Hormonal Birth Control + Alopecia
Instead of writing this post based on the latest bang trend I thought I would share my story.
From having this nagging itch at my hairline to noticing I had literally itched off a spot of hair!
My first thoughts were; rash, bug bite or dry skin. That same week while washing my hair I felt a burning on the back of my scalp – oh hey bald patch #2.
Ok this is beyond any rash, a bug bite or dry skin.
Time to play “Dr Google” while waiting for my dermatologist appointment.
Could it have been brought on by stress? Which would make sense given my new found stress & anxiety the past 8 months. Could it be the new cocktail of supplements I recently started? Vitamin C & D, Biotin, Zinc, I racked my brain of all the things I recently changed.
Tip: Do not play Dr. Google, the anxiety only gets worse.
At my first dermatologist appointment she decided she could not be certain by just looking so a punch biopsy was performed. The week of waiting; with two stitches in my head was an emotional time. WARNING ⚠️ GRAPHIC image next.
The results came back as;
———-Alopecia Mucinosa; also known as follicular mucinosis, describes the appearance of mucin around hair follicles as seen under the microscope. It is characterised by bald patches of skin in which hair follicles are prominent. What causes follicular mucinosis? Benign or non-cancerous forms (remember this for later in the post) of follicular mucinosis are often of unknown cause. Researchers say it may have something to do with circulating immune complexes and cell-mediated immunity. What is known is that mucinous material deposits and accumulates in hair follicles and sebaceous glands to create an inflammatory condition that subsequently breaks down the ability of the affected follicles to produce hair. —————-
I was given the results over the phone, with not much more than just that. Since I would be going back to the office in few days to have stitches removed followed by my treatment plan. This included antibiotics, a topical, and in office cortisone shots every 4 weeks.
Of course when we hung up I immediately went back to Google (not the best idea) but found this type of Alopecia is super rare. Some type of immune disorder? I was mind blown. We don’t have a family history of anything like that. I don’t feel differently other than the major stress I was under this summer. But after a little more digging I am now leaning toward my IUD. I have had Mirena for three and half years with one other suspicious side effect.
Last year I had a breast scare. I had this on and off pain on the left side of my breast. It felt almost bruised to the touch. After the initial mammogram I received the dreaded call to come back in. That was beyond terrifying, not knowing what it could be. They took more scans of the left breast followed by an ultra sound and in conclusion the Dr said it was Fibroadenoma. A noncancerous breast tumor that most often occurs in young women. (I would not consider myself, young. I was 39 when I had my baseline mammogram) The cause of fibroadenomas is unknown, but they might be related to reproductive hormones. Going forward I have to have this check twice a year. That’s when I started to wonder.
The verdict for me is out; I am 100% without a doubt convinced that my IUD is causing these side effects.
In doing my own research I found that on the Mirena pamphlet these are REAL side effects.
Of course the manufacturer – Bayer will tell you that less than five percent of women will experience hair loss while taking or after taking this form of birth control. The reality is that 1,300 women do a Google search for “hair loss + Mirena IUD” every month. That’s at least 15,000 women every year since the Mirena IUD has come out on the birth control market.
I would like to note that every time I would bring it up to any of my Dr’s they all had the same shrug it off attitude. Since there is so little research out there I joined a Facebook group on hormonal birth control and hairloss. Reading story after story on how this hormonal IUD can wreak havoc on the body. I wish I was more proactive about questioning everything back when I was given the choice as it was presented like this: “do you want to have a heavy period or would you like to be period free?”
Thankfully Alopecia & Benign Cysts are the only side effects I am currently dealing with from using hormonal birth control. It could be far worse. My hair will eventually grow back with aggressive treatment and the cysts will hopefully subside after this poison is removed from my body.
This year I have had lots of questions on Big Pharma. In my experience I am starting to find out that Doctors have a very good relationship with these companies.
“In 2015, almost half (48%) of all doctors in the US received some kind of payment from the drug or medical device industry, according to a JAMA study. Kickbacks are illegal, but it’s not illegal for pharma to pay physicians fees for speaking, consulting, meals, travel, and more.”
(Source links at bottom)
Thanks for reading my story. I would love to know if you too have dealt with any side effects from hormonal birth control.
After 4 rounds (30 days apart) of cortisone injections my hair is coming back in full swing!
Taking a break from the injections for a bit to see if this is all I need. I’ll keep this updated as my hair hopefully keeps growing back.