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Did Zoloft (sertraline) Regrow My Hair Postpartum? Also Spironolactone Questions.

Discussion in 'Women's General Hair Loss Discussions' started by MouseGraft, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. MouseGraft

    MouseGraft Member

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    Okay, y'all. Buckle up for a wild ride.

    I am 29F with a strong family history of thinning hair, both women and men. My brothers went bald between 18-21. My mom has thin hair which she cuts and styles very cleverly and she looks beautiful, but I want to be able to have long hair for as long as possible and what if my hair loss is actually more aggressive than hers? So I'm treating mine now.

    When I was 17 I experienced by first big hormonal shed, which coincided with my first use and discontinuation of hormonal birth control. I experienced big sheds throughout my twenties while stopping, starting, or changing birth control (I used Ortho Tri Cyclen for the longest, and had no perceptible side effects), or when I had my son three years ago. My hair got thinner and thinner but still looked fine so I didn't treat it.

    After I had my son, I also developed severe postpartum depression/anxiety and went on Zoloft (I used the generic, sertraline). My hair grew in thicker, after my postpartum shed, than it had been since I was 20 or so. Thicker than it had been during pregnancy, for sure. I had clear skin, and lost a bit of weight (I'm short, and I've weighed about 110 lbs my whole adult life. I weighed 106 or so while on sertraline). I thought that maybe all these positive changes were just what my body was like while not on the Pill. I discontinued sertraline after 8 months.

    Over the two years since then, I have slowly gained weight (now 116 lbs), my periods have become irregular (up to 45 days), and I have had constant heavy shedding (I'd say 200 hairs on average). Iron deficiency was treated but has not improved hair loss. Thyroid within range. Testosterone is normal (right in the middle of the range), DHEAS 235 (which is normal, but is associated with androgen excess symptoms), DHT is very low (turns out DHT isn't as strongly associated with women's hair loss as is testosterone), but estrogen is low and progesterone is 0 when I should be ovulating and it should be high.

    I kept thinking, "Why in the hell did I seem to do well on Zoloft when there are so many reports of people losing their hair and gaining weight on it?" I kept telling myself it was coincidence. Then, randomly, while nose deep in PubMed, I stumbled upon a few articles reporting that SSRIs increase SHBG, aromatase, and estrogen, and decrease androgens. Holy shit. So now I think it really WAS Zoloft that regrew my hair.

    In any case, I've tried every single herb and supplement in the universe (I was most recently trying DIY hormone therapy with soy isoflavones, but then got spooked about it leading to hypothyroidism and stopped). I tried PRP, which made things worse FAST. It's time for me to try more powerful drugs.

    My options are 1) spironolactone, alone or in combination with Ortho-Cyclen (my husband has had a vasectomy so I might be able to use it without, depending on my gyno). I am concerned about weight gain on this as I already gain weight eating much less than I used to, but I'd rather be a bit heavier and have my hair. 2) just go back on Zoloft and see if it does what I suspect it did last time, and stay on it for as long as it does that, and then cross the antiandrogen bridge when I have to.

    I should mention that I am technically severely depressed (no shit, I would guess everyone on this board is) and it might help me to be on Zoloft anyway.

    Thoughts? Experiences? Advice? Love Spironolactone? Hate Spironolactone? Spironolactone better with/without birth control pills? Zoloft also made you a gorgeous Godiva?

    Let me know, friends. As always, love and hugs to all my sisters going through the worst. thing. ever.
     
