MEDICAL-RELATED HAIR LOSS

Have you noticed a change in your hair since you began taking new or different medications? Causes of excessive shedding and hair loss in women can be attributed to certain medical conditions and use of medications. Medical-related hair loss can be difficult to pinpoint; it is best diagnosed by a doctor to help target treatment, and if necessary, change medications that may be causing the problem.

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Medical Conditions

Thyroid issues, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), anemia and autoimmune disorders are just some of the medical conditions that can cause hair loss. Per the AAD, there are over 30 diseases that can be attributed to hair loss.

Medicine

Certain types of medicines such as blood pressure medications, birth control, blood thinners or medication for depression can trigger excessive hair shedding.   

Usually, once the cause is identified and medication switched or treatment measures implemented to help control the medical condition, the normal hair growth cycle will resume. In the meantime, INTACT can provide peace of mind while targeting the larger medical issue at hand.

How Do I Know if I Have Medically-Induced Hair Loss?

Reflect and ask questions. The body is a complex and sophisticated machine. Although medications are meant to help our bodies, they can also disrupt them. It is important when hair loss starts to occur, that you take the time to think about what changes have recently occurred in the past 2-3 months. Did you start a new medicine, get on/off birth control, introduce a new supplement to your diet or do anything differently than your norm?

Also take note of how you feel; do you have less energy, feel thirsty and dehydrated or have your sleeping patterns changed? Take note of any unusual symptoms or feelings in your body that may reveal a potential medical condition. You can keep a log and share with your doctor. This can help better identify the heath issue so you can be on the road to treatment and recovery.

Common Medications That May Cause Hair Loss

• Chemotherapy drugs
• Blood thinners
• Antibiotics
• Cholesterol drugs
• Birth control
• Thyroid medications
• Steroids
• Blood pressure medicine
• Antidepressants

Hair Shedding or Hair Loss
What’s the Difference?

Due to the multitude of factors that may contribute to hair loss and the many kinds of hair loss conditions, it can be overwhelming to understand this complex issue. Even understanding the difference between hair shedding and hair loss can be difficult as this terminology is often used interchangeably. Let’s take a closer look at how they do indeed differ.

Hair Shedding

Normal hair shedding is considered 50-150 strands a day. At times, and due to certain life changes or practices, we may experience more hair fall. When the body sheds hair excessively, this is called Telogen Effluvium. Typically, this type of hair shedding is temporary and can be resolved once the cause is addressed. Hair will go back to its normal growth cycle in 6-9 months.

Hair Shedding Triggers

• Acute stress
• Sickness with high fever 
• Giving birth 
• Rapid weight loss / crash dieting 
• Having an operation

Hair Loss

Hair loss on the other hand is when hair stops growing. This type of hair loss is called Anagen Effluvium. Hereditary hair loss, auto-immune disorders and drugs, medical treatments or certain health disorders will trigger anagen effluvium. A dermatologist can help you determine if you have hair loss or excessive hair shedding and can put you on the right path to resolving your condition.

Hair Loss Triggers

• Genetic hair loss, called Female Pattern Hair Loss
• Immune disorders
• Permanent Traction Alopecia 
• Trichotillomania – disorder where one pulls their own hair out 
• Chemotherapy-induced alopecia