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Does Hashimoto’s Cause Hair Loss

Well Actually Hypothyroidism Is A Big Deal

(TBS #15) Why Does Hypothyroidism (& Hashimotos) Cause Hair Loss?

The scenarios Ive just described above are classic symptoms of hypothyroidism and unfortunately, there are a lot more. Women are also more likely to suffer from it. This illness is no joke and we need to take it seriously. I remember when I was hypothyroid I also had adrenal and chronic fatigue and my life just stopped. There were so many moments when I truly wished I were dead.

Hypothyroidism can be treated with medicine but unfortunately, there are still many doctors out there who are not adequately educated to understand how debilitating it really is. Its also worth noting that from my own my experience, and from other patients that I spoke to on forums, just taking medication isnt enough.

How Common Is It To Experience Hair Loss From Thyroid Medication

It’s fairly common to see some hair loss due to thyroid medication. Usually, this is due to overmedication, which leads to hyperthyroidism, because hair loss is a symptom of both low and high levels of thyroid hormone. In most people, this is a short-lived side effect that occurs in the first month of treatment.

Crohns Disease And Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Patients with one autoimmune disease are also at an increased risk of developing another, like Chrons disease , which can cause further hair loss, according to Dr. Bauman. Treatments for Crohns Disease may involve medications, surgery, and nutritionals to control inflammation, correct nutritional problems, and reduce symptoms, he says. Medications typically include biologic immunosuppressants to reduce inflammation and treatments focuses on nutraceuticals, laser therapy, topical prescriptions, and PRP.

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How Thyroid Disease Affects Hair Loss

When your thyroid production drops, your body processes slow down and change. This slowdown of the thyroid may cause uncomfortable symptoms like cold intolerance, weight gain, tiredness, shortness of breath, constipation, dry skin, irregular menstrual cycles, fertility issues, depression, , or thinning hair.

All of these symptoms are troubling to live with and interrupt our daily lives. One particularly concerning symptom that patients present with is hair thinning.

For many, hair is intrinsically bound in our identity. It can make us feel confident and empowered it can even hold the weight of cultural significance. So, understandably, hair loss can be highly emotional as you feel at loss of identity or self-image.

What Does Thyroid Hair Loss Look Like

Dealing with Hair Loss from Thyroiditis (Hashimoto

We all lose some hair daily, and then it regrows. But irregular functioning of T3 and T4 can cause that regrowth cycle to be disturbed meaning you might notice thinning hair over time, without hair replacement. This could affect your eyebrows, body hair, and eyelashes, too. It might fall out in clumps or strands. And it might not be from just one area, either, so it may not be noticeable at first.You may also be seeing a lot of hair coming out in the shower or as you brush it more than 100 strands per day is a sign of significant hair loss.

Thyroid conditions are seen in people with alopecia, which causes patchy hair loss. Lupus and PCOS may cause hair loss as well. In a study cited in the International Journal of Trichology, advanced age is also associated with more thyroid hair loss.In fact, as a good rule of thumb, if you have alopecia or hair loss of any sort, but have no known thyroid disorder, it’s wise to check with your doctor and to request a thyroid test at the first sign of hair loss.

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Hair Loss From Hypothyroidism Vs Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

It’s important for you to understand, as the patient, that there are different types of thyroid diseases and that these different types of thyroid diseases cause different hair loss patterns.

In addition, the treatments for these conditions are also sometimes very different.

Just to illustrate this example, consider the difference between hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

Hair loss in hyperthyroidism is typically treated by REDUCING thyroid hormone production by taking thyroid blocking medicines or by ablating your thyroid gland.

This results in DECREASED thyroid hormone and reduced stimulation on hair follicles and finally hair growth.

In hypothyroidism, on the other hand, hair loss primarily stems from .

This problem is treated by giving the patient MORE thyroid hormone in the form of thyroid medications .

These medications INCREASE thyroid hormone and balance hair follicle stimulation and result in hair growth.

Okay, now that you understand this, we can talk a little bit about thyroiditis and how that differs from other thyroid diseases such as hypothyroidism.

Thyroiditis is a broad term used to define a state of inflammation targeted on the thyroid gland.

The term ‘-itis’ means inflammation and the term thyroid refers to your thyroid gland so if you put them together you get inflammation in the thyroid gland! Easy, right?

The only problem is that this inflammation can be caused by MANY different things.

