What Is The Thyroid
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the neck, just in front of your windpipe.
It produces a number of hormones, triiodothyronine and tetraiodothyronine , which affect your metabolism and growth, and calcitonin, which regulates calcium levels to help maintain healthy bones and muscles.
There are two conditions that can affect your thyroid gland and lead to either an excessive amount of hormones or not enough .
The Basics Of Hair Loss
Hair loss can occur for a large variety of reasons. In men, the most common cause of hair loss is male pattern baldness a form of hormonal hair loss thats caused by a genetic sensitivity to the hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT.
This type of hair loss occurs when DHT gradually miniaturizes the hair follicles, stopping them from producing new hairs.
However, its also possible for your thyroid to contribute to hair loss by disrupting your bodys natural hair growth cycle.
As weve covered in our guide to the hair growth process, every single hair on your scalp goes through a four-stage growth process, with each stage corresponding to a different phase in the hairs development:
During the anagen phase, the hair grows from the follicle
During the catagen phase, the follicle shrinks and the hair detaches from your scalp
During the telogen phase, a new hair starts to grow underneath the old hair
During the exogen phase, the old hair falls out and is replaced by the new hair
As part of this process, old hairs that have reached the end of their growth cycle are constantly falling out from your scalp, causing you to lose about 50 to 100 hairs every day. Since your hair follicles dont all grow in sync, this daily loss doesnt have any impact on your appearance.
Understanding this simple process is key to understanding how thyroid disorders, as well as a range of other medical conditions, can affect your hair.
Thyroid Thinning Hair And Hair Loss
The thyroid, part of the endocrine system, is located in the lower neck just below the Adams apple and plays a vital role in the body. Thyroid hormones regulate energy levels and the reproduction of all cells, and every part of the body requires thyroid hormones for proper functioning, including the hair follicles, so imbalanced thyroid levels and hair loss often go hand in hand.
Hyperthyroidism can result in diffusely thinning hair everywhere on the head, while hypothyroidism can cause hair loss on the head and elsewhere on the body. Thyroid disease may cause dry, itchy scalp and brittle hair, as well as weight gain or loss, fatigue or sleeplessness, and many other symptoms.
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Treating Thyroid Disease And Hair Loss
The good news is that once you get your thyroid disease diagnosed and the right treatment is prescribed to regulate thyroid hormone levels, the hair loss problem should resolve itself. Healthy hormone levels mean healthy hair growth.
It may take some time to find the right dosage of thyroid hormone to get your thyroid under control. If you’re uncomfortable with the look of your hair while treatment is underway, there are options to consider. Wearing a hair piece or wig or getting a new hairstyle can help camouflage hair loss as you wait for the results of thyroid treatment to begin. Ask your doctor if it makes sense to try a topical medication that helps spur hair growth like mixoxidil .
Thyroid disease affects many body functions besides hair growth, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you suspect that a thyroid problem could be the cause of your hair loss. Treatment will improve how you feel as well as how you look.
Treatments For Hair Loss
If you have thyroid-related hair loss, youll likely see hair regrowth after treating the underlying thyroid disease. In some cases, though, your hair loss could also be from one of the other causes of hair loss.
Here are some common ways to treat hair loss from other causes:
- Minoxidil is a topical solution applied directly to the scalp, which may help stimulate hair growth.
- Finasteride is an oral prescription medication to treat male pattern baldness.
- Nutrition supplementsIf your hair loss is caused by a nutrient deficiency, like a lack of biotin, taking a supplement may resolve the hair loss. Speak with your healthcare provider about getting tested before starting a supplement regimen since only a small subset of people dont get enough of their daily vitamins from the food they eat.
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Does Thyroid Medicine Cause Hair Loss
- 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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Thyroid Disorder & Hair Loss Whats The Connection
Statistics show that in India close to 12 million people annually are affected by thyroid malfunction, of which hair loss is a common symptom.
It has been proven that hair growth is highly dependent on the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. These effects are seen when there is an increase in hair thinning or a high rate of hair loss anywhere on the body.
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 disease, occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough hormones. Hair loss and thinning hair is a symptom of long-term hypothyroidism. Prolonged 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.
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.
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Looking For A Solution To Stop Hair Loss Triggered By Thyroid Worry Not Were Here To Tell You How To Treat It Naturally
If youre a thyroid patient, you know it can bring with it a whole lot of issues, including hair loss. Thats because thyroid is a condition that occurs when your thyroid gland either doesnt produce enough hormones or produces hormones in large amounts. Some of its major symptoms include fatigue, dry skin, weight gain, constipation, and hair fall.
Remember these symptoms, including hair loss, can be reversed once your thyroid levels come back to normal. But what is the connection between your thyroid hormone and hair loss? And how do you know if thyroid is the cause for your hair loss? Well, we know you have many questions, and were here to answer all of them.
