11 May 2021
Bev Jones started losing her hair when she hit her teens and has been trying, without great success, to halt the process for nearly 40 years.
From taking the contraceptive pill at just 14 in an attempt to control her hormones to thickening creams and hair supplements, there isn’t much that the 52-year-old mother of two hasn’t used to save her thinning locks.
But now Bev, who lives in Castle Bromwich, is seeing successful results after being put on blood pressure tablets that have a side effect of increasing hair growth.
“As a teenager growing up in the ‘big hair' eighties I was always conscious that while other girls could pull off the Kylie Minogue look, I was wearing loads of hair spray and thickening products in an attempt to keep up with fashions.
“I tried using topical minoxidil in my teens but gave up as it was time consuming, messy and simply not practical. I tried various thickening creams, shampoos and lotions, various hair, skin and nail supplements, £60 hair pills which did absolutely nothing.
“For the last 15 years, I've been wearing 'Mane colour spray' on my scalp to disguise the hair loss. Honestly, it got to the stage where I would rather walk down the street naked than go out without Mane spray! My confidence was at an all-time low.”
In a determined effort to do something positive Bev googled dermatologists who dealt with female hair loss and discovered Dr Manjit Kaur, a Consultant Dermatologist based at Spire Little Aston Hospital in Sutton Coldfield.
Dr Kaur explained: “Taking into account Bev’s history of gradual hair loss in a pattern distribution, alongside a family history of similar problems affecting her mother, I came to the conclusion she had female pattern baldness, otherwise known as androgenic alopecia."
Following a series of consultations and blood tests, Dr Kaur prescribed oral minoxidil – a drug that helps control high blood pressure but has a reported side effect of increased hair growth.
“We decided on a trial of low dose oral minoxidil, given Bev had not found topical minoxidil effective or practical. It is not a common treatment prescribed in the UK as it is unlicensed and generally only prescribed by dermatologists with a specialist interest in hair disease.
“How it works to improve hair growth is not fully understood but it may increase blood flow to the hair roots leading to hairs growing for longer/new hairs growing.
“There are potential side effects of oral minoxidil that need monitoring, including low blood pressure, increased heart rate and fluid retention – however as the side effects are dose-related, by keeping to a low dose the risk of side effects can be reduced.”
Bev was started on a small dose every other day for the first four months but after suffering no unwanted side effects and having regular blood tests, it has been increased to a daily dose.
“I’m seeing progress,” said a delighted Bev. “It is a slow process but it really has given me hope. After so many years of avoiding swimming in public – or even having my hair washed at the hairdressers – I’m starting to feel my confidence grow.
“To start with, it was just fantastic just to talk to Dr Kaur and have my problem discussed seriously and sympathetically. It is heart-breaking for women who go to their GP about hair loss and are simply told there is nothing that can be done.
“The problem is treated much more pro-actively in the USA and Australia so I am just hoping that my story can highlight to sufferers and to GPs that there is positive action that can be taken. Baldness can be tough on men, particularly very young men, but in a woman, it can be devastating.
“I’m still a long way from having my ‘perfect’ head of hair but I feel things have finally started to move in the right direction,” said Bev.
If you would like to discuss hair loss, please book in with a Dermatologist today, or make an enquiry.
Pictured: Bev’s hair is starting to thicken after treatment by Consultant Dermatologist Dr Manjit Kaur.