Uterine fibroids – muscle and fibrous tissue growths in the uterus – have been associated with hair loss. However, this association may not exactly be direct.
For instance, heavy menstrual bleeding in uterine fibroids can make you lose your hair. But this kind of hair loss is usually reversible. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Uterine fibroids have been linked to a type of scarring alopecia that can leave you with permanent bald spots. And there are still other factors that can indirectly influence hair growth if you have uterine fibroids.
Fortunately, there are some treatments that may help you regrow your hair. In this guide, you’ll learn can fibroids cause hair loss and, if so, what you can do about it.
Does Having Fibroids Cause Hair Loss?
Having uterine fibroids can indirectly make you lose your hair. It can happen as a side effect of the medications or surgery, nutritional issues, stress, and/or scarring alopecia.
The fibroids themselves don’t directly affect the hair follicles. According to the Mayo Clinic, these develop due to the repeated division of a single muscle cell. It ends up creating a “firm, rubbery mass of tissue.”
Most of these tumours are benign. However, they also have the potential to be malignant (invasive). While their exact cause isn’t known, the female sex hormones seem to play an important role.
That’s because these fibroids often develop during reproductive years (when oestrogen and progesterone levels are high). But most of them shrink after menopause (when oestrogen and progesterone levels dip).
Some of the symptoms of having uterine fibroids include:
- Heavy, painful, prolonged periods
- Bleeding between periods
- Pelvic pressure
- Abdominal pain
- Frequent urination
- Painful sex
It’s even possible for you to not have any symptoms of this condition (in fact, many don’t).
Why Do Uterine Fibroids Cause Hair Loss?
Let’s take a closer look at the different causes of hair loss due to uterine fibroids:
Side Effect Of Treatments
You may be prescribed medicines to help with the symptoms of uterine fibroids. These can include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues
- Hormonal IUD
- Oral contraceptives
- Tranexamic acid
- Selective oestrogen receptor modulators (SERMs)
- Androgenic hormones (danazol)
Starting with NSAIDs – these can be prescribed for relieving pain from fibroids. However, some of these, like ibuprofen or naproxen, can cause hair loss.
Similarly, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues, which can help shrink the size of the fibroids, may also cause hair loss (with long-term use).
Hormonal IUDs, which use progestin, can help with the heavy bleeding due to uterine fibroids. But even these can cause alopecia as a side effect.
For instance, the progestin-releasing Mirena IUD has alopecia as a listed side effect. Different researchers also report hair loss among its users.
Pattern baldness may also be a concern with other drugs like danazol and SERMs. And keep in mind that you can lose hair from even just starting a medication.
That’s because it can shock the system, which can temporarily send your hair into a resting (telogen) phase. Excessive shedding occurs a few months after.
This is known as telogen effluvium, and you can also experience this if you’re undergoing surgery for uterine fibroids.
Other than that, the hormonal changes resulting from surgery can also do the same. For instance, a hysterectomy can induce a surgical menopause (drop in oestrogen and progesterone). Those hormonal changes can also cause hair loss.
One of the symptoms of uterine fibroids is heavy bleeding. Over time, this can cause iron deficiency anaemia from blood loss.
With that, your hair follicles might not get enough oxygen, which will affect their growth (it’ll also cause other symptoms).
Here, it should also be noted that vitamin D deficiency is considered a risk factor for uterine fibroids.
But that same vitamin is also involved in various processes that ensure normal hair growth. So, its deficiency might also be the cause of your hair loss.
According to a study published in JAMA Dermatology, women who have central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) have a 5 times higher risk of developing uterine fibroids.
Here it’s important to note that both uterine fibroids and CCCA tend to be more common in black women. In CCCA, the hair follicles are replaced by scar tissue, which results in centrifugal patterned hair loss.
The researchers found that 13.9% of the women with central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia also had a history of uterine fibroids, compared to just 3.3% of black women without it. Based on this, they even advised screening for fibroids in CCCA patients.
Other than that, there may be another link between hair loss, fibroids and race: hair relaxers.
One study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology hypothesised that the use of hair relaxers might increase the risk of uterine fibroids in African American women.
Curiously enough, the use of hair relaxers has also been implicated (although not always conclusively) in other hair problems like trichorrhexis nodosa and central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia. Therefore, your hair loss may result from this as well.
In a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, it was found that depression, anxiety and self-directed violence were high among uterine fibroids patients.
The researchers also reported that it was particularly so among those experiencing pain or those who’d had a hysterectomy.
If you have its symptoms, uterine fibroids can have an impact on the quality of your life. Difficulties with pregnancy or even infertility caused by it can add to your worries.
How To Stop Fibroids Hair Loss?
To treat hair loss from uterine fibroids, you need to get a diagnosis of the underlying cause.
If your hair loss is drug-induced, your doctor may recommend changing your treatment plan. However, you should only do this after you’ve consulted your doctor.
For nutritional problems, you might be recommended some dietary changes, along with supplements. That may help with the regrowth of your hair.
For permanent hair loss like pattern baldness or CCCA, there are different hair loss medications.
You may also be able to permanently restore your hair by having a hair transplant.
Platelet-rich plasma injections can further help improve its results.
But in any case, it’s important that you consult a qualified medical professional. You may need treatment for the symptoms of uterine fibroids themselves.
Is Uterine Fibroids Hair Loss Reversible?
Whether or not uterine fibroids hair loss is reversible depends on the type of alopecia you have.
Drug-induced alopecia is usually reversible. However, some drugs for fibroids may worsen pattern baldness (which is a type of permanent hair loss).
If it’s a nutritional deficiency, then too, your hair should grow back once the deficiency has been treated.
Although, if you have developed scarring alopecia, like CCCA, your hair won’t grow back because the hair follicles are destroyed.
Uterine fibroids can be stressful to live with. And while they may not cause direct hair loss, it’s still associated with it due to different factors.
Unfortunately, not all types of hair loss in this condition are temporary and reversible. Some alopecias are permanent, although you may be able to get your hair back through different surgical or non-surgical interventions.
But if you’re losing an abnormal amount of hair, make sure to get in touch with your doctor. Hair loss can occur due to many reasons. Before treatment, you need an accurate diagnosis.
Reviewed and approved by Dr Hassan Soueid