First of all, well tell you how to identify if your hair loss is triggered by thyroid. Heres how you can:
- Thyroid generally causes hair loss across your scalp
- You may also notice thinning of hair on your eyebrows
- Thyroid hair loss can develop slowly and leave bald spots
- Hair may grow but for a short period of time, and may begin to fall early
- Your hair may seem thinner all over.
Now, its time to find out how you can stop hair loss caused by thyroid:
1. Monitor the intake of iron in your diet
2. Apply essential oils
Its not that essential oils will magically help you to produce thyroid hormones, but they can certainly improve the symptoms of thyroid. Essential oils are known to enhance hair growth, therefore these oils can help you tackle the problem better!
3. Add anti-inflammatory foods
Hair Loss And Antithyroid Treatment
The main conventional treatment for hypothyroidism is the synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxineâalso known as T4. It is ironic that hair loss is among the side effects associated with levothyroxine. Other side effects linked with levothyroxine include diarrhea, vomiting, appetite, weight changes, insomnia, sweating, fever, hot flashes, and an irregular or fast heart rate.
In some cases, other antithyroid treatments, such as propylthiouracil and carbimazole, can promote hair loss. It may be difficult to assess whether the impaired thyroid activity or antithyroid drugs caused the hair loss. Another possibility is that a patientâs thyroid medication is not effective and the thyroid problem is what is causing the hair loss.
When hair grows back, it is a sign of a successful thyroid disease treatment. Normal hormone levels will be a clear indication of healthy hair growth. In a thyroid panel blood test, the normal range for thyroid-stimulating hormone levels will be between 0.35 and 5.00 milli-international units per milliliter , normal free T4 is 9 to 23 picomole units per liter , and normal free T3 is 3.5 to 6.5 pmol/L.
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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.
Add In Collagen Protein
Collagen is a protein that is packed with amino acids, including glutamine. It gives your hair its strength, your skin its elasticity, supports healthy bones and joints, and helps maintain gut health. Your body produces collagen on its own, however, your production of it decreases as you age and if you are chronically ill or stressed your ability to produce it is reduced.
I add The Myers Way® Collagen Protein into my smoothie each morning! Its great for your overall health, especially if you are healing a leaky gut, and it can be particularly helpful for those dealing with thyroid hair loss.
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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.
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.
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How To Stop Losing Hair Due To Thyroid
- Understand the types of hair loss General shedding is experienced with compromised thyroid function. There is also male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness and alopecia areata seen, that can be caused by hormonal imbalances and genetics.
- Consult a dermatologist In combination with a general physician or an endocrinologist, a dermatologist can be an effective support for hair loss issues. They can focus on issues with hair loss and treat them independently with regular thyroid disease treatments.
- PRP treatment for hair loss Hyperthyroidism decreases overall blood flow reducing the supply to the hair follicles causing hair loss. PRP treatment is an advanced treatment for hair loss where blood is extracted from patients own body and is put to centrifuge. This is a US FDA approved machine to separate the activated platelets from plasma, which is then injected back into scanty areas of hair growth on the scalp. This adds growth factors into the hair follicles, stimulating them for restoration and regrowth of hair. Results have shown a decreased rate of hair loss and hair thinning. Hair shafts can also grow back thicker helping the overall aesthetic of the hair on your scalp.
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How To Treat Thyroid
If your healthcare provider diagnoses you with a thyroid condition, youll likely be prescribed medication to treat your condition.
For hyperthyroidism, your healthcare provider may prescribe an anti-thyroid medication such as Tapazole® or propylthiouracil. These medications stop your thyroid gland from producing overly high levels of thyroid hormones.
Depending on your symptoms, treatment for hyperthyroidism may include radioactive iodine and/or beta-blockers. Severe cases of hyperthyroidism are occasionally treated by removing some or all of the thyroid gland in a procedure known as thyroidectomy.
Most of the time, thyroid-related hair loss resolves on its own after you successfully treat the underlying condition. After treating your thyroid condition, it can take several months for your hair to start growing again.
You might be able to speed up this growth using minoxidil, a topical medication that improves blood flow to the scalp. Because thyroid-related hair loss isnt caused by DHT, finasteride isnt effective at treating or preventing this form of hair loss.
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Thyroid Hair Loss Will My Hair Grow Back
Thyroid hair loss is a medical condition that has become increasingly common among teenagers, young adults, and older adults. It arises due to severe hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
Most people arent even aware that they have thyroid-related issues that need treatment. The problem only becomes visible when hair grows slowly, or they experience thyroid-related hair loss. However, some subtle signs like the following can give it away.
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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