There are a lot of side effects that patients deal with when they have a flare-up of their IBD. One thing that is often overlooked when discussing the side effects or symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease is what it can do to the hair. Unfortunately hair thinning and loss is a very unpleasant side effect for many patients. While hair loss might not be the most medically significant problem it can still be a devastating one.
There are several reasons for the hair loss experienced in IBD patients. The first reason for this issue is due to malnutrition. Patients who have lost a significant amount of weight over a short period of time may be at a higher risk of experiencing hair loss or thinning of the hair. The mal-absorption of nutrients in IBD patients can also cause issues with hair loss even when the patient maintains a stable weight. Normally this kind of hair loss is only temporary and the hair grows back as nutritional status returns.
<p><strong>What Is Hair Loss?</strong></p>
<p>Hair loss of any sort is called alopecia—be it normal male-pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia, or AGA) that commonly occurs as men age, or abnormal hair loss associated with certain diseases, hormonal disturbances, or treatments such as chemotherapy. There are two general types of alopecia: scarring and non-scarring. In scarring alopecia, the hair follicles that support the hair shaft are destroyed by an underlying condition, so that hair loss is irreversible. In non-scarring alopecia (which includes AGA and alopecia areata), the follicles are preserved, so that regrowth of lost hair remains a possibility. Alopecia has many causes, all of which may affect both sexes.</p>
<p><strong>Who Gets Hair Loss? </strong></p>
<p>Nearly two-thirds of men develop some form of balding, and at least two-thirds of women have some form of hair t...
Do the chemo – keep your hair? For most women, hair loss is the scariest, most dreaded side effect of chemotherapy. A new adjunct therapy may help you go through chemo and still keep your locks.
I serve as a patient representative on a patient and family advocacy committee at our local cancer center.
One of my fellow patient representatives, Ginny, went through breast cancer – including chemotherapy – a year ago. Surprisingly, her hair is gorgeous – shoulder length, shiny, healthy looking.
For those of you who’ve lost your hair to chemo, you know that’s pretty unusual – in fact, nigh on impossible, just a year after treatment.
So I asked her how she’d done it. “Ginny, how can your hair possibly look this good with your having had chemo so recently?”
“I didn’t lose my hair.”
Now, it’s true, not all chemo regimens cause hair loss. B...
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