Does Crohn’s disease cause hair loss? Causes and Treatments

Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This inflammation can cause symptoms such as pain, severe diarrhea, weight loss and malnutrition.

People with severe Crohn’s disease often have symptoms outside of their gastrointestinal tract, such as joint and skin inflammation. Hair loss is increasingly appearing as one of these symptoms.

In fact, a research report 2021 suggests a link between IBD and alopecia, which is a type of hair loss.

This article will explore what experts know about the link between Crohn’s disease and hair loss, as well as the causes, treatment options, and more.

Hair loss in Crohn’s disease

Anecdotally, many people with Crohn’s disease have reported hair loss as a symptom. the research report 2021 mentioned above suggests that hair loss may be more common in people with IBD than in the general population.

In small study as of 2015, 33% of participants reported hair loss as a symptom of their IBD. However, the researchers cannot prove whether all of these cases of hair loss were actually related to IBD, so the actual percentage may be lower than what was reported in the study.

Experts do not fully understand the association between hair loss and Crohn’s disease. So many factors can contribute to hair loss, making it difficult to know whether hair loss is due to Crohn’s disease or not. Further research is needed to further explore the connection.

Here are some of the links between hair loss and Crohn’s disease.

The previously mentioned research report 20201 suggests a possible link between alopecia areata and IBD such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases occur when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body. In alopecia areata, the immune system attacks the hair follicles.

Researchers are still exploring the links between alopecia areata and Crohn’s disease.

experts have long speculated that Crohn’s disease could also be an autoimmune disease. However, instead of attacking the body’s own cells, your immune system attacks the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract.

People with autoimmune diseases such as alopecia areata are at a higher risk of developing other autoimmune diseases. This is especially true for women, according to a 2019 review of studies. It is important to note that studies in this review did not report data or include transgender, non-binary, gender-nonconforming participants. gender, genderqueer, agender, or asexual, and more research is needed in these areas.

Telogen effluvium is a type of alopecia that causes excessive and rapid hair loss. Hair can come out in handfuls or cover your pillow when you wake up in the morning.

Telogen effluvium usually occurs after a shock to your body, such as childbirth or surgery. A flare-up of Chron’s disease symptoms may also fall into this category.

You could experience significant weight loss, anemia, or nutritional deficiencies. As you manage the symptoms of your Crohn’s disease and your outbreak subsides, hair should begin to grow back as usual.

Although the prevalence of telogen effluvium in people with Crohn’s disease is not yet well understood, researchers have associated this type of hair loss with the disease, other forms of IBD, and autoimmune diseases. – immune in general.

In some cases, hair loss can be a side effect of one of the drugs used to treat Crohn’s disease.

Methotrexate, a powerful drug used to treat a variety of conditions, is the Crohn’s drug most often associated with hair loss, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Methotrexate fights inflammation by interfering with cell growth. It can also interfere with the growth of hair follicles, causing mild hair loss.

Because it causes inflammation of the intestinal tract, Crohn’s disease can impact your ability to absorb nutrients.

Even if you have a balanced diet, you cannot digest or absorb the nutrients in your food. Diarrhea, a common symptom of Crohn’s disease, can also prevent the absorption of much-needed nutrients.

Poor nutrient absorption can lead to malnutrition and deficiencies in the nutrients your body needs for healthy hair growth. Malnutrition due to Crohn’s disease can also lead to unplanned weight loss, another factor in hair loss.

Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients play an important role in hair follicle development. According to research 2015common vitamin deficiencies in Crohn’s disease include:

  • Vitamin D
  • zinc
  • vitamin B12
  • the iron

Learn more about the best vitamins for healthy hair growth.

Remember to always consult a doctor or nutritionist, if there is one, before adding vitamins and supplements to your diet.

Managing Crohn’s disease can be difficult. Stress is a common side effect of dealing with the daily toll of symptoms and managing them.

Stress is associated with many negative health effects and can play a role in hair loss.

Chronic stress can lead to high levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is often known as the stress hormone due to its role in stimulating your body’s fight or flight response. A study 2021 in mice found a link between high cortisol levels and hair loss.

If you have Crohn’s disease and patches of thinning hair or baldness, talk to your doctor. They can give you recommendations that work for you.

Changing Crohn’s Medication

Your doctor may consider adjusting the dosage and type of your medications, especially if you have other side effects.

Learn more about options for Crohn’s disease medications.

hair loss medications

Depending on the root cause of your hair loss, oral or topical medications may be beneficial.

These include:

Learn more about hair loss treatments.

Dietary adjustments

Your doctor may order lab tests to check for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. This can be done with a simple blood test. If a vitamin deficiency is identified, your doctor may advise you to take a daily supplement.

You can also reduce nutrient deficits by avoiding trigger foods, especially during a flare-up. Everyone’s trigger foods are different. Some foods to avoid may include raw fruits and vegetables as well as dairy products.

Check out our Crohn’s Nutrition Guide to help you identify the best foods to eat.

Stress reduction

There is no downside to reducing stress. Talking with a therapist one-on-one or finding a support group for people with Crohn’s disease are two strategies for reducing stress.

Other ways to relieve stress include:

Symptoms of Crohn’s disease can include:

  • constipation or diarrhea
  • abdominal pain and cramps
  • unplanned weight loss

Hair loss isn’t the only Crohn’s symptom that occurs outside of the gastrointestinal tract. Other symptoms and potential complications include:

Learn more about the symptoms and complications of Crohn’s disease.

If you see hair in your comb or shower drain, try not to panic. Hair loss is typical and occurs in cycles throughout your life. If, however, you lose a lot more hair than usual or notice patches of baldness, let your doctor know.

Hair loss can be hereditary or associated with conditions other than Crohn’s disease. It is important to get medical support to help you find the hair loss treatments that will work best for you.

While some hair loss conditions are permanent, many are temporary and reversible. Plus, treatment options can help prevent hair loss and strengthen your hair. Generally, the sooner you treat hair loss, the better your outlook.

Although experts are still investigating possible links between hair loss and Crohn’s disease, anecdotal evidence suggests that some people with Crohn’s disease experience hair loss as a symptom. This also seems to be true with other forms of IBD, especially during symptom flare-ups.

Crohn’s disease is associated with an increased risk of developing other autoimmune diseases, including alopecia areata. Other symptoms and complications of Crohn’s disease that can contribute to hair loss include nutrient deficiencies, stress, and medication side effects.

Talk to your doctor if you notice irregular changes in your hair or worsening symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

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