Monday, March 14, 2022

A Mention of Post COVID hair loss



  There is so much to comment or to lament upon in the world today, and yet I am busy. I tend to put the work in on the farm, the books I write and less time spent on the blogs. I am almost absent from social media now. Once in a while there is something I want to mention to my readers of ten years, particularly when I have not found the topic elsewhere, or when it is not yet covered very well.

                    Despite the big push to receive COVID-19 injections, many people haven't. Some of the people who have had the injections have developed COVID-19 anyway. It is an odd virus and it can manifest clinically in a number of ways.  One of the symptoms that can occur, often two to three months following recovery is hair loss.  Official writings on COVID doesn't yet acknowledge hair loss as one of COVID-19 sequelae, but suffice it to say that specialist physicians in infection control are diverted and consumed with a number of other issues, some of which are much more serious than hair loss.

                    Still, a fair number of people, especially women, are seeing a dermatologist concerning what seems to them a significant loss of hair about three months following the resolution of their case of COVID, which may have been uncomplicated, or may have resulted in hospitalization.

                   Significant loss of hair can occur as a result of a high fever, due to vitamin or iron deficiencies, or during periods of hormonal shift. Some women lose hair during menopause. Of course, new onset hypothyroidism can also be a cause of part widening, another symptom of hair thinning.

                   If you are losing a significant amount of hair two to three months following COVID-19, you may wish to see your physician. Some people following COVID do have a swollen thyroid gland, and gland enlargement can occur in the presence of normal thyroid output, in low output states and even in high output states. You should be assessed for thyroid enlargement (also known as goiter) and you should have a T3 level and TSH lab levels drawn.  If these return as normal, you and your physician will have ruled out thyroid dysfunction as the cause of your hair loss.

                  For many people, the diagnosis will be something called telogen effluvium.   This is a state where the hair follicles on the head go into a resting phase in larger numbers than normal.  Stress, illness, fever, and vitamin deficiencies can also contribute to the state.  Telogen effluvium can persist for as long as 6-9 months, although many cases are much shorter.

                   Your doctor may wish to recommend one of the specialty vitamin formulations which aid in hair growth.  Viviscal and  Nutrafol are probably the most familiar.  You should also ask your physician if you need to supplement iron, as iron deficiency can contribute to hair loss, particularly in women.

                   If your hair loss seems mild and you have not seen your physician, until you do, you may wish to supplement with a good basic multivitamin, with iron if you are female. It should also have supplemental B vitamins, Vitamin D3, and especially Biotin.  Some women have said that applying rosemary oil to their scalp prior to washing their hair has been beneficial in avoiding further stress to the follicles while washing hair and brushing.

                    Please let me know if you have something to contribute to this discussion. Very little is written about it just now with regard to the link between COVID and transient hair loss following recovery.