Can Weight Loss Cause Hair Loss?

Can Weight Loss Cause Hair Loss?

There’s something soul-fulfilling about a weight loss journey. It fills one with the spirit of “can do” that they can conquer it all because of their sheer will and determination. To achieve this goal, you have to literally shed your blood, sweat and tears, and, sometimes, hair too.

Weight loss hair loss can be troubling. Going through a journey that’s physically exacting enough, hair loss can become an additional emotional burden. Many people, naturally so, stress over it and wonder if it is irreversible.

There are many reasons why a person can struggle with weight issues, such as hormones, genetics, stress, diet, etc. Even these can cause hair loss. However, many notice hair loss while they’re trying to lose weight. The experience can be distressing, especially if you don’t understand why you’re losing your hair and how bad it’s going to get.

What Are the Causes of Weight Gain? 

The problem arises as a result of an imbalance between the number of calories consumed and burned every day. If the number of calories consumed is greater than that which is burned, you will end up gaining weight. There are a few reasons for that happening:

Sedentary Lifestyle 

This has become the norm these days, with more and more people spending their days sitting down in front of a computer/laptop. A sedentary lifestyle and the consumption of too many sugary foods can accelerate the process of weight gain. 

Genetics 

Many people are genetically predisposed to gaining weight.

Harvard Health reports that more than 400 genes may be responsible for causing weight gain and obesity. Genetics influence your:

  • Appetite
  • Feeling of fullness after a meal (satiety)
  • Metabolic rate
  • The kind of food you crave
  • Body-fat distribution 
  • Tendency to eat when you’re stressed 

Hormonal Imbalance 

 According to Better Health Channel, the following hormones can result in weight gain: 

  • Leptin
  • Insulin
  • Oestrogens
  • Androgens
  • Growth hormone

Disturbance in the sleeping cycle of an individual can also make them gain weight. It causes fluctuations in the levels of the hormones insulin and cortisol. A person with insomnia can also crave more fatty foods.

Depression

Depression is another reason why some people gain weight. It can happen as a result of the medications for depression treatments. 

There is some truth to the idea that depressed people eat more and, therefore, gain more weight. This is, of course, an oversimplification, though.

Long-term depression causes the release of the stress hormone cortisol can result in high levels of insulin in the blood. This results in low blood sugar levels, and the person can crave more sugary foods as a result, which can cause weight gain.

Illness

Hypothyroidism results in the underproduction of thyroid hormones, which slows down the rate of metabolism and results in weight gain.

Cushing’s syndrome occurs as a result of high cortisol levels, which can happen due to a tumour or intake of steroids. This, too, can cause weight gain.

Weight gain can also happen as a result of diabetes. The insulin hormone keeps blood sugar levels in check. However, intake of a lot of calories in order to prevent low blood sugar levels can cause a person to gain weight. 

There are many other reasons for weight gain, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), congestive heart failure, fluid retention, steroid treatments, etc.

How Can You Lose Weight?

Before trying to lose weight through exercise and diet, you should consult a doctor to determine the cause of weight gain. There are many ways a person can lose weight in a healthy way, such as exercising to burn off the calories.

Eat fruits and vegetables and avoid skipping meals because they can end up making you feel very hungry and leave you craving sugary food. Also, fruits and vegetables are fibre-rich foods that can make you feel full. The best way to go about it is to create a healthy meal plan.

You shouldn’t completely shun those foods that you like. It might turn you away from your diet regimen sooner rather than later. But, needless to say, you need to cut down on junk food. There are some other weight loss options that are available such as surgery and hormone-treatment, etc.

What Causes Weight Loss Hair Loss?

The cause of weight loss hair loss can be attributed to stress, which results in telogen effluvium. You may experience hair loss because more than 70% of your hair enters the telogen phase of the hair growth cycle from the anagen phase. Normally, 10% to 15% of the hair is in this phase at any given time, but due to a shock to the body, more hair enters this resting phase.

Hair loss due to telogen effluvium can occur months after the stressful or traumatic event has passed. You may continue to lose hair for 6 months as a result of this condition. It does not result in complete baldness, but you might notice thinning.

Of the stressful events that can be related to hair loss due to telogen effluvium, weight loss is one. As the body mass index (BMI) of the person changes, it can physically stress the body. This results in the entry of hair follicles in the telogen or resting phase. This is what links weight loss and hair loss together.

The sudden cut down on the number of calories that you usually consume is taken as a warning by the brain. It assumes that something’s not right, which then goes into survival mode. Weight loss can cause a lot of changes in normal body functioning, a consequence of which is weight loss hair loss.

Even a change in the routine of your supplements intake can be a cause of this problem. Iron deficiency and vitamin deficiency that can happen due to diet can also lead to hair loss. 

Hair Loss Due to Eating Disorders 

When a person suffers from Bulimia nervosa, they have uncontrolled bouts of binge eating, followed by purging, in which they take laxatives or induce vomiting in order to get rid of the extra calories. 

Anorexia nervosa is another psychological eating disorder that can also be life-threatening. The person suffering from it has distorted perceptions of weight and body image. The extreme fear of weight gain causes them to restrict their calorie intake. 

The person suffering from it has an abnormally low body weight. These eating disorders can also cause hair loss due to the development of nutritional deficiencies.

Is Hair Loss From Weight Loss Permanent?

Fortunately enough, no. This kind of hair is not permanent. That means that you’ll start growing your hair back a few months after your body has started to better adjust to the changes that it’s undergoing. 

However, it’s always better to consult your dermatologist, even if you’re pretty sure it’s weight loss hair loss. It may be occurring due to some other reason resulting from you being on a weight loss journey, such as a nutritional deficiency. Even then, you won’t lose your hair permanently. But to stop the hair loss, you need to start the right treatment. 

How To Stop Hair Loss While Dieting?

Nutritional deficiencies as a result of dieting can become the main reason for hair loss. 

Our hair is primarily made of a protein called keratin. So, you must incorporate proteins into your diet. For that, protein-rich foods, such as fish, eggs, poultry, and red meat, are recommended.

When you’re trying to lose weight, you might think that it’s a good idea to avoid as many calories as you can. However, you need to make sure that your calorie intake is enough to support normal body functioning and growth. Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, iron and minerals need to be a part of your diet.

A dietitian can prepare a healthy diet plan for you that includes all the necessary nutrients so that you won’t experience weight loss hair loss because of this. If you have already experienced excessive shedding due to weight loss hair loss, you can get PRP therapy, which will help stimulate hair growth.

Concluding Remarks

Weight loss hair loss occurs as a result of telogen effluvium. This type of hair loss is reversible, so you don’t have to worry about permanently losing your hair. The low-calorie intake and nutritional deficiencies resulting from sudden extreme dieting can also cause hair loss. 

However, you need to have an advice diagnosis or treatment from a professional doctor if you’re losing your hair. That’s because you may be losing hair as a result of some other medical condition. After that, you can begin the treatment.

When losing weight, it is better to have a planned diet chart or meal plan by a dietician so that you don’t negatively impact your health. Fad diets and quick weight-loss regimens are usually a recipe for disaster and end up doing more harm than good, which is why you should avoid them. 

If you are experiencing weight loss hair loss already, talk to your doctor. Supplements, vitamins, and platelet-rich plasma therapy can help with regrowth. 

Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Kuddusi Onay

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