Does Crohns Disease Lead To Hair Loss
Hair loss or telogen effluvium due to Crohns disease is more commonplace than you think. Many people with Crohns disease report excessive hair fall and receding hairline as its symptoms. In fact, the 2021 research review discovered that hair loss in men and women having an inflammatory bowel disease is more likely than in the general population.
Let’s understand what Crohn’s disease is, how it can affect you, and what all possible Crohns hair loss treatments are available for you to achieve complete hair restoration.
The Normal Cycle Of Hair Growth
Scalp hair grows in cycles , with each individual follicle undergoing 10 to 30 cycles per lifetime. Active hair growth occurs during anagen, a phase which lasts 2 to 8 years. During anagen, hair follicle cells divide every 1 to 3 days, resulting in hair growth of approximately 1 cm/mo. Anagen is followed by catagen, the involuting or regression phase, which lasts 2 to 3 weeks and signals the end of active hair growth. Telogen is the resting or quiescent phase, which lasts 2 to 3 months and is followed by exogen, an active phase, where the old hair fiber is shed. Excessive hair loss is because of disruption of 1 of the phases of the cycle.
The normal cycle of hair growth. Active hair growth occurs during anagen, which lasts 2 to 8 years. Anagen is followed by catagen, the involuting or regression phase, which lasts 2 to 3 weeks. Telogen is the resting or quiescent phase, which lasts 2 to 3 months and is followed by exogen, an active phase, where the old hair fiber is shed. Excessive hair loss is because of disruption of 1 of the phases of the cycle.
Each hair follicle cycles independently such that at any one time approximately 85% of hair follicles will be in anagen, 1% to 2% in catagen with the remaining 10% to 15% being in telogen. Most people have between 100,000 and 150,000 scalp hairs, and shedding of 25 to 100 telogen hairs per day is normal however, anagen hair loss is never normal.
To Summarize Here Is Roughly What Happens When You Lose Hair Due To Telogen Effluvium:
Pay close attention to #3 above. With Telogen Effluvium, you are shedding your telogen hair pretty much like you always do: 1-6 months after it enters the telogen phase. The difference is that far more of your hair is in a telogen state. This means that you will lose a lot of hair in a relatively short amount of time. It also means that you may mistake the cause of your hair loss, because it was triggered by something that happened months earlier!
This is the really important part to understand, so Im going to say it again in much bigger letters in a fancy quote box, and then Im going to reiterate it with some nice images:
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Can The Thyroid Cause Hair Loss
The small, butterfly-shaped thyroid gland in our necks usually goes unnoticed until it causes problems. And whether the thyroid is producing too much or too little of the hormones that are important to so many different functions in our body, problems with thyroid function can affect hair growth, texture, pigmentation, and can even cause hair loss.
The thyroid gland makes hormones called T3 and T4, which, among other things, regulate the bodys metabolism.
Having too much of these hormones or too little of these hormones can directly impact the hair growth cycle, potentially leading to hair loss .
Unlike the most common cause of hair loss, androgenic alopecia , thyroid-related hair loss typically results in overall thinning of the hair , rather than a bald spot at the crown, a receding hairline, or isolated patches with no hair at all.
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How Does Hair Loss Due To Crohns Disease Occur
Similar to ulcerative colitis, simply having the condition does not necessarily mean that you will suffer from hair loss, as the condition can affect different people in different ways. It is, however, relatively frequent although not always severe.
According to the most recent research, there are several reasons why hair loss due to Crohns Disease can transpire:
- One of the key issues with Crohns Disease is the inability to absorb certain nutrients and minerals as effectively as a healthy individual. As many of these nutrients are essential for hair growth within the follicle, a shortfall can easily lead to hair loss.
- Due to the nature of Crohns Disease and the vicious cycle of stomach cramps from ingestion, the pain can often lead to feelings of extreme stress and anxiety, both of which are known to cause hair loss in patients.
- While there are drugs that can help with Crohns Disease such as immunosuppressants, the side effects of these treatments is that they can slow down the function of hair follicles, ultimately causing thinning.
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Thyroid Hair Thinning And Anti
As a general rule, eating a balanced diet can help to promote growth and improve the condition of your hair. This also include autoimmune disorders, which under-active thyroid is.
Reduction of the inflammation in your body as a result of healthy gut microflora improves absorption of the nutrients from your body and can help stop or slow down your immune system attacking itself, which includes your thyroid gland, too. A healthful and balanced diet is one that contains protein, fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and a moderate amount of fat.
Q: Could My Thyroid Condition Be Causing My Hair Loss
A: Yes, it could. A lot of people with thyroid dysfunction shed hair.
