Female Pattern Baldness

Discussion in 'Healthful Living / Natural Treatments' started by SearchingForRainbows, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    I was diagnosed with FPB last summer. Until now, I've told very few people about it. In my case, it's hereditary. There is nothing I can do to stop it's progression. It's at the point where I can still hide it but it's getting more difficult to do so. If it keeps progressing at this rate, I know I'll have no way of covering up the bald spots by summertime.

    I know I have no reason to feel embarrassed, but I am. I'm also sad and a bit scared too. I really don't want to wear a wig or use products to disguise this. I want to be able to accept this and get on with my life.

    However, at this moment, I'm not feeling very confident. I'm trying to move ahead and "talking" about it here is the first step for me... Still I can't stop the tears while typing... SFR
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not



    You know, we always try to tell ourselves that "inner beauty" is the only kind that matters - but it's hard to watch that "outer beauty" fade and know there is nothing we can do to stop it. It hurts! And yet, we feel guilty admitting that it hurts because it makes us seem so 'superficial'.

    I know you don't want to try any subsitutes for hair....

    but how do you feel about colorful scarves and caps? Very sexy! And quite feminine!
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

  4. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Don't be afraid of pretty hats, and please don't think you're alone in this. My hair is so thin, you can see my scalp, ughhh!!!! It's so upsetting. I wear hats all summer and found a new hairdresser to help with a better style. I also wear a lot of make-up, and I mean a ton!!! I love make-up. (((HUGS))))
  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    There's a lot of research in topical and pill treatments for FPB now if you're willing to consider them. I know other women that swear by pre-natal vitamins, too. I think I'm looking at a similar future, my bio-mom has hair that has greatly thinned out, and since then I really started noticing that mine has, as well. Before Kiddo I had a lot of hair - it was fine hair, but there was tons of it. Since the post-partum shed it has never regained that and seems to be getting worse.
  6. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    DaisyFace, Thanks so much for understanding... I've always loved hats and scarfs but usually don't buy them for myself. I think now is a perfect time for me to splurge a bit and add some accessories to my wardrobe.

    Wiped Out, Thanks for the support.

    upallnight, I'm so sorry you're going through this too!!! I'm glad you have a hairdresser who you like. I'm lucky in this way too - I've been going to my hair stylist for at least a dozen years now and she is really good at helping to hide it too. She is going to a seminar on FPB soon. I haven't bought any new make-up in awhile - Thanks for giving me a reason to shop!

    HaoZi, I'm really sorry you're in the same boat as me and upallnight!!! I tried Rogaine but I'm allergic to it. I've been to 3 dermatologists. The first one was a total waste of time. He diagnosed me before he did any lab work. I let him know I had to wait months to get an appointment and I wasn't leaving without having lab work done. He basically told me that women with FPB usually don't lose all of their hair, like that was going to make me feel better. He was the one who said to use Rogaine. He told me that was my only option and I didn't need to see him again.

    My rheumatologist sent me to the second dermatologist. She did a scalp biopsy and much more extensive lab work than the first one. When the lab work came back, she told me one of my hormone levels was extremely high and sent me to a dermatologist who specializes in diseases of the scalp and hair loss. I saw her after I started this thread.

    The third dermatologist is absolutely wonderful - I LOVE HER!!! She is one of the most patient, understanding and caring doctors I've ever been to. She spent almost an hour with me explaining everything. I had tears in my eyes because I was just so relieved that she understands the emotional impact of FPB and letting me know that my feelings are "normal" for women who have it.

    In a nutshell, while my biopsy results favored Chronic Telegen Effluvium (hair loss due to never ending stress) over FBP, she told me that from examining me she believes it's now FPB and not CTE. (It's interesting to note that CTE can speed up the process of FPB in a woman who is susceptible to it because of heredity.) She gave me a script for Finasteride because she said she has seen good results in some of her patients with FPB. I guess the only reason I'm lucky I went through early menopause is because if I could still have kids, I doubt I would have been given the script. It can cause severe birth defects in boys.

    While my insurance covers the dermatologists visits, it won't cover the Finasteride since it's not being used for it's intended purpose and because my hair loss is just considered cosmetic. However, the Finasteride is really inexpensive - $27 at Target for a 90 day supply but in my case, it's a six month supply because I only take half a pill/day.

    I guess the most important thing I've learned so far is that if you have hair loss, get help as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more chance that the hair follicles will be permanently destroyed. Also, I was told to wash my hair daily. Contrary to what I believed, it won't make me lose more hair then I would if I skipped a day between washings. (I HATE washing my hair and seeing how much falls out.)

    I was told it takes about 3 months to see any results. If it works, it'll stop further hair loss as long as I continue taking it. If a miracle happens (not counting on it), it might cause some new hair growth... I'll post an update after 3 months.