For instance:

Why Does Hypothyroidism Cause Hair Loss In Women

One of the most common complaints I hear from women with hypothyroidism and Hashimotos is hair loss. Thinning hair, bald patches and hair loss can be devastating because they not only affect how we look but also how we feel.

As many as two thirds of women can experience hair loss during their life time. According to American Academy of Dermatology, about 40% of women have noticeable hair loss when they reach the age of forty. For many, hair problems are not only a cosmetic issue that makes them feel unattractive and uncomfortable but is an emotionally stressful situation that can even cause depression.

Despite of widespread concerns among women about their hair problems, most doctors dont take it seriously and often blame aging as a main cause. The truth is that which contributes to their hair issues.

Hypothyroidism causes hair loss because the slowing down of the metabolism affects scalp follicles and results in diminished hair strength and quality. At hypothyroidism, hair problems can start with thinning and changes in its structure when it becomes dry, brittle and coarse. In the advanced stages, hair falls out evenly or in large chunks that often can be noticed during brushing or hair wash.

In addition, some drugs including thyroid replacement medication Synthroid states excessive hair loss as one of many possible side effects. Surprisingly, many patients and doctors are unaware of this fact.

There are 3 most common types of diffuse hair loss in women:

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Shouldn’t Levothyroxine Treat Hair Loss

Levothyroxine is a thyroid medication prescribed to treat low thyroid hormone levels. It is a synthetic form of thyroid hormone that mimics human thyroid hormone. One would imagine that once you correct low thyroid hormone levels, you would see an improvement in your hypothyroid symptoms, including hair loss. However, some people find their hair loss worsens when they start levothyroxine.

While this may be concerning, especially if you are already struggling with hair loss, rest assured increased shedding after starting levothyroxine is usually short-lived. Most people who notice more hair loss after starting levothyroxine find that it lasts only a month or two.

Additional shedding sometimes happens because the hormones need time to stabilize. The hair growth cycle takes time to adjust to changes in your system.

Rest assured, once you are on the correct dose of medication, most hair loss will cease. You should return to having a normal hair growth cycle unless there is another cause of your hair loss, like androgenic alopecia, for instance.

Dr Nikolas Hedberg Dc

Hashimoto’s and Hair Loss

The connection between the thyroid and hair loss may not be immediately clear. But hair loss, sometimes known as alopecia, is one of the classic symptoms of low thyroid or hypothyroidism, along with fatigue, weight gain, constipation, depression, muscle or joint pain, sensitivity to cold and a number of other problems.

The link between a low functioning thyroid and hair loss, and all the other symptoms named above, is that they are all related to a decrease in energy production or metabolism. The thyroid gland produces hormones that control metabolism. When your thyroid gland is damaged, either by an autoimmune disorder such as Hashimotos Disease or any of the other many causes of hypothyroidism, it does not produce an adequate supply of the hormones your body needs to produce energy necessary for normal bodily functions.

Too much or too little thyroid hormone can cause hair loss so lets talk about why that happens. With too little thyroid hormone, your body will not properly metabolize the protein you eat which is important for growing healthy hair. Additionally, your stomach acid levels will drop so you wont absorb important vitamins and minerals that are important for hair growth.

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Taking Immune Enhancing Supplements

Nutritional supplements can either help or flare up your autoimmunity based on an individuals T-helper dominance . Supplements such as echinacea, green tea, acai, astragalus, licorice, and a variety others. can either help or aggravate autoimmunity depending on your dominance. If you are unaware of this you may be taking supplements that promote an autoimmune response. Please refer to Chapter Three of my thyroid book, Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? for more information and lists of supplements and herbs to be aware of.

Dealing With Thyroid Issues Is Difficult

Present-day medicine does have means of catching and treating this exhausting health issues. Unfortunately, even the most well-trained, well-meaning, and understanding doctors may have difficulties finding the right answers when it comes to dealing with thyroid issues.

This is why knowledge is so powerful when handling an underactive thyroid. Do your research thoroughly and look into multiple perspectives: both conventional and alternative.

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How Thyroid Hormones Cause Hair Loss

Your hair follicles follow a natural cycle of hair growth and resting phases. At any given time, most of your hair is growing while only a small portion of it is resting. But when changes in the body throw off that cycle, too much hair rests at one time and not enough grows, resulting in excessive hair loss, thinning hair, or balding.

