You may have come to realize that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can cause discomfort and weariness. But what about baldness? Hair loss can be a problem for those with RA, sadly. The causes and solutions of RA-related hair loss will be discussed in this article.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Hair Loss
RA is a systemic autoimmune disease. It affects not only the joints, but also other body systems such as tendons, the circulatory system, and internal organs. It can also harm your skin, and because the hair follicles are located here, it could alter your hair.
You are more prone to develop additional autoimmune disorders if you already have one. Alopecia areata is one of them, and it causes hair loss centered on the scalp or all over the body. When alopecia affects only the scalp, corticosteroids, steroid shampoo, or minoxidil may assist, but when it affects the entire body, treatment is more difficult.
Hypothyroidism is also more common in people with RA, albeit the frequency is less than 10% in the United States. Women are four times as likely than males to suffer from thyroid hormone insufficiency. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is one type of autoimmune disease. Hair loss, dry skin, weariness, and an inability to tolerate cold are all symptoms. Supplemental thyroid hormones are used to treat hypothyroidism.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Medications and Hair Loss
Hair loss is a possible side effect of some RA drugs, albeit it is a relatively uncommon side effect. Methotrexate works by inhibiting the growth of cells, particularly those that produce inflammation. Unfortunately, it isn't only for those cells; it can also harm the hair follicles. This occurs in one to three percent of patients who take this drug. Arava is another DMARD that might induce hair loss for the same reason. About 10% of those who take this drug may experience hair loss as a side effect. Finally, certain biologics can induce hair loss in rare cases.
Hair loss caused by medication usually results in thinning rather than patches of hair falling out. Although the amount of hair on your brush or in the shower may appear worrisome, it is likely to be less than you regularly lose in a day. The average woman loses roughly 100 strands of hair per day, with others losing up to 150.
If you notice that you're losing hair, talk to your rheumatologist about it. They might order tests or recommend you to a dermatologist to figure out what's causing your hair loss, which could be related to your thyroid, a skin infection, or an iron deficiency, for example.
If your doctor determines that your medicine is causing hair loss, they may prescribe folic acid, a supplement that is frequently given with methotrexate. Folic acid may assist nourish your hair's health while also potentially reducing hair loss. It may also be beneficial to take a B complex vitamin or obtain B12 shots.
Do not overwork your hair. Allowing your hair to air dry and using combs with wide teeth are less likely to catch snags and take out more hair than blow-drying and using heavy style chemicals. Use moderate style products that enhance volume instead of hair coloring, which can stress the hair. It's also a good idea to inquire about haircuts that enhance volume, such as layering, with your hairdresser. You could also want to ask your stylist about Olaplex, a hair repair treatment that has received some positive feedback but has yet to be proven scientifically.
Use fantastic scarves, broad hairbands, or amusing wigs and hair extensions to create your own style. Make every effort to start a trend.
People react to hair loss in different ways. It may not be a big deal for some, but it might be devastating for others. If this is impacting your self-esteem, making you depressed, or making it difficult for you to leave the house, you should talk to your doctor about switching medications. If your hair loss is caused by prescription side effects, it will normally regrow once you stop taking that medicine.