I was born with a full head of blue- black hair. I inherited my dad’s silky, straight, thick hair and I never realized how beautiful it was until I started rapidly losing it about 4 years ago.
My hair had no reason to be mad at me. I colored it once when I was 15, I wasn’t allowed to heat-style my hair because of my mom and I didn’t really apply that many styling products.
I first noticed that my shedding strands weren’t naturally replacing themselves when I was 21. My mom became really worried and we consulted a dermatologist. The med-school graduate told me it was normal and probably stress-related and would grow back: I had nothing to worry about. I got annoyed at my mother for wasting my time since I hated doctors. A year later, my hair got even thinner; so much so that I couldn’t tie it in a ponytail without my scalp showing through. A trip to another doctor with a different bullshit diagnosis; apparently the issue was genetic. He blamed the hair loss on bad genes and sent me packing.
Around this time, I noticed that my facial hair was growing thicker and thicker and when I threaded my chin hairs: they grew back as stubble. I also put on 20 pounds and started getting acne when I had never skin problems before, not even as a teen.
At the age of 24, I finally figured out what was going on with my looks; I had ploycystic ovary syndrome.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a complicated and largely misunderstood condition. It either means that you have unwanted cysts in your ovaries or that you have an excess of male hormones called androgens. Both of these issues can lead to infertility, male-pattern baldness (thinning hair at the crown), thick facial and body hair, acne, weight gain around the stomach, diabetes, heart conditions and more.
I started getting treated for it last year but had to stop when I got laid off and lost my health insurance. I re-started last month but the frustrating thing us that there really are no solid solutions.
The most frustrating at this point for me is the hair loss. My acne and unwanted facial hair can be lasered off; but most hair loss treatments are futile. Living and growing up in a culture where hair is revered for it’s beauty, it’s hard to feel good about myself when there are various ‘aunties’ constantly commenting on how thin my hair is. I also dread hair cuts because I always get the same, tsk, tsk, from every stylist I’ve tried!
It’s just something I’m going to have to live with. Hopefully I can learn to manage it well.