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can an std cause hair loss

By: RSC Editorial Team

May 5, 2022

Can an STD Cause Hair Loss?

Did you know that some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can cause hair loss? As common as STDs are, many people don’t understand the full scope of symptoms that you may experience. Society stigmatizes STDs, creating a general lack of education and support. 

It’s no wonder that so many people search online about the question, “Can an STD cause hair loss?” Below, our team at Rapid STD Testing, a same-day STD testing provider, will share lots of interesting information you should know about the hair loss STD symptom. 

What Are the STDs That Cause Hair Loss?

Not all sexually transmitted diseases lead to hair loss, though a few do. So what STD causes hair loss?

Syphilis and Hair Loss

Syphilis is an infection that progresses through the body in two stages. Common symptoms for syphilis in the first stage include sores forming around the mouth or genital region. In the second phase, rashes may spread to larger portions of the body. 

Secondary syphilis can affect your scalp and cause hair loss when untreated. Alopecia causes your immune system to attack your hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Syphilitic alopecia does not always occur, though it can happen, resulting in temporary hair loss that makes the scalp appear patchy. 

Often, medical professionals mistake syphilitic alopecia for other hair-loss-causing medical conditions. If you suspect you may have syphilis, inform your doctor about any rashes or sores. Untreated syphilis can develop into fatal complications, affecting the nervous system, brain, and heart. 

Antibiotics are the most common treatment for primary, secondary, or early latent stages of syphilis. Expedient treatments can cure syphilis and help you resume your hair growth in a few months. 

HIV and Hair Loss

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is another STD that causes hair loss. HIV is a virus that damages your immune system’s ability to fight off infections. 

In the beginning, HIV may feel like a common cold, often causing a sore throat or fever. When left untreated, HIV may develop into Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or other opportunistic infections. 

HIV does not directly result in hair loss, though it places you at a higher risk of contracting an illness that does. Such conditions include Telogen Effluvium (TE), thyroid dysfunction, iron deficiency, anemia, and diffuse alopecia. 

Without treatment, HIV can develop into severe and fatal conditions. You should regularly test for STDs, especially if you have symptoms, so that you can get ahead on treatments before your situation escalates. With Rapid STD Testing, you can easily order a rapid STD test online. 

STD Treatments That Cause Hair Loss

Many people overlook the hair-loss effects of medications for STDs. While the diseases may cause symptoms, the medicines can also lead to frustrating complications. 

STD treatments for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes may cause temporary hair loss. After completing treatment, your hair should return to normal. 

If you feel concerned about losing your hair from an STD treatment, remember that your health is essential to living a long and happy life. Hair can always grow back. 

How to Avoid Hair Loss Due to STDs

You should feel no shame or embarrassment about having an STD, though thinning or balding hair can make you feel insecure. 

If you already have an STD, adequate treatment can reverse your hair loss. You can return to normal hair growth for syphilis or HIV-related immune system conditions after entirely healing your immune system. Occasionally, you may need to shed all pre-STD hair before anything new grows. 

After contracting an STD, you cannot avoid hair loss entirely, whether from the disease itself or the treatment. Instead, you can only prevent hair loss from happening by not contracting an STD. 

STD hair loss prevention methods include:

  • Practicing safe sex: Many people think that safe sex means preventing pregnancy, though it also means that you should avoid the spread of STDs. Pregnancy prevention methods, like birth control, will not stop you from contracting an STD. To avoid STD hair loss, you should always use a safe sex method, like condoms, even with a long-term partner. 
  • Avoiding contamination: STDs can also spread through non-sexual contamination like blood diffusions, dirty towels, and infected food. If one person doesn’t wash their hands before preparing your food, you may contract an STD. The same scenario applies when receiving a blood transfusion, though many protocols ensure that all legal blood donations are safe. 
  • Staying safe during non-penetration contact: You can also contract an STD through non-penetration sexual contact methods, like oral sex. Many preventative devices like condoms and dental dams exist so that you can stay safe during these activities. 
  • Having honest discussions: Before engaging in any sexual activity, you should always discuss potential or confirmed STDs with your partner to prevent the spread. Be sure to ask your partner whether or not they have an STD before having sex because even condoms cannot 100% guarantee safety.
  • Getting tested regularly: You should periodically take STD tests to stay ahead of any potential developments. Learning about a diagnosis and treating it as soon as possible can prevent hair loss. Rapid STD Testing provides a convenient 10-panel STD test that you can order online.   

While you cannot always avoid contracting an STD, you can use the above methods to keep yourself safe. If you learn that you have an STD, you should immediately see your doctor to discuss your next steps. 

How Do I Know If This Hair Loss Is Due to STDs?

Can an STD cause hair loss? Yes, though many different conditions can also make you lose your hair. 

So what else causes hair loss?

  • Weight loss: If you do not consume enough calories, your body will shed hair. If you experience a rapid decrease in weight, weight loss may be the culprit behind your hair loss. 
  • Poor nutrition: Vitamin deficiencies like iron, zinc, protein, or biotin can diminish hair growth and strength. 
  • Aging: People naturally lose hair as they age, and often those who have HIV confuse this process with STD symptoms. 
  • Hereditary hair loss: Some people are more prone to losing hair at younger ages. Gradual hair loss patterns may indicate that your genes are the cause. 
  • Cancer: Cancer treatments, like radiation or chemotherapy, often result in hair loss. 
  • Stress: Huge physical or emotional stresses, like childbirth or major surgeries, can temporarily make you shed extra hair. 
  • Hair products and style: Some harsh chemical hair products, like those containing bleach or dye, can damage hair and make it fall out. Constantly using rough hair ties can also break hair.  
  • Hormones: Hormonal imbalances can disrupt your natural hair growth. Imbalances occur from different conditions, like thyroid disease, or suddenly stopping or starting birth control pills. 
  • Scalp problems: An infection on your scalp can create a bald spot. Conditions like psoriasis can also temporarily make you lose hair.
  • Medications: Certain prescription drugs have hair loss as a major side effect. You should consult with a doctor about possible symptoms before continuing the medication. 

Getting tested for an STD can help you identify the cause of your hair loss. At Rapid STD Testing, we want to help you learn more about STD symptoms and options for testing so that you can get ahead on treatment.

Prevent STD Hair Loss by Getting Ahead on Treatments 

Can an STD cause hair loss? Yes. Can you prevent hair loss from occurring? Yes. 

Get tested today so that you can treat your STD before losing any hair. You can order tests online with Rapid STD Testing. Call us at (866) 872-1888 to learn more. 


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By: RSC Editorial Team
May 5, 2022

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