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Nowadays, hair fall is one of the major health issues all over the globe. Many factors including diet and other diseases cause this problem, but One of the major factors are medications which we take. The long term use of many medicines for chronic diseases can cause hair to fall. Food is one of the major factors which causes hair loss. When you are not taking vitamins, proteins and other nutrients which are essential for hair growth, it causes hair loss. Protein deficient foods cause hair damage and reduce your body’s ability to build new hair follicles. Severe weight loss dieting also causes hair to fall after two to three months.
Causes of Hair Fall
Here are some foods that cause hair fall:
Sugar and Carbohydrates
There are two reasons why high sugar containing foods cause hair loss. As sugar triggers the body to produce insulin and high androgen levels (the male hormone), which shrink the hair follicle and enhance the hair loss. Another reason is indirect but it may be linked to hair loss. Sugars inhibit the ability to handle stress and stress triggers hair loss.
Fried food items containing a high level of fats, and containing hydrogenated oils can cause hair loss. Studies have found monounsaturated and saturated fats increase the testosterone levels, which increases DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a product that causes baldness like in males. Hydrogenated oils suppress fatty acids which are essential for healthy hair growth.
Aspartame – Sugar-free foods
Aspartame is the artificial sweetener which causes baldness according to FDA. Diet alternatives and sugar-free foods should be avoided at all costs. Aspartame causes thinning and damaging of hair and it also has many adverse effects on health like arthritis, depression, impotence and sexual disorders.
Must Read: Top 5 Best Dermatologists In Karachi
Artificial colors and flavors are very commonly used in food items nowadays. Like cochineal extract or carmine dye is a color additive extracted from dried insects and is commonly used in drinks, sweets and other foods may cause hair loss and other health issues.
Fish containing a high level of Mercury
Dermatologists suggest fish high levels of mercury causes thinning and loss of hair.
Heavy drinking and tobacco are harmful to hair growth. Researchers believe alcohol inhibits the absorption of zinc and other essential minerals by hair which causes hair loss. Another research is, alcohol causes dehydration which contributes to hair loss.
Foods high in selenium
Selenosis, high levels of selenium in blood, causes hair loss. As selenium is a micro-mineral that your body needs in very small amounts. Brazil nuts are the only food which contains very high amounts of selenium. Others include tuna, oyster, whole wheat bread, sunflower seeds and all types of meat. Overeating these foods can lead to hair loss.
So, you need a proper diet containing essential nutrients for healthy hair and for proper hair growth. Other than diet, medicines commonly used also have an effect on hair growth and sometimes they are the reason behind the silent hair loss.
The medicines induced hair loss is reversible and as long as we stop the medicine, the hair fall problem also stops.
Basically, there are two types of medicines which cause hair fall and affect the further growth of our hair.
- Medicines which affect hair in telogen phase of a hair growth cycle. i.e telogen effluvium
- Medicines which affect hair in the anagen phase of hair growth cycle i.e anagen effluvium
The telogen phase is basically a resting phase in which hair follicles are in a resting state. Telogen effluvium is the most common type of hair fall it usually occurs 2-4 months after taking the medicines. This causes 30% to 70% more hair fall than normal (100-150 hair a day).
Here is a list of medicines causing telogen effluvium by affecting the hair follicle.
- Blood pressure medications: Beta blockers including Atenolol, Metoprolol, Nadolol, Propranolol and Timolol ACE-inhibitors including Captopril, Lisinopril, Enalapril
- Blood thinners: Warfarin & Heparin injections.
- Gout medicines: Allopurinol
- Acne medicines: Vitamin therapy can cause hair loss for example Isotretinoin
- Female hormonal medicine: Oral contraceptive pills, estrogens, progesterone.
- Male hormonal medicines: testosterone, anabolic steroids.
- Antidepressants: Amitriptyline, amoxapine, Clomipramine, desipramine, doxepin,fluoxetine hydrochloride, haloperidol, Imipramine, nortriptyline, protriptyline,proxetine, sertaline and trimipramine.
- Anticonvulsants (anti-epilepsy): Valproic acid, trimethadione
- Immune suppressants: Azathioprine and many others
- NSAIDS: long term use of NSAIDs causes hair fall
- Anti-cholesterol medicines: statins including atorvastatin and simvastatin
- Antiparkinson medicines
- Thyroid medicines
- Medicines causing weight loss
This happens during the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle during which the hairs are actively growing. It prevents matrix cells, which produces new hair, to divide normally. This type of hair loss occurs within a few days or a week after taking the medicine. It is common in people who are under cancer chemotherapy treatment and causing people to lose almost all the hair on their head and as well as eyelashes, eyebrows and other body hair. This type of hair fall is very severe.
Here is the list of medicines:
Patients taking combinations of these medicines face more hair loss as compared to ones who take single medicines. The hair fall starts within a week after taking the chemotherapy dose and progresses more rapidly after one or two months.
To avoid the hair loss as a side effect of medicines, we should ask the doctor or pharmacist for the side effects of the medicines which we are going to use. Especially when we are taking medicines for a long time we should consult our pharmacist for the warnings and potential side effects. Usually, when we stop the medicine, there are possibilities that hair growth becomes normal. But after chemotherapy, new hair growth is somewhat different and changes the texture of hair that can be seen.
If you are facing severe hair loss, you can find the best dermatologist in Lahore, here.
And you can also find best hair transplant specialist in Lahore through Marham
Important point [the names of medicines written in the article are the chemical names (generic names) which are written below the brand name of your medicine usually in brackets ().]
Note: This article is for learning purpose only. We, at MARHAM, strictly discourage self-medication and recommend you to consult a verified practitioner for a complete physical check-up.