This is a long post, rivaling "War and Peace" but please read it to the end.
For the most part, I haven't been on this site in at least seven months. I stopped coming here at first because it was dragging me down further and making my obsession over my hair loss even worse. Recently the reason I have not been on here is because my hair loss situation has not only completely stopped, but I have gained a good 40% density in my hair. It is at the same stage now as it was before Propecia stopped working. It is almost at the same stage it was when I was 20. I am 35 now.
I do not know any of you from a hole in the wall, but I spent well over three hours writing this post because three hours of my life is nothing if it helps anyone who has hit rock bottom over their hair loss. Some members are even considering suicide or believe that hair loss is worse than cancer. I had also reached that point. That was how deep my depression became. From the bottom of my heart, I hope this post helps you. I suspect this post will bring about many negative replies, but I could care less.
At the age of 18, during my first year of college, the hair around the sides of my hairline went completely bald almost over night. In other words, if I had shaved my head, I would have had a mild widow's peak. As a teenager you do not give a second thought about hair loss, or even aging, so naturally I was shocked by this. I used to tease my Dad when he told me he was going out for a hair cut telling him that it will literally be a hair cut, since you only have one hair. Of course, I would never make fun of someone who is balding, but my dad is at age where he couldn't care less.
In any event, I went to a doctor about the hair loss at the corner of my hairline and he prescribed me Propecia. I took 1 mg of Propecia every night for twelve years, from age 18 to 30. During these 12 years, I did not spend a second of my time thinking about hair loss. In fact I was doing all sorts of funky things with my hair using wax. After getting on Propecia, my hair loss completely stopped for twelve years. However, everything went to hell at around age 30. It was at this point that the Propecia seemed to not be effective enough to halt my hair loss, I was losing my hair slowly but surely everyday and I even got a few comments from people telling me that I was balding. They were only teasing me, but they did not realize how important my hair is to me and how much those comments hurt. I was not checking my hair every day, but each month I would take a good look at my hair, and slowly but surely my hair was becoming thinner and thinner. I could see more and more of my scalp. This was the first time in 12 years that I once again started to think about hair loss.
I was surprised that the Propecia stopped being powerful enough to stop my hair loss. I naively assumed that if I took it everyday, I would have a full head of hair for the rest of my life. For the first time in my life I started searching all the hair loss websites and found out about dutasteride and how it is a more powerful hair loss treatment than Propecia. I had never heard of dutasteride until I started my research on the Internet. Without a second thought, I dumped the Propecia and got a prescription to take .5 mg of dutasteride a night. I continued on this for a couple more years and noticed that it wasn't helping that much. In fact my hairline in front receded back at least an inch or so and for the first time in my life the hair all over my head because very thin. It stopped being a battle to save my hair line, but a battle to save all of my hair.
The dutasteride appeared to not be helping any better than Propecia. If anything it made the situation worse, but that's only speculation; I have no idea what would have happened if I hadn't changed from Propecia to dutasteride. As my hair loss situation worsened, I started researching different sites and eventually found this site and learned about the "big 3". I had never heard of this regimen before and it was also the first time finding out about Nizoral shampoo.
I started using 2% Nizoral three time a week (in addition to the dutasteride every night). My hair started to look thicker! in retrospect I am sure that my hair was not literally becoming thicker since I had just started the treatment. The shampoo was probably only drying out and poofing up my hair. Regardless of the reason, I was so thrilled with this appearance of thick hair after using Nizoral that I began using it everyday. This turned out to be a big mistake and my hair thinned significantly during this time. For the first time in my life, hairs were constantly coming out in the shower. I cannot adequately explain in words how much my hair thinned during this Nizoral period. My hair was decimated like never before. I hadn't actually considered that the shampoo might be responsible for this thinning, but just for the heck of it, I Googled "Nizoral hair thinning". I came upon this post called "Nizoral greed". The person writing the post told a story that was identical to mine: people's hair can thin dramatically from using the shampoo too much. I took my bottles of Nizoral and threw them in the garbage. I was too scared to even go back to using it twice a week. With the Nizoral in the trash, at this point, I was just back to dutasteride, once a night.
Once again, I could notice my hair getting thinner and thinner each month. It unfortunately was not my imagination. I was so depressed about the thinning that I didn't even want to leave my apartment because I thought I looked awful. I never looked people in the eye and had terrible self-esteem about my appearance.
So I got back on Google. I had always been aware of minoxidil, but thought it was a waste of time and money because it was my understanding that it basically only gave a bit of peach fuzz on the crown of the hair and that's the extent of it's efficacy. It wasn't until I started reading hundreds of stories on this board and others to realize that it is much more effective than just getting peach fuzz on your crown and can potentially help thicken the hair all over including the front when combined with an anti-androgen such as finasteride or dutasteride. I ordered massive amounts of the liquid and foam from ebay.
I spent a good year applying large amounts of minoxdil liquid at night and foam in the morning (as well as taking dutasteride every night). It seemed to help a bit, but to be honest, I think the foam was just giving the illusion of thicker hair in the same way any mousse would. When I looked at my hair without any product, I could see the thinning was continuing, perhaps at a slower rate than before, but it is impossible to know. I continued on with minoxidil foam in the morning and liquid at night, along with the dutasteride every day. My hair loss was still progressing. There was no doubt it. My depression deepened even more, and I think I even wrote a couple over the top posts in the "Frustration" section of this site.
