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.
Understanding The Hair Growth Cycle
There are three primary phases of the hair growth cycle: anagen, catagen, and telogen. Every strand on your head follows its own growth cycle, which means that you will not lose all your hair at one time when they switch to the shedding phase.
Anagen is the growing phase of hair growth, and it typically lasts between 4-7 years. Certain factors can interrupt the anagen phase, including stress, illness, and significant hormone fluctuations.
Catagen is a quick resting phase that lasts about two weeks. During this phase, the hair follicle stops growing and waits for the bulb to begin detaching in your scalp.
Telogen is the final phase of the hair growth cycle. The strand fully detaches from your scalp and eventually sheds. This phase usually lasts three months and ends with the hair falling out. After these three months, a new follicle will begin to grow, starting the process all over again.
What Are The Best Thyroid Medications For Hair Loss
Not all brands of thyroid medications work the same. Some are filled with too many fillers to cut down the cost production but is what make the product less superior. On the other hand, best thyroid medications are those that have potent and proven ingredients that heal thyroid symptoms including hair loss issues. To help you segregate the best thyroid medications from what is not, heres a list of the best thyroid medications out on the market. This list has the best thyroid medications for those who are suffering hair loss relating to hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Read Also: How To Get Thyroid Checked
How Should I Take Euthyrox
Take Euthyrox exactly as it was prescribed for you. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose.
Euthyrox works best if you take it on an empty stomach, 30 to 60 minutes before breakfast. Follow your doctor’s dosing instructions and try to take the medicine at the same time each day.
Levothyroxine doses are based on weight in children. Your child’s dose needs may change if the child gains or loses weight.
It may take several weeks before your body starts to respond to levothyroxine. Keep using this medicine even if you feel well. You may need to use levothyroxine for the rest of your life.
You may need frequent medical tests. Tell any doctor, dentist, or surgeon who treats you that you are using Euthyrox.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Do not share this medicine with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.
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 .
Don’t Miss: What Size Thyroid Nodule Should Be Removed
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.
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.
Read Also: Do I Fast For Thyroid Test
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.
Does A Thyroid Disorder Only Cause Hair Loss On Your Head
“The type of hair loss associated with hypothyroidism can go unnoticed because it can occur very slowly over time,” said Goode-Kanawati. The hair loss in hypothyroidism is not just scalp hair loss, but it can also be total body hair loss. One of the first places it can be seen, besides the scalp, is the outside portion of the eyebrows.”
Goode-Kanawati continued, “In severe hypothyroidism, there can be total loss of hair throughout the body. I’ve seen cases where all body hair has disappeared, arms, legs, eyebrows scalp due to undertreated hypothyroidism.”
Don’t Miss: How To Lose Weight With Thyroid Nodules
Reverse Your Thyroid Hair Loss
Science Based Amy Myers, MD
Amy Myers, M.D. is a functional medicine physician, trained and certified by The Institute of Functional Medicine. Dr. Myers earned her Doctor of Medicine at the LSU Health Science Center, and completed her Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Dr. Myers retired from her functional medicine clinic, Austin UltraHealth, where she served thousands of patients, to empower those who were failed by conventional medicine. Shes a 2x New York Times bestselling author, and the founder and CEO of the health & lifestyle e-commerce brand, Amy Myers MD®.
There I was, standing in front of my bathroom mirror brushing my hair when I noticed chunks of it coming out on my hairbrush. It was horrifying and depressing, after all, I was 32 years old and this was not normal! I would later discover that this was a symptom of my Graves Disease, and I would even have the misfortune of experiencing thyroid hair loss again during my thyroid treatment. While thyroid hair loss might not be one of the more dangerous symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, it can be one of the more disheartening, and it was a constant reminder that something was not right with my body.
How To Prevent Thyroid Hair Loss
Thyroid hair loss always comes as a result of underlying thyroid complications. To prevent hair loss due to thyroid issues, you should do everything possible to ensure you dont get hypo- or hyperthyroidism.
This includes getting adequate sleep and going for thyroid tests . If you do get a thyroid disorder, then take these extra measures to ensure that it doesnt result in hair loss:
- Eat food with enough protein. Protein is the building block for hair. Eating protein-rich foods will produce strong, healthy hair.
- Increase your iron intake. Low iron intake can cause low ferritin levels. Keep your iron levels on the high side, especially if you have thyroid issues.
- Take multivitamin supplements, especially biotin. Several vitamins like vitamins A, B, C, and E play vital roles in hair growth. In particular, biotin increases the rate of hair follicle growth. Other supplements like copper and zinc are also vital for healthy hair.
- Reduce your stress level. Besides irregular sleep, increased stress levels can lead to unbalanced body hormones, affecting your hair.
- Take your thyroid medications as prescribed.
Also Check: What Type Of Iodine Is Best For Thyroid
Home Remedies For Treating Hair Loss Due To Thyroid Disorders
These home remedies and hair care practices are not backed by scientific evidence. However, anecdotal testimonies suggest they are safe. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns.
- You can treat adrenal fatigue with a proper diet and yoga.
- You can reduce stress by aromatherapy. Massaging your hair with the essential oils of rosemary, lavender, or eucalyptus may improve hair growth. Remember to dilute the essential oils with carrier oils like that of coconut or jojoba before application. Always perform a patch test before you start using essential oils for hair growth.
- Herbs like chaste berry, palmetto, false unicorn, dong quai, and red clover are known to treat hair loss. However, consult a doctor before you start using them.
