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DonnaB

metformin? Hair loss vs good control

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I just saw my PCP yesterday about the hair loss I'm experiencing. I do connect the dots and it seems the hair loss began with the starting of metformin. Of course he is testing me for other possibilities including thyroid, anemia etc but says it could be caused by the metformin. Anyway he says if all the blood work looks okay then we have to try another drug. I am having good control with the metformin, PLUS I've lost a bit of weight with it and kept it off (about 15 lbs). I'm just nervous about other drugs, i.e. side effects, possible weight gain. Still I'm getting close to the point of thinking about buying a wig so this is a real dilemma. Any ideas out there?

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Awhile before I was diagnosed, I started noticing the top of my head was thinning...I assumed it was stress or hormones. I've since read that insulin resistance can contribute to this (as well as a host of other lovely problems/symptoms). After being on metformin for awhile and getting my blood sugar under control, my hair density has finally returned to normal.

 

Incidentally, I do transcription for a dermatologist who sees lots of women for hair loss. Usually they will do a thyroid panel, ferritin/iron level, hormone panel to r/o underlying causes. Sometimes stress, crash dieting and/or heredity can also be a culprit.

 

If however, it is determined that it is the metformin, stopping it should take care of the problem.

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If you look at "elderly" women, few of them have full, thick hair. Many have very thin hair. They didn't get there overnight. Loss of hair is fairly to be expected as one gets older, isn't it?

 

I have slowly been losing hair and it grieves me a bit. But both my non-diabetic sisters also have the same thing going on. I recall the youngest was thinning at age twenty(!) in the same place where I noticed the thinning beginning around age 38. I plan to try to accept that I, too, am human and that these kinds of things will happen. I'm lucky to get old. And I sure as heck am staying on metformin! Genes gave me some good things, some not so good things. :1eye:

 

(Hey notice how 95% of our smilies are bald? Where is the one with the blue Sideshow Bob looking hair?)

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Well it just might be a combination of the age thing and the metformin as I just got all my blood results back and they were all normal, plus my A1C is still 5.8 so control is great. (BTW Linda I work as a medical transcriptionist also...small word :) )

 

I did get a new haircut on Friday and that has helped enormously. I went much shorter and it is a flattering cut and doesn't call attention to the thinness of my locks.

 

My PCP said I could come in and talk now about what to do, i.e. changing the metformin or seeing a dermatologist etc. I think I'll wait and see as my hairdresser said she sees "lots of new growth" so maybe it is leveling off now as was mentioned above. Thanks for a great place to vent.

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I think hair loss comes from the drugs we're all taking these days. I don't remember seeing the numbers of women with thinning hair that we see these days. My own hair started to fall out when I was on effexor. I stopped the effexor, my hair loss has stabilized. I see plenty of older women with thick heads of hair, so I don't think it's really all that much age related.

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When men lose their hair, it's concentrated in one area. Women will lose hair all over rather than in one spot only. Their hair will thin. It's an age thing in most cases. Look at elderly women in general and you'll seldom see one with a full head of hair. In fact, it's rather exceptional. You can see their scalp very easily.

 

Best advice I was ever given ---at one point I thought I would lose ALL my hair--- consists in :

 

(1) use mild shampoos but never use the same over and over. When a bottle is finished, swap to another brand! When washing your hair, try not to use too warm water. Perms and colors may over stress the hair and create more problems.

 

(2) be kind to your hair. Use straighteners and similar things occasionally. Let your hair dry naturally once in a while. And never EVER rub your hair frantically with a towel. Apparently it damages the hair more than you'll ever know. Leave the towel on your head longer to get rid of excess water instead. If the hair is long wear it loose. Don't tie back your hair all the time and in the same fashion all the time.

 

(3) supplements! Lecithin is great for hair but you must take it every day and for at least 6 months to see results.

 

(4) protect your hair from too much sun. Wear a hat!

 

(5) gently massaging the scalp daily helps greatly apparently, and

 

(6) thinning hair will need a good cut. Not only does it boost the roots but it definately helps giving the hair volume --which it badly needs. If your hairdresser is rather unmoved by your distress... find another one! One that will be able to find the right cut for you, easy to manage, and flattering to your permanent (or temporary!) hair problem.

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When I started on Metformin my hair just seemed to disappear, not in handfuls, just went really thin - I had always had quite thick hair.

 

Although he said it was not Metformin that was a problem GP agreed to reduce Metform from 3 x 500 to 2 x 500 and gradually my hair returned just a bit. Family members remarked that it was much better.

 

Then GP decided my BG were still a bit high and put me on 2 x 850 per day and then a couple of months later increased it to 2 x 1000. He said not to worry as it was definitely not Metformin that had caused my hair loss - it would not happen again. He checked Thyroid etc etc and everything was ok except my BG.