    Since I first posted, I've been doing a bit better as far as trying to learn to accept this. I realize that it's not really in my control. The only thing I can control is how I react to it. I still have moments when I cry over it but at least now, it's not on a daily basis.

    Everyone, thanks so much for all of your support. It means so much to me to be able to come here and feel comfortable enough to "talk" about this. SFR
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I'm so glad the dermatologist was kind and understanding. When my easy child was suffering from alopecia, her dermatologist was the same way - so kind and sympathetic - especially to a 16-year old! I'm glad that you were given an rx that has a success rate. I hope your moments of crying are over now that you can look forward to hair regrowth.

    Coming here and feeling comfortable sharing is why this particular forum was started.

  8. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    Sharon (LDM),

    As hard as it is for me to deal with this, it must have been a zillion times more difficult for your daughter to cope with the negative impact of losing her hair. The teen years are tough enough without something like this happening. I'm really glad that you found a dermatologist who made her feel comfortable and was able to help her. I'm praying that your daughter's hair loss was only temporary and by now just an unpleasant memory...

    It really bothers me that much more research has been done to help men with hair loss then women with hair loss. Depending on where you get your information from, about 25% of all women will experience some sort of alopecia. At least this problem is more out in the open now and I guess this is a positive step in the right direction.

    Thanks so much for your support. It really helps to know others understand. SFR
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Well it's nice to see someone else talk openly about this -

    I'm so thin - I lol.....Okay well I comb the top of my head with a lice comb because - well I'm so thin. I went to the dermatologist last year and he told me to use Rogaine for men. OKAY I found it at Kroger the generic brand and I was so excited to hear that it won't grow hair back in women only men but ------it would stop the loss. So I got it. 2 boxes. It was BOGO. (loved that) I started using the foam and YICK. I think it made what hair you have left stay by making it a grease spot. (visions of combovers)

    Then about a month into it - (and I'm 46 never dyed my hair or highlighted it) my hair gets - gray - I mean Okay I'm not vain - but WOW - gray? Oh great and it's like straw. It literally turned gray and straw=like overnight. I swear I thought it was a joke - or that hair in a can. So I washed and washed and washed....and nothing. O.M.W. WHAT? NOW?

    So I called the dermatologist - and I'm like O.M.W. - and he's like COME IN NOW. So I go in and he's looking and I'm freaking and then he says "Well this is from the Rogaine." ....(YA THINK?) "Stop using it." (Are you seriously charging me for THIS advice?) So I stopped using it and then he tells me there is NOTHING available for me now. NOTHING.

    So me and my little lice comb - just cried. Then laughed. Then I got a bottle of WEN in the mail from my Mom. I had gone to Sally Beauty looking for the shampoo that is supposed to help regrow hair - nothing. WEN seems to help my hair not fall OUT as much. and here's what I have found in other shampoos -

    SAMY - Fat hair - Is good for giving your hair a thicker look - It has NO sulfates.

    Loreal - NO SULFATES - Is excellent - smells good, rinses good. The overnight repair is good, smells good. Expensive - but worth it.

    WEN - EXTRA expensive - and I haven't seen where it makes my hair thicker - but...makes it baby fine and shiney and repairs split ends.

    If there is any product, vitamin - home remedy out there that grows it? I'd like to know about it - I've never heard of Finasteride or taking Pre-natal vitamins. Please let me know how this goes - I can't believe I had such a head of hair all my life and now this....I keep thinking - business up front - party in the back lol. UGH.

    And - FYI - the hair club is about $4k to start - but they DO hair transplants for women.
  10. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Pre-natals are heavy in the vitamins/minerals that your hair and nails use, and since most of us don't eat that well it fills those gaps. I recall hearing on Dr. Oz about stinging nettle for hair loss in women, but I haven't seen anything to back that up. I know the pills that are available are not for women of child-bearing age - we're not even supposed to handle the things for someone else because the risk of birth defects with the stuff is that high.
  11. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I'm so sorry you're going through this too!!! It gets me so angry that the dermatologist was such an :censored2:!!! He sounds like an even bigger one then the first one I went to - It's time doctors recognize FPB has a tremendous negative emotional impact on women. And, if the dermatologists you and I saw, really don't know much about FBP, then the least they could have done was to admit it and give us the name of a specialist who does. I'm so angry - I could go on and on and on but I'll get off my soapbox, lol...

    If you have decent insurance coverage, in my humble opinion, the best thing you can do is to find a dermatologist who specializes in female hair loss. Have lab work to rule out other things that could be causing the problem. If you want to know what lab tests were given to me, send me a pm and I'll list them for you. (So sorry, I deleted your email address by accident or else I would have just sent the info there.) Also, although it isn't always necessary, you might want a scalp biopsy. However, given the fact that mine was inconclusive, I really don't recommend it. It really wasn't necessary for my diag and hair will never grow back in the spot where it was taken. There are so many things that can cause hair loss, lots of them aren't permanent. by the way, all of my lab work, the biopsy and doctors visits were covered by my insurance. I just had to make my usual copayments.

