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Hair Loss Due to A Bad Flare or Medication?

Hello, I was recently diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in June of 2010 and was lucky enough to get into remission and stay that way until recently.

However, I’m hoping that the sudden loose stool is due to a cold I have and will subside as soon as I am better. Got to stay positive haha. I’m here to ask about hair loss. I was on prednisone from early July to probably mid to late August which I tapered down from 60 mg. However, I also lost about 23 pounds in a matter of 3 weeks due to my flare over the summer. Considering I only weighed 108 before the flare, you can imagine how scary I looked after losing so much weight in such a short amount of time ha. Right now I am taking Lialda as my maintenance drug and I was just wondering has anyone else experienced hair loss either due to a bad flare or medication? I have thick hair so it hasn’t really been an issue, but my hair is definitely getting a LOT thinner. It is unfortunately getting somewhat noticeable which is very disappointing. My doctor says it is just because of the bad flare I had a few months back and it is temporary hair loss. I can only hope he is right and that my hair will stop shedding sometime soon. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. I don’t want to go bald!

Tags: flare, hair loss, medication





20 Responses to “Hair Loss Due to A Bad Flare or Medication?”

  1. NicoleOctober 21, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    Hey college carol

    I am Also on lialda. I was in 1 pill a day since apil
    2010 and recently upped it to 4. Due to a bad flare
    and my new dr sayig j was under medicated. I have also experienced
    hair loss. It has slowed down a bit in he past month
    but it’s definitely because of the lialda. Like you I also
    have thick hair howver I was losing enough hair a day
    to make a barbie doll. Hair loss is listed as one of lialdas
    side effects. Hopefully your hair loss
    lessens soon. I believe I’ve read that some people only
    experience that side effect for the first six months or so. Good
    luck, I hope it gets better.

    • RebeccaDecember 31, 2012 at 10:33 am #

      I’ve been on Lialda for over a year and a half and in just the last month I’ve started noticing my hair loss. I have never had much hair and had been wearing it very very short last few years, and I wear a hat about everyday. I have been trying to let it grow out for 6 months now and on occasion will put the hat away and try to style my hair. I am defiantly losing hair and since I didn’t have much to start with, it’s really bad. I’m gonna have to ask the doctor if there is something else I can take. I wonder if all uc meds cause hair loss.

      • robotbutlerJanuary 23, 2014 at 3:02 am #

        Sulfasalazine is a medicine that does not contain mesalamine, which can cause hair loss as a side effect. I know you posted this four years ago, but if anyone else is asking the same question, there’s the answer.

    • roxannSeptember 8, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

      I’ve been on lialda for 2 months and my hair keeps fallin out please tell me if it will stop or not or should I change my meds I’m doing so well on lialda except for the extreme hair loss oh j started taking bioten to see if that will help

  2. Catherine
    CatherineOctober 21, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    Hi College Carol, I’ve had a fair bit of hair loss too. Like you, I’m lucky in that I had thick hair to start with but now I can clip all of my hair up with a clip that would previously fit less than half my hair in it.

    My hair was waist length and was coming out all over the house (which my cat would then eat, which was causing her some unpleasant digestive problems of her own) and in the end I bit the bullet and had it cut into a bob (my first new hairstyle, and visit to a hairdresser in about 14 years). I think this made the thinning much less obvious to the casual observer, who only noticed the new cut.

    The rate of loss has slowed a lot since then too. Hopefully the same will happen for you.

    All the best

  3. CarolOctober 22, 2010 at 11:40 am #

    Thanks so much for the replies to both of you. Hair loss definitely isn’t fun but im trying to stay positive. Reading that both of your hair loss situations have slowed down really gives me more hope. I’ll keep you updated on my hair status! :) Oh and just to let you guys know…I have been taking biotin 5000 for about a week and a half now for my hair. I cant really see any benefit yet but I do notice little hairs sprouting everywhere. So at least my hair is growing back despite the loss haha

    best wishes,
    Carol

  4. danOctober 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

    Hi Carol,

    A friend of mine recently lost a bunch of weight (intentionally; she doesn’t have UC), and was worried because she’s losing a lot of hair too. Another friend of hers posted a link to an interesting article: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art16071.asp

    I was diagnosed with UC in January and hospitalized for 3 weeks in February (during which time I lost about 23 pounds as well). Shortly after I got out, I started losing what seemed like handfuls of hair in the shower. Now I know why! I’ve been in remission for almost 8 months now, have gained back all my weight and more, and the hair loss is no longer noticeable.

  5. CarolOctober 24, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    Thank you so much for your reply Dan. It’s good to know that my weight loss is a possible cause of my hair loss because I know if thats the case, it will most likely stop soon. I have gained most of my weight back also so hopefully my hair will stop falling in about a month. I’m confident it will :] I wanted to ask tho; about how long did it take for your hair to stop falling? The whole 8 months?

    Thanks,
    Carol

    • danOctober 24, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

      I don’t remember exactly when it stopped, but I haven’t noticed it for a while…I’d say 3 or 4 months at least.

  6. CarolOctober 25, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

    Oh ok well thats good to know because I’d say I’m probably going on around 2 months with my hair loss so hopefully it will be slowing down soon.

  7. JessicainBrooklynOctober 30, 2010 at 8:13 am #

    Hi just wanted to post my experience. I was on canasa 1000mg (mesalamine) for about 4 months, three months after I started the hair loss started. I was so scared I have thin hair already and I felt like it was coming out by the handfuls after I would shower. Thr good news is that it only lasted about 3 1/2 months and oddly, my hair doesn’t look noticably thinner. I don’t know how that’s possible. I also started using nioxin follicle booster and nioxin shampoo/conditioner in the last month, and will continue to take biotin for a long time so it grows back thicker. But hang in there! No bald spots just general shedding. It will pass!

