Although there isn’t a single list of long COVID symptoms that everyone agrees upon, the American Medical Association reports that the condition has been linked to more than 200 symptoms, including hair loss.
What Are The Types Of Hair Loss?
Two distinct types of hair loss could result from COVID-19.
1. Telogen Effluvium:
The first is telogen effluvium, a condition of the scalp characterized by non-scarring hair loss. Every day, the average person typically loses between 100 and 150 hairs all over their head. When people start shedding more hair than usual when brushing the scalp, that is an indication of telogen effluvium. The hair is also thinner and shorter, which can make hair loss more obvious in addition to restricting hair growth. Patients are typically the first to notice hair loss because it is more noticeable to them than to others.
The usual reaction to physiological stress exposure that results in telogen effluvium is hypothesized to disrupt the hair cycle and result in hair loss.
Understanding Telogen Effluvium Through Phases Of The Hair Cycle:
The three phases of the hair cycle are anagen, which is the growing phase, catagen, which is the regressing phase, and telogen, which is the resting period. When a patient has telogen effluvium, this signifies that a significant amount of their hair has transitioned from the anagen to the telogen phase of the hair cycle, which results in 3 to 12 months of significant hair loss. Between 9 and 12 months after the peak of hair loss, most people’s hair starts to grow normally again, usually within two years.
2. Chronic Telogen Effluvium:
Chronic telogen effluvium is a second type of hair loss that some people may encounter. Telogen effluvium often starts with acute COVID-19, but it can linger for months to years before being diagnosed as a Long COVID symptom. Although the majority of telogen effluvium should go away in two years, certain people may have chronic telogen effluvium, which results in a permanently shorter hair cycle.
Are Women More Prone To Covid Related Hair Loss Than Men?
Approximately 75% of individuals with Long COVID-related hair loss are female, according to Dr. Arash Mostaghini. Women are more prone than males to seek medical attention for hair loss because their longer, frequently thicker hair is lost, which takes longer to grow back and may also have a higher emotional impact. According to Dr. Arash Mostaghini, patients with certain pre-existing illnesses and inflammatory diseases may be more susceptible to developing hair loss.
What Are The Possible Approaches To Finding An Effective Solution?
The best thing persons experiencing Long COVID-associated hair loss can do, in the opinion of Dr. Arash Mostaghini, is to be patient. People who are experiencing hair loss frequently try to adjust their diet, take supplements, or switch their shampoo, but this has little effect, and making extreme changes might actually make the situation worse by increasing stress.
Anastrozole, Minoxidil, and Rogaine are three hair loss therapies that can be used topically or taken orally, according to Dr. Arash Mostaghimi, Director, Dermatology Inpatient Service, Co-Director, Complex Medical Dermatology Fellowship Program and Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School and Dr. Luis Garza, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Johns Hopkins Medicine. However, it is unclear how well these therapies for hair loss in general work, and for some people, using anastrozole can result in further shedding or only serve as a temporary fix, causing new hair loss when the medication is stopped. These factors make such therapies not always recommended.