 

After a few weeks I noticed my hair was disappearing again - seems too much of a coincidence. I am going to see him about it during the week but I am wondering what he can put me on instead of Metformin.

 

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I've been on metphormin off and on for over 10 years. I've never noticed anything with hair loss. But milage may vary for each person as we are all different in our wonderful ways.

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what i understand is metformin can cause b12 depletion. did anyone mention this? you can google it, it can do this, and it happened to my friend. and she started loosing hair. so they tested her for b12 and she was low, which is actually dangerous and can contribute to nerve damge. she stopped loosing hair when she got the b12 injections.

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what i understand is metformin can cause b12 depletion. did anyone mention this? you can google it, it can do this, and it happened to my friend. and she started loosing hair. so they tested her for b12 and she was low, which is actually dangerous and can contribute to nerve damge. she stopped loosing hair when she got the b12 injections.

 

Injections!!!:eek: I was thinking of B12 pills/tablets.

 

Seriously Yannah - thanks for that info. B12 has not been mentioned -

so I will certainly follow that suggestion before I have no hair at all :(

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they make b12 tablets. I take them.. from what I have read they are better if you take the sublingual ones(disolve under your tongue) but injections are best. I gather this not from talking to a doctor though. mostly from the internet and from what happened to my friend. so it was what it is as far as my knowledge.

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I just saw my PCP yesterday about the hair loss I'm experiencing. I do connect the dots and it seems the hair loss began with the starting of metformin. Of course he is testing me for other possibilities including thyroid, anemia etc but says it could be caused by the metformin. Anyway he says if all the blood work looks okay then we have to try another drug. I am having good control with the metformin, PLUS I've lost a bit of weight with it and kept it off (about 15 lbs). I'm just nervous about other drugs, i.e. side effects, possible weight gain. Still I'm getting close to the point of thinking about buying a wig so this is a real dilemma. Any ideas out there?

 

I had terrible hair loss when on Metformin (I have pictures if you wanta see them) but luckily I was taken off it for other reasons anyway :)

I prefer my insulin regime basal-bolus anyway as I have excellent control on it ;)

 

I was given a steroid lotion for my hair-loss that worked to get my hair back to what it was before metformin. It was called: "Betnovate Scalp Application" and that really worked to solve the problems with the scalp that the 'metformin' caused :D

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what i understand is metformin can cause b12 depletion. did anyone mention this? you can google it, it can do this, and it happened to my friend. and she started loosing hair. so they tested her for b12 and she was low, which is actually dangerous and can contribute to nerve damge. she stopped loosing hair when she got the b12 injections.

 

I am so happy to see your comments. I have been on medformin for four months and my hair has changed and I am losing hair. At first, I thought I was imagining things but you have confirmed my worst fears. I told my doctor and she said to keep track but I have always had a full head of hair and it is thinning out dramatically. I am very fearful I am going bald. Is your friend still on metformin and if so is she still getting shots. How much B12 do you need to take to counteract this side effect. This revelation explains so much. washgal 51

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I am so happy to see your comments. I have been on medformin for four months and my hair has changed and I am losing hair. At first, I thought I was imagining things but you have confirmed my worst fears. I told my doctor and she said to keep track but I have always had a full head of hair and it is thinning out dramatically. I am very fearful I am going bald. Is your friend still on metformin and if so is she still getting shots. How much B12 do you need to take to counteract this side effect. This revelation explains so much. washgal 51

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How did the b12 work for you. I just started on medformin four months ago and the hair loss is crazy. my hair has changed immensely.

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I take Methotrexate which causes hair loss. I've just restarted Metformin again, and am hoping for no additional hair loss.

 

Re the B12 - I used the sublingual pills called "No-Shot" and they worked fantastically.

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I just saw my PCP yesterday about the hair loss I'm experiencing. I do connect the dots and it seems the hair loss began with the starting of metformin. Of course he is testing me for other possibilities including thyroid, anemia etc but says it could be caused by the metformin. Anyway he says if all the blood work looks okay then we have to try another drug. I am having good control with the metformin, PLUS I've lost a bit of weight with it and kept it off (about 15 lbs). I'm just nervous about other drugs, i.e. side effects, possible weight gain. Still I'm getting close to the point of thinking about buying a wig so this is a real dilemma. Any ideas out there?

Holy cow! My hair could be thinning out due to Metformin?

 

Ah.. well I don't want anything else to start failing LOL so I guess I need to take my meds.

 

Gliburide works well with me but you are prone to weight gain So I counter with Byetta and working out like CRAZY.

My wife just said it looks like I'm loosing weight again :)

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My doctor prescribed metformin and I started loosing hair dramatically in the first month. The medication was prescribed for metabolic syndrome and it helped me loose weight and decreased my appetite but this side effect is likely to end with me utterly bald within a few weeks. there is no prior history of baldness in my family.

