Whether it’s just treating a sinus infection that won’t go away, an ear infection, or a bad throat condition, taking antibiotics can certainly help you feel better, but there are often side effects. One of the most prominent side effects of antibiotics is gastrointestinal irritation (diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps).
But one of the lesser known side effects is hair loss. Now, before we attribute hair loss to medication, we must note that hair loss can certainly be the result of addiction, but it is also often caused by illness.
When we are sick, our energy increases our immune system to fight what needs to be removed from our body. In the process, we may be slightly swollen, and nutrient-rich nutrients, oxygen-rich blood from unnecessary body processes (such as hair growth) can be transported to the infected area by immune cells.
Which antibiotics can cause hair loss?
There are numerous types of antibiotics, and common antibiotics that can root hair loss comprise of cephalexin, penicillin and erythromycin.
Penicillin is a group of drugs that can attack various bacteria and is widely used around the world. However, penicillin has common side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, and severe side effects such as skin irritation, seizures, and hair loss.
Like penicillin, erythromycin has common and serious side effects: common side effects include vomiting and diarrhea, and serious side effects include liver problems, chest pain, and palpitations, and hair loss.
Cephalexin is another antibiotic widely prescribed to treat bacterial infections such as ear infections, skin infections, and respiratory and urinary tract infections. Common side effects of Cephalexin include dizziness, diarrhea, and headache, and serious side effects include jaundice, abnormal bleeding, and hair loss.
Because antibiotics work to kill bacteria in the body, they often wipe out good bacteria as well. (This is one of the reasons why many people experience diarrhea when taking antibiotics.) Also, because good and bad bacteria can disappear, our intestines have a harder time absorbing the vitamins and minerals needed for hair growth. These nutrients include B vitamins, which play an important role in the health of your hair.
How do antibiotics cause hair loss?
Although antibiotics are the most powerful and effective weapons to treat some diseases today, they do not know which bacteria are attacking them. They kill both beneficial and harmful bacteria in the body. Antibiotics can have a significant effect on beneficial microorganisms in the digestive system. This makes it difficult for the body to absorb vitamin B, which can lead to significant hair loss.
Usually, any thinning or hair loss caused by antibiotics clears up within two to three months of antibiotic use. When the body experiences drastic changes, such as illness or medication, healthy hair follicles can prematurely enter the telogen phase. In some cases, it can happen after you stop taking the medication. But this is temporary and your hair will grow back.
Medications that can cause hair loss
Medications that can cause hair loss include:
High blood pressure
Blood thinners or anticoagulants can cause hair loss. These contain warfarin sodium and heparin injections.
Antidepressants that can cause hair loss include:
- Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride)
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride)
- Tofranil (imipramine)
- Janimine (imipramine)
- Anafranil (clomipramine)
People may take amphetamines to manage attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or to treat narcolepsy. The amphetamine drug Adderall lists alopecia as one of the side effects that people can experience.
Treatment for gout
Allopurinol is a drug prescribed by doctors to lower uric acid levels in diabetics. Allopurinol brand name:
- Beta-blockers for glaucoma
Treatment for glaucoma
Timolol is a beta blocker that can be used to treat glaucoma. Types of timolol that can cause hair loss:
- thymoptic occlusion
- Thymoptic eye drops
- Timoptic XC
- Beta-blockers for high blood pressure
People who take beta-blockers to cure the problem of high blood pressure may have hair loss. These treatments include:
- Tenormin (atenolol)
- Corgard (nadolol)
- Lopressor (metoprolol)
- Blocadren (timolol)
- Inderal or Inderal LA (propranolol)
- Hormonal drugs
Hormonal medications are used to treat different problems but it may result in the form of hair loss in both men and women.
These treatments include:
- Birth control pills
- Androgen hormones
- Steroids, including prednisone and anabolic steroids
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
Some anti-inflammatory medications that can cause hair loss include:
- Naprosin (naproxen)
- Anaprox (naproxen)
- Clinoril (Sulindac)
- Indocin (indomethacin)
- Antirheumatic drugs
Treatment for arthritis
People who take medicines to treat rheumatoid arthritis may get hair loss. This is because antirheumatic drugs fight inflammation by stopping cell growth. Some drugs target all cells at once, which mean they can affect the cells that make new hair.
Antiviral medications that can cause hair loss include:
- Methotrexate causes hair loss in 1-3% of users
- Arava (leflunomide), which causes hair loss in about 10% of people taking it
- Enbrel (etanercept) and Humira (adalimumab) also rarely cause hair loss. Researchers believe this may be because this drug affects molecules in the body that send messages between cells.
Treatment of Parkinson’s disease
The medicine levodopa or L-dopa can cause hair loss.
Treatment for upset stomach
Medicines to treat stomach ulcers and digestive problems can cause hair loss. These treatments include:
- Tagamet (cimetidine)
- Pepcid (famotidine)
- Other medicines
Other antibiotics that can cause hair loss include:
- medications for thyroid disorders
- Antifungals such as voriconazole
- several antibiotics
- Anticonvulsants such as Tridone or Trimethadione
- isotretinoin (Accutane)
- drug containing vitamin A
Medicines that cause hair loss in Women
There are many treatments that can cause hair loss, commonly called alopecia, in women. Certain medications can inhibit hair growth and increase the risk of two types of hair loss: anagen effluvium and telogen effluvium.
Anagen effluvium occurs when hair in the growth phase (anagen) is damaged and broken by treatment such as chemotherapy. Approximately 90% of scalp hairs are in the anagen phase at any given time.
