I'm so devastated for my son - BaldTruthTalk.com
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  1. #1
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    Default I'm so devastated for my son

    I'm the Mother of a 20 year old boy who is going bald!! I noticed it a bit over the summer on the back crown area but didn't say anything. When he was home from college over Thanksgiving though, he said he's noticing thinning at the crown but wasn't hugely concerned as he thinks he'll be 40 before it gets really going. The unbelievable thing is that he's home now for Christmas and I think it's now thinning not just in the back, but now progressing to the middle of his top head - how can this have advanced so in just a month?! I'm just sick over this - he's just too young and he's such a good kid -I don't want to have him suffer with this at this age. I come from a long line of full-haired men but my husband's brother and his son went very bald early, and I have to think that this is where it came from. This is messed-up thinking but I'm almost angry with my husband for passing this on - my other son also has another type of problem that my husband's family has and I at least thought this boy would be safe from the flawed genetics, but very unfortunately not. I haven't said anything to my son as I don't want to worry him and I know it greatly would. I'm thinking I should bring him to a dermatologist for a confirmation and then maybe get him on rogaine. He makes his own decisions but I would say propecia is a last resort. I'm not wealthy but nothing is more important to me than the well-being of my kids, so I'm prepared to pay for a hair transplant down the road if he wants it. I realize this isn't a horrible illness, but the mental effects on such a young person can be just as devastating. Any suggestions or words of wisdom??

  2. #2
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    I can't wait for the crowd who says women don't care about hair deal with this one.

    Angry at husband for passing down bad genes?

    I'll be watching this thread closely.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFye View Post
    I can't wait for the crowd who says women don't care about hair deal with this one.
    Well, it's her son, not a potential romantic interest. Mothers scrutinize their sons differently; they notice things others don't. I still think most guys with hair loss vastly overestimate the degree to which most (not all, but MOST) women care about or even notice hair loss. I mentioned my brother's hair loss to my ex-wife the other day, who sees him reasonably frequently, and she had no idea what I was talking about--she literally hadn't notice. And he's a NW3 *at best.*

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by muchtooyoung View Post
    Any suggestions or words of wisdom??
    You've got a really tough decision to make here--either leave your son be and let him continue to think he won't have any serious loss until he's 40, or intervene and encourage him to take steps that could very plausibly help him hold onto his hair. And I'm not being flippant; that's a genuinely difficult choice. It's very difficult to predict how someone will lose their hair, but if he's experiencing noticeable crown and vertex thinning at 20, it's very, very likely that he will have fairly significant hair loss by the time he's 25 or 30. Everyone balds differently, but showing loss at his age doesn't bode well. Your position is difficult because the condition doesn't bother him, but it doesn't bother him because he's under an impression that's probably false. A lot of folks will say leave him be and let him enjoy his 20s, but there's a good chance that he would be upset to find out, ten years later, that someone knew differently and could have intervened to help him keep his hair for a longer time.

    There isn't a great "cure" for hair loss, but there are treatments that can frequently help guys hold onto hair for a significantly longer time. Propecia is a prescription medication that inhibits production of DHT, a form of testosterone that causes hair loss in men with male pattern balding. It's effective in the vast majority of guys, and has a very small incidence of side effects (although the frequency of side effects is hotly debated). Propecia is, far and away, the best treatment ever developed for male hair loss. Rogaine is topically applied and could help your son regrow hair; it's most effective on the crown, which is where he has loss. If he got on these treatments now, it could save lots of his hair during the coming years. Neither of these treatments prevent hair loss entirely, and nature will eventually take its course, but they may buy him years of having hair on his head, which may help him benefit from new treatments that are in development.

    My advice would be to think carefully about your son, and whether he's the type of person that would be deeply affected by losing his hair at a young age. If he is, it may be worth puncturing his bubble to intervene. There are many men on this forum who desperately wish that they had had the wherewithall to treat their hair loss at an earlier age.
    Last edited by win200; 12-30-2012 at 09:21 PM. Reason: Typo

  5. #5
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    Default follow-up

    I realize my comment about my husband's flawed genes is irrational, possibly bitter and hopefully fleeting, but can't we just let it all out here?

    I'd like to clarify that the fact that a guy was bald never even registered with me in the past - I really never noticed it nor did I particularly think negatively about it. That was before it began happening to my 20 year old kid! Once my kid realizes this is happening to him now and not at age 40, I know that he'll be so pained and that pains me.

  6. #6
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    Get your son on propecia asap and talk to him about it. The last thing you want is to get a ignorant college girl mention his bald spot in front of other people and thats the way he finds out. It sucks but hopefully better treatments are around the corner. Look into histogen and read up.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by muchtooyoung View Post
    I realize my comment about my husband's flawed genes is irrational, possibly bitter and hopefully fleeting, but can't we just let it all out here?

