What Does Your Thyroid Have To Do With Your Hair
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone. It is ten times more common in women, though men may also develop an underactive thyroid as well.
According to Armani, thyroid hormones help regulate metabolism, heart rate, and your overall mood. It also affects the rate at which the body uses oxygen and energy, which can also affect hair and nail growth. This type of hair loss is called telogen effluvium. When this process occurs, hair that is in the growing stage enters the resting and shedding stage, called telogen. Hair may stay in this stage longer than normal, causing more hair to fall out as less hair grows.
An overactive thyroid, Armani warns, can also cause hair loss. So it is important not to self-medicate. People with thyroid disorders need ongoing treatment and regular thyroid monitoring.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, some other signs that a person may have hypothyroidism include:
- Trouble getting or staying pregnant
- Frequently feeling cold, including cold hands and feet
- A slow heart rate
What Is Hashimotos Thyroiditis
Hashimotoâs thyroiditis, also known as autoimmune thyroid disease, can be caused by both genetic and environmental factors. According to the American Thyroid Association, it is an autoimmune disorder that causes long-term inflammation of the thyroid. Over time, the thyroid gland struggles to produce enough thyroid hormones, which leads to a slow or underactive thyroid . Hashimotoâs thyroiditis occurs most commonly in middle-aged women, but it can appear at any age and sometimes affects men and children.
Adjust Your Thyroid Medication
A primary root cause of hair loss is a deficiency in thyroid hormone. This could be because youre not getting a high enough dose of thyroid medications, or because youre not getting the right kind of thyroid medication.
When your TSH is on the outskirts of the normal range, you can continue to lose hair, and your hair may lack luster and shine. If your hair tangles easily, this is a sign that you may not be getting enough thyroid hormone.
In 2015, I conducted asurvey of 2232 people with Hashimotos that resulted in as many as 36 percent of patients reporting that optimizing their TSH helped with improving their hair. Optimizing the type of thyroid medications they were taking also helped many people restore hair growth. As many as 38 percent of people surveyed reported that Nature-Thyroid helped to improve their hair however, it is important that you find the thyroid medication that is right for you.
*Note: While Armour Thyroid does not have any gluten-containing ingredients, it is not tested for gluten content, and cannot be certified as gluten-free. Armour does contain sodium starch glycolate, which can be derived from wheat or corn.
To learn more about how to optimize your thyroid medications, download my free eBook on Optimizing Thyroid Medications below.
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Thyroid And Hair Loss
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located in the lower front of your neck. Your thyroidâs job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into your bloodstream and carried to every tissue in your body, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
According to the British Thyroid Foundation, prolonged hypothyroidism can cause hair loss. Abnormal thyroid function disturbs your hair regrowth cycle. Thyroid-related hair loss involves your entire scalp rather than specific patches of hair loss. Your hair will appear thin and sparse all over. Hair regrowth is possible once treatment is given and hormone levels are normalized.
Since Hashimotoâs thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that can affect your entire body, many of its symptoms can be difficult to reverse.
âA recent study showed that the most common persistent symptom of Hashimotoâs thyroiditis was hair loss,â Alexander Lightstone Borsand, MD, ABLM, board-certified lifestyle medicine physician in Scottsdale, Ariz., tells WebMD Connect to Care.
Since there is a strong association between Hashimotoâs, alopecia areata and celiac disease, a gluten-free, probiotic-enhanced, iron-rich diet may help promote hair regrowth in some Hashimotoâs patients.
If you have Hashimotoâs, there are other steps you can take to promote hair regrowth and potentially prevent further hair loss.
Additional Factors That Contribute To Hair Loss
It is definitely the case that many thyroid patients struggle with hair loss but you should also be aware that other factors can contribute.
Often times hair loss is due to a variety of triggers including problems with thyroid function or thyroid medication.
For instance, low thyroid function can lead to nutrient deficiencies such as iron and vitamin b12, both of which are necessary for hair growth.
If you have these nutrient deficiencies then changing up your thyroid medication will help some but it wont bring your hair back to its previous state.
You wont see significant improvement until you replace these nutrients while also changing up your thyroid medication.
If you arent seeing improvement in your hair growth after changing your thyroid medication then look to these nutrients:
These nutrients are necessary for hair growth and if you dont have enough of them your hair will not grow even if your thyroid is stimulating your hair follicles.
You can think of these nutrients like the gas in your car and your thyroid like the gas peddle.
You can push down on the gas peddle all you want but if the gas tank is empty then you arent going anywhere.
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Q: Could My Thyroid Condition Be Causing My Hair Loss
A: Yes, it could. A lot of people with thyroid dysfunction shed hair.
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Common thyroid conditions such as Hashimotos thyroiditis and Graves disease are autoimmune disorders, which can sometimes result in hair loss.
The hair loss is typically reversed after your thyroid hormone levels are normalized. But this may take some time.
Its important to point out that hair loss may not just be caused by your thyroid, however.
Having one autoimmune disorder also increases your risk for having others, some of which produce hair loss:
- Celiac disease can be associated with iron deficiency, which triggers hair loss.