    I think Haozi's advice about prenatal vitamins is good. If you're vitamin levels are low, it can definitely affect your hair and I really think the extra vitamins might help. However, if you have lab work done and your vitamin levels are fine, I don't think the prenatal vitamins can hurt, more ammunition to fight with, but I'm not sure they'll help either. The bottom line from what I can tell is that if you have FPB, nothing is going to stop it's progression except if you're one of the lucky ones that has success with several drugs (not always safe to use) or by using Rogaine. Still, if you stop the drugs, Rogaine, you'll lose all the hair that you would have lost if you weren't taking these things.

    Low Level Laser Therapy is another thing that some doctors/hair restoration surgeons believe can stop the progression of FPB. However, it's very expensive and there is no guarantee of success. There are no clear-cut guidelines for how long it needs to be used and for how many minutes it should be used per session. I've been told that if it works, after one year, whatever hair remains on your head will be with you for the rest of your life. Lots of conflicting info on the web!!! Supposedly this form of treatment works better for women then for men.

    Back to the drugs. There is a drug used to treat high blood pressure (if I remember correctly), Spirolactone (sp???) that some doctors prescribe for FPB. I'm not sure if it's safer then Finasteride, the drug I was prescibed. It doesn't cause birth defects though. As far as my experience using Finasteride, so far, no side effects that I'm aware of. Keeping my fingers crossed... If you're not able to have children any longer, then you could try it if you find a doctor that is willing to prescribe it. Some doctors prescribe it along with birth control pills. It's used much more frequently in Europe then in the USA.

    Hope some of what I've written makes sense! I definitely have brain fog this morning, lol...!!!

    Thanks for the tips on shampoos. Never heard of WEN shampoo - Will have to look into it. I think I'll try the Loreal and Samy brands. My hair stylist told me that there are some shampoos that can help keep hair from falling out. I'm sure they help but don't think that they can fix the problem alone. Still, I'm all for trying something to make my hair look better and thicker would be nice - What an understatement, lol..!!!

    Sending many, many hugs your way.... SFR

    HaoZi, Never heard of stinging nettle either - Going to google it when I have time. All info is greatly appreciated!!! THANKS!!!
  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    For all y'all, I'm going to hit you with a slightly different perspective. (Story first though...)

    I had something happen to my hair last spring. So the top layer is horrible. Now I have naturally curly hair. This is straight, frizzy even when wet. I cut it off 2" above the frizz - think Bowie/70s style - didn't work. BUT, the prenatal vitamins I am still taking? My nails look great. I used to never have to clip my toenails... Well... Sigh. Anyhoo - the 2/3 of my hair UNDER the top layer? Curls, shiny, fat and happy.

    NOW... As many of you know I volunteer in Relay For Life every year. There is this thing where we celebrate cancer survivors. And there are many, many more than I ever would have thought. But. Many of the women have very short hair, and some - have none due to chemo. One sweet lady I adore had the most beautiful long silky auburn hair. Well in 2009 we had an almost-tornado and the winds took her wig. Gone, poof. After about 3 seconds in disbelief, she just started to laugh and started helping us pick up stuff that could be damaged in rain and wind, baldheaded. LOVELY lady. So last May? There she was again - with a gorgeous scarf. She was not in chemo anymore, she just never grew her hair back. She swapped it out for a ball cap for a while, then when the sun went down? She went to the face painting tent and had them do her head.

    See, my perspective is this. I love my long hair. It's part of ME. But if I were to lose it? I would hope I could be like the lady at RFL. It's so hard to think about this stuff - because I would be horribly distressed (bad pun, but I cannot think of another word right now)... But I think it looks cool, for those who can deal with the loss. (And FWIW, I love scarves - they just won't stay on my head...)
  13. ML

    ML Guest

    OMG I can't believe I just saw this. I have had FPB for years, starting in my 30s and now, I'm going to be 50 this year and hair pieces and hats are a staple of my wardrobe. It took me a very long time to find acceptance with this. I imagine it is related to going through menopause at 40 which mom swears is related to all the fertility drugs I took in the 90s trying to get pregnant. You always want to find the "whys" with this stuff.

    I would like to PM with you about this topic. I have an amazing website to share with you. I would also be happy to send you pix with my bald head and how I look with my piece. I'm really REALLY sorry SFR. But I promise you, even this you can overcome. You are beautiful and it starts with loving and accepting yourself, even if it is without hair. I love that Randy Travis song, Forever and Ever Amen with the line in it that says "and if all your hair fell out I would love you anyway".