Before I continue with my story I want to briefly talk about the side-effects of minoxidil. I am 100% convinced that minoxidil liquid causes bloating of the face. I am well aware that many people would disagree with me on this. The other day I looked at a picture of myself from last year when I weighed 145 pounds (I am 6 feet tall) and my face looked fat and puffy all over the place. My co-worker who also took a look at the picture told me that I had lost a lot of weight since then and looked so much better. In fact I have gained 10 pounds since that picture. It is my opinion that using minoxidil twice a day is too much and the liquid should be ditched. It is also my opinion that minoxidil should only be used once a day and I recommend using the foam. The liquid absorbs well, in fact too well in my opinion, and causes puffines of the face, gets on the forehead, on the pillow, makes the hair greasy, etc.
Also, before I continue on, I realize that I have mentioned my hair continuing to thin at least a half dozen times up till this point, so you would think that with all of this thinning I would have the hairline of Bozo the clown Besides the Nizoral disaster, the thinning had been gradual. Besides my hairline receding about an inch, my hair went from thick to as thin as toddler's hair and the scalp was easier to see under lights.
My new regimen: About seven months ago, I knew I needed to make a change and I started alternating between Propecia and dutasteride every night. This was mostly to save money, but also I was wondering if dutasteride every night was too strong and causing the problems at the hair line. I also decided to give Nizoral shampoo a second chance, but this time only 1% and I only use it twice a week. In my opinion, it works much better at this lower percent.
To recap, 7 months before writing this post: I was taking dutasteride every night, using liquid minoxidil at night and minoxidil foam in the morning. That was it. My hair continued to thin and I knew I had to change my regimen radically.
Seven months ago until now: I have been alternating dutasteride and finasteride at night, using minoxidil foam every night (no minoxidil in the morning) and using Nizoral 1% twice a week as well as taking oral spironolactone which I will get into now.
So seven months ago as my hair continued thinning, I began researching again. I would go on all of these sites and see recommendations for a million different things that everyone claimed was the newest and greatest miracle treatment. I would spend hours reading about these alternative medicines. One person would say it was effective, and in the next post or on another site, someone would say it is completely ineffective. I honestly had no idea whether I should experiment with these alternative products. I decided not to.
The above story was from age 30 to 34.
7 months ago my hair continued to get worse. I finally stumbled upon this ridiculously long thread at another site about a guy who almost completely restored all of his hair using oral spironolactone. In this thread there were at least a hundred replies warning how dangerous it was, transgenders use the drug, your libido will go again, you will without a doubt grow man boobs, you will not be able to get an erection, etc.
I decided to try oral spironolactone anyway because I was that desperate. I figured that even if the oral spironolactone didn't help with my hair loss, it would improve my acne situation (many people take low dose spironolactone, 25 to 50 mg, to treat acne). I started low, about 50 mg a day, split morning and night. Every couple of weeks or so, I would raise the dose 25 mg. Eventually I was at 150 mg a day. After a few weeks or so, I noticed lumps behind and around my nipple area. I was growing man boobs just as those anti-spironolactone guys said! They were right after all. This freaked me out to no end. Upon noticing this, I either immediately stopped taking oral spironolactone or was only taking a very small dose for acne. I honestly can't remember which way I went on that.
For a month or so, I stopped oral spironolactone for hair loss. I continued alternating between dutasteride and Propecia every night, took the minoxidil foam at night and used 1% Nizoral. That was it. My hair continued to get worse and worse. I didn't know what to do. After being off high dose oral spironolactone for three weeks or so, I basically said fuk it, got back on it and started raising my dose by 25 mg every few days, the exact same was as before. Only a fool, crazy or extremely desperate man would get back on a medication that had previously caused him to develop man boobs. I happen to be a fool, crazy and desperate. Within three weeks I was back up to 150 mg split morning and night. Now, this was the really interesting part. Even after the same time period as before, this time I did not have any side-effects such a gyno. I experienced ZERO side-effects. No gyno, my libido was extremely high, I was able to get an erection the same as always, and no, I didn't turn into a woman. I was thinking, holy crap, how is this possible? At 150 mg why wouldn't I experience the same side effects as before? I had no answer for this, but naturally I was thrilled. I continued on this for a few more weeks and then decided to move up to 200 mg a day which I have maintained for at least four months. I started to get significant results after I added 200 mg a day of oral spironolactone a day to my regimen. Even at 200 mg I experienced zero side effects, but much more importantly my hair was thickening. I would look at my hair in the morning every week or so and see my front filling in and hair cropping up where it was bald before which I didn't even know was scientifically possible. I thought once an area is bald for a long period of time the hair follicle was basically dead and would never grow in back. My hair line has made a MASSIVE improvement. I cannot emphasize enough how much my hair started thickening after adding 200 mg of oral spironolactone.
I'll wrap up this post here. I currently take .5 mg of dutasteride and 1 mg of finasteride, altering each night, Rogaine foam at night, 1% Nizoral every third day and 200 mg of Oral spironolactone a day (100 mg in the morning and 100 mg at night).
Everything I wrote above is the absolute truth without any exaggeration. Perhaps it goes without saying, but I am not endorsing you to follow my regimen, especially with the spironolactone, but I really wanted to get it out there about how much is has helped me, and I wanted to throw out there that spironolactone was a disaster at first, but after a few weeks of downtime off of it and then restarting, it worked miracles for me without any side-effects. This has nothing to do with hair loss, but I also take a high dose of one of the most dangerous prescription drugs in the world, an anti-depressant medication called Nardil. I experienced really horrible side effects for a month after I started taking it, got off it, waited a couple weeks, got back on it and am now experiencing almost no side effects.
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