The Link Between Thyroid And Hair Loss
To get a clear picture of the relation between thyroid and hair loss, let us first understand the hair growth process.
- Hair starts growing from the roots on your scalp.
- Scalp’s blood vessels provide nutrients to the root and help in hair growth.
- Hair pushes up through your skin. The oil glands help maintain the required moisture in the hair.
- Hair grows for sometime and then falls off as a new hair growth cycle starts.
The hormones of the thyroid gland, T3 and T4, directly affect hair growth and its development. When the hormone production is disturbed, it can lead to hair thinning across your scalp.
Autoimmune conditions like alopecia are often seen along with thyroid and lead to bald hair patches.
Conditions like PCOS that are related to thyroid can also lead to hair loss.
Antithyroid drugs like carbimazole and propylthiouracil can also lead to hair loss in certain people.
How To Stop Hair Loss Due To Hyperthyroidism
Your doctor will no doubt provide you with the appropriate medical guidance as your move forward treating your hyperthyroidism. This will include medication that will help regulate the overactive thyroid.
However, there are a number of steps you can take in other aspects of your life to help alleviate any symptoms.
Common Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism:
- Mood changes, anxiety, restlessness, issues with sleeping
- Pain and swelling in the throat , muscle weakness, menstruation disturbances
Hypothyroidism, the underactive thyroid condition, occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough hormones. Hair loss is a symptom of long-term hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is more common in women than men and is often diagnosed in middle age and later age groups, though it can occur at any age.
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Causes For Thyroid Hair Loss
Here are some common thyroid disorders that can lead to hair loss
Besides thyroid-related issues, here are some causes for Hair Loss:
- Male-pattern or female-pattern hair loss is inherited
- Medications used in chemotherapy
- Age, especially after 50, is a factor
- Over-styling or product use can cause hair damage
- There isnt enough protein or iron in your diet
- Damage to the body
- Stress that lasts a long time
- Disorders of the immune system
- Loss of weight
- Muscle weakness
- Unexpected weight loss
The good news is that thyroid-related hair loss is usually only temporary. Even if you start taking treatment for thyroid hair loss, you may experience hair loss. But, dont worry, this could be due to the hairs natural life cycle.
What Does Thyroid Disease
Unlike male pattern baldness, the hair loss of thyroid disease usually involves your whole scalp and not just certain areas. So rather than a receding hairline or bald spots, it’s typical for all of the hair to appear sparse or thin. The exception is alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that sometimes occurs with thyroid disease, which does cause bald patches.
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Can Thyroid Issues Cause Hair Loss
Yes. Hair loss is one of the more distressing symptoms of thyroid disease. Some people experience âclumpsâ of hair falling out in the shower. While others just notice a generally thinner ponytail. But why does this happen?
Across the board, thyroid-related hair loss can be caused by abnormal hormonal imbalances and can impair the function of the hair follicles. However, itâs common that normal hair growth is restored once the hormonal abnormality is corrected.
Why Does Hypothyroidism Cause Hair Loss
The thyroid hormones T3 and T4 are responsible for the modulation of biological processes of the hair in multiple ways.
T3 and T4 together down-regulate the death of keratinocytes or cells that create the keratin, a building block of your hair.
Lack of thyroid hormones makes hair cells die quicker and hinders regrowth.
T4 on its own up-regulates the proliferation of these cells that form the hair matrix. It also increases the duration of the growth phase of hair cells.4
If your thyroid isnt active enough, you simply dont have enough of these hormones in your body. So your hair cells die quicker and are not replenished. This is what causes hair loss due to hypothyroidism.
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Thyroid Conditions And Hair Loss: What You Need To Know
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Is your hair starting to look thinner than usual? Its common for men to experience some degree of hair loss at some point in our lives. In fact, one form of hair loss called androgenetic alopecia is thought to affect 50 million men in the United States alone.
While androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss men experience, hair loss can also occur as a result of certain medical conditions.
If you have a thyroid condition such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, its possible that this could contribute to hair loss. Thyroid conditions can also occur in conjunction with autoimmune diseases such as alopecia areata, which can affect the growth of your hair.
