Tamoxifen and Recending Hair

So yesterday I stepped out of the shower and my hair was slicked back (I like to imagine I’m that girl in the waterfall and lush greenery and my hair is down to my butt) and catch a glimpse of my face in the steamy mirror.

I just about gagged.

My hairline has a startling V-shaped quality.  It’s not actually noticeable when dry and styled (though I did think to myself the other day that there were some rather empty patches). But when wet and slicked back – it’s startling. Geez Louise!! What, am I going bald?

“You’re not going bald.” My mom tells me, “but your hair is thin there.”

Thinning in my opinion, because I think it wasn’t always like this.

“Your horomoes are going a little crazy,” she continues, “and it’s normal for women’s hair to thin when that happens.”

As part of my post-treatment life I’m taking a drug called Tamoxifen. It’s blocks estrogen receptors, so all my lady hormones are in a mess – which may explain why my hair is fading on the edges like a man’s. Augh! But at least (and I’m very thankful) I don’t have any other side effects of Tamoxifen, cause it can be way worse than just a little hair loss.

Anyhow, you can’t notice when it’s dry. And I’m still growing it out, so maybe those places will eventually decide to stop messing about and grow in too. Who knows? All I think is that in 2 to 5 years, I’ll be off this Tamoxifen and remembering what it’s like to be estrogen receptive (and totally cancer free).

For now I need to place fighting cancer above thick hair. But nevertheless it was a surprise.

Anyhow – despite my slow-to-grow hair great things are happening. Tonight I’m going to a LookGoodFeelBetter, this weekend is the Mirror Ball, and I’ve also got a pass to the Breast Quest Film Festival.

Awesome, or awesome? Totally awesome.  

6 thoughts on “Tamoxifen and Recending Hair

  1. Yup Tamoxifen can do lots of funny things! Me too it took awhile before my hair started growing and finally grew in completely – I think that whole process took close to a year and a half! I remember last November was the first time I got a real nice haircut! All the other times it was just to try to cut it so that it would all be growing in evenly.

    The only thing that happened was that my hair grew in mostly grey :( So now I am dyeing my hair different colors!

    I also went to the Look good, feel good – at the beginning of my treatments! It was really great, so have fun and enjoy!

    Don’t worry about the hair. like my friends tell me and I tell myself – at least I am alive!

  2. Your mom’s right, when a woman’s hormones are out of whack it can lead to hair loss in those areas. 5 months after Madison was born, my hair started falling out by the handfuls!! It will get better. I just know it will :)

  3. One thing that does work well for female alopecia is 2% minoxidil (Brand name Rogaine) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoxidil).

    Nine years ago when I was in Europe visiting my sister, my mom thought that I was losing too much hair and noticed a spot the size of a looney at the top of my head. My sister then showed me her own before and after pictures of her hair loss after she started using 2% minoxidil, and she gave me a bottle to try it. It worked and I have been using 2% minoxidil since. I have no bald spots and my hair does not fall out excessively. My mom started using it 5 years ago when her hair got very thin.

    The science behind it is that the hair follicle has a growth and a resting phase. Minoxidil increases the proportion of hair follicles in the growth phase. Hair follicles in the growth phase are also thicker.

    In Canada, 2% minoxidil comes in generic or brand name packages that say “for use in men only”. I was told by my pharmacist that’s because there have been no minoxidil clinical trials in Canada on women, so it can’t be marketed to women. Yet, women can get a prescription from their doctor to have their pharmacist make it (2% minoxidil, or for serious hair loss 5% minoxidil). I just by the off-the-shelf 2% minoxidil that’s identical to what I got in Europe. The cheapest source of 2% minoxidil is WallMart.

    Word of caution: I would not use minoxidil if I had a heart condition since it is a vasodilator and could cause low blood pressure, and I’m not sure how it would interact with heart medications.

    It worked for me and I’m pleased with the results.

  4. I’m experiencing the same thing from the Arimidex I’m taking post-cancer treatment. Ugh! And my hair is growing really s-l-o-w-l-y. Oh well, what’s a girl to do, right? I’m still wearing my caps a lot! That’s what I do I guess. Thanks for making me smile when I read this. Nice to know we aren’t alone.

    Glad to hear so many great things are going on for you!

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