Male Pattern Baldness
I started using Rogaine around two years ago. Was suffering from sudden and rapid hair loss, from less than 50 hairs a day to more than 200 a day in two months. Noticed it first when a friend told me after a cricket match (apparently it's more noticeable outdoors, in Sun). It was hard to believe (maybe I didn't want to) but I started noticing hairs on the floor, in books and combs. Took me two months to realize, or accept that I was balding. It started with overall thinning but there was no frontal baldness (receding hairline) issue initially.
As I mentioned, it took me two months to realize and another 20 days of scolding (I am extremely lazy and careless) from my mother to go and visit a dermatologist.
After a diagnosis of my scalp it was confirmed to be male pattern baldness. The doctor told me use Rogaine 5% and put me on propecia (finasteride 1 mg). I also started taking biotin tablets as prescribed by him. Biotin helps with hair thickness and growth rate.
I did some online research (like most of us do nowadays) about Rogaine and propecia. Using Rogaine was o.k. but I found lots of bad stuff about propecia side effects on forums. Infertility, erectile dysfunction etc etc. But I chose against it - mainly because the side effects were reported in less than 2% men - and went on with both Rogaine and propecia. By this time my hairline had started receding.
Does Rogaine Work
For two months continuously I used both Rogaine and propecia with utmost sincerity. The routine was to apply 1 ml of minoxidil twice a day (morning and evening) to the scalp and to take 1 mg propecia tablet once a day (at same time everyday). I was extremely happy to see the results. My hair loss was very much under control (though not completely), I was shedding around 50 hairs a day which was good compared to my early losses. Gradually the hair thickness improved along with the overall density (though not restored completely). Till now, the hairline had receded by few millimeters.
What happens when you stop using Rogaine
I paid my doctor a visit after three months to end the treatment but he kept me on both propecia and Rogaine. But I started skipping my Rogaine doses, mainly because of the tedious job of applying it (told you I am lazy). After about 20 days of my second visit to the dermatologist I stopped using Rogaine completely. Meanwhile I was using some herbal products to counter hair loss. After 12 - 15 days of quitting Rogaine, my hair fall started again. It was not as rapid and severe as it was initially, but still. Apparently you can't quit Rogaine once you've started. So I went back to Rogaine again.
What happens when you stop taking finasteride/propecia
Hair loss was under control after 45 days of restarting Rogaine. It always takes around two months to control hair fall once you quit Rogaine. And you can't expect a complete restoration. There would always some degree of thinning and hair loss. Anyway, I kept up the routine for few months (missing doses now and then) before experimenting again. I stopped taking propecia, I always wanted to (the fear of side effects). They say that once you stop propecia, hair loss begins with in few months. But with in next 10 days, I started losing hairs like never before. Hair loss had occurred on quitting minoxidil but this was much more rapid, more than 200 hairs a day. You just can't stop taking propecia.
Minoxidil side effects
I have noticed just one side effect of minoxidil till now. I feel slight irritation in eyes for 2 - 3 days while applying minoxidil when I switch from 5 % to 10 %. It's barely felt and should not be thought as a reason for not using minoxidil. You will not be switching them too often anyway.
Propecia side effects
I didn't notice any side effects of propecia until now. But ten days ago, I felt mild pain in my right testicle. This prompted me write this review. The doctor says it's a minor infection that has nothing to do with finasteride but advised me against taking it. I don't know if the pain is due to finasteride or not but I am not willing to take the risk. I have stopped taking propecia now.
I have used both minoxidil and propecia for two years straight now. I can say that they work on hair loss but with plenty of limitations. In these two years my hairline had receded by 2 centimeters approximately. So they don't quite work that well for receding hairline. Rogaine just stops hair loss while propecia helps with new hair growth. Once you stop using Rogaine hair fall slowly starts again while once you stop taking propecia, you suffer massive hair loss. You need to give them around two months to show some changes. Minoxidil 10 % works much quicker than 5 %. You can't expect a head full of hairs by using them, you just can't beat the 'thin hair' problem.