Although I've spent the past 25+ years as a consumer hair advocate as well as founder and CEO of Hairboutique.com, my "day job" has always been in the software industry.Just after I finished my undergraduate degree, as I was entering my graduate program, I was hired as an engineer.
Initially, I thought it was temporary. Somehow I got addicted to that world. I never escaped and am still in it, a lifetime later.
While working as an engineer for a high-tech firm in Dallas, the Software Gods gifted me with a great mentor.
He was scary and pushed me to my absolute brain limits. Mr. K also taught me many important lessons about life and business.
One day, while I was struggling with an engineering problem, he told me, "we often have to make hard choices and be willing to accept the consequences."
He explained if we want "to be healthy and weight-appropriate, we can't binge on cheese puffs. We have to eat carrots or similar."
On the flip side, we just want to enjoy yummy snacking. By all means, bring on the puffs. But prepare to deal with puff dust and buy larger-sized clothing.
As much as I hated his analogy, it's true about pretty much everything in life.
Except I like to find ways to beat the odds.
I want to win. I want to believe I'm living in a world of gray. It doesn't always work.
The whole issue of taking medications to address my own hair loss issues has always worried me.
It still does to the current time.
Since the tender age of 10, my life has included bouts of Telogen Effluvium (TE), which has morphed into the chronic version of CTE.
I've also experienced other forms of alopecia, even during CTE phases, but TE has been the bane of my existence throughout the majority of my life.
My hair, once again, was repeating its previous cycles with lots of shedding.
On top of it, I had lots of issues due to my thyroid going rogue.
After being passed around from my internist to my OB/Gyn and then my dermatologist, I landed with an endocrinologist.
He was kind and caring.
My doctor could see I was freaking out over my hair loss, unexplained weight gain, and complete exhaustion.
The good doctor ordered tons of diagnostic tests to try and find the actual medical issues. As soon as he identified hypothyroidism, which triggered more CTE, he created a layered program of medications.
The BHRT cream was designed to balance my estrogen and progesterone hormones.
Because of my age and marital status, he added Yaz, which is a form of anti-androgenic birth control pill (BCP).
After reading the list of all the spironolactone side effects, I completely freaked out.
I figured I could adjust to some of them, like drowsiness, nausea, diarrhea, or headache, but I was not thrilled with concerns about dizziness.
Other potential side effects were irregular periods, breast tenderness, low sex drive, depression, and fatigue.
There was another list of side effects from the other prescriptions my doctor was layering on top of the spironolactone.
Not only was I struggling with my hair coming out in chunks, but I was also experiencing hypothyroid issues. I had constant anxiety I would end up bald. A horrible fate for a young woman.
I struggled with always being cold, feeling exhausted, difficulty concentrating, chronic constipation, and irritability.
Would the additional prescriptions make my existing thyroid and hair loss symptoms better or worse?
Could I develop a life-threatening life condition from a side effect of my hair loss medications?
I discussed my fears with my endocrinologist and his nurse. They both encouraged me to do what I felt most comfortable doing.
His nurse suggested I keep a daily journal to track my symptoms if I decided to take the new prescriptions.
Ultimately I phased in each medication separately so I had time to experience each individually.
After six months, I'd added all the prescriptions without obvious side effects. In my case, the spironolactone and the additional drugs for my thyroid outweighed the risks.
No two women are alike. Struggles with hair loss, thyroid, hormones, or other health is are all unique.
Only the proper medical professional can administer the correct diagnostic tests to determine the root cause.
Once a diagnosis is complete, the appropriate drugs can be prescribed.
Side effects for all kinds of prescriptions, whether hair loss, thyroid, or other, are common.
Do you worry about side effects? It's definitely good to read all the documentation on every drug your physician prescribes.
Discuss your concerns with every side effect you feel you may be at risk for developing.
Usually, side effects are rarer than expected, but it's always good to cover your bases.
Best wishes to all.*Note: I am not a physician or have any medical authority. The information provided in this blog is for recreational purposes only. Always see your physician before taking any medication or when health symptoms occur.
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