Many medical conditions can cause hair loss, with thyroid disease a common culprit. Thyroid problems include both an underactive thyroid gland and an overactive thyroid gland . Because hair growth depends on the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, abnormal levels of thyroid hormone produced by this gland can result in hair changes, along with many other side effects, if left untreated. When there is too much thyroid hormone, the hair on your head can become fine, with thinning hair all over the scalp. When there is too little of this hormone, there can be hair loss, not just on the scalp, but also anywhere on the body.

Ironically, taking the hormone levothyroxine to treat an underactive thyroid can contribute to some hair loss, among other side effects, but this seems to be more common within the first month of treatment and more often in children than adults. This hair loss is only temporary and will go away as treatment is continued and thyroid hormone levels stabilize.

What Is Hashimotos Disease

What Causes Hair Loss With Hashimoto

Hashimotos disease is a type of autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack your thyroid. This small gland in the neck helps to regulate many hormones that control various bodily functions.

Due to the immune system attacking the thyroid, it becomes underactive, also called hypothyroidism. One of the symptoms of this is hair loss. Other symptoms include fatigue, brittle nails, puffiness, sensitivity to cold and other difficulties. The thyroid plays such an important role in the body that the effects of Hashimotos disease are widespread and sometimes significant.

Although doctors do not know what causes Hashimotos disease, it is associated with some risk factors. It is more likely to happen to middle-aged women. Additionally, there may be a hereditary component. Other autoimmune diseases may cause Hashimotos disease.

Other thyroid issues may cause hair loss and similar symptoms. The only way to determine if you have Hashimotos disease is to visit your doctor for testing and medical diagnosis.

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Supporting Your Thyroid Back To Health

Proper Testing Completing a full thyroid panel once a year is an excellent idea for anyone struggling with the above symptoms. A full thyroid panel will include free T3, free T4, T3, T4, TSH, and TPO and I also like to run reverse T3. Reverse T3 is a good marker to see if stress coming from overworked adrenals is at the root of a thyroid issue. It is crucial to find a good practitioner who can review the results with you. Unfortunately, it is common to find that while your lab work is normal, you still have symptoms. We truly must be our own detectives and advocate for our health.

Check Ferritin Ferritin is the stored form of iron. Low ferritin is one of the most common causes of hair loss in women. Given that low ferritin is also a common problem for those with hypothyroidism, it is important to have your iron levels tested, including ferritinespecially if you are experiencing hair loss. It is not enough to be told by your doctor that your iron levels are normal. The range is wide , but you should at least be between 65-80. Liver Capsules are great for low ferritin, and I also love Gaia Herbs Liquid Iron. This type of iron, as opposed to many other forms and brands, tends not to constipate.

Adequate Carbohydrate Intake It is essential that we consume enough carbohydrates to support our thyroid. We have talked about this in-depth in our carbohydrates and stress blog this entire blog is dedicated to how to use carbohydrates strategically to support the thyroid.

The Autoimmune Disease Can Affect Both Gender But Is Commonly Found In Middle

Thyroid hormonesthyroid glandWhat is Hashimoto‘s Thyroiditis?What causes Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?Gender differences: Genetic inheritance:Drugs:Radiation exposure: Symptoms of Hashimotos Thyroiditisweight gainconstipationhair lossexcessive sleepPrecautionsDisclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of

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Alopecia Areata And Hypothyroidism

Discussion. Alopecia areata is a nonscarring hair-loss condition that may present in childhood. The spectrum of disease can range from discrete patches of hair loss, which is the most common presentation, to the complete absence of hair.1

The pathogenesis of alopecia areata is described as being autoimmune but is likely multifactorial. It has been associated with several other autoimmune conditions.2 Alopecia areata is distinguished from certain nondiffuse hair-loss conditions by its smooth appearance and pathognomonic exclamation point hairs .

The differential diagnosis includes conditions such as tinea capitis, trichotillomania, androgenic hair loss, and telogen effluvium. Tinea capitis is most often characterized by scaly patches and broken hairs. Trichotillomania typically has a characteristic hair-pulling history, as well as physical examination findings of hairs with varying lengths. Androgenic hair loss presents with typical male and female patterns. Telogen effluvium is a diffuse hair loss that can be difficult to distinguish from diffuse alopecia areata and that has multiple causes, including stress, nutritional deficiencies, medication use, anesthetic events, and thyroid dysfunction, among others. Biopsy ultimately can distinguish the different causes of hair loss.1


  • Strazzulla LC, Wang EHC, Avila L, et al. Alopecia areata: disease characteristics, clinical evaluation, and new perspectives on pathogenesis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018 78:1-12.
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