Hairs To You Podcast: COVID, telogen effluvium and reasons for hair loss with women
Posted by Superhairpieces on Aug 16, 2022
Continuing on from our last post, Hairs To You podcast guest Nicole Budani talks about all the various reasons for women’s hair loss. It’s not only genetics, but other factors that can play a role such as pregnancy, menopause and PCOS. Budani also explains what telogen effluvium is as well as why many suffer from hair loss after testing positive for COVID-19, and whether they will get their hair back.
READ: Part 1 - Hairs To You Podcast: Alopecia, misconceptions and how to combat it
READ: Part 2 - Hairs To You Podcast: Rogaine, laser light therapy and PRP for hair loss
If you prefer, you can also listen to the full episode below:
What happens with women who lose their hair? Is it always genetic or are there other things that are contributing to hair loss?
Nicole Budani: Absolutely. Women are complex creatures. Unfortunately, when it comes to hair loss, it's very complex. Hormones with women are far more complex than men. And a lot of the times with women, there are so many different factors that play into hair loss. So for example, where a man, if it's just genetic and you know, they're experiencing hair loss, that's enough. A woman, yeah, it can be just genetic, but usually there's more factors that play into it. It's not usually so straightforward. So you can have the genetics for hair loss underlying, and then there are factors that are hormonal. So pregnancy, for example, a lot of women notice hair loss after they've given birth.
It's more common to notice it [hair loss] after [pregnancy] because of the hormones for pregnancy, especially while carrying. It's like growth, it’s good stuff. But it can happen at any point, because guess what? It's changing our hormones. Same thing goes for menopause. The second you go through menopause, this is so, so common for women, and a lot of people just attribute to being older but it it's because of the hormone change that we're seeing.
Other hormonal things like thyroid issues, thyroid issues are a big one for hair as well. PCOS, that's another hormonal factor that plays into hair loss. And then on top of that, not only hormonal issues, but then there's things like vitamin deficiencies that can do that. And the main vitamin deficiencies are usually like iron deficiencies, B12. So sadly, if vegetarians are not eating properly, they do kind of notice that you do have to either supplement or eat a diet rich in B12 and iron. And then in addition to that, stress is a huge factor too and stress really does play into the hormonal aspects with cortisol and all that as well. So like, there are so many different reasons why a woman could lose hair. And unfortunately, you probably will find that when you go to a dermatologist to get a diagnosis, unless it's like a very specific type like certain types of scarring, alopecias where they have to take biopsies and check -- most of the time, they don't really have a full answer to why a person is losing hair. Sometimes you're lucky and you're like, ‘oh, I have iron deficiency. This makes sense. Or I have anemia. Okay. That makes sense.’ But it's not always so straightforward unfortunately, which is very frustrating for women in general, because it's such a huge thing for people to feel good about themselves a lot of the time.
Many people have lost hair after catching COVID-19. Will they get that hair back?
Nicole Budani: It's hard to say. So yes, you're absolutely right. There's so much information now coming out after COVID -- well, we're still in COVID -- but after COVID regarding hair loss and it is a huge thing. And you know, it's funny because you think the really worst cases like those long COVID cases are the ones that are going to see hair loss the most, but it's not the case at all. Some people, long COVID it makes sense -- they're really sick, they're not feeling well. Sometimes they're hospitalized, their bodies are going through huge, huge fighting changes and yeah, that stresses the body out and you're going to lose hair. But there are even some cases where there are barely any kind of side effects, it's like a cold and then they lose hair. There are more and more cases of this and from a scientific perspective, they don't really know why yet. And I'm sure there's going be studies on this. It's going to take a while for us to get proper information on all that. But in regards to growing back, it's hard to say. In some cases, if the hair loss was solely because of the stress, like if it becomes like telogen effluvium, which is stress-induced type hair loss, then there is a good chance that the hair may kind of come back, but it doesn't come back overnight. It can take a year once you've lost your hair for the hair to kind of properly grow back in. Telogen effluvium, I've even heard of two years after the hair kind of starts to come back.
Can you explain what telogen effluvium is?
Nicole Budani: So telogen effluvium is hair loss that's induced because of stress. You'll usually see it, like you'll have a sudden shed. It's not like over a long period of time like the typical male pattern baldness, androgenic alopecia -- it's like something that will suddenly happen where you're like in the shower and you're like, ‘oh my God, what is all this hair?’ You're going notice it like really, really suddenly. And it's usually very diffuse. It's kind of like all over your head. It's not just in one place. And it can be quite shocking to most people when they get that kind of hair loss. It's stress-induced, COVID is one of the ones that if you're stressed out, you can lose hair. If you get in a car accident, you can have hair loss because of the stress.The body is so fascinating! So many interesting things, but not all of them explainable sometimes.-----
Stick around as the next blog recap will see Budani explain how genetics can play a role in hair loss, when to see a dermatologist, diseases that can cause hair loss and what someone should do to address balding when they first notice it!
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