Hair loss from thyroid conditions can vary in severity, from mild diffuse thinning to almost total loss of hair on your scalp. Below, weve explained why and how thyroid-related hair loss occurs, as well as what you can do to treat hair loss thats caused by a thyroid condition.
Both Hyperthyroidism And Hypothyroidism Can Cause Hair Loss
Hyperthyroidism is defined by an overactive thyroid. This can be a result of an autoimmune disorder called Graves disease.
âHypothyroidism is defined by an underactive thyroid. This can be a result of an autoimmune disorder called Hashimotoâs thyroiditis. An overactive or underactive thyroid can cause overall hair loss as the thyroid has a big role in the development and maintenance of the hair follicles. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause the hair to become dry, brittle, and prone to breakage.
âA sustained imbalance in either extreme can cause severe hair loss. Not having enough or having too little thyroid hormone can be a huge shock to the system. A severe thyroid disorder can cause a scalp disorder called telogen effluvium causing the hair roots to go into an abnormal growth period of ârestingâ. During this state of shock, up to 70% of scalp hair can fall out.
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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.
Solving Thyroid Hair Loss Doesn’t Have To Be Impossible
Has your thyroid taken away your hair?
If so, you aren’t alone.
Hair loss can cause significant distress both emotionally and physiologically, and it’s never a normal or good sign.
Here’s the good news though:
It can almost always be addressed, treated, or managed.
You may not be able to 100% solve your hair loss but you should be able to see significant improvement in your hair quality, texture, and density by using certain therapies.
Today, I’m going to talk to you about hair loss treatments that thyroid patients can use to regrow their hair.
Before we jump in, I need to mention one very important point:
These treatments are considered more advanced and should be done in addition to you treat the 3 most common causes of hair loss in thyroid patients.
- Ensuring that you have normal iron levels – Iron is essential for hair growth production and thyroid patients are at increased risk for iron deficiency.
- Ensuring your thyroid medication is optimized – If your thyroid medication is too high or too low then you will not be able to regrow your hair. Always optimize your thyroid medication!
- Ensuring you’ve tried basic nutrient replacement and supplements – Replacing basic nutrients such as iron, zinc, selenium, B12, choline, and silica, are all required for optimal hair growth. Ensure that you have adequate levels of these nutrients before proceeding.
Today you will learn:
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Faq + Other Thyroid & Hair Loss Questions
If your questions weren’t answered in the information above I’ve also included several frequently asked questions below:
Can Thyroid Problems Cause Hair Loss?
Yes, both low thyroid and high thyroid levels can contribute to hair loss.
Hair loss is a documented and well-known side effect of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Can Synthroid Cause Hair Loss?
Yes, one of the side effects of Synthroid is hair loss.
This may be due to the medication itself or due to your dose itself.
Both high and low dosages of levothyroxine can contribute to hair loss.
Will Taking Levothyroxine Make my Hair Grow?
If your hair loss is due to hypothyroidism then taking Levothyroxine will improve your hair.
Many times the state of hypothyroidism results in a cascade of hormone imbalances and nutrient deficiencies that all lead to hair loss.
This means that you must address all of these problems for best results.
Does Cytomel Cause Hair Loss?
Yes, Cytomel and Liothyronine can both cause temporary hair loss that is usually self-limiting within 2-4 months.
In most cases, the hair loss side effect from taking Cytomel will simply fade with time.
Does Armour Thyroid Cause Hair Loss?
Yes, NDT including Armour Thyroid, Nature-throid, and WP Thyroid can all cause hair loss.
Does Hyperthyroidism Cause Hair Loss?
Yes, too much thyroid hormone in your body can also contribute to hair loss.
This can come from taking too much thyroid hormone as well.
Will Hypothyroidism Cause my Eyebrows to Fall Out?
Treatment Options For Hyper
Hyper- and hypothyroidism can generally be treated with forms of medication or surgery. Hypothyroidism is typically treated with the daily oral use of levothyroxine, a synthetic thyroid hormone, which helps to restore hormone levels to normal. This is likely a lifelong medication, though your doctor may have to change dosage based on your natural thyroid hormone levels.6
The standard treatment for hyperthyroidism is radioactive iodine tablets. Your thyroid absorbs the radioactive iodine, causing the gland to gradually shrink. Hyperthyroid symptoms subside within a few months, and any excess radioactive iodine naturally leaves the body in weeks or months.
