Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are conditions where your thyroid is producing too much or too little thyroid hormones.
Both of these conditions can affect your hair by causing dry, brittle or thinning hair on your scalp as well as body.
How are your Thyroid and Hair Connected?
Your hair begins to grow (in phrases) from the root located at the bottom of each hair follicle on your scalp.
The blood vessels of the scalp nourish the hair root producing other cells that make your hair grow.
As this hair grows it pushes up and out penetrating through your skin and its oil glands. Sebum coats the hair making it soft and healthy.
During some hair phrases your hair grows while others it falls out causing the cycle to repeat.
Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes and not for diagnosis.
Sometimes the hormone production can be thrown off. Like with T3 and T4 here. This affects other routines of the body, including the growth of your hair from the root.
When the hormones aren’t there or are too much, your hair falls out and may not regrow as soon as normally. Your scalp shows an appearance of thinning hair and this can be seen even on areas like your eyebrows and eyelashes.
Thyroid Conditions and Hair Loss
Alopecia is an autoimmune condition that may be seen with thyroid conditions. It causes patches of hair loss that may result in baldness.
If you have been diagnosed with alopecia or any type of hair loss and are not being treated for a thyroid condition, it’s a good idea to request a thyroid test right away.
There are also other autoimmune diseases causing hair loss with a possible thyroid connection such as polycystic ovary syndrome and lupus erythematosus.
Some medications used to treat thyroid issues can also cause hair thinning. Antithyroid medications; Carbimazole and Propylthiouracil though rarely, can result with hair loss. It can be difficult to distinguish whether the drug or your thyroid condition is causing your thinning hair because of your hair’s long life cycle.
Symptoms of Hair Loss due to Thyroid
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism may cause hair loss to occur slowly. You may not see noticeable patches or bald spots. But you may feel your hair is thinner.
On average, about 50 to 100 hairs are lost from your scalp daily. If this normal hair growth cycle has a problem, hairs won’t be replaced. This may present in noticeable hair loss.
- Thinning seen across the whole scalp
- Hair loss in certain areas of the scalp, resulting in bald patches
- Loss of body hair seen in areas not your scalp
- Hypothyroidism is connected with a loss of hair on the outer edges of your eyebrows
- Changes in your hair’s texture. Hypothyroidism dry or coarse; Hyperthyroidism extra soft and fine.
This may not be comforting now, but the good news is usually hair loss due to thyroid conditions is temporary. You may even experience hair loss when beginning drugs to treat your condition. Some people may worry their hair loss is due to the drugs but it’s more about the hair growth cycle.
Treating the Thyroid Condition
Thyroid conditions that are mild usually don’t cause thinning hair. Your Endocrinologist can help you with keeping things under control. You may be given prescriptions for thicker hair or to help regenerate growth. Because of the hair growth cycle this may take some time to see results.
These medications may be:
- Levothyroxine (hypothyroidism)
- Propythoiuracil (hyperthyroidism)
- Methimazole (hyperthyroidism)
- Beta blockers (hyperthyroidism)
While being on these medications your Endocrinologist will monitor your thyroid levels. Surgery may be needed with some cases.
With treatment you may notice the hair growth by several months. But this new hair growth can be different in color or texture from your normal hair.
Natural Treatments and Home Remedies
In addition to your medication you may consider home remedies to help slow hair loss or encourage hair growth.
Increase iron. Because hair growth relies on nourishment through your blood there may be a connection with iron stored in the body. This needs to be studied more but I don’t think it would hurt.
Nutritional deficiencies have been linked to other conditions. These can contribute to hair loss even though you don’t have a thyroid condition. Our body needs nutrients to function properly.
These may play a role with hair loss and retention:
- Vitamin B7 (biotin)
- Vitamin B complex
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin A
- Coenzyme Q10
A multi vitamin may give you a boost but too many supplements may also lead to hair thinning. So be careful and check with your doctor before starting a supplement.
Eat well. Eating a good diet is important for our health. If you are taking medication for hypothyroidism and you’re eating foods high in calcium consider the absorption time. Eat these at least four hours after taking your levothyroxine.
You may have questions for your pharmacist concerning the absorption of other foods.
Include anti-inflammatory foods. Sugars, red meat, caffeine, gluten, processed, alcohol and anything with soy should be avoided. These foods have been known to cause inflammation. Inflammation can make your thyroid symptoms like hair loss worse.
Anti-inflammatory nutrients and food sources:
Folate: Spinach, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, romaine lettuce, avocado, broccoli, beef liver
Zinc: Oysters, crab, lobster, grass-fed beef, pumpkin seeds
Riboflavin: Beef liver, lamb, milk, yogurt, mushrooms, spinach, almonds, wild salmon, eggs
Vitamin B12: Beef liver, sardines, mackerel, lamb, wild salmon, grass-fed beef, eggs
Vitamin B6: Tuna, avocado, chicken breast, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios
Magnesium: Spinach, Swiss chard, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocado, yogurt, kefir
Add fresh herbs. Anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger and turmeric may improve your thyroid function.
Try including fresh ginger or turmeric root in your dishes while cooking. This can be done from stir-fries to smoothies.
- Aloe Vera
Talk to your doctor before using these. There may be contradictions with your medication or allergies.
Essential oils to use. These could decrease hair loss and improve its density.
- Cedar wood
- Clary sage
- Roman chamomile
- Tea tree
Dilute with carrier oil before applying. Some herbs may cause an allergic reaction.
Monitor your iodine intake. Those having autoimmune thyroid conditions need to keep track of their iodine intake. Iodine is used by the body to produce thyroid hormone. If there is too much it could lead to imbalances.
Be aware when eating iodine rich foods such as kelp and other types of seaweed which can make symptoms worse, including hair loss. You may also find iodine in some multivitamins and cough syrups, so carefully read the labels.
Do a scalp massage. It feels good and stimulates blood circulation. Soothes tension thus releases stress. Just don’t apply too much pressure or pull hair. Use one of your oils above and you’ve added aromatherapy.
Be gentle. Consider your hair style. Don’t pull hair in tight braids, buns or ponytails.
Avoid twisting or pulling your hair to loosen snarls. Use a wide tooth comb for this and start combing at the bottom of your hair.
Thinking about your routine will help avoid pulling out hair before it would naturally fall out on its own.
Be patient. It may be frustrating waiting several months to see regrowth. While waiting you could think about wearing a wig or other hair covering. Be creative and find your style with a pretty scarf.
Emotional support is important. I found a mom who blogs about her thyroid condition. I have also listed other thyroid organizations.
A thyroid condition usually doesn’t cause hair loss until it becomes severe. Work with your Endocrinologist to keep things under control.
Through treatment, home remedies and support your hair should return within several months.
Has your thyroid condition caused hair loss? If so, what have you done?
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