    • JessicainBrooklynOctober 30, 2010 at 8:16 am #

      I should also mention that i went off the medication the same month the hair loss started… I had been tapering off slowly and and went on the scd diet and now am med free with scd.

  8. AnitaDecember 28, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    I have been taking Salofalk tablets for about 6 months and 3 months ago I noticed hair loss. These days it is quite a lot that is falling out, as many of you say, alarming amounts in the shower especially. I’m so worried about it, but I’m glad to hear that some of you noticed it lessened. I wonder why this happens? Is it a lack of vitamin absorbtion because of the medication? Is it a certain chemical that causes hair to fall out?
    Is there anything some one has done to help while we wait for the hair to stop falling out so rapidly?
    Thanks for sharing :) and good luck

  9. AllysonFebruary 19, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    Hi! I know you wrote this a long time ago but wanted to say you are not alone :) I was on Prednisone for about 5.5 months and noticed a lot of hair loss. I also had surgery and was told that the anthiasthia and surgery trauma can cause hair loss. I had really thick hair too so I am fortunate in that sense. But I am worried like you are – I don’t want to get bald spots and lose it all :( Since it has been a few months since you last posted, have you noticed any improvement in it growing back? Best of luck to you!

  10. EllieApril 27, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

    I am 26 years old and was diagnosed with UC at 18. I have always had very thick hair and never experienced excessive hair loss (despite several hospitalizations, long stints on high dosages of prednisone, and taking asacol regularly) until about a year and a half ago. I had recently started taking lialda following a bad flare, and after a quick google search I decided to stop the lialda immediately. The hair loss continued for several months but did eventually stop, so I wasn’t entirely sure whether the lialda had been the cause. I had another bad flare up beginning in October 2010, which resulted in 4 months on 80 mgs of prednisone and a high daily dosage of asacol (16 pills). During this time my blood work showed severe anemia (obviously) so my doctor had me taking a serious iron supplement. I got my flare up under control, tapered off the prednisone, and continued to take my asacol and iron. I had my blood work done in March, which showed my iron was much better, and my dr. advised that I could stop the iron supplement (it gives me stomach aches). A few days later, I noticed MAJOR hair loss, like scary, crazy hair loss. Softball sized balls of hair in my shower drain, every day. After a few weeks I stopped taking my asacol, afraid that it was the ASA that was causing my hair loss like I suspected the lialda had before. The hair loss has continued, and I have been really worried about it as my once thick hair is just a tiny pony tail now. Finally it occurred to me yesterday that perhaps the hair loss is related to the discontinuation of my iron supplement – is it possible that my blood work looked good while I was taking the iron but that in actuality my iron stores were still low and dropped right back down when I wasn’t taking a high daily dose? Has anyone ever experienced hair loss after discontinuing an iron supplement? I called my doctor to schedule more blood work and I’m back on the iron – I will keep you posted on the outcome.

  11. AvetteJune 8, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    I had a huge flare of colitis in DIcember, hospitalized for one month. Prednesone 40 mg., tapered off in April. Hair loss began as i was tapering off the prednesone. My iron level is at 7 and needs to be at 50. I am scheduled for iron infusions to get it back to normal range. My hair is falling out in large amounts every morning when I brush it. I am freaked! I have thick beautiful hair. I do not want to end up bald! If I keep losing this much hair every morning…it will not be long. I am also on Apriso 4 capsules per day. I noticed 3% of patients on Apriso experience hair loss. My gastroenterologist is insisting I stay on the Apriso. So what next? I am getting very depressed and frightened. I got some rosemary and johoba oil as recommended by a friend. I am ordering a supplement that was advertised on the internet. I do not see any small hairs growing back. Help! Any ideas?

  12. JamieMay 21, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    I am scared shitless. I have started loosing hair the last time was right before my other flare-up in February. I don’t think I ever fully recovered and I’m still experiencing symptoms. I have no meds because I lost my insurance….I’m in so much pain and experiencing blood loss….words of wisdom anyone.

  13. StephanieDecember 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    I was diagnosed with UC in September 2013 and have been flared up since May2013 and now xmas is right around the corner I still don’t have my UC in remission. I have tried so many different medications, a lot of what other people have mentioned in other comments but I feel like my hair loss is more associated with the flare up itself and not any particular medication. I am actually on 60mg of prednisone and lialda and soon to be tapering since its been several months of this but I almost feel that my hair loss has stopped. I hope that it doesn’t start up again once I get to lower doses. I have not experienced any weight loss that most seem to have but just a lot of hair loss. Anyone else experience this? It feels so good knowing that I am not the only one dealing with this because I feel like this UC has taken over my life at times. I was also thinking about taking biotin or other supplements to help with hair growth…..anyone find anything that really works?

  14. ErinFebruary 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    I was diagnosed with UC late November 2013 after 2 months of pure hell and a 2-week stay in the hospital. Also lost nearly 20 lbs and was hit hard with steroids and anti inflammatory IVS the entire time. Once released, I was put on Lialda for 2 1/2 months and was losing gobs of hair in the shower every morning so spoke to my GI and she stopped it right away and put me on Entocort EC and iron supplements too. I’ve gained 8 lbs back and it’s been 3 weeks since I got off Lialda, but my hair is still falling out. Will it eventually stop? How long does it take for the medication to leave the body? Also, no body hair is growing! Have not shaved legs or under arms since November! It has to be related.

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