Has anyone tried an alternative?

:confused:

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Holy molely, you guys are scaring the doodie out of me. I was diagnosed borderline diabetic last week; my MD said he wanted to treat with Actos or metformin; he said he prefered Actos for me. So, I've been freaking out worried about the Actos/weight gain/swelling issue wondering if I should pick metformin instead; but now that can make me have diarrhea and lose hair??? What a choice! (PS: I started Actos).

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I just saw my PCP yesterday about the hair loss I'm experiencing. I do connect the dots and it seems the hair loss began with the starting of metformin. Of course he is testing me for other possibilities including thyroid, anemia etc but says it could be caused by the metformin. Anyway he says if all the blood work looks okay then we have to try another drug. I am having good control with the metformin, PLUS I've lost a bit of weight with it and kept it off (about 15 lbs). I'm just nervous about other drugs, i.e. side effects, possible weight gain. Still I'm getting close to the point of thinking about buying a wig so this is a real dilemma. Any ideas out there?

 

I've been noticing that my hair is much thinner lately also. I started Metformin on Oct.2. I thought the loss was due to one of my meds, either the Metformin or Coumadin. Now I know that I'm not the only one experiencing this. This really disappoints me, since I like the Metformin and I think it's the best one for me. :o

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Anyone experiencing that with Glyburide? I am on 5mg 2x a day and haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary....Hmmm

 

Daniel

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My hair has been in the thinning stages even before starting the metformin. I do supplement with B vitamins, which I think has helped my hair in terms of strength and after more than a year seems to be growing in darker and more coarse than before. I also supplement with omega 3 and 6 (EPO) which I have heard will help as well.

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Googling hair loss and diabetes is what led me to this wonderful site! I had small patches of complete hair loss, not large but disturbing to me before I was diagnosed but attributed it to stress. After diagnosis (and starting met) I finally decided to check it out. Anyway, I went to a dermatologist who prescribed a steroid foam to apply to the patches. It worked great! At first the hair came in white, but now it is completely normal (not any grayer than the rest:) ) and it's all covered by coloring anyway. So, I don't think it was the met, but the undiagnosed diabetes that was getting to me.

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I was diagnosed type II about six weeks ago, and my PCP put me on metformin. I'm supposed to start out 500 2X and work my way up to twice that. Maybe a month ago, I noticed my hair falling out as I ran my hand through it - it's kind of long right now. I didn't think anything of it until one morning in the shower I noticed even more come out when I shampooed, and then a clump in the drain. I don't know why I didn't put the two together until now, when I googled the two together and found this thread. I've always had thick hair, and there's no MPB in my family. I'm 40 and I think I'd have a lost some before now if I was going to lose it. I'm pretty sure it has to be the metformin.

 

I've been very, very good about my diet, and I usually test in the high 80s-low 120s. I've made it in the 135-145 range maybe once or twice a week since I started testing three weeks ago, about six times a day.

 

Please, please, anyone with experience or tips comment. I am very new to this.

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metformin does cause hair loss

 

it cause hair loss trough this diferent mechanism

 

1/ it acts as an aromatase inhibitor, aromatase is the enzime that transform testosterone , androstendione and dheas into estrogen, estrogen as is well know protect hair from falling it makes the anagen phase longer .As the aromatase pathway is blocked by metformin, then there is more substrate or free androgens to be converted in DHt , trough 5 alpha reductase, they are converted then to dht the most androgenic male hormone, that is the direct cause of androgenic alopecia.as an example women with breast cancer than take aromatase inhitors loose their hair very fast, in a male type pattern.this mechanism cause permanent hair lost,Actually because it cause aromatase inhibition they are testing it as breast cancer coadjuvant treatment,

l

2/the second mechanism it cause hair loss is by increasing dheas levels as it caused a mild suprarenal impairment, so the adrenal gland produce more androgens to compensate.dheas is a weak androgen but it can be converted trough the enzime 5 alpha reductase into a very potent androgen dht, that as above mentioned cause hair loss.the hair lost trough this mechanism, is permanent

 

3/the 3 mechanism metformin cause hair thining is trough decreasing the igf1 effect on the body, igf1 is a metabolic part that caused most of the growth hormone effects it caûse hair to grow stronger and thicker, people who have low igf1 levels has very thin hair.this mechanism is temporal, once you stop taking metformin your hair will grow strong again,but your sugar will raise againActually as it decrease igf1 levels they are testing it as a cancer treatment.

 

4/the 4 mechanism is trough inhibiting B12 absortion , b12 deficiency cause hair loss.this is also a temporal mechanism

 

 

so as you can see we are not crazy it really is a secundary effect and it has a medical explanation, why it caused it.

 

 

sorry for my english I am from germany.

 

I a doctor here by the way, I hope I helped you guys,

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