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From Boston, Massachusetts, USA:

I am a 29-year-old woman, diabetic for five years. My diabetes control has fluctuated greatly during this time, from wildly out of control to extremely well-controlled when I was pregnant. My problem and question: every 1-2 years I go through a period of quite dramatic hair loss (dramatic to me anyways -- I seem to lose about a third of my hair). It stops abruptly and the hair grows back. None of my doctors have been able to explain this and my thyroid has been tested. It seems to start after a period of poor control, but when blood sugar levels are getting better. Has this happened to anyone else?


Hair loss can be caused by many things. It can also range from thinning, to significant hair loss on different parts of the body and in different patterns of hair loss. After a stressful illness, or childbirth, or with the use of certain medications, hair loss can be noted. I have had some patients who were very sick (with diabetic ketoacidosis) who noted a temporary mild hair loss on their heads, which was not cosmetically significant. There is also a relationship with multiple autoimmune problems and a significant hair loss.

A dermatologist can look at your scalp and hair and sometimes get a better understanding of the cause of the hair loss. It is not something we could help you with on the Internet.

Of interest is that the American Academy of Family Physicians, in their patient information, notes diabetes as a cause of hair loss. However, from talking to colleagues, I don't think we see hair loss in our patients with diabetes very often.

Certain medical conditions such as problems with your thyroid gland may give you hair loss. However, you mentioned that your thyroid tests have come back as normal.


Original posting 5 Nov 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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