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Aromasin and Hair Loss

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foobs
foobs Member Posts: 21

I can't find this specific topic:

My hair is thinning fast!!!

 I'm 58, was stage III, LN positive, had aggressive TX, now doing fine on Aromasin after initial joint pain of 3-4 mos.    I'm on this stuff for at least 3 more years.  Oncologist says its my best weapon so I'm going to stay with it.  My hair used to be so thick and full and its coming out fast!  Can't get a straight answer from the Drs. re this.

 Gals, LETS TALK ABOUT THIS.  I started taking Zoloft again and that might be making it worse.  So, I'm getting off Zoloft.  Does the hair come back?

 Any help with this will be so appreciated.  I'm really really bummed. (but of course glad to be alive)

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  • sam52
    sam52 Member Posts: 431
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    I was on aromasin for 5 years after 2.5 years of tamoxifen. I had NO perceptible side effects apart from hair thinning........

    Every time I wash my hair, the bath-trap is full - could almost make a wig with it. It is now about 3 months since I finished aromasin, and the hair loss is still on-going.It is not horrific, but it does make my hair look rather thin and wispy. I am hoping this is only temporary and will resolve soon - I am presuming that the effects of an AI might be on-going for a while even after stopping them.

    Have you tried Biotin? It is supposed to help,although I did not stick with it, or maybe did not take a high enough dose for it to make a difference.

    It is a real bummer to have hair loss, especially after losing it all and then regrowing it after chemo.

  • FireKracker
    FireKracker Member Posts: 5,858
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    hello

    glad someone put up this thread. I have an appt. with onc. at the end on the month.she thinks that Aromasin has the least side effects. I was on Arimidex for 3 weeks and it almost ripped a hole in my stomach.im not on any meds right now but im getting a little nervous about the Aromasin too.I hope this thread keeps going and people post their experiences with this drug.

    I know they all stink but my dr.said this one is the best. AND IF YOU READ ABOUT IT THERE IS NOTHING THAT SAYS HAIR LOSS.VERY INTERESTING.

  • karen1956
    karen1956 Member Posts: 4,522
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    My hair thinned and went straight after a year on Aromasin....I've been off of it for almost 7 months and it is getting thick again.....stopped after 3 1/2 years on AI's as I couldn't tolerate all the side effects anymore...QOL was necessary....I'm not back to where I was before BC, but definitelty better than on AI's. 

  • foobs
    foobs Member Posts: 21
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    THanks for your response Karen, Grannyd and Sam. 

     Interesting that these "little" side effects get swept under the rug by the drug companies.  And that they make our oncologists so uncomfortable when we bring it up.  I want to be alive AND I want hair.     

    Karen    Thank you so much  I really really needed to hear what you said!  Our diagnosises are about the same but did you also have positive lymph nodes?   Did your Oncologist have a fit when you stopped taking Aromasin? 

    Granny d   Aromasin has been best for me.  I had severe joint pain from my neck down on Femara.  When I started on Aromasin the pain went away after 2-3 mos.  I did have soft tissue joint issues that lingered.  I then had steroid injections to my shoulders and thumbs and am ok now,  Just this rapidly thinning hair issue.   You might have to hang in there with Aromasin until your body adjusts.  My worst time was first thing in the morning, awful pain until I started moving around.  Wake up, stretch good, get up take a few steps to the bathroom and then lay down and stretch again before getting up for good...At least that's what I had to do.  And I had to take pain meds when it was unbearable.

  • FireKracker
    FireKracker Member Posts: 5,858
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    I dont want to take anything.nothing at all but i know thats unrealistic.I am gonna check out natural threads and speak to my dr about it.I have too many other health issues to deal with and im really getting scared.I HATE THIS CANCER.

