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Hair loss and Crohn's Disease - is there a connection

Posted by HFHSM.D.-ym on April 26, 1999 at 12:25:40

Topic Area: Crohn's
  I am a 49 year old female who was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at the age of 20, following bowel resection surgery.  My second bowel resection surgery occurred at age 45.  I am not on any medication nor have I been since this last surgery.  I have noticed my hair thinning since I was about 43 or 44 years old.  Other people with Crohn's have told me that they have experienced this but also have hair recovery.  I am not so lucky and presently my hair is very thin.  Can you tell me what the connection is and if there is any remedy such as a nutritional supplement, treatment for autoimmune problems, etc.?  My condition, though not severe, is present almost daily with symptoms such as abdominal tenderness, gas and bloating, fairly frequent diarrhea, and some episodes of partial bowel blockage which result in painful "attacks" that last from 8 to 12 hours.  Recently, symptoms have alleviated with change in diet (limited carbohydrates/sugars, ingestion of yogurt, pancreatin, bromeline and other enzymes with meals, and non-prescribed supplements such as NAG (n-acetylglucosamine to reduce inflamation).  Hair loss is traumatic to me.  I would appreciate any information on this topic.
Dear Theresa,
Diarrhea secondary to Crohn's disease may lead to a number of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Zinc deficiency is fairly common and may be associated with hair loss. A thyroid hormone imbalance may also cause hair loss. Although less common, deficiency in a vitamin called Biotin (vitamin B7) is also associated with hair loss. Female pattern baldness is also common in the general population. You might benefit from an evaluation by a Dermatologist for further diagnostic work-up and management. I hope you find this information helpful.
This response is being provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.
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