You may have to take levothyroxine to readjust thyroid hormones to normal. Alternately, your doctor may suggest a thyroidectomy. This is a surgical procedure that involves removing most of your thyroid gland. However, this may result in hypothyroidism and require you to take levothyroxine to maintain normal amounts of thyroid hormones.7
The good news is that, with treatment, most all symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism should improve almost immediately. This includes your hair loss, though it may still take time for your hair to grow back to normal.
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Can The Thyroid Cause Hair Loss
The small, butterfly-shaped thyroid gland in our necks usually goes unnoticed until it causes problems. And whether the thyroid is producing too much or too little of the hormones that are important to so many different functions in our body, problems with thyroid function can affect hair growth, texture, pigmentation, and can even cause hair loss.
The thyroid gland makes hormones called T3 and T4, which, among other things, regulate the bodys metabolism.
Having too much of these hormones or too little of these hormones can directly impact the hair growth cycle, potentially leading to hair loss .
Unlike the most common cause of hair loss, androgenic alopecia , thyroid-related hair loss typically results in overall thinning of the hair , rather than a bald spot at the crown, a receding hairline, or isolated patches with no hair at all.
Treatment Options For Thyroid Hair Loss
Treating thyroid-related hair loss requires treating the thyroid problem. A doctor will usually prescribe a synthetic hormone containing levothyroxine to treat an underactive thyroid. Treatment for an overactive thyroid varies from person to person. Some of the most common methods include: antithyroid drugs, iodine intake, surgery. In this article we cover how to tackle the symptom of thyroid problems however bear in mind that the root cause needs to be treated as a priority, since the symptoms can only be alleviated to a limited extent. The best approach would be to get your blood tested and understand what is the optimal level of T3 / T4 hormones your hair will return to normal as a result of the treatment and over a course of time.
Meanwhile, home remedies and lifestyle changes available for sufferers of both conditions. Those can take a few weeks or months to work so it is important to approach it with a curious mind and willingness to learn about what works for your body, as opposed to expecting overnight results.
As a general rule, eating a balanced diet can help to promote growth and improve the condition of hair. A healthful and balanced diet is one that contains protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, and a moderate amount of fat.
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This World Thyroid Day Learn More About The Natural Treatments For Hair Loss Due To Hypothyroidism:
1. Ayurvedic remedies
Ayurvedic remedies like triphala and ashwagandha can enable in making hair roots stronger. Ashwagandha, when mixed with coconut oil, can make the hair roots stronger. Ayurveda has been suggested as a natural treatment for hair loss since it restores balances of T3 and T4 hormones in the body.
2. Eat ginger
Ginger has been considered as a natural home remedy for improving functioning of hormones in the body. It is natural treatment for hair loss as well.
Photo Credit: iStockAlso read: 7 Things That Happen When You Start Eating Ginger Daily
3. Prevent deficiency of Vitamin D
Hypothyroidism makes the body deficient of Vitamin D. Taking supplements of Vitamin D can be helpful in this case. Another natural remedy is by sitting under the sun for around 20 minutes. This improves functioning of the thyroid and body’s metabolism. With the restoration of thyroid gland, hair growth will improve over time.
Photo Credit: iStock4. Avoid processed foods, caffeine, sugar and alcohol
People suffering from hypothyroidism are suggested to avoid processed foods, caffeine, sugar and alcohol. This is to avoid weight gain and also to prevent worsening thyroid and hair loss.
Photo Credit: iStock5. Consume more turmeric
Anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are helpful in boosting body’s immune system. It also has positive effects on functioning of hormones in the body.
6. Avoid goitrogenic foods
7. Increase intake of Vitamin B12
Will My Hair Grow Back After Treating The Thyroid Problem
Your hair will grow back after treating the thyroid condition. However, the amount of time it will take for complete restoration is unpredictable.
Treatment for thyroid hair loss may take several months for some people and less for others. What is important is that you take your medications correctly until the thyroid disease is completely cured.
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