  • karen1956
    karen1956 Member Posts: 4,522
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    Foobs...yes, I had 8+ nodes.....my onc is not thrilled that I stopped the AI's but he knows all the struggles I had with them....he initially gave me a 2 month break...at the 2 month follow up, when he walked in the room he asked how I was doing and he knew then that I didn't want to go back on them.  Its just about 7 months since I stopped....onc is keeping me on a 3 month schedule of visits....I developed deQuervanes tendonitis bilaterally in both wrists that necessitated surgery (cortisone shots did not work)...had insomnia, joint pain, anxiety, depression, memory and cognitive issues on Aromasin....since I've stopped, people tell me how good I look....didn't hear this on the AI's....so for me, I'll take my chances....it either will come back or it won't!!!  I'm not far behind you in age...54....too young to feel so old and miserable!!  I am at peace with my decision and feel good about it......Karen

  • FireKracker
    FireKracker Member Posts: 5,858
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    KAREN..I WISH I WAS AS SURE AS YOU ARE.im just so scared of all the SE that i feel those meds will really kill me.Aromasin is supposed to be the best of all of them.Im not gonna do chemo or rads but without the meds i feel like im leavin myself wide open for it to come back with a vengence.im glad you are at peace with your decision.I am a lot older then you are and i like my quality of life.im glad i can do  some homework before i go to the oncologist on oct25th.I DONT FEEL RIGHT ABOUT ANYTHING ANYMORE.

  • foobs
    foobs Member Posts: 21
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    Karen, Please tell me how quickly your hair thinning responded to not taking Aromasin. do you think 2 months vacation from Aromasin is enough to tell me if this is what's causing me to go bald?  My joints are ok now and although I blame feeling tired on Aromasin, I can deal with that if I'm not bald!! 

    I am extremely frustrated because I cannot get my onc to talk to me about this!!  I really really need to know if this baldness on top will be permanent.

    Grannyd   I'm so sorry you're having a rough time.  Try taking your Aromasin at night.  It made a difference for me.

    AND Of COURSE hair thinning isn't mentioned as a side effect!!  Aromasin is proven to save lives, no question about that and for some of us it has the least side effects.  But the drug company doesn't want to talk about side effects!!  They barely mention joint pain and say nothing at all about hair thinning which is BULL SHIT plain and simple!  There are too many of us that are having severe joint pain and losing our hair.  Bad side effects are bad press for the drug companies!!  That's reality.  Bad side effects are OUR reality.  I've gone through too much to lay down with a disfigured body and a bald head.  I may have had cancer but I still intend to look decent and live a long life!! 

      

  • karen1956
    karen1956 Member Posts: 4,522
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    Foobs....I don't remember when I first noticed that my hair was thickening up again, but it was probably more than 2 months.....I wasn't going bald, but my hair had thinned and was fine and just limp....this is after it came in thick following chemo....my hair was the least of the side effects, I just cut my hair short and it looked nice....it was all the other side effects that made me give up the AI battle...it was QOL that prompted my decision....even though my hair was always thick, coarse and wavy and a big part of my identity, I was able to deal with those changes....it was the fatigue, joint pain, mood issues, depression, memory and cognitive issues.....those are harder to "fix" up....a new "do" is easier.....I have been growing my hair out since june, but not going to let it get long, probably just shoulder length.

  • foobs
    foobs Member Posts: 21
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    Thanks again for your advice Karen.  I'm so sorry you had such a hard time on it.  I'll probably continue AI but intend to take a vacation from it in the future, to see what besides hair thinning is being affected.  I was so darn healthy before this DX.  Now I have high blood pressure, memory issues, thinning hair, fatigue.  I'm curious to see if they clear up after a couple of months off it.  But then I know I'll go back on it.  I think my odds of not having recurrence are up 40% on AI.  And I've lost so many family members to cancer.  I'm afraid but try not to let fear control my life or stifle my smiles.

    Best of it all for you dear! I'm glad you're doing what you feel is best.  I may be there with you after 3 more years on this  *&%$  STUFF!!

  • Kindergarten
    Kindergarten Member Posts: 2,883
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    Dear Karen in Denver, Why did you go off Aromasin again?? Did you have lymph node involvement??? I have been on Aromasin for almost 6 years now and yes the side effects are challenging, but since I did have one lymph node involved and bilateral breast cancer, I see no other choices and I am still cancer free and the side effects are doable. Take care!! Kathy

  • FireKracker
    FireKracker Member Posts: 5,858
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    Kathy--its nice to hear something 1/2 doable with Aromasin....i am soooooo afraid of the SE.Arimadex almost ripped a hole in my stomach after 4 weeks.Dr.looked it up and said its not listed...well well well neither is the hair thinning and probably lost others that we dont know about.BUT YES IT DOES WORK. sooooooooooooo.ill wait till the 27th for the onco test results and see what she says.she did say she would probably recom.Aromasin..THIS BC DOES SUK.

