Certain medications that many people with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) take to treat depression, arthritis, transplant rejection, high blood pressure and heart problems have been shown to cause hair loss. Such side effects are very common for those with CKD who take prescribe medications like Heparin, Prograf and Valcyte. Some people experience breakage due to dry and brittle hair, while others find that their hair falls out, or sometimes both. Loss of hair can also be a side effect of your dialysis treatment. When you look your best, you will likely feel your best so when your hair begins to thin or bald and others begin to notice these changes it can directly affect your self esteem and make you feel poorly. However, those with CKD do not have to be left in the dark about their hair concerns. While hair loss may be unavoidable, there are some things that you can do to lessen the possibility or at the very least the severity.
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There are a number of ways to deal with hair loss due to drug treatment. For instance, you can keep your hair cut short so it does not hang and appear thinner. Other styling suggestions from the Mayo Clinic include the use of scalp coloring products to minimize the contrast between your hair and scalp if it starts to show through. People with CKD can also try hair extensions to boost volume or use wigs or toupees. If, none of those suggestion are practical for you, then consider parting your hair on the side. That will take the focus off the crown of your head where hair often begins to thin. Also, taking advantage of body-boosting hair products which can make hair look thicker may be a viable option. Some have reported results from Nioxin shampoos and conditioners. Nioxin works to remove buildup that causes hair follicles to remain in their resting phase, according to Livestong.com. This extends the growth phases for hair, reducing hair-shedding phases. The treatment also can reduce the level of dihydrotestosterone in the scalp that can inhibit hair growth.
In terms of Hair Surgery, it should only be considered as an option of last resort, and only if you will be forced to continue the medication for an extended duration since your hair will have a chance to grow back after you stop your medication regimen at the recommendation of your Nephrologist. Compared to the difficulties of surgery, hairpieces and wigs are a much simpler option. Still, only your Nephrologist can advise whether any of these treatments are appropriate for your specific medical situation. KidneyBuzz.com always strongly recommends that you NEVER stop taking medicine until your Nephrologist tells you to do so.
These approaches are only meant to address your hair loss, but regardless of your eventual course of action, you should always consult your Nephrologist to ensure that you are not putting yourself in danger or risk. If you are already experiencing hair loss as a side effect of medication, you should talk to you Nephrologist about other options available for treatment. The most important decision you will have to make regarding your hair loss is how much it bothers you and how far you will be willing to go because treatments can be expensive and in some cases just simply more trouble to you than they are worth.
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Before you begin taking any medication, regardless of its prescription or over-the-counter status, you should make sure that you know everything you can about the medication, its normal effects, its potential side effects, and how it interacts with other medications. It is important that your Nephrologist knows what medications you regularly take so that possible negative interactions can be avoided. Also, many pharmacies keep track of the prescriptions for an individual and can notify the Pharmacist about possible problems between medications, so it is a good idea to consider using the same pharmacy for all of your medications.
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"Hair Loss Center." Drugs.com.
"HAIR LOSS PREVENTION SHAMPOOS & CONDITIONERS." Livestrong.com.
"Treatment Options For Hair Loss Due To Medications." Ezinearticles.com.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Hair Loss." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
"Hair, Nails and Chronic Kidney Disease." - DaVita.