In most cases, hair loss is due to hormonal changes, autoimmune disease, or hereditary, but are you aware that sexually transmitted diseases can also cause hair loss? So, when you notice hair loss in any part of your body, see your doctor and explain when it started.
STDs are common diseases, especially among youths and younger adults who are sexually active. Despite being common, contracting STDs still causes shame among young people due to fear of being laughed at, and that’s why they usually don’t go for STD testing. Also, most STDs don’t show symptoms and those that do take time for the symptoms to manifest.
Due to this, most people spread these infections without knowing, which makes STDs prevalent infections. Fortunately, most of these infections are treatable. Still, because of the lack of symptoms, many people live with these infections for some time without knowing, leading to severe complications like infertility.
How do I know my hair loss is due to STDs?
STDs like gonorrhea and herpes don’t directly cause hair loss. Chlamydia is another STD that doesn’t directly cause hair loss; however, some medication for its treatment, like azithromycin, kills bacteria causing the infection but, in the process, depletes hemoglobin and vitamin B, which leads to hair loss. HIV also causes hair loss indirectly through secondary infections.
When you experience hair loss after using the medication for these conditions, you should know your hair loss is likely due to these medications. You should therefore focus on treating the infections rather than the hair loss.
STDs causing hair loss
There are many common STDs, but not all of them can cause hair loss. The most common STDs that cause hair loss are syphilis and HIV.
Hair loss due to syphilis
Syphilis, an STD caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum, is well known for its cause of hair loss. It can affect the groin, genitals, mouth, or rectum and develop in four stages, with the first stage mild, which you can quickly treat using short-course antibiotics.
But if you don’t test syphilis and leave it untreated, it develops to the second stage, with severe and noticeable symptoms like red rashes, swollen lymph nodes, and hair loss. Hair loss results from the immune system’s attack on hair follicles due to alopecia. If you suspect having syphilis, see your doctor, and get syphilis testing and treatment because leaving it untreated can lead to severe complications.
Can I treat my hair loss due to syphilis?
Syphilis is treatable, and if your hair loss is due to syphilis, treating it will also get rid of the hair loss. Once you restore your immune system, your hair will start to grow. You should, however, note that in some cases, your hair will begin to grow after you’ve lost all your previous hair.
The primary and secondary syphilis symptoms usually disappear on their own. Still, the condition will continue to grow to the latent stage- a more severe stage affecting the brain, nervous system, bones, and heart.
Hair loss due to HIV
HIV is a virus that compromises the body’s immune system interfering with its ability to fight infection and causing hair loss.
HIV does not directly cause hair loss, but due to the compromised immune system, which results from HIV, you can develop illnesses like thyroid dysfunction, anemia, iron deficiency, and diffuse alopecia that causes hair loss.
HIV starts like a common cold, but when you don’t treat it, it develops into AIDs and other opportunistic infections.
How to avoid hair loss due to STDs
The only way to avoid hair loss due to STDs is by preventing these infections. STDs are sexually transmitted, and the best way to avoid them is through abstaining from sex.
If you cannot abstain, ensure you engage in a monogamous and honest relationship and correctly and consistently use protection.
But, the most important thing is to know your STD status. Ensure you and your partner regularly go for STD testing annually; if you have multiple sex partners, you should go at least twice a year.
Hair loss can be hereditary, but sometimes it’s due to certain STDs. While some STDs like syphilis cause hair loss directly, some like gonorrhea and chlamydia and HIV cause it indirectly.
It is essential to go for regular STD checkups and treat them early to avoid hair loss.