  • karen1956
    karen1956 Member Posts: 4,522
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    Prihode....I stopped the Aromasin due to the side effects...they were just too much to bear and were affecting my QOL...I tolerated AI's for 3 1/2 years.....For me, the side effects were not doable anymore...they were affecting my job performance, my marital relationship among other things.....I had cognitive and memory issues, mood and attention disorder, anxiety, insomnia, joint pain plus surgery on both wrists for tendonitis because of Aromasin (and surgery on one for CTS due to Arimidex)...since I stopped the AI's in March 2010...7 months ago, there has been an improvement in my cognitive functioning, memory, mood and recently insomnia...people tell me how good I look....never heard this on AI's so it must come across that I am functioning better....YES...I had lymph node involvement...8/12 positive nodes...breast was full of cancer and other side was pre-cancerous....bilat mastectomy, chemo, rads, ooph and the AI's for 3 1/2 years....I am not back to my pre BC self...probably never will be, but I am defnitely functioning much better off the AI's...I am 4 years 9 months since my diagnosis.....At 54, I'm too young to be so miserable and not be able to function effectively....The 3 1/2 years on AI's had to have some benefit....and there is a great increasae in risk of reoccurance/mets since I stopped them, but it is something I have made peace with.  I saw my PCP today for a sinus infection and she knows how much I struggled and was supportive of my decision....I just couldn't do it anymore...I was healthy and could dance circles around most people before BC....yes, I can do a good deal now, but not to the level I was before...sorry for rambling, but I feel that I gave it my all....BC took so much from me....I needed to get some control of my life back....I still see my onc every 3 months...For you the Aromasin is doable...for me it wasn't....Karen

  • kindone
    kindone Member Posts: 435
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    Hi Ladies,  I am taken Aromasin for about 2 mo. now.  I hate it I have joint pain all over my feet kill me and i am much more tried than before.  I was taken tamoxifen before with no SE.

    What's the difference between aromasin, arimidex or Fermara.  Dose any one know and do they all have the same benefit or dose one work better than the other.   Thanks Betty

  • westiemom
    westiemom Member Posts: 86
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    kindone, great question. i'm going to research each and talk to my onc. i was on tamox prior to oophrectomy with no side effects, now on arimidex since im post menopausal.  i noticed my hair isn't coming in at the rate it was, i have more hair on the back of my head than the top. argh!  

    I would like to know if there is anyone who didn't experience this side effect on arimidex while their hair was growing back after chemo.....

  • moissy
    moissy Member Posts: 371
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    I am 54, was on Arimidex for five years..with increased thinning especially around the temples. I went off 10 months ago. I have noticed that the hair around the temples has slowly started to increase. Little hairs growing in some parts now.  I also had an ooph five years ago after dx so it was major estrogen decrease. Some of the thinning I have may be permanent due to being menopausal now....It has definitely gotten a little better though.

  • westiemom
    westiemom Member Posts: 86
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    Moissy/Sunflowers thank you! Just started taking 5,000 mcg of biotin, hope this helps. My eyelashes thinned out terribly after my last chemo treatment, last month I decided to get semi-perm eyelash extensions. I luv them! Certainly not a necessity but I wanted to do something fun and what a difference it made, it's wonderful not having to apply or remove mascara. Today I went back for a fill and the stylist told me that I have "tons" of little lashes growing and whatever I'm doing to keep doing it, now if only the hair on my head would behave and do the same!Kiss
  • FireKracker
    FireKracker Member Posts: 5,858
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    HEY HEY HEY.. got my onco score.10 no chemo but aromasin.UGH...im gonna try it.gonna start takin the biotin right now.not goin on the meds till after Thanksgiving.hope it gives me a headstart.i used it before bc when i was allergic to the hair dye and was losing my hair and the biotin worked so ill try it.AND if the  SE are real bad i will not give up my quality of life.

