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Does Weight Loss Cause Hair Loss?
Around 1.9 billion people around the world are currently considered medically obese. Obesity is associated with chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Being obese also lowers the overall quantity and quality of life.
Studies have shown that obesity can reduce life expectancy by up to 8-14 years. Being obese is a risk, so more and more are striving to stay away from that risk. Many turn to diet and exercise or other programs to shed the weight away.
As a result, some of them become fit and healthy. However, there are a few who seem to experience side effects because of their weight loss programs. One of these side effects is hair loss.
Does weight loss cause hair loss? Or is it just a coincidence?
Unfortunately, occasionally, weight loss does indeed cause hair loss—especially in extreme weight loss. The human body is sensitive to changes, it can adapt, but it takes time. For example, when you start working out, you will experience muscle soreness the next day. That’s why there should be rest days in between workouts to allow the body to recover.
Once you start a weight loss program, the body will change, adjusting where it has to. But if you lose weight too fast, there is no time to catch up. Your hormonal balance and nutrient distribution will be disrupted. One of the symptoms of these disruptions is hair follicles falling off.
For example, you may experience telogen effluvium due to weight loss. Telogen effluvium is a form of hair loss identified when the hair scalp starts to thin and shed. Fortunately, it can be treated, and the hair will grow back.
Here are some weight loss programs routines that may cause hair loss:
Restrictive and Crash Diets
Linking crash diets and hair loss has been medically proven as far back as the 1970s. Depriving yourself of foods leads to weight loss, but it isn’t the best way to do it.
Crash diets may yield results now, but it doesn’t help long-term weight loss. Doing a crash diet deprives the body of carbohydrates, sugars, and fats—which causes weight loss. However, crash diets also deprive the body of essential nutrients.
Hair follicles need adequate nutrients and calories to grow. So when there is a shortage, the body will start to ration and send the nutrients to the organs which are needed to keep you alive. It will deprive the hair, and it will slowly start to wither.
For women, the hair will get thinner, and for men, they will experience male pattern baldness.
Hair loss caused by crash diets can be fixed. Poorly planned crash diets cause deficiencies in essential nutrients and much-needed calories. Plan the dietary program well, and there won’t be hair loss issues.
Low Protein Count
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The protein is then used in the human body to perform bodily functions, grow, and repair body tissue. Not many know that amino acids are also responsible for hair growth.
Our body needs 22 amino acids, but 9 of them cannot be synthesized within the body. The only you can get these amino acids is through food sources or supplements. Without them, hair follicles will start to thin and shed.
These acids are essential to not only growing hair but also keeping it healthy. It is responsible for its tensile strength, shine, and hair density. If there is a low supply, the body will transfer these acids to do important tasks like tissue repair, digestion, and hormone production.
On top of that, without amino acids that make protein, it will be harder to lose weight. Protein builds muscles, and if there are no muscles, there is nothing that will burn the calories away.
Weight Loss Surgeries
Some weight-loss surgeries are known to cause hair loss as a side effect. The cause of hair loss is the same as for restrictive or crash diets, nutrient deficiency.
Women who have undergone gastrectomy, a surgery that removes a large portion of the stomach, have been observed to experience hair loss after the surgery. These patients are noted to have lacked essential nutrients such as vitamin B12 and zinc.
If you are currently experiencing hair loss after surgery, consult your doctor. Your doctor can give you medications to help grow your hair back.
When To See A Doctor?
If hair loss is persistent and doesn’t seem to be improving, consult your doctor. Most hair loss induced by weight loss will pass by on its own after several months. However, it is still advised to consult a doctor. The earlier hair loss is addressed, the less likely it will become permanent.
If hair loss is sudden despite doing proper diet and exercise, urgently consult a doctor. Sudden hair loss may indicate an underlying health condition.
Hair Loss Treatments
Thanks to modern medicine, hair loss can be prevented, stopped, or even grow back.
There are hair loss medications that can be bought in a pharmacy, and it’s that easy. But first, consult your doctor for a prescription. Here are some prescriptions you can buy in a pharmacy.
Minoxidil – Minoxidil is a drug that thickens hair follicles. As a result, the hair starts growing and thickens.
Finasteride – Finasteride is another drug commonly used to treat male pattern baldness. It suppresses the DHT hormones that cause hair scalp to grow thinner. Once suppressed, the hair starts to grow back and thickens.
If you are currently experiencing severe male pattern baldness, there are transplant options. The transplant procedure involves moving some of the hair from the back to the front. Once transplanted, hairs at the front will start growing again.
Laser treatment is the newest tech to help recover from hair loss. The procedure involves beaming concentrated light into your hair follicles to encourage them to grow. The results of the procedure are mixed. It works wonders for others but is barely noticeable for others.