Telogen effluvium, usually caused by some stress on the body, causes hair to fall out in the resting phase (telogen) and can cause anagen hair to fall out into the resting phase. Most drug-induced hair loss is caused by telogen effluvium and is not permanent
The following remedies are commonly used by women and are associated with hair loss:
Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy can cause hormonal changes that can cause telogen effluvium and, in some cases, female pattern baldness. Starting and stopping medication can also cause hair loss. Some studies suggest that this may be related to the release of progesterone or estrogen.
An underactive (hypothyroidism) and overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) associated with hair loss. Medications used to treat this condition can cause hair loss, especially at the beginning of treatment. Once it makes the thyroid level balanced, the hair growth also gets back to normal.
Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are more common in women than men. Various medications treat this condition by suppressing the immune system. Some disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), such as methotrexate and leflunomide, can cause hair loss.
Antidepressants and mood stabilizers
Medications for depression, anxiety, and mood stabilizers increase the risk of hair loss. Some of these drugs:
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Sertraline (Zoloft, Important Safety Information)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac, Important Safety Information)
- Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Important Safety Information)
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro, Important Safety Information)
- Valproic acid
- Oral retinoids
Large doses of oral vitamins can cause telogen effluvium. The popular acne medication isotretinoin (Accutane) is derived from vitamin A, can cause hair loss among serious side effects, and should not be taken during pregnancy.
Intake of excessive nutritional supplements
Excessive nutritional supplements can also affect hair. Taking too much vitamin A and selenium, often found in hair supplement formulas, can have the opposite effect and cause hair loss
High blood pressure
Anticoagulant medication can help prevent blood clots that can cause a heart attack or stroke. Some anti-aging medications, such as heparin and warfarin, can cause hair loss, but more research is needed.
Blood pressure medication
Medicines that treat high blood pressure, called beta blockers and angio-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, can cause some hair loss. Beta blockers that can cause hair loss include metoprolol, propranolol, and atenolol. ACE inhibitors such as lisinopril are associated with hair thinning
Other common medications that can cause hair loss:
- Cholesterol lowering medicine
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Is hair thinning from antibiotics permanent?
Fortunately the answer is “no”. Most people will not experience permanent hair loss from antibiotics. However, if someone is seriously ill (perhaps requiring IV antibiotics and hospitalization), your hair may have a harder time growing or regrown. Being sick puts your body under a lot of stress, so the sicker you are, the longer it takes to see your weight back
Is there any way to prevent hair loss from antibiotics?
Unfortunately, hair loss caused by the disease is difficult to stop. Clinically, we refer to the temporary hair loss associated with the disease as telogen effluvium. This is generally one of those things that cannot be stopped, but fortunately, not always.
So, if you are taking antibiotics, one of the best things you can do for your body is to make sure you get plenty of food while you heal. That’s why you can take probiotics to increase your intake of nutrient-dense foods while increasing the good bacteria in your gut. Drinking plenty of fluids (ie water) is important to keep your body (and hair) as healthy as possible.
It’s also important to take care of yourself when you’re on antibiotics. Do endurance exercises to improve circulation and give yourself plenty of rest and time to recover. Your hair will also benefit from some extra TLC. Wash regularly with a gentle shampoo and conditioner system that takes care of your scalp and hair follicles, and avoid harsh styling procedures like curling or straightening with a hot iron.
Finally, it is very important to complete your course of antibiotics – and your doctor should do this when they prescribe medication. If you stop taking antibiotics before the end of treatment, it can cause the infection to return and be worse than before. It also causes the problem of global antibiotic resistance.
How to prevent hair loss caused by antibiotics?
Whether your hair looks normal or thicker, this temporary problem will be solved and your old hair volume will be restored. If you have heavy hair, there are a few options that can help in the short term. Several popular foods have been shown to promote hair growth, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and biotin.
While restoring your diet may be beneficial for short-term hair growth, if you want to see permanent results, you may want to consider a hair transplant procedure. Turkish hair transplant results show how successful and effective the procedure is.
If you have to take antibiotics, will your hair grow back?
The good news is that drug-induced hair loss is temporary, not permanent, so hair loss caused by taking antibiotics usually stops when people stop taking antibiotics. But it should be noted that if you want to stop taking antibiotics, you should consult your doctor. It usually takes 3-6 months to achieve hair growth, but the time varies from person to person.
What can you do about hair loss as a result of antibiotics?
Taking antibiotics doesn’t cause hair loss in everyone, but if you have problems, it’s important to talk to your doctor right away. If taking antibiotics is causing your hair loss, your doctor may decide to change or stop your antibiotic treatment.
It should be noted that hair thinning can be caused by various diseases such as autoimmune diseases. According to the Autoimmune Registry, a non-profit organization that aims to provide a database for patients with autoimmune diseases, between 14.7 and 23.5 million Americans suffer from an autoimmune disease.
Hair loss is one of the main symptoms of autoimmune diseases, and common autoimmune diseases include alopecia areata, lupus, and Graves’ disease. If hair loss is detected, consult a doctor to find out the cause and get the right treatment. It is recommended to consult a doctor one or two weeks after the diagnosis of hair loss.
However, there are some people who need to take antibiotics to fight diseases, especially cancer. Using a non-surgical hair replacement system is the best option for people who suffer from hair loss as a result of taking antibiotics.
What things you should ask to your doctor
When discussing medication with a doctor, people may ask the following questions:
- What side effects can have new drugs?
- Will the new treatment affect hair growth?
- Are there other treatments that do not cause hair loss?
- Could there be another reason for hair loss?
Doctors may also tell people that their hair will grow back on its own or that they need treatment for hair loss.
If people are taking medications that cause hair loss, they may want to talk to their doctor about switching to another one. After people stop taking the medication, they can see hair start to grow back within 6 months.
Often, the hair will grow back on its own when the person stops taking the medication. People can promote hair growth with home remedies. If people don’t see signs of regrowth after 6 months, they can discuss other treatment options with their doctor.