Losing one’s hair can be devastating, that’s no news. Whether you’re a woman or a man makes little difference, although some men and women can handle hair loss quite graciously. For women, it can shatter self esteem and even bring on depression.
What brings on hair loss, anyway? At times it has to do with hormonal disturbances, brought about by either foods that disrupt or mimic hormones, or thyroid conditions. The third reason is generally preventable, but you have to be your own advocate.
The secret is that prescription medicines can be the culprit in hair loss. Doctors usually know this when they prescribe a medicine, but they don’t always tell their patients. It’s up to you to find out.
Please be aware that not all prescriptions will cause hair loss and not all people will experience hair loss with any particular prescription. There are many variables involved.
Each hair normally stays on your head for three or four years while growing. That’s called the “anagen phase.” At the end of that time, it enters what is called the “telogen phase,” when it stops growing and simply rests for around three months. After that, it falls out.
There are two ways that medicines cause hair to fall out. Some prescription medicines interrupt the growing stage and move it on to the resting stage, so it can be three months or more after starting the prescription before you notice your hair thinning.
Other prescription medicines keep hair from growing by preventing matrix cells from dividing and growing new hairs. You may notice this very quickly, within a few days of beginning the prescription.
The good part for either of this type of hair loss is that as soon as you quit taking the medication, your hair will resume it’s normal growth and retention rate.
Some of the medicine to be aware of are those prescribed for high blood pressure, such as ACE inhibitors, beta blockers and diuretics. Steroids, thyroid medicines, HRTs, anticonvulsants, statins, birth control, anti coagulants and even some antifungal and antibiotic prescription drugs.
It would be nearly impossible to list them all here, so be sure to use the internet or a good medical resource to research any new prescription before taking it. Look at all the side effects and dangers. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth the risk. There are usually many alternatives to a suspect medication, so talk to your doctor about it.