- Alopecia areata, a skin condition, causes hair to fall out, typically leaving round spots without hair.
And for women, menopause creates a low estrogen state that can thin the hair follicles, giving the appearance of overall hair loss.
If youre shedding hair, I would definitely tell your physician, who can determine the reason. Doctors can sometimes prescribe treatments to minimize or reverse hair loss.
Your Thyroid May Be Causing Your Hair Loss: Here’s How
If youâre seeing more hair than ever before stuck in the drain or your hairbrush, you may begin to worry that youâre losing your hair. Hypothyroidism is a fairly common cause of hair loss, and hypothyroidism-related hair loss can also be reversible.
âA blood test to rule out thyroid abnormalities should always be a part of the diagnosis for hair loss due to medical conditions,â 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 youâre losing is completely normal. But what if you are losing your hair?
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When To Call A Doctor
In most cases, problems with your thyroid arent an emergency. If you feel you have some of the symptoms above, you can simply make an appointment with your doctor to discuss testing and treatment options. However, you should call your doctor immediately if:
- Youre very drowsy, cold, and lethargic. This could be the start of a myxedema coma, which is caused by hypothyroidism that eventually leads to unconsciousness and in some cases death.
- You have a rapid pulse, accompanied by a fever, agitation, or delirium. This can indicate thyrotoxic crisis, a complication of hyperthyroidism.
Its not always easy to know if you have a problem with your thyroid. Knowing some of the common symptoms of an underactive or overactive thyroid will help give you an idea of you need to talk to your doctor.
Talk with your primary care provider about testing and treatment of thyroid issues. They may refer you to an endocrinologist or thyroid specialist for follow-up care.
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Taking Levothyroxine Might Cause Hair Loss
Levothyroxine is a thyroid medicine given to regulate the body’s energy and metabolism by replacing a hormone that thyroid does not produce enough on its own. Each month doctors currently hand out nearly 23 million prescriptions for Levothyroxine, making it the most popular medication to treat thyroid disease.
Most common causes of thyroid malfunction include autoimmune disorder, known as Hashimotos thyroiditis, which is 10 times more common in women than men. Another possible cause of low amounts of circulating thyroid hormones is thyroid cancer.
If you are taking Levothyroxine as your thyroid hormone replacement and suffering prolonged or excessive hair loss, it might be a side effect of these drugs on some people. When the thyroid hormone level is stable, hair grows back in normal rate. It seems to be common within the first month of treatment and more often in children than adults.
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How Many Of These Signs And Symptoms Do You Have
Dry, pale, and cool skin Moist, velvety, and warm skin like a babys Dry skin with deep cracks and scale Deep, noticeable lines on your palms and soles Yellowish-orange color on your palms and soles Doughy and swollen face, especially on your eyelids, lips, and tongue Widening nose Sweating less than before Goiter Protruding eyes Flushing on your face and red palms Darker skin in the creases of your palms, on your gums, or elsewhere in your mouth Rashes, especially in the creases of your skin Painless lumps and patches of scaly, discolored skin, and the affected skin feels hard and waxy Reddish spots on the skin that come and go
When eyes protrude, its often a sign of thyroid disease.
Painless lumps and patches of scaly skin feel hard and waxy
Lumps on discolored skin that feel hard and waxy can be a sign of thyroid disease.
Thinning eyebrows on the outer edge Coarse, dull, dry, and brittle hair that breaks easily Soft and fine hair with lots of shedding Thinning hair or balding patches Growing more slowly Dry, itchy scalp and dandruff Less hair on your legs, arms, and other areas
Thick, dry, and brittle with visible ridges Soft, shiny, and easily crumble Growing more slowly Peel, crumble, or break easily Lift up Curved with swollen fingertip and thickening skin above the nail
Curved nails with swollen fingertip
Itchy skin without a rash Untreatable and itchy hives
Existing skin disease
Hair Loss Due To Thyroid Problems
A number of thyroid issues including hypo- or hyperthyroidism can lead to hair loss. Both during and after pregnancy, hormone levels are changing, which can impact endocrine function. Thyroid hair thinning and hair loss are common, along with a number of other symptoms.
Nutrient deficiencies can also impact the thyroids ability to produce thyroid hormones. When thyroid hormones are imbalanced, the body can struggle to absorb certain nutrients that are crucial for healthy hair growth.
Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss that occurs after a physically or emotionally stressful event. It causes diffuse hair loss, which can occur at the same time as thyroid-related hair loss. Thyroid issues caused by nutrient deficiency or over-supplementation can actually be a form of telogen effluvium.
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Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis And Hair Loss: Everything You Need To Know
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1% to 2% of the U.S. population has Hashimotoâs thyroiditis. It occurs more often in women than in men and is the most common cause of underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, in the U.S. Hair loss is, for many, one of the most distressing symptoms of thyroid disorders and may be challenging to treat if you have Hashimotoâs thyroiditis.
How Hormonal Imbalance Causes Hair Loss
Thyroid disease is a common culprit among many medical conditions that cause hair loss.