    I will keep everyone posted.prayin for all of you.bc does suk.God bless my sistas

    huggggggggggs

    K

  • kindone
    kindone Member Posts: 435
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    grannydukes, Great new on onco score.  Good luck on aromasin.  Let us know how you feel on it.  Betty

  • karen1956
    karen1956 Member Posts: 4,522
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    Newbies on AI's....remember even though many of us post here about the awful side effects we struggle with/struggled with, many people have NO side effects at all....so hoping you all be one of those with no side effects....

  • barbaraa
    barbaraa Member Posts: 3,548
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    (((GD)))) Great score!

  • FireKracker
    FireKracker Member Posts: 5,858
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    i have read about the A's and the SE.they suk.not too much positive.arumidex nearley ripped a hole in my stomach and it doesnt say anything on the SE on that.im gonna try aromasin.TRY. the dr offered me rads too 5x a week for 6 weeks NO way. She did say i could wait till after Thanksgiving to make up my mind and im doin a lot of research.doesnt rads kill good cells too?doesnt the A's make you lose your hair?WTF my score was great.i dont want to do anything.I WANT MY OLD LIFE BACK.

  • Fearless_One
    Fearless_One Member Posts: 905
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    I have only been on Arimidex for a few months, but have noticed hair not growing as fast and texture not as thick.    No balding or anything like that, but I have noticed a difference in texture.

  • barb529
    barb529 Member Posts: 1
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    Ladies, thanks for all of your feedback.  I'm so sorry for those of you having SE.  I was on tamoxifen for 2 yrs, and just switched to aromasin a week ago.  I feel as if I just came out of a fog.  I just thought I was having normal  depression, but obviously it was the tamoxifen.  I was hungry all of the time, and gained about 10 lbs. I was  depressed, listless, felt like I had ADD, unmotivated, tired, had joint pain, couldn't lose weight, and didn't care about anything.  I don't know how long it takes, but, so far no major symptoms on aromasin. I actually feel great!  All of the information I'm seeing is saying about 15% of women will have thinning hair.   I'm afraid of that and wondering just how much hair loss is involved.  Grannydukes, I know ...I would like my old life back too!

  • Ann091944
    Ann091944 Member Posts: 1
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    I have been on Anastrozol for 2 months & have noticed significant thinning of my hair. Joint pain also noticeable. I don’t know how long thinning will go on & if it eventually levels off. I guess it’d be good to invest in a wig just in case it’s needed. Do many people on Anostrozole invest in a wig?




  • mysticalcity
    mysticalcity Member Posts: 184
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    Ann091944 I just started on Anastrozole June 1, 2018 & am now experiencing pretty significant hair loss from that. Which led me to start researching where I found the NCBI* article PMC4864803 about "Management of hair loss associated with endrocine therapy in patients with breast cancer". I then also started searching this forum for info. Many seem to be using Rogaine or similar, however while I am not a stylist I own a salon and know the topical things like Rogaine-- while they work--only work while you use them and then if you stop hair loss happens and sometimes worse than you had before. So I am trying to investigate other options besides topical Rogaine etc.

    It does seem Vitamin C topical application (of 8% or higher though to effective) may be beneficial for both tamoxifen and AI users (vitamin C may loco regionally reduce the HL by increased estrogenic effects along with decreased androgenic effects on the scalp, when locally applied with an oil-based buffer that enables vitamin C to pass across the hair texture*), along with Omega 3 & 6 supplementation. These are both referenced in the article above, but I found some other articles which reinforce that--so am sharing in case anyone else on this thread is interested in more info:

    *************************************************************************

    In a study by Sung et al., ascorbic acid 2-phosphate, a derivative of Vitamin C, was used to treat patients with androgenic alopecia (2006). The study found that there was "significant growth stimulation" in the cells located in the scalp, and the study eventually concluded that the vitamin C derivative promoted hair follicle growth in hair follicles. This suggests a link between vitamin C and hair growth, particularly in those with alopecia.

    In addition, vitamin C is being used for stem-cell therapy. In a study done by Kim et al., Vitamin C was used to increase the survival and proliferation of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) (2014). In the study, it was found that vitamin C successfully enhanced the hair growth promoting effect of these specific stem cells, strengthening the link between vitamin C and hair growth promotion. The study also noted that vitamin C is safe and easy to use; thus, it is a good candidate for further studies on vitamin C and hair growth.

