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Can Illness Cause Hair Loss?

Whilst most of us have probably heard of hair loss conditions such as Alopecia Areata and male pattern baldness, you may not be aware that there’s a range of other illnesses which can cause hair loss, amongst other symptoms. We look at some of the more common conditions which could leave you experiencing thinning hair or patchy hair loss.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Hair loss on the scalp is a common side-effect of PCOS. The condition is fairly common and causes hormonal imbalances. Higher than normal levels of androgen and male hormones are secreted and cysts form on the ovaries, leaving those with PCOS experiencing an increase in facial hair and hair in other parts of the body. However, many women will experience patchy hair loss as a result of these hormonal changes.


Also known as iron deficiency, anaemia is common amongst those who don’t eat much meat, and women of child-bearing age. Lack of essential minerals such as iron can cause hair loss or thinning hair, and your GP may prescribe iron supplements to boost your intake. It’s worth noting that you should never take iron supplements without consulting your GP. Eating a healthy diet filled with foods that are naturally high in iron can also help – try spinach, eggs and red meat.

Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism

The thyroid produces hormones which affect the body’s development, but if you suffer from hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), you may notice changes taking place in your body such as increased or decreased weight, dull, brittle hair and hair loss or thinning hair. Luckily, this type of hair loss is usually temporary. Once your thyroid is under control, your hair will normally begin to grow back.

What to do if illness causes hair loss

It’s clear that there are many different illnesses which can cause hair loss, ranging from age and hormone-related changes such as menopause and PCOS, to conditions caused by diet deficiencies. The important thing to remember is that many of these conditions can be successfully managed or treated with medication, and seeking treatment can help your hair to grow back. Consulting a hair loss specialist is a good idea if you are concerned about any form of hair loss, as they can recommend a bespoke hair loss treatment programme to enable your hair to grow back thick and healthy.

The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.

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