This is characterized by a transient increase in the loss of normal hairs secondary to a switch in the hair growth cycles from growth phase to resting phase. It is a very common type of hair loss, especially in transplant recipients. This is caused by a major stress in one's life, such as a severe illness, high fever, major surgery (i.e. organ transplant), crash diet with significant weight loss, or childbirth. The causative event precedes the hair loss by 6 weeks to 6 months. This may continue for up to one year after the precipitating event. This is not a form of permanent hair loss. Generally full re-growth of the hair is expected and no treatment is needed.
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This is a newly recognized cause of hair loss in transplant recipients on prograf. It doesn't happen to every recipient taking prograf. The full nature of this type of hair loss is unknown. We do know that it is characterized by gradual hair loss resulting in thinning over the complete scalp. There is no redness or scale on the scalp. There is no breakage of the hair. It appears to not lead to complete loss of hair, but only thinning. At this time, it appears to improve only if the dose of prograf is decreased or completely stopped. This alteration in medication for hair loss alone must be balanced with the significant benefit this medication provides the overall health of the transplant recipient and survival of the transplanted organ.
Cyclosporine is known to cause excess hair growth, and in some individuals this can be very remarkable. This hair growth can occur anywhere on the body. It is persistent while on the medication, but generally it improves when the medication is discontinued. Discontinuation of this medication is often not a good option, so other treatment for removal of the hair should be pursued. Shaving, plucking, waxing, electrolysis, and laser therapy are possible treatment options. Care should be taken with shaving, as shaving large surface areas such as the back and chest can lead to significant irritation of the skin. Electrolysis may be a concern to transplant recipients, because the procedure involves the use of small needles, and thus makes it a possible source of infection. Care should be taken to use certified electrolysis services that properly sterilize the equipment used. You may speak with your dermatologist or plastic surgeon regarding laser hair removal. You may speak with your transplant physician regarding your required medication that may be causing this. Alterations in these medications should only be taken under the direction of your transplant physician.
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