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Hair Loss after Hysterectomy

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Hair Loss after hysterectomyMy hair is coming out in clumps since my hysterectomy. Why is this happening and what can I do about it?

There are a number or reasons why women lose extra hair following a hysterectomy. Thankfully, with time many of the issues can resolve on their own. In some cases, however, medical treatment may be necessary.

Here are some of the reasons why women can suffer from hair loss which you can discuss with your doctor.
  • Telogen effluvium:
    This phenomenon causes the hair to go through its cycle more quickly than usual. It typically follows a major surgery or time of extreme stress—a hysterectomy can fall into both of those categories. Additionally, this condition can be a side effect of medications such as antidepressants (sometimes used to manage menopause symptoms) and non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), both of which are frequently prescribed to hysterectomy patients. Treatment for this condition may involve adjusting your medications or simply giving your hair time to return to its normal cycle.

  • Pressure alopecia:
    This rare condition, characterized by localized hair loss, can be caused by prolonged pressure on the scalp during a lengthy surgery (e.g. a hysterectomy). It can be permanent, so for this condition you will need to speak to a dermatologist about your situation and options.

  • Iron deficiency:
    If you lost a lot of blood during your surgery, your hair loss may be due to an iron deficiency. You may also need to be checked for anemia. A simple solution is to add foods to your diet which are rich in iron. Your doctor may also recommend iron supplements, which you should take only as instructed—after a hysterectomy, your body has no way of eliminating any extra iron if your levels become too high from supplements.

  • Hypothyroidism:
    Having a hysterectomy may put you at risk for hypothyroidism, which can lead to hair loss. If you suspect the problem could be your thyroid, talk to your doctor. S/he may want to do some blood work to check your thyroid levels and determine if medication is right for you.

  • Hormonal imbalance:
    Even if you keep your ovaries, hormone levels can change—at least temporarily—following a hysterectomy. Sometimes this imbalance can cause hair loss. If you notice hair loss, or any other symptoms of menopause, talk to your doctor. You may need hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help with your hair loss and other symptoms.

If you are losing more than a hundred strands of hair per day, talk to your medical provider. S/he may suggest testing to determine the cause, or s/he may recommend giving your body more time to recover. When talking to your doctor, you can also ask about using over-the-counter supplements. Evening primrose oil, B vitamins, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful, but you will need to follow your physicians advice regarding the right combination and dosage for you.

Experiencing extra hair loss can be stressful, but it may only be a temporary issue as your body recovers and adjusts after your hysterectomy. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about your concerns; s/he can help you determine the cause and offer treatment options accordingly.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

08-05-2013 - 08:28 AM


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