What Are Thyroid Problems
The thyroid gland, located at the base of your throat, produces important hormones that regulate many of your bodys functions. These include heart rate and metabolism. There are two types of thyroid problems: hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. If you suffer from hyperthyroidism, your body produces too much thyroid hormone. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include unexplained weight loss, anxiety, irregular heartbeat, sweating, and skipped menstrual cycles, among other things. Graves disease is one of the most common types of hyperthyroidism.
On the other hand, if you suffer from hypothyroidism, your body will not produce enough thyroid hormone. This can cause a range of symptoms, including unexplained weight gain, depression, chronic fatigue, joint pain, and heavy menstrual cycles. Hashimotos disease is a common type of hypothyroidism.
Why Does A Thyroid Imbalance Cause Thinning Hair
Your hair normally grows in a healthy cyclical pattern with most of the hair follicles growing while only a small number are resting. With a thyroid imbalance, this cycle can be thrown off, resulting in more hair follicles resting than growing and more hair falling out. Hair loss is a very common symptom of a thyroid imbalance.
But thyroid imbalances often arise slowly and remain unnoticed by women and their doctors in the early phases. Even with a lab test, your doctor may say everything is fine with your thyroid, even though you strongly suspect that something is wrong. This is because standard labs have a very wide range for what is normal in terms of thyroid test results.
So how do you know if your hair loss is connected to a thyroid disorder?
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Structure Of A Hair Follicle
Human hair grows out of a tunnel-like structure called a hair follicle, which is embedded into the skin . These follicles are present all over the body, but they are most densely concentrated on the scalp, which contains nearly 100,000 follicles on average.
A hair follicle starts as a tiny pore on the epidermis and extends like a narrow canal deep into the dermis. A sebaceous gland underlying the scalp is attached to the upper part of the follicle from the outside. This gland supplies oil or sebum to the hair follicle to keep the hair naturally moisturized.
The lower end of the follicle is onion shaped and called the hair bulb. It is here that living hair cells called keratinocytes proliferate to construct the hair shaft.
The hair bulb is surrounded by the dermal papilla, which is enriched by several blood vessels that supply nutrients, oxygen, and essential hormones to sustain hair cell division and thereby healthy hair growth.
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Crohn’s Disease And Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Patients with one autoimmune disease are also at an increased risk of developing another, like Chron’s disease , which can cause further hair loss, according to Dr. Bauman. “Treatments for Crohn’s 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.”
Thyroid Conditions And Alopecia Areata
Many people with thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism suffer from autoimmune thyroid disease. People affected by autoimmune thyroid disease have a greater risk of developing other autoimmune conditions, such as alopecia areata.Alopecia areata is a type of autoimmune hair loss in which the bodys immune system targets and damages the hair follicles. Hair follicles that are targeted by the immune system can stop producing new hairs, resulting in hair loss.
Hair loss from alopecia areata usually occurs in small, often circular patches, rather than the receding hairline or crown hair loss of male pattern baldness or the diffuse thinning of thyroid hair loss. Some people with alopecia areata develop bands of bald skin, called ophiasis.
In severe cases, alopecia areata can also cause total hair loss on the scalp, as well as loss of hair in the eyebrows, eyelashes and beard area. Some people with alopecia areata may notice that their nails become slightly red, with a weak, rough and brittle texture or may have pitting in their nails.
If you have a thyroid condition and believe youre suffering from alopecia areata, contact your healthcare provider.. Several effective treatments can help you to manage the symptoms of alopecia areata, including corticosteroids.
Medications that stimulate hair growth, such as minoxidil, may also help to promote hair growth in people with alopecia areata.
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Are You Dealing With A Parathyroid Tumor And Hair Loss Explore Treatment Options
Hair loss is not always related to HPT, but there are times when this symptom occurs in conjunction with parathyroid disease. If people experience hair loss and other HPT symptoms simultaneously, a meeting with Dr. Babak Larian of the CENTER for Advanced Parathyroid Surgery can be beneficial.
Dr. Larian is an expert parathyroid surgeon, and he is committed to helping patients treat their HPT symptoms. He offers a minimally invasive parathyroidectomy to address hair loss and other HPT symptoms.
An MIP can be performed on HPT patients under local anesthetic in approximately 20 minutes, and patients can typically return home within about one hour of treatment. When performed by Dr. Larian and the CENTER staff, an MIP has a cure rate of 97%. Comparatively, a standard parathyroidectomys cure rate generally falls between 93-95%.
Dr. Larian is available to discuss parathyroid surgery and determine if HPT patients are eligible for an MIP. To learn more or schedule a free phone or video consultation with Dr. Larian, please contact us online or call us today at 310-461-0300.
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.
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Why Is Thyroid Function Important To Your Hair
Having either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can limit your bodys production of hair cells, which can cause hair loss, hair thinning or reduced hair growth. Thyroid dysfunction can also be associated with low iron levels, which in turn can also adversely affect hair growth .
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are easily diagnosed by low or high thyroid readings in blood test results. However, readings just within the normal range should also be looked at if you are experiencing hair loss. Please consult with both your doctor and a Philip Kingsley Trichologist if you are concerned.
Your Thyroid May Be Causing Your Hair Loss: Heres How
If youÃ¢re seeing more hair than ever before stuck in the drain or your hairbrush, you may begin to worry that youÃ¢re losing your hair. Hypothyroidism is a fairly common cause of hair loss, and hypothyroidism-related hair loss can also be reversible.
