Is Medicine Making My Hair Fall Out?

Is Medicine Making My Hair Fall Out?

Chemotherapy is the treatment of diseases by the use of specific drugs. Chemotherapy is usually associated with the treatment of cancer. If you are a chemotherapeutic patient you might just be asking yourself “is medicine making my hair fall out?”. Well the answer might just be a yes. It is common for patients under chemotherapy to experience side effects such as alopecia (hair loss). For example in the treatment of cancer it is known that drugs that treat cancer have a cytotoxic effect (cell killing). This cytotoxic effect is non-specific and it is targeted at all dividing cells. Thus these cancer drugs will not only kill the mutated cancerous cells but they will also kill other normal body cells that are dividing. This is one of the reasons why cancer patients will experience side effects such as hair loss.

Other drugs such as anti-depressants which are used in the treatment of arthritis and anti coagulants which are used in the control of cholesterol can cause hair loss. This is because these drugs affect the normal metabolism of the body which results in certain changes which will affect normal cellular function therefore resulting in hair loss.

Oral contraceptives that are hormonal based can have undesirable effects on the body some of which may include hair loss. This is so, for these contraceptives change the hormonal balance of the body which will in turn change all cellular activity. When there is a dramatic change in hormonal level the body acts in such a way to try and counteract it. In the event of doing so, other undesirable side effects may occur, a good example is autoimmune response. Once the body switches on to autoimmune destruction mode, hair loss will be a common feature.

There are also drugs that are steroid based, some which are used to treat certain diseases whilst others are used for purposes such as body building. Steroids affect the levels of hormones. For example, there are some steroids that stimulate the thyroid to release more testosterone. High levels of testosterone however, are associated with male pattern baldness.

There is no need to worry if medicine is the one causing your hair to fall out. Once chemotherapy is stopped normal hair growth will continue. If after a long period the hair does not grow back, you may consider using some medication to boost hair regrowth. You can either use drugs that boost hair growth such as finasteride and minoxidil which are all approved by the US FDA in the treatment of many cases of baldness. Depending on the case of hair loss, other forms of hair replacement may be considered, among which include hair replacement surgery. Hair surgery is used in cases where the areas with hair loss no longer have active hair follicles and activation of such hair follicles is futile. This is the specialty of hair surgeons, they are able to identify all your hair problems no matter what they may be and solve them.

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