    Love and hugs of understanding. ML
  14. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    StepTo2, Sorry it's taken me so long to respond! What a beautiful story! What a courageous, strong, wonderful woman! I truly hope someday I'll be able to be more like her! I know I'm doing better because there are days when I don't think about it at all. However, I'm embarrassed by the fact that I still have moments when I'm alone and crying... I keep telling myself, it's only hair!!!

    ML, I'm so very sorry this happened to you too!!! It's wonderful that you've been able to accept it and move on. It gives me hope that someday, I'll be able to do the same. I'm touched by the fact you're willing to share so much with me - I would love to receive a PM from you!!! Many thanks!!!
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    My heart aches for the women suffering with this.
    I just posted about losing some hair and that has been a little hard. Nothing compared to what has been mentioned here There is a product I have used when I have had some minor issues in the past called Fermodyl. It seems to make the hair look a little thicker and in time, make it grow a little faster. It has helped me a little in the past, so I'm using it again.
    Interestingly, I recommended it to a friend and it helped her A LOT.
    I do think it made a dent in the problem for me....and it worked very well for her.
    perhaps it will help someone here.
    Oh...and my hairdresser says that yogurt and nuts can be helpful. (eating them LOL!)
    She has seen this before. Not sure about this one...but I'm trying it! LOL!
  16. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    Sorry you've had problems with hair loss too! I'm glad the Fermodyl helped you and and a friend. I've never heard of it but am going to look into it. Not sure about the yogurt and nuts either but at least they are healthy foods, lol... Thanks so much for sharing this info with all of us.
  17. Mafiachelle

    Mafiachelle New Member

    I've been losing my hair for 20+ years, been wearing wigs for 12 years now, it's not ideal, but it works. I hate seeing huge gobs of hair on the shower floor, crazy that I even have hair left after all I lose. But it's ok, do what you have to do to get through it.
  18. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Mafiachelle -

    I have long hair - very long. I have never cut my entire life. Well I think in my 46 years I've had maybe 4 hair cuts. I do not have the angora gene so it doesn't grow much more than about 8 inches past my shoulder. It's poker straight, no bangs, and dark brown. i've never colored or highlighted it either. It's always been baby soft, but thicker. A few years ago I started to notice it was falling out on top - I have hair around the crown, just not on top.

    I am not a vain person. (despite the one I play on the board) I've always said when it goes? I'll let it go. After 46 years of having your hair be the center of your attention? That's easier said than done, but I'll manage. I don't have gray hair either, but just this past year I see strands of silver. I tried Rogaine - and my hair got dried out, gray - ashy and broke off. I thought well - that's not so good. I thought about a wig, but I have sensitivity issues and well? If I can't even handle a tag in a shirt? I'm probably not a candidate for a wig or a wiglet either. I don't even have pierced ears because of the dangly noises . lol - again - (think pretty - but boy oh boy what a little weirdo)

    I do have some suggestions for you to try - Because it has slowed down the globbing hair in the shower for me -

    WEN - the stuff advertised on TV - I don't know what you have done to your hair - natural, ethnic, color, processed - but he has one for every type. I finally fell in love with the fig. I like aloe and cucumber second. It's a little expensive but worth every single nickle. watch the infomercial - it's not a joke, it's not any touchups - it's that good. It's also cheaper on QVC or HSN (one of those)

    Another good (inexpensive) shampoo is THICK HAIR by SAMY - red bottle - with conditioner. It has NO sulfa in it.

    Loreal Sulfa Free - (there are a few different types) again - for colored or dry hair - shampoo and conditioner - there is also after shower and overnight repair - IT"S awesome and smells good.

    Then if you have a SALLY beauty close to you? They have 2 or 3 shampoos that are good for the hair retaining styling - just ask - Just don't try thier brand of Wen - it's NOT the same. I tried it - my hair fell out in clumps.

    I'm going to try the prenatal vitamins - any idea how long THAT takes to see an effect?
  19. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Oh wow, here's another thing I just tried....dark brown eyeshadow. I have dark hair and I put this on, directly on my scalp, just in certain spots and my entire part. I'm a new woman. WEN...I love that product, it has really done wonders, my hair feels really healthy, shiny, curly, full....but sadly, doesn't help the thin....the eyeshadow works, try it!
  20. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    I have alopecia and really, really thin hair too. It's thinner on top than the sides.

    I'm only 36 but it's been this way since I was 15 or 16. I do know when I was on prenatals my hair was much better.

    I went to a dermatologist who just said "be glad you have curly hair to cover it up easier"....gee, thanks.

    I know this is an older thread but I'm glad to read a) that I'm not alone and b) the ideas the rest of you have.

    I, too, have been trying to just accept.