Ã¢A blood test to rule out thyroid abnormalities should always be a part of the diagnosis for hair loss due to medical conditions,Ã¢ Abraham Armani, MD, a hair-restoration surgeon and hair loss specialist in Dallas, Texas, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is normal to lose 50 to 100 strands of hair per day. If your hair is thick or long, a few dozen strands might look like a large clump, even if the number of hairs youÃ¢re losing is completely normal. But what if you are losing your hair?
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The Life Cycle Of Hair
To identify the difference between normal hair loss and that related to a thyroid condition, it’s important to understand the three phases of the hair life cycle. These include:
Verywell / Emily Roberts
- Anagen phase: This is the growth phase, meaning your hair is actively growing. The rate of growth and duration depends on the type of hair and where it’s located. At any given time, about 90% of the hair on your scalp is in the anagen phase.
- Catagen phase: Hair then enters this “transition phase” during which hair stops actively growing. This lasts about three weeks and involves less than 1% of the hairs on your scalp at a time.
- Telogen phase: During this last phase, a hair prepares to shed it is then pushed out of the follicle and falls out. Typically, about 50 and 150 telogen hairs are shed per day. These hairs are then replaced by new growth and the cycle begins again.
Thyroid-related hair loss and hair changes have some characteristic patterns, including:
- Diffuse hair loss/thinning across the whole scalp
- Hair loss that occurs in discrete areas of the scalp, resulting in smooth, circular bald patches
- Loss of body hair from areas other than your head: A unique and characteristic symptom of hypothyroidism is the loss of the hair on the outer edges of your eyebrows
- Changes in your hair’s texture: With hypothyroidism, your hair may become dry or coarse with hyperthyroidism, it can become extra soft and fine
What Could Be The Cause
Hair loss is a common symptom of thyroid disease but it can also be caused by various other conditions including vitamin and mineral deficiencies and certain medical conditions.
Lets look at thyroid disease first. Hair loss may be associated with hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism1. In hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism “a term used to describe an under-active thyroid gland” , hair loss is also found in other areas of the body such as the eyebrows , under the arms and the pubic area.
We have seen reports that hair loss can be a side effect of levothyroxine.2 However, it may be that the hair loss is actually a symptom of hypothyroidism that only showed as a symptom after the start of treatment with levothyroxine Levothyroxine “a synthetic thyroid hormone commonly given to treat an under-active thyroid. It is also known as L-thyroxine” . This may be because it can take months for hair loss to start due to the long hair growth cycle.
It may also be a sign that you are on too much levothyroxine, making you a little overactive and this may therefore be causing the hair loss.
We have read reports from patients, though, that they moved over to natural desiccated thyroid and their hair loss improved.
If your hair loss is due to thyroid disease once you have been treated with the correct thyroid medication for you and your levels are stable, the hair loss should improve.
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Your Guide To Thyroid Medication
Optimizing your thyroid levels with thyroid hormone replacement medication is usually the first step in minimizing symptoms.
Eat a healthful diet
The more dietary stress you put on yourself, the more likely you are to experience inflammation that can interfere with your thyroid function. Eat a healthy diet of nutrient-rich foods and limit processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol to support your hair, skin, and nails from the inside. Peptides and lipids are natural oils important to healthy hair, skin, and nails. They are available in eggs, nuts, and avocados.
Antioxidants can also provide your skin with a lift when eaten in addition to being applied topically. Anti-inflammatory foods like ginger and turmeric may support your endocrine system to give the proper growth cues to your glands.
Consider vitamins or mineral supplements
Supplements that can help with new cell growth and fortifying your hair, skin, and nails may include collagen, antioxidants, biotin, and calcium. We recommend you discuss any supplements with your doctor before beginning a new regimen.
Keep in mind that if you take a supplement that contains biotin, it can interfere with some thyroid lab results, so check with your lab to ask if you should avoid taking biotin before testing your thyroid.
Tell Me More: How To Know If Your Thyroid’s Causing Your Hair Loss
Losing your hair can be a symptom of many things. And, often, when people start to notice thinning hair or shedding, they wonder if theres something wrong with their thyroid gland. This concern isnt necessarily unwarrantedthyroid conditions such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Hashimotos disease, and Graves disease can cause hair loss, after all.
To explain the link between your thyroid gland and your hairand to help you figure out if your hair loss is, in fact, thyroid-relatedwe spoke to hair loss experts and Keeps medical advisors Dr. Jerry Shapiro and Dr. Antonella Tosti.
Thyroid disorders and excessive thyroid supplementation can cause increased hair shedding, also known as telogen effluvium , explains Dr. Tosti. This is because the thyroid hormones are directly involved with hair follicle functioning, thus affecting hair growth and strength. If you have an overactive or underactive thyroid for any reason, your thyroid hormone levels will be off and your hair will suffer.
Its worth noting that TE can also happen when someone experiences extreme stress, rapid weight loss, or a severe illness. So, if youre seeing signs of hair loss, you shouldnt automatically assume somethings wrong with your thyroid. And Dr. Shapiro adds that, even if you arent experiencing any of those other TE-inducing conditions, you shouldnt blame your thyroid right away.
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Skip Processed Foods Caffeine Sugar And Alcohol
Those with thyroid problems, including hypothyroid are usually urged to avoid eating any kind of processed or heavily refined foods. Sugar, alcohol, and caffeine too are advised against. All of these cause inflammatory responses in the body which could worsen your thyroid problem and makes your hair loss worse.12
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