Just some background: I am a healthy and athletic 20 year old male. I compete in a div.1 athletic program, and though I've gained a little beer weight, I'm in excellent shape. My grandfather on my father's side has just about a full head of hair, while my mother's grandfather has very little left. My father is about medium, but did not experience hairloss as early as I am experiencing it now. I began experiencing it last year when I was 19. I came home from school for the summer and my parents told me they felt like my hair was thinning. I went to a dermatologist and he told me I definitely had the signs of male pattern baldness (they did the thyroid test).
At this stage it wasn't even really visible, about July of this past year, 2011 Now, not even a year later, plenty of people have commented on it and it is a huge source of embarrassment and humiliation for me. I have always had fluffy curly hair which girls loved to play with, I never even imagined balding as a possibility.
I'd like to note a few peculiarities though. My hair loss is highly concentrated in one region (view photos please), and I have had this happen before, kind of. All through high school my friends teased about a bald spot on my crown, where my hair spiraled out of. I could never get rid of it, but never felt like it was a real bald spot. You could definitely see my scalp though. At this point however, this has somehow disappeared and nobody has mentioned it in years. I find this odd. Also, I am not shedding. I do not wake up to hairs on my pillow, or hairs on my hand when I run my hands through my hair (even when in the shower).
My grandmother gave me a shampoo which she uses and which helped her, it is the Ducray Anaphase shampoo. I've been using it for a few weeks now and have noticed no difference, in fact I've probably thinned out even more. My first dermatologist (a male) suggested I try rogaine. He told me he wouldn't recommend propecia because of the side effects, but would prescribe it if I'd like. Another dermatologist told me she had no problem with propecia. I've done research on both and the side effects I've uncovered are horrific. I want to get rid of my hairloss problem, but I don't want to mess with my heart and blood pressure when I'm an active athlete and could seriously harm myself, and the apparently (uncommon, but widely noted) permanent side effects of propecia are life destroying and crippling. I'd rather be bald than permanently impotent, but it seems like I don't have much of an option.
Frankly, I'm really scared and I don't know what to do. Any advice would be highly appreciated. My main concerns, however, are the side effects of both these medicines.
From the sides, crown, etc. I am not losing or thinning noticeably any hair. I tried uploading more but imageshack didn't let me. As you can see it's all concentrated in a small area, one which actually might look bigger in this photo than it really is.
Thanks for reading all of this.
EDIT: As an added note, apparently I've been told very recently that a strange abrasion on my shoulder and wrist (where the hair seems to have stopped growing in a small patch) are the results of Eczema. I don't see how Eczema ties to hair loss, but I thought it was worth mentioning. The scalp area feels normal by the way. Though this sounds like an obvious explanation, I do not feel it is the cause, and the dermatologist who noted the Eczema did not bring it up. Only recently did I even consider the small possibility of a link.