    ****************************************************************************

    Effect of a nutritional supplement on hair loss in women.

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND:

    Female pattern hair loss is a frequent and distressing condition.

    AIM:

    To evaluate vs. control, the effects on hair loss of a 6-month supplementation with specific omega 3&6 and antioxidants.

    METHODS:

    One hundred and twenty healthy female subjects participated in this 6-month, randomized, comparative study. The primary endpoint was the change in hair density evaluated on standardized photographs. Secondary endpoints included changes in telogen hair percentage and diameter distribution of anagen hair (>40 µm vs. ≤40 µm) measured by trichogram. Overall changes in hair density and diameter were also measured by trichometer and by subjects' self-assessment.

    RESULTS:

    After 6 months of treatment, photograph assessment demonstrated a superior improvement in the supplemented group (P < 0.001). The telogen hair percentage was significantly (P < 0.001) reduced in the supplemented group. The proportion of nonvellus anagen hair (>40 µm) increased compared to the control group. The trichometer index increased in the supplemented group, while it decreased in the control group. A large majority of supplemented subjects reported a reduction in hair loss (89.9% of subjects at 6 months), as well as an improvement in hair diameter (86.1%) and hair density (87.3%).

    CONCLUSION:

    A 6-month supplementation with omega 3&6 and antioxidants acts efficiently against hair loss in improving hair density and reducing the telogen percentage and the proportion of miniaturized anagen hair. Objectively measured improvements were confirmed by the subjects' perception of efficacy.© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

    I also found some juicing recommendations on hairlossrevolution website under "best-natural-5-alpha-reductase-inhibitor" though not so certain how reliable this juicing site is. That being said I'm going to start using the Vitamin C topically, Omega 3 & 6 oral supplementation and possibly Wheatgrass juicing (although I have to check first to see about estrogenic activity of Wheatgrass). Someone on the tamoxifen thread also mentioned some laser she was using that seemed to be working for her.

  • katiec3598
    katiec3598 Member Posts: 4
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    My hair is barely grown back from ending Chemo back in Sept 2017.It's growing slower than others I know that ended Chemo around the same time. Now my scalp is itchy and now hair breakage! I'm getting Lupron shot and Anastrozole. Started that in Feb 2018. I'm 38 years old! I don't want to go back to a wig. I thought that I would be able to start looking for jobs soon. :(

  • Onejeno
    Onejeno Member Posts: 4
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    I haven't noticed any hair thinning from Aromasin, though I take a supplement called "Hairfluence" (amazon.com) it has biotin and a bunch of other stuff in it. My hair has come back thicker and curlier and faster then ever. it is almost to my shoulders after having been nearly bald 8 mos ago. Last time it all fell out due to chemo, it took a couple years before it got long enough to reach my collar. This time I tried this stuff to see if it would help, I thought it couldn't hurt anyway. Definitely helps. (IMO) after the original fallout (in 2006) my hair came in thinner and straight, and took forever. this time, it all fell out during chemo, but its back to my young days of lots of hair.

  • FotRB
    FotRB Member Posts: 1
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    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your research and all the real, scientific information. I am concerned that some of the supplements suggested on this forum and in a couple of the articles could actually be harmful by raising estrogen levels. My cancer, like many, was very estrogen-reactive, which is why Exemestane was such a great medicine for me. I just stopped after five years. I have rapidly increasing hair loss at the front of my hair. I was never informed that hair loss was a potential side effect and figured it out on my own. Then some internet searching confirmed it. I've had other symptoms mentioned by many such as memory loss, mental fog, depression, joint and tendon pain. My hearing and eyesight have been affected as well, by first chemo and then recently as my hair loss suddenly accelerated. I stopped two weeks ago and most of my symptoms are clearing up, except the hair loss which is continuing. I used to have very thick bangs and now it's just wisps that I am trying to grow in to be able to keep them out of my face. Overall I can tell I have less hair all over. I am wondering is this an indicator of accelerated effects on my osteoporosis and on cardiovascular fitness?

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,091
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    Dear FotRB,

    Welcome to the BCO community. We are sorry that your breast cancer and the side effects of treatment have brought you here but glad that you reached out to our members. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you to navigate the boards. We hope that you find what you need and will stay active here. We look forward to seeing you around the community. The Mods