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The hair loss is typically reversed after your thyroid hormone levels are normalized. But this may take some time.
Its important to point out that hair loss may not just be caused by your thyroid, however.
Having one autoimmune disorder also increases your risk for having others, some of which produce hair loss:
- Celiac disease can be associated with iron deficiency, which triggers hair loss.
- Alopecia areata, a skin condition, causes hair to fall out, typically leaving round spots without hair.
And for women, menopause creates a low estrogen state that can thin the hair follicles, giving the appearance of overall hair loss.
If youre shedding hair, I would definitely tell your physician, who can determine the reason. Doctors can sometimes prescribe treatments to minimize or reverse hair loss.
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Hair Loss Can Be A Symptom Of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Hair loss has been observed in IBD patients enough over the years, that it can be considered an extra-intestinal symptom of Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis 5http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4188947/. Although not a terribly common scenario, hair loss can actually be the first recognizable symptom of Inflammatory Bowel Disease for some patients.6http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1292143/7http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4188947/
Although hair loss has long been reported by IBD patients and observed in various studies, its still a lesser known and understood aspect of Crohns and ulcerative colitis. Fortunately, thanks to ongoing research and an ever-improving understanding of these diseases, there are some basic things we can understand about hair loss in IBD.
In 2013, Guys and St Thomas Hospital in London conducted a scientific literature search spanning 46 years to better understand the prevalence of hair loss experienced by IBD patients. Their search found that:
Telogen effluvium associated with acute or chronic flares of IBD is probably the commonest cause of disease-related hair loss8http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23624889
So, this thing called Telogen Effluvium, which is associated with active disease in Crohns and ulcerative colitis, looks to be the most common cause of hair loss among IBD patients
Be Gentle With Your Hair
In the meantime, treating hair gently is important, Gagneja says.
That means cutting down or eliminating hair coloring and perms, avoiding hairstyles that involve pulling on the hair â such as tying it in a tight ponytail or bun â and minimizing excessive brushing.
Gagneja also suggests using a gentle shampoo and potentially washing your hair less often. There are hair masks that promise to add nutrients to hair, but be careful not to overdo these treatments.
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Alopecia Associated With Drugs Used To Treat Ibd
Alopecia is a recognized side effect of most drugs used to treat IBD. The frequency of alopecia reported by the Electronic Medicines Compendium is summarized in . Fortunately, alopecia secondary to drugs is rare, usually mild, and only infrequently requires drug withdrawal. The pattern of alopecia is in keeping with TE rather than AA in most cases, except when secondary to TNF- blocker agents . Conversely, because of their immunomodulating properties, corticosteroids, thiopurines, methotrexate, and sulfasalazine have been used as treatments of AA, with variable success.
What Are Medication Side Effects
Some evidence shows that one of the medications prescribed to treat Crohns disease triggers telogen effluvium. Hair loss in men and women could be a side effect of a strong medication called methotrexate. The Arthritis Foundation has found the use of methotrexate to be linked to the problem of hair loss and even receding hairline.
Methotrexate is an immune-system suppressant that helps fight inflammation by interfering with cell growth. Long-term use of this medicine also obstructs the growth of hair follicles, leading to mild to severe hair loss.
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If You Have Ibd And Youve Begun Experiencing Hair Loss Please Speak With Your Doctor About It
Speak to your doctor about hair loss
There are many reasons why an IBD patient may be losing hair, and its important to work with a qualified medical team to determine the cause so you can work towards a solution. Fortunately, the causes of hair loss generally associated with IBD, such as nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances 33http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4188947/, side effects of medications, and acute and chronic illness, can be reversed. 34http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1071566-treatment
Illnesses That Can Cause Hair Loss
can frequently be symptomatic of an underlying medical problem, rather than the result of a hair loss condition. If you are experiencing other symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, or rashes, along with high levels of hair loss, then you should seek medical advice to determine a diagnosis and course of treatment at the earliest possible opportunity.
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Reverse Your Thyroid Hair Loss
Science Based Amy Myers, MD
Amy Myers, M.D. is a functional medicine physician, trained and certified by The Institute of Functional Medicine. Dr. Myers earned her Doctor of Medicine at the LSU Health Science Center, and completed her Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Dr. Myers retired from her functional medicine clinic, Austin UltraHealth, where she served thousands of patients, to empower those who were failed by conventional medicine. Shes a 2x New York Times bestselling author, and the founder and CEO of the health & lifestyle e-commerce brand, Amy Myers MDÂ®.
