Friday, May 05, 2006

A Hair-raising story

Have you seen this your mirror? I certainly have looked at a personal version since I started this plunge into menopause.

Granted, there are more important body parts to worry about through midlife and beyond: brain, heart, liver, breasts. And there are far more important things to do than count how many hairs have bailed off the scalp during the morning shampoo. I know I'm not the only one who's done that; one patient, an elegant woman in her 60s with short, beautifully styled gray hair brought in a baggy with way too much of that hair in it to demonstrated her a.m. loss.

My best hair days were during pregnancy, my hair thick, long, and glossy. My worst hair days were last year in the opening months of menopause. The difference? Estrogen levels for one, but estrogen cream to scalp helped not at all. Progesterone levels for another, and progesterone cream to aging head three times per week has made all the difference. Within one month of using it, my hair loss dropped off dramatically--yes, I do count!

I order the cream for my patients from a compounding pharmacy. I make my own from progesterone out of a Prometrium capsule with a little Estrasorb all mixed in Lubiderm. If you'd like the recipe, please contact me.


Anonymous said...

About your hair loss comment on 5/5/06. I am a post menoposal 52 yr old with continuing hair loss.
Luckily I started out with a very healthy head of hair. The hair loss started about 4 years ago. It keeps falling out even though I haven't gotten my period in over 3 years and most other post-meno symptoms are gone. All other medical causes have been ruled out. Does't it stop falling by itself? Please list your recipe you mentioned. Does the progesterone cause any male symptoms like facial hair or anything? Thank you in advance.

Femail doc said...

Distressing isn't it, and it may keep up until you reach your post-menopausal normal which occasionally can get quite sparse, even in women.

I am hopeful that progesterone will stop the loss for you although you may not get much back. It works by blocking the enzyme that converts testosterone to a much more potent form in the hair follicle, and this dihydrotestosterone is a real hair stopper.

You do need prescription strength progesterone cream. You can either get this with a prescription to a compounding pharmacy specifying progesterone 50 mg. per 5 ml of cream. Alternatively, if your doctor will prescribe Prometrium, 200 mg capsules, you can poke a hole in the capsule, squeezing about 1/4 of the contents onto a smooth surface, then adding 1 pump of a bland lotion like Lubiderm. Mix it together and apply with your fingertips to the scalp (a little goes a long way). Use three times weekly at night, then shampoo in the a.m.

Hopefully, you'll see the hair loss taper off dramatically within a month. Progesterone does not cause feminizing or masculinizing symptoms.

Judy Paley

Anonymous said...

If I am in surgical menopause and am using HRT replacements and use your formula listed, will this interfer with my hormonal balance on the scalp? Thanks!

femail doc said...

Use of progesterone on your scalp will cause some absorption of the hormone which can raise serum progesterone levels. If you're already on progesterone, it will doubtless contribute little to your overall progesterone levels. If you are using progesterone cyclically, i.e. not everyday, along with daily estrogen, you may get enough progestogenic effect on your uterine lining to cause some spotting.