    Jtilly and Farrah711 like this.
  2. Jtilly

    Jtilly Established Member

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    I have no advice but I really hope someone responds to you!
    As I am in a very similar predicament!
    A little different in that I was diagnosed in May with early menopause or peri menopause, depending on which one of my hundred doctors I’ve seen you ask.
    But I have low estrogen, low progesterone, “normal”, probably actually low testosterone and DHT levels. I tried bio identical hormone replacement therapy, reacted horribly! Every bad side effect you can imagine, including acne that I did not have beforehand that is still persisting! They took me off bio identical and are now advising BCP.
    I went from mildly concerned about my hair in May to now losing boatloads of hair! I had super thick hair in December, even had my stylist thin it out!
    First 3 dermatologists I saw said I have telogen effluvium. 4th dermatologist I saw said that I have telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia. She recommended Yaz and spironolactone.
    But I am super interested in hearing about what you said about Zoloft. I am positive I need a depression medication at this point but have been scared because have seen how many cause hair loss.
    I am so scared of medicine these days! I have been tormented with the the decision to start BCP and which one choose! I have been torn between Yaz, Yasmin, Desogen or Ortho Tri Cyclen. I do not want any more bad side effects. My body has been through so much already in the last 4 months.
    Equally tormented whether or not to use spironolactone!
    I am so scared to lose more hair. But I know if I do nothing I will for surely be doomed!
    I hope someone has some answers to your questions!!
     
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  3. MouseGraft

    MouseGraft Member

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    Hey! I just wanted to update with some of the studies I was talking about. It's far from proof of anything and I want to be clear I am NOT recommending SSRIs as a hair loss treatment--I'm just trying to explain what I experienced.

    Also I just started Zoloft a few days ago and I am so ready to be feeling less depressed and anxious.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24642156

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28179152

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26162595

    http://www.mental-health-today.com/rx/testos.htm
     
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  4. MouseGraft

    MouseGraft Member

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    Hello, My Sweet Ladies!

    I think this disease makes us all at least a little superstitious, and part of me really believes that if I dare to celebrate anything, it'll all go down the drain. Literally.

    That said, there's been some improvement. And also some bloodwork that supports my Sertraline theory. I've been on it for ten weeks. My mental health is great. I only think about hair loss while clearing out the drain or sink.

    About two and a half weeks after starting sertraline, my shed suddenly dropped by half, from like 300/day to 150/day. I think it might now be at 100, though it fluctuates. I can't pay too much mind to the fluctuations, or I start getting upset again.

    Also, I had a period two weeks after starting, making it the first 28-day cycle I've had in like two years. I have had one other period since starting, also on time. This, along with the shed reduction, made me think I was on the right track.

    My hair appears to be regrowing. There are baby hairs all over my hairline. The first photo was taken before I did the PRP that made things so much worse. I'm posting that as the baseline because my first thought was, "This is just recovery from the massive shed PRP gave me." But I think it might be a net gain, because it appears that my left temple, the area of my worst recession, is filling in.

    IMG_0512.jpg IMG_0514.jpg


    My hair and nails are growing really fast because I take collagen daily. The reason I don't think collagen is responsible for any thickening is that I've been taking it for months. For most of a year? It has made everything grow faster, and it's great for my joints, but it never did anything for the shed or apparently helped with new growth.


    Now here's my blood test results, in convenient graph form. Yellow is June, Green is November. The scale is arbitrary (like, the tesosterone scale is fundamentally unrelated to the estrogen scale), so only pay attention to the relative difference between months. You can see that testosterone and DHEA-S are lower, while estrogen is WAY higher.

    IMG_0507.jpg


    Sertaline has side effects, and they suck. I had awful stomach pain for the first month. I am more tired and foggy-brained (and I was already both of those things).

    I am still DEFINITELY NOT RECOMMENDING IT AS A FIRST-LINE ANTIANDROGEN. But, as far as I know, nobody else has figured out this connection. I think I just wasn't being diagnosed with PCOS because I have a normal BMI and got pregnant without medical intervention, but I think I might actually have that (also, my blood sugar is unusually high for someone my age with my activity level). If you have any PCOS symptoms, including hair loss, you might find you benefit from an antiandrogen. At some point, I'll go off sertraline, and at that point I'll try spironolactone.

    So much love to you all. We are going through one of the hardest things a woman can go through, and it's not vain or shallow to say that. Hugs, Girls.
     
    Farrah711 and TinaM1968 like this.

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