Healthy hair growth depends on the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Unusual levels of thyroid hormone produced by this gland can result in hair loss and other side effects if left untreated. Too much thyroid hormone can cause hair thinning. The deficiency of this hormone, known as hypothyroidism in medical terms, can lead to hair loss.
Stress can influence your hormone balance. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone helps your body deal with stress in a long term. Adrenaline, commonly known as the fight or flight hormone, is produced by the adrenal glands after receiving a message from the brain that a stressful situation has presented. In primitive days, these hormones were provoked in survival mode as responses to threats from predators. Nowadays, they are triggered when people are overwhelmed by the fast-paced lifestyle, resulting in an increase in hormonal imbalances.
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Thyroid Hair Loss Takeaways
While thyroid hair loss can be distressing, with proper treatment, your hair should experience regrowth.
“In order for the hair to return from the hair loss of hypothyroidism, thyroid levels of both T4 and T3 must be returned to normal, preferably with a TSH of 2.5 or less,” said Goode-Kanawati. “It’s also important to eat a diet high in minerals and protein, which are the building blocks for hair production. We often recommend a mineral supplement as it is difficult to get enough minerals from one’s diet.”
Whether you’re dealing with thyroid hair loss or another form of temporary hair loss, it’s essential to make your overall wellness a priority to help encourage hair regrowth. A 360° approach to hair wellness, a well-thought-out diet, keeping stress levels low and good sleep hygiene can help you get your body back to where you need it to be. And always talk to your doctor if you have any specific concerns.
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Does Thyroid Medication Cause Hair Loss
Thyroid problems themselves dont cause hair loss in most cases. Medications designed to treat hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can lead to hair loss, but this is also very rare.
Two of the most common medications for treating hyperthyroidism, carbimazole and propylthiouracil, can lead to hair loss in some cases. Due to the long life cycle of hair, however, it can be difficult to identify whether it is the condition itself or the treatment that is causing the hair loss.
If youre concerned about losing your hair during thyroid treatment, you should discuss it with your doctor, to see if your treatment can be changed.
Remember, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can seriously impact your health and wellbeing, so its important to see your GP if you think you might have a thyroid problem.
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What Are The Treatments For This Condition
To treat thyroid conditions, you have to visit a doctor so that they can carry out the necessary blood tests and thyroid tests. This will help your doctor decide what kind of thyroid medication you need.
Once you have your meds, you need to take them correctly, go for regular check-ups, and eat well and rest.
Note that treatment for thyroid hair loss condition may take a while. Most likely, youll see improvements after a few weeks of taking the necessary medications Complete restoration may take several months.
However, remember that severe hair loss is a possible side effect of thyroid medication. You may experience it during the first few months of treatment, but it always resolves after complete treatment.
What Does It Do
The thyroid is responsible for the production of three key hormones: T3 , T4 , and Calcitonin. T3 and T4 are both made up mainly of iodine.
Being the main component of two thyroid hormones, the thyroid requires iodine to function properly. Usually, the body absorbs iodine through the intestine and enters the blood stream. Then, its transferred to the thyroid gland to build T3 and T4. The body cannot produce iodine on its own since its a trace element.
One reason for an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, is a lack of iodine. Other potential causes are genetics, age, Hasimotos thyroiditis, and various medications. Under-activity usually develops over time, rendering it hard to notice. The symptoms are weight gain, slowed metabolism, loss of energy, tiredness, difficulty concentrating, slow pulse, constipation, and hair loss. Many patients with an underactive thyroid assume their symptoms are part of the aging process, rather than a serious hormonal condition.
Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, occurs from an overproduction of hormones in the thyroid gland. Energy metabolism speeds up and overactive thyroids lead to hot flashes, trembling, insomnia, racing heart, fatigue, diarrhea, weight loss, and hair loss.
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Does Levothyroxine Cause Hair Loss In Women And Children
To understand if levothyroxine causes hair loss, we need to dive deep into the relation between thyroid dysfunction and hair loss. Thyroid dysfunctions are known to cause hair loss. Hypothyroidism causes the scalp to become oily. It also makes hair coarse and scanty, and may even lead to baldness. Excess thyroid function, on the other hand, causes hyperthyroidism that also makes hair fine and very scanty. Such thyroid imbalances can cause alopecia areata .
While levothyroxine is used to treat thyroid imbalances , it also may cause hair loss in some cases.
In a study, a 10-month infant diagnosed with hypothyroidism faced sudden diffuse alopecia on the scalp . The cause was found to be an overdose of levothyroxine, leading to an excessive thyroid function, causing hair loss. Hair loss occurred after two weeks of starting levothyroxine and ended a few days after the dosage was reduced. This shows that there needs to be an accuracy in the prescribed dosage. When ingested in the appropriate dosage, levothyroxine only balances the thyroid level without causing hair loss.
In another study conducted with 255 women, thyroxine was shown to cause diffuse hair loss . This shows that anti-thyroid medication can cause drug-induced hair loss.
Hair loss is a common occurrence in pregnancy due to the change in hormone levels. Although it may cause hair loss, levothyroxine is one of the few medications safe for pregnant and nursing women .