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Living With Sjögren’s


Sjögren's and Hair Loss

While patients with Sjögren’s can experience hair loss, it’s not always clear that this is caused by Sjögren’s itself. Autoimmune disorders cause the body to attack itself, and this can often cause plenty of complications that can vary from patient to patient.

Adding to the complication that Sjögren’s can sometimes occur with other medical conditions, it becomes a bit tricky to be sure about what exactly is causing your hair to fall. This makes actually treating hair fall itself even more difficult since certain types of hair loss respond better to some treatments.

So how can you determine whether Sjögren’s is causing your hair loss, or if you have one of these three common conditions?

1) Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is temporary hair loss that’s usually caused if your body has experienced some trauma. Almost anything can trigger this as long as it sufficiently stresses your body, causing mild to moderate amounts of hair fall, usually around the scalp.

Given that Sjögren’s is an autoimmune disease, this makes any stressors to your body more potent, which makes you more likely to develop telogen effluvium. Combined with the lowered defenses of your immune system, other illnesses can also take hold of your body and cause this condition.

Fortunately, telogen effluvium is self-resolving and should go away when the root cause has been addressed, and any hair loss should be regained within 3 to 5 months.

2) Androgenetic Alopecia

Mainly caused by genetics, androgenetic alopecia (or female/male pattern baldness) is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While it commonly affects men, women are also susceptible to developing this condition if it runs in the family.

Androgenetic alopecia doesn’t always cause hair loss – it sometimes just manifests in thinning hair. Depending on your age, this thinning hair can be negligible or visible and may escalate to hair loss if your primary condition worsens. In this case, using more intense hair regrowth treatments may be your only option.

Given that your body’s immune system doesn’t work properly if you have Sjögren’s, the symptoms of androgenetic alopecia can be more apparent and may get worse if your immune system attacks your hair.

3) Cutaneous Lupus

Cutaneous lupus is another autoimmune condition where your body starts thinking that healthy tissue and cells are foreign bodies and attack them accordingly. This can manifest in red, scaly rashes across the mouth and cheeks, and are often triggered because of sun exposure.

Medications are often the only management option you can use for cutaneous lupus since it can also cause hair loss if the condition isn’t treated when you have a flare-up. If left unattended for a long time, the persistent attacks on your skin can damage your hair follicles, which can result in permanent hair loss.

As an aggressive condition, cutaneous lupus is normally treated with aggressive medications, either taken orally or administered topically on the affected areas.

The best course of action to diagnose the cause(s) of your hair loss is to have yourself evaluated by a professional like a dermatologist.

*adapted from an article courtesy of