- Methods to boost blood flow to hair can improve hair growth. These can include a hot oil massage or inversion method. Consult the respective experts for more details.
- Avoid hairstyles like tight buns or ponytails that tug at your hair and weaken it, making it prone to breakage and loss.
Can Such Hair Loss Be Reversed
Telogen effluvium can be reversed by removing the trigger factors . Hence, hair regrowth could be possible if the underlying thyroid disorder is corrected. Generally, thyroid supplementation helps correct the hormone levels in the body and may aid hair loss reversal.
Keep in mind this is a slow process. Results can take anywhere between six to eighteen months to show . Results also can vary from person to person.
In the following section, we discuss the various treatment options available for hair loss due to thyroid disease.
Read Also: How To Balance Thyroid Hormones
How To Treat Hair Loss Due To Thyroid Disease
A simple blood test can help identify any imbalance in your thyroid hormones. This diagnosis is important to ensure you are on the right type and dose of supplemental thyroid hormone. Consult a licensed medical practitioner for diagnosis and treatment.
- Balance your hormones
Certain drugs such as levothyroxine, propylthiouracil, and methimazole are prescribed to correct hormone levels , . These keep your thyroid hormone levels under control and help minimize the risk of hair loss.
- Correct any nutritional deficiencies
Nutritional deficiencies may trigger hair loss too . Thus, it is essential to eat foods rich in the right nutrients .
- Iodine deficiency is linked to thyroid disorders. Hence, include iodine-rich foods like seafood, iodized salt, or even iodine supplements in your diet .
- Include foods rich in biotin, essential fatty acids, zinc, copper, and collagen in your diet , .
- Take a multivitamin supplement after consulting with your doctor. Vitamins A, E, C, and B complex are essential for proper hair growth .
- Iron-rich foods such as liver, green leafy vegetables, and eggs can help fight hair loss related to thyroid disorders , . Low ferritin has been linked to hair loss .
- Reduce inflammatory foods
- Avoid inflammatory foods such as sugar, fried foods, processed foods, and red meat. These may aggravate your thyroid gland.
- Include anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric and ginger .
- Medical treatment options
Hair Styles And Root Support
Ensure to treat your hair gently. Avoid using harsh colouring products and shampoos, perms and heating tools. Refrain from wearing hairstyles that pull on the hair and embrace the braid. This causes less impact on the follicle, thus helping it recover quicker. The same logic applies if you wear hair extensions you need to reduce the unnecessary pull on the hair root that comes from wearing extensions.
Don’t Miss: Recovery After Thyroid Cancer Surgery
Make Sure Youre On The Right Type And Dose Of Supplemental Thyroid Hormone
Once you know all of your thyroid levels, you can work with your doctor to make sure that youre on the right type and dose of supplemental thyroid hormone. Free T3, the active form of thyroid hormone, plays a big role in the health of your hair, yet the most commonly prescribed supplemental thyroid hormone is a T4-only hormone, such as Synthroid® or Levoxyl®. Many thyroid patients have difficulty converting T4, the storage form of the hormone, to Free T32, and do better on natural desiccated thyroid hormone, such as Armour® or Naturethroid®, which includes both T4 and T3, or by adding in a T3-only form of supplemental thyroid hormone, such as Cytomel® or a compounded time-release T3 formula. I discuss in detail all of the different forms of supplemental thyroid hormone in my book, The Thyroid Connection. Determining which supplemental hormone is right for you is a crucial step in reversing thyroid hair loss.
Reverse Chronic Illnesses So You Can Take Back Your Health
Are you ready to beat symptoms such as thyroid hair loss, regain your energy, and feel like yourself again? With the help of my book The Thyroid Connection, you can finally connect the dots on whats truly causing your thyroid symptoms and REVERSE them naturally using simple and proven lifestyle changes.
The Thyroid Connection will walk you through the five environmental root causes of thyroid dysfunction and provide you with all the tools you need to restore optimal thyroid function and take back your life.
I have seen the success of this protocol firsthand, in my clinic and as a patient myself, and now readers everywhere can get the benefits of this medical breakthrough in the NEW paperback version of The Thyroid Connection.
Order your paperback copy of the New York Times bestseller that has empowered people around the world to reverse their thyroid dysfunction and take back their health!
Don’t Miss: Thyroid Cancer Types Survival Rates
How Do You Know If Hair Loss Is From Thyroid
Severe and prolonged hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can result in loss of hair. The loss is diffuse and generally involves the entire scalp rather than some discrete areas. The hair seems uniformly sparse. Regrowth is possible with successful treatment of the thyroid disorder, though it can take several months and might be incomplete as well.
When Does Thyroid Hair Loss Stop
Thyroid hair loss recovery involves being properly medicated for the condition. In most cases, getting your thyroid hormones adjusted will reverse the hair loss, this may take several weeks to months. Thyroid hair thinning will reverse faster if you stimulate your hair follicles to grow. This is possible by using a hair loss treatment that stimulates hair growth from the outside and inside.
Also Check: Who Tests For Thyroid Problems
Can Hypothyroidism Hair Loss Be Reversed
A: Yes, it could. A lot of people with thyroid dysfunction shed hair. 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.
Hair Loss As A Symptom Of Thyroid Problems
Growing hair is more complex than you think. Your blood vessels, skin cells, and oil glands are all responsible for strong and healthy hair. However, when your hormone production is disrupted, specifically the output of hormones T3 and T4 , it affects the life cycle of each strand of hair. This includes the development of hair at the root, how long it grows before falling out, and its replacement by new growth.
Recommended Reading: Who Do I See For Thyroid Issues