    I'd like to clarify that the fact that a guy was bald never even registered with me in the past - I really never noticed it nor did I particularly think negatively about it. That was before it began happening to my 20 year old kid! Once my kid realizes this is happening to him now and not at age 40, I know that he'll be so pained and that pains me.
    I know; like I said, a tough situation. I don't have children, but I empathize with this predicament; leave him in blissful ignorance, or perhaps cause him alarm but help him take steps that will make him happier in the future. If it helps you make up your mind, I would point out that his shedding is apparently advancing very quickly; if you were noticing new thinning between November and December, then his loss may be aggressive. Extensive hair loss before 25 is not the norm, but it is not rare among men who have MPB. Look at the Norwood chart that I've included below; it's impossible for me or anyone here to predict how he'll bald, but if he's losing hair aggressively at his age, it's not outlandish to think that he could end up at a NW4-5 in the next few years. (I'm also not saying that's the LIKELY outcome; I just don't know.)

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...9QEwAA&dur=320

  8. #8
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    Thank you, Win200 and others, for your posts. I looked at the Norwood scale and my son doesn't match any of the pictures. His front hairline is normal but there is definite thinning at the crown and halfway going forward at the top of his head. His late uncle and cousin were/are a 7, the most severe type of balding. I think I'm going have to tell him within the next 4-5months (when he'll be home next) that I see some additional thinning and lay his options out for him. That will be the end of his "innocence" - I know him and he won't handle it well - what 20 year old would?? I guess I'm in a bit of disbelief - as a parent you worry about everything, but this is one thing that never, ever entered my mind.

  9. #9
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    Not a problem. I think you're doing the right thing, although others probably disagree. Hair loss itself isn't a medical problem, but the accompanying psychological distress can take a huge toll, particularly on very young men.

    A few things:

    1. The Norwood scale isn't ironclad. People bald in different patterns; it's just a rough guide of the most frequent ones. Some people do lose hair in the crown for a long time without experiencing hairline recession. Most balding does begin in the hairline, but not all. What your son is experiencing isn't unusual.

    2. Read lots. This forum is a great resource, and there are others as well. Exploring William Rassman's blog, at www.baldingblog.com, is a good starting place. Rassman is a hair transplant surgeon in LA, and although people have varying opinions of him here, he was a pioneer of a number of the widely used modern surgery techniques for hair transplant, and has been an important figure in the hair replacement field. His tone is a little glib sometimes, but the blog is easily searchable and was where I first started exploring this topic.

    3. Your family doctor is not the person to turn to. General practitioners usually know little to nothing about hair loss, except the very basics: DHT sensitivity, prescribe Propecia, recommend minoxidil. They won't be able to answer more nuanced questions with knowledge, and are very likely to give incorrect answers. Dermatologists are marginally better, but many are also pretty ignorant. I recently had a dermatologist tell me that Rogaine is only effective in 30% of men, and Propecia only works for 50% of men. I don't know where those numbers came from, but they're completely and patently incorrect. Dermatologists usually deal with skin cancer and cosmetic issues, and they don't tend to know much about genetic hair loss; they better for things like scalp inflammation. The best place to turn to is actually a hair transplant surgeon. I know that sounds alarming, but you don't have to go to one just to get a transplant (and your son is far too young, anyway). These are the medical professionals who deal with hair loss and treatment far, far more than anyone else. They're the most knowledgeable, and they'll give the fewest wrong answers. Most would be happy to consult with your son, take a look at his hair, and give him some straight answers, even if he's not looking at a transplant. The IAHRS is a consumer advocacy group that endorses transplant surgeons, and they only rubber-stamp the best. If you have one in your area, that would be the best place to take your son for really top-notch advice. If you're not near an IAHRS surgeon, look on the ISHRS website (similar acronyms, totally different organizations). Because your son isn't actually getting a surgery, their surgical skill really isn't that important; a non-IAHRS surgeon will still be extremely knowledgeable. I've been to three surgeons, and all were incredibly nice, thoughtful guys, even when they knew I probably wasn't going to be a customer.

  10. #10
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    Well, its understandable for mothers to worry. My mother was heart-broken too when I started to lose my hair at age of 18. That was 20 years ago though. There was'nt much awareness back then so she ended up blaming me. Said my experimenting with gels, shampoos or wearing hats led to this.

    Now, there is much known and, thankfully, hairloss can be treated. Your son is just 20 so I would encourage you to take him to doctor and get him on Finasteride (Propecia).

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