Some of the most common symptoms of liver disease are jaundice and upper abdominal pain. But since the liver plays a role in many body functions, the disease can also affect many other parts of the body; one of them being, hormone production and regulation. This is according to the National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse.
The body’s largest organ, the liver also oversees the processing of everything that is ingested into the body, like medications and nutrients.
Multiple factors contribute to hair loss, and cures are personalized as cases. Hormonal changes initiate certain types of hair loss, and liver function and hormones are related.
According to the National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse, some alternative hair loss therapies suggest that liver detoxification may arrest hair loss and stimulate hair growth. However, scientific evidence that might bolster this claim remains scarce.
Liver detoxifying programs typically involve fasting on raw fruits and vegetables, juices and rice (brown).
Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss that appears to be affected by hormones. According to the American Hair Loss Association, this condition is characterized by an uneven thinning of hair on the scalp, where more hair loss typically occurs on the top of the scalp as opposed to the back or the sides of the head.
Telogen effluvium (TE) does not usually trigger a hairline recession, and hormones may contribute to TE. However, many other causes can also be in play, including stress, physical trauma, poor diet and certain medications (especially antidepressants).
Though the liver does filter toxins from the body, which are excreted through the urine and feces, the idea of a toxic buildup in liver tissue that requires detoxification does not hold water.
Cirrhosis, the Liver, and Hair Loss
Cirrhosis is progressive liver damage in which healthy tissues of the liver are replaced by hard scar tissues, which develops gradually over many months or years. If left untreated, this buildup of hard scar tissues will eventually lead to liver failure.
Excessive use of alcohol and infections such as hepatitis B or C are the most common causes of cirrhosis. Early diagnosis is crucial for the outlook and prognosis of the condition, because, advanced cirrhosis is more difficult to treat, leading to the worse outcome.
Cirrhosis may also cause hair loss, depending on the severity of the scarring, and cirrhosis-related hair loss usually occurs with the following common symptoms of the disease:
- Jaundice, as the eyes and skin, take on a yellow color
- The tendency to bruise and bleed easily
- Swelling in the legs, ankles, or abdomen.
- Itchy skin.
- Fatigue and weakness
- Unplanned weight loss and appetite loss.
- Tenderness, swelling, and pain in the upper abdomen where the liver is located.
It’s harder to reverse the liver damage caused by cirrhosis, and the goal of cirrhosis treatment is to help sustain the liver function, prevent the disease from getting worse, and retain the rest of healthy liver tissues.
So it’s important to treat the liver damage before it becomes advanced, but unfortunately, inflammation of the liver, which is usually the starting point for most types of liver disease often doesn’t cause any symptoms.
If the cause of hair loss relates to diet deficiencies or stress, then addressing these may arrest hair loss, but if the cause of Telogen effluvium (TE) relates to a physical trauma such as surgery or a car crash, then, most of the times, the body does not require a liver detox to stimulate hair growth.
The exact way of how hair loss occurs with liver disease is still debatable, but it seems that excess sebum is probably one of the answers. Insufficient enzymes released from the liver may cause more fats to be released as sebum through the pores of your scalp.
Actually, sebum is required to moisturize your hair follicles so that they’re not easy to get brittle or dry, but it is also responsible to help maintain the pH balance of your scalp.
However, too much of it could be counterproductive and can impair the normal cycle of your hair growth. This will even drive more dandruff, which is another culprit for hair falling out.
Keep Weight Off
In general, being obese has nothing to do with the health of your hair, but extra pounds you gain can cause more extra fats to build up in your liver. This increases the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and can harden or scar liver tissues over time, which may eventually cause cirrhosis and liver failure if left untreated.
High consumption of refined grains, sugars, dairy products, and fats are bad for your liver health, and they could factor into excess sebum in the scalp.
Fatty foods and trans-fats, which can be found easily in many packaged and baked foods, can make weight gain more likely. Too much dietary fats may also drive more sebum. Thus, it’s advisable to reduce fat from your diet.
Eating lots of refined sugars and grains can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels and in response to this rapid change, the body releases high amounts of hormones, such as insulin and androgen hormones. The increased production of androgens may likely increase dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is often associated with male pattern baldness.
Frequent, uncontrolled amounts of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream will hurt the liver.
If you drink alcohol, make sure that you drink to moderation (as much as your liver can process). And that’s about 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.
Studies suggest that high consumption of sodas will make the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease more likely.
Use Medications Carefully
Over The Counter (OTC) pain relievers are often used to help relieve many different health complaints such as cold, back pain, and headache. They are available over-the-counter, but that doesn’t mean they have no risks. For example, Acetaminophen is a common OTC pain reliever that may provoke liver damage if it’s used inappropriately.
Make sure to check the dose, and follow all instructions given. If possible, use it at the lowest dose.
Too many supplements could also be counterproductive, as it is rumored that vitamin A supplements may hurt your liver if you use it excessively. If you have liver disease and need to consume high doses of vitamin A, consult first with your doctor, and the same goes for herbal supplements; some could be dangerous for your liver.
It’s well acknowledged that stress and other psychological problems can also affect the overall health of the body, including the liver and hair follicles.
Though many times it’s inevitable, it’s important to soothe your stress as well as manage it.
Sometimes, however, the things we do to cope with stress only worsen the problems. For examples; cigarette smoking, drinking more alcohol, skipping healthy meals or eating more junk foods and social isolation are unhealthy for our overall wellbeing, and a bad way of dealing with stress.
Even products labeled “natural” can cause problems if ingested in disproportionate amounts. Thus, before you embark on any liver detoxification for hair loss, seek expert advice and speak to your doctor or health care practitioner about it.