There I was, standing in front of my bathroom mirror brushing my hair when I noticed chunks of it coming out on my hairbrush. It was horrifying and depressing, after all, I was 32 years old and this was not normal! I would later discover that this was a symptom of my Graves Disease, and I would even have the misfortune of experiencing thyroid hair loss again during my thyroid treatment. While thyroid hair loss might not be one of the more dangerous symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, it can be one of the more disheartening, and it was a constant reminder that something was not right with my body.
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Make Sure Your Thyroid Labs Are Optimal
My first recommendation if you are dealing with thyroid hair loss is to have your doctor run a full thyroid panel to make sure your TSH, Free T4 , Free T3 , and Reverse T3 levels are all optimal1. In my article, What Your Thyroid Lab Results Really Mean, I explain what each of these blood tests measures, why your doctor needs to order all of them , and why they should use optimal rather than normal reference ranges. Its important to understand that you can still have thyroid dysfunction and symptoms, including thyroid hair loss, even if your TSH and T4 are normal, and the first step in optimizing all of your levels is to have them tested.
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Connecting Patients: Questions About Crohns Disease
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease . It causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.
The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue. Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications.
While there’s no known cure for Crohn’s disease, therapies can greatly reduce its signs and symptoms and even bring about long-term remission. With treatment, many people with Crohn’s disease are able to function well.
Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week is Dec. 1 Dec. 7.
Visit Mayo Clinic Connect, an online community where you can share your experiences and find support from people like you. You can also read Mayo Clinic expert blogs and take part in educational events.
Crohns Disease – Questions about medications“My adult daughter who has Crohns and PSC is taking about 10 prescription medicines. The PSC seems to be in its early stages and right now her concerns are about the Crohns. She was in remission for about 20 years and then last year she had a very bad flare that resulted in surgery. ” – Mayo Clinic Connect member
What Does Thyroid Hair Loss Look Like
Thyroid hair loss often looks like a general thinning across your scalp or eyebrows. Thyroid hair loss might develop slowly patients with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism notice a gradual thinning of their hair rather than localized bald spots or missing patches. If youre brushing through your hair and notice chunks of hair leaving with each stroke, it might be time to get tested for a thyroid condition.
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What Causes Hair Loss In Ibd
Hair loss is considered an extraintestinal manifestation of IBD, or a symptom that doesnt affect the gastrointestinal tract. There are several reasons why a person with Crohns disease or UC might experience hair loss. Stress, nutrition, medications, and the disease itself can contribute to hair loss or alterations in hair thickness for people with Crohns or UC.
Signs Of Hair Loss Stemming From Thyroid
It is usual to drop 50 to 100 hair strands daily as a normal part of the hair growth cycle. However, if you find yourself losing hair in handfuls, you likely have telogen effluvium. It is most common on the scalp, but it can arise in other body parts. Those battling autoimmune alopecia are likely to witness hair loss in discrete, circular patches.
In either of these cases, one must seek advice from a General Practitioner or GP. Professional guidance helps understand if any additional tests are needed, possibly to help mitigate other grounds of diffuse hair loss like iron deficiency. You should also consider consultancy with a skin specialist for precise and accurate diagnosis.
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But What Triggers This Mass Shedding Of Telogen Hair
According to Dermatologist Elizabeth CW Hughes, MD:
Telogen effluvium is triggered when a physiologic stress or hormonal change causes a large number of hairs to enter telogen at one time. Shedding does not occur until the new anagen hairs begin to grow. The emerging hairs help to force the resting hairs out of the follicle. The interval between the inciting event in telogen effluvium and the onset of shedding corresponds to the length of the telogen phase, between 1 and 6 months .15http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1071566-overview#a0104
Ok, lets break this down a bit:
Dont make any sudden movements.
You know how when youre in a stressful or frightening situation, you can go into fight or flight mode, which causes your body to stop focusing on mundane, everyday tasks like digestion and, instead, prepare the body to run from or fight off a lion? 16http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7570024 Thats an acute stress response.
Now Lets Tie All Of This Knowledge Together By Looking At A Real
Hearing about a documented case of hair loss and regrowth in another IBD patient may help provide you with some reassurance. Well, here is just such an example of a recent case study about a child with Crohns disease:
Telogen effluvium was the first symptom of Crohns disease in a child, and should be considered as an extraintestinal manifestation of Crohns disease.30http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4188947/
This 10 year old girl experienced Telogen Effluvium one year prior to her diagnosis with Crohns disease. Being that it is an extra-intestinal manifestation of Crohns disease, it was one of the signs that led to her finally being diagnosed.
10 year old girl with Telogen Effluvium caused by active Crohns disease 31http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4188947/
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