Androgenic & medication-induced alopecia, post menopausal


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I actually began losing my hair as a result of taking 2 anti-malarial drugs for 4 months while in India at the age of 42 (and a vibrant, young, fit, health-conscious 42 at that!). I found out only later that Malaprim and Chloroquin cause hair loss. So half my hair disappeared, leaving it much thinner, and the lost ones never grew back.

Fast forward to post-menopause, plus a 10-year battle with some nasty tropical rat parasites, and between the hormonal changes, stress, medications and illness, I said goodbye to another half of what hair I had left. My braids were now one quarter (or less) of the thickness they had been in my early 40’s before I went to India. Alarmingly, my hair brush was full of loose hair every day, and there was no sign of new growth. Then my scalp began to itch unrelentingly, and I somehow knew that this was associated with my steady hair loss. I had the doctor do lots of tests on my scalp skin. No infections, no fungus, no mites, no allergies, not my shampoo or conditioner, the mystery deepened.

Then one day I came across the DHT story (di-hydro-testosterone) as a cause of hair loss in both men and women. Having had polycystic ovary syndrome all my life with an excess of testosterone, it seemed plausible that the problem with my hair loss might be DHT, especially since menopause. And discovered that Saw Palmetto can inhibit the production of DHT. So I started taking it. Within 24 hours the itching of my head had stopped, and the loose hair in my brush decreased down to a small, normal amount. It feels like I have grown some new hair, although only an amount that keeps pace with the loss. And most depressingly, the thinness is at the front and on top like my dad’s hair loss. Not happy with that prospect! But I’m also concerned about the fact that Saw Palmetto has some blood thinning ability and I’m already on a blood thinning medication. So who knows what the risks might be?