better than “MEN’S ROGAINE” or “FOR MEN’S HAIR LOSS”
    Anyway, SMP. Failure.
    When that didn’t help, I decided to go ahead and bite the bullet and head to a dermatologist for any other options. I was open to meds since I am not pregnant or breastfeeding and do not plan on having any more children. The dermatologist told me to not bother with any minoxidil below 5%. She prescribed me 50mg of Spironolactone and said if I tolerate it well enough she would bump me up to 100mg in two weeks. She said to wash my hair 2-3 times a week and avoid heat and chemicals as much as possible.

    I have only been taking Spironolactone for two days and have had minor tummy discomfort but nothing awful. Hoping that it’ll help slow the shedding and also be tolerable. We will see. Right now, I am optimistic. Cautious. But optimistic.

    I also will give a little tip that helped me and I just now realized. Use SCRUNCHIES not hair ties. Hair ties were tougher on my hair and would always pull hair out. Scrunchies are a whole lot gentler on my hair.

    I also just bought a derma roller off amazon for like $20 because I heard doing that before the Rogaine routine about once or twice a week really helps. We will see how that goes too when it arrives.

    If this all fails and it keeps getting worse, I’ve already had enough time to wrap my head around using toppers and maybe wigs if it gets to that point. Of course, I would rather have my natural hair, but I’m grateful that at least there is an option to help present myself to the world (and the world have no clue about it) if treatments don’t work out.

    Hope you all are doing well. Have a great day.
     
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