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And, now for something completely different…

Actually, not so different. The theme here lately seems to be discussing uncomfortable things. Nasty things having to do with digestion appear here on this blog with regular frequency now. To continue on with the uncomfortable topic theme, I’m now going to address female hair loss.

It seems a shame to me that we women have to share baldness with men. A guy can he bald and still be sexy as hell. A woman? Not so much. Hair loss for women is devastating. My late mother had a box of wigs in her closet that I didn’t even know she had. I found them when we were cleaning her house out. Obviously her hair loss bothered her. I’m not sure I could wear a wig. I’m not big on hats. Although I’ve taken to wearing a ball cap to protect my head in the sun or to hold my hair in place in a high wind or to keep my hairstyle dry in the rain.

I had a hysterectomy twelve years ago (in 2006). I was 47, and I had suffered from endometriosis (without knowing that was what it was) for years upon years. I had a major surgery to remove what I thought was my left ovary, and when I woke up, I found that the silly doctor had only removed the cyst. Of course, it came right back and within five months they were opening me up along the same incision and doing a second major surgery to complete the hysterectomy.

I never suffered from hot flashes so I chose NOT to go on hormone replacement therapy because of all the blood pressure and stroke-related issues that can come with HRT.  Unfortunately, with the sudden loss of the regular production of female hormones, my hair immediately began to thin.

I remember my Grandmother (who lived to age 98) running her hands through my hair when I was a teenager and her saying, “I used to have hair just like this.” My grandmother might have been long-lived, but her hair unfortunately was not. She had only wisps of white hair left at the end. Although pictures of her as a young woman showed her with thick, bushy dark hair, none of us remembered her with anything but thin, white hair.

My mother’s hair was thick in the back and on the sides but read-through thin on the top. I recall trying to help her do a home permanent and not being able to find any hair to wrap around the perm rollers.

I don’t curl my hair. I don’t need to. It’s naturally curly on its own. Now that it’s longer, if I let it air dry, it will curl. I had gone to wearing it natural (curly). It was nice for the hot and humid summer, but leaving the house with a wet head in 10 degree upstate New York weather wasn’t working for me. I’m back to blow drying and InStyling it (a combination curling iron and flatiron). I use a volumizing shampoo and conditioner. I like Matrix Volume Bloom. I finish with CHI Silk Infusion because my hair needs oil and I love the smell. I also use a leave-in conditioner spray.

I do a credible job with a good haircut and creative styling at keeping the thin parts covered.

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It is steadily falling out on top, though. According to wisegeek.com, “Daily hair loss of between 50 and 100 hairs is considered normal.” Do I lose more than that? I’m not sure. I try not to comb it very often. I only use a brush when I blow dry it. Finger-combing works the rest of the time. I usually only wash it now every other day unless it looks or feels terrible.

My stylist recently recommended a “miracle” product, a shampoo, conditioner and serum that was supposed to regrow hair. I tried it, and it just didn’t work for me. The conditioner in particular was nasty stuff, very drying and it left my hair in knots. I’d been having dry scalp problems, and the miracle product made my hair like straw. I guess it’s not for everyone. Then again, usually things that sound too good to be true, aren’t. If there was a miracle product that brought back hair, there would be no bald people.

I went to the dermatologist Monday, and she prescribed a topical liquid to deal with the dry scalp I’ve been experiencing. She also suggested I increase the dose of my spironolactone, one of my blood pressure medicines. Spironolactone is also used for hair loss. Who knew? And she suggested I give Rogaine another try, the foam not the liquid this time. I saw zero regrowth with the liquid. She tells me that regrowth might not happen for me, but we’re going to try to hang onto what I have left.

We do what we have to do to maintain our dignity, I guess.

Rogaine image courtesy of Pinterest