Does Lyme Disease Cause Hair Loss?
Does Lyme disease cause hair loss? Many people ask this question – after being infected by Borrelia afzelii, the bacterium that causes tick bite alopecia. While the answer varies from person to person, there are many similarities between this disease and Iron deficiency.
Does Lyme Disease Cause Hair Loss?
Learn about symptoms, treatment options, and more. We will also discuss the treatment of iron deficiency in people with alopecia.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which has three distinct types, B burgdorferi sensu lato, B afzelii, and B garinii. In the United States, B burgdorferi is the only type found, whereas B afzelii is the main cause in Europe and Asia.
The researchers in this study used the immunodeficient NOD-SCID mice to generate host-adapted strains of Borrelia afzelii. These mice lack mature T and B-cells, compliment, and natural killer cell functions. The mice were challenged with intradermal injections of B. afzelii spirochetes and collected blood samples every other day to determine the presence or absence of the bacteria.
These patients exhibited expanding annular lesions and positive anti-Bb trichrome staining. These lesions accompanied by erythema migrans were diagnosed by biopsy. The lesions were characterized by a central positive core and an outer membrane containing a negative bacterial shell. The lesions exhibited characteristic Morgellons fibers. In the laboratory, bacterial DNA from the lesions was detected by Molecular testing. Similarly, Gomori trichrome staining revealed positive intracellular Borrelia organisms in the lesions. Further, intracellular Borrelia organisms were identified in lymphocytic infiltrates.
Borrelia afzelii causes Tick Bite Alopecia
Tick-borne illness is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacterium is a loosely-coiled spiral. In the United States, this particular bacteria is the sole cause of the disease. In Europe and Asia, it is caused by Borrelia afzelii. If you have contracted the disease, your symptoms may include numbness, tingling, and even hearing changes.
The atrophic symptoms of this disease mimic the symptoms of scleroderma en coup d’sabre (LSA), a rare autoimmune disorder characterized by asymmetrical distribution of skin lesions. In a recent study, researchers identified patients with LSA, a chronic inflammatory skin disease caused by Borrelia, which was found to improve with ceftriaxone, 2 gr. per day, for 21 days.
Iron Deficiency Causes Hair Loss
There is an increasing awareness that iron deficiency can contribute to hair loss in some people. Iron is needed to produce hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to important body tissues. When iron is deficient, hemoglobin levels fall and hair begins to fall out. The good news is that iron deficiency is treatable. Treatments range from topical creams to a diet rich in iron.
Women who have hair loss due to iron deficiency often notice extra hair in their hairbrush, pillow, and shower catch. Moreover, their scalps are more visible when they’re wet or in bright light. Unfortunately, it’s not yet clear why some people experience hair loss in this way. A physician should be consulted if you’re concerned about this.
Though thinning hair loss is not a typical symptom of Lyme disease, it may occur in up to 40% of cases. Some doctors believe that hair loss is the body’s natural response to tick saliva. Depending on the stage of the disease, the body may produce various chemicals to fight off the bacteria. Symptoms of Lyme disease may also include cognitive defects, sleep disturbances, and fatigue.
If the symptoms are severe enough, doctors will recommend oral doxycycline to combat bacterial infection. However, antibiotics do not always eradicate bacteria. Therefore, the patient will still experience hair loss, which may last three to six months. Patients will be prescribed doxycycline for four weeks. If the bacterial infection is treated properly, hair regrowth can resume. During the interim period, patients may experience a thinning scalp.