Thyroid hair loss
Severe and prolonged hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can result in hair loss. The loss is diffuse and is on the entire scalp rather than discrete areas. The hair seems uniformly sparse. Regrowth is possible with successful treatment of the thyroid disorder, though it will take a few months and may be incomplete. It is unusual for mild hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, or short-lived thyroid problems to result in hair loss.
Some forms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism get detected and are diagnosed early, while others may take months or years before diagnosis. Hair loss due to thyroid becomes apparent several months after the detection of thyroid disease. This is because of the long hair cycle. In such cases, paradoxically the hair loss may follow the treatment for the thyroid and the thyroid medication may be blamed for this, resulting in the withdrawal of treatment, which in turn may worsen the hair loss problem.
What does thyroid hair loss look like?
Thyroid-related hair loss and hair changes have a few characteristic patterns, like:
- Diffuse hair loss or thinning across the whole scalp
- Hair loss that happens in discrete areas of the scalp, leading to smooth, circular bald patches
- Loss of body hair other than your head: A symptom of hypothyroidism is the loss of the hair from the outer edges of your eyebrows
- Changes in hair texture: With hypothyroidism, your hair can be dry or coarse; with hyperthyroidism, it can be extra soft and fine
How to stop hair fall due to thyroid?
1. Monitor your iron intake
Iron is one of the most important minerals for the thyroid to let it function properly. The lack of it may trigger some problems, including hair loss. Consider having iron-rich foods like beans, red meat, seafood, green leafy veggies, dried fruits, eggs, and so on. Along with iron, make sure to have other nutrients like zinc, biotin, vitamins, lysine, and selenium, as they can boost hair growth.
2. Add anti-inflammatory foods
The next step in reversing your thyroid hair loss is to make sure you aren’t eating inflammatory foods like processed foods, fried foods, and sugar. You can have anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric and ginger that will likely boost your endocrine function. Your thyroid gland is a part of your endocrine system and enhancing your endocrine system can help you with thyroid symptoms.
3. Control iodine consumption
Although adding more iodine to your diet can enhance your metabolism and prevent thyroid glands from becoming enlarged, too much of it can also cause an imbalance in the body, further worsening the symptoms of the thyroid, including hair fall.
4. Practice yoga and meditation
Doing yoga and meditation regularly can help to reduce your stress levels in the body. As stress and thyroid have a strong connection, meditation and yoga can help manage thyroid symptoms and enhance your overall health, which will positively impact your hair.
5. Include herbs in your diet
Apart from consuming a nutrient-rich diet, you also need to incorporate some herbs into your diet like palmetto, red cloves, black cohosh, and dong Quai. These herbs are well known to treat your hair health. You can also add cinnamon and cilantro herbs that are said to boost metabolism, which is vital for low thyroid function.
6. Apply essential oils
Essential oils will not magically help you produce thyroid hormones, but they can certainly enhance the symptoms of the thyroid. Essential oils are known to boost hair growth, therefore these oils can tackle the problem better!
Vitamins for thyroid hair loss
Nutritional deficiencies can cause hair loss even without any thyroid condition. Specifically, researchers explain that levels of specific vitamins and minerals may play a role in hair retention and hair loss:
- vitamins B-7 (biotin) and B complex
- vitamins C, E, and A
- coenzyme Q10
A multivitamin may help enhance your condition. Beware that too much supplementation may result in hair thinning.
Thyroid hair loss vs male pattern baldness
Androgenetic alopecia and hair loss caused due to thyroid issues can make hair fall out in distinct patterns. This lets the doctors easily distinguish between the two types of hair loss.
Hair loss from hypothyroidism is more diffuse and does not have any pattern. It involves the entire scalp. The ability to see the scalp through the overlying hair is typical.
Male pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia can happen in both genders. Men usually notice a thinning of hair on the top and front of the head above both temples. Women notice it more on the top and crown of their heads. In women, the hairline generally does not recede as it does in men.
If your doctor suspects that thyroid problems are causing your hair loss, they will do a blood test to know better. A diagnostic blood test can help measure the Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH). Excess TSH indicates hypothyroidism, while abnormally low levels indicate hyperthyroidism. Your physician will then prescribe thyroid hormone medication to restore your thyroid levels to normal.
What is the connection between thyroid and hair?
Thyroid conditions might be a reason for your hair loss if they are severe and go untreated. Understanding how these conditions cause hair loss involves a deep understanding of how our hair grows.
Your hair starts growing at the root in the bottom of your hair follicle on your scalp. Then your scalp’s blood vessels feed the root, thus creating more cells and making your hair grow. Hair will then be pushed up and out through your skin. It passes through all the oil glands that help keep it soft and shiny. Your hair grows for a while but then falls out of the head as each new regrowth cycle begins.
1) When the hormone production of the body is disrupted, specifically of hormones T3 and T4, it affects all the other processes in the body. This also includes the development of hair at the root.
2) The hair will fall out and might not be replaced by new growth, resulting in hair thinning across your scalp and other areas such as your eyebrows.
Alopecia is an autoimmune situation that is often observed with thyroid conditions. It causes patches of hair loss in more discrete areas of your body. After some time, this condition may lead to baldness. Other autoimmune diseases that might lead to hair loss and are often linked to thyroid issues include polycystic ovary syndrome and lupus erythematosus.
Symptoms Of Thyroid Related Hair Loss
Slow and gradual hair thinning is the most common symptom of thyroid-related hair loss if you are facing one. It does not cause bald patches on the scalp. You might notice more than usual hair strands while combing or clogging up your shower. Hair loss that is related to the thyroid is usually temporary.
It is quite normal to lose 50-100 strands of your hair regularly. This situation happens because 5-10% of your hair is in the telogen phase or resting phase on any particular day. Loss of hair beyond this needs medical attention and might be related to the thyroid. You should get yourself evaluated for thyroid hormone levels.
Usual symptoms of hypothyroidism include-
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Feeling cold
Usual symptoms of hyperthyroidism include-
- Sleeping disorders
- Brittle hair
- Weight loss
- Increased sweating
- Fast heartbeat
Mild forms of thyroid conditions do not generally lead to hair thinning. As a result, consulting with your doctor to keep your condition under control with medication might keep your hair thicker or regenerate growth. You will not get results instantly because hair takes some time to develop and then grow.
Possible medications might include-
Levothyroxine for hypothyroidism
Propylthiouracil and methimazole for hyperthyroidism
Beta-blockers for hyperthyroidism
Your doctor will check your thyroid levels while you are kept on medication. In some cases, surgery might be necessary.
With treatment ongoing, hair growth might be noticeable within several months. You must be aware that the new hair growth may differ in colour or texture from your original hair.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. 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.
2. Is Hairfall due to thyroid reversible?
Well, hair loss caused by thyroid disorders is generally temporary and can be reversed, especially if you work with your endocrinologist to get tested and get the right treatment for your condition.
3. What vitamins can I take to boost my thyroid?
Vitamin A plays a critical role in thyroid function and helps regulate thyroid hormone metabolism and inhibits thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).