There are various reasons why you start losing your hair in an abnormal manner. Can hair loss or fall be due to a problem with your thyroid? Before we move on to see what this kind of relation exists between hair loss and thyroid problems, learn more about it not forgetting its body function.
What is it and what is its function? This is a small gland located in front of the neck. Its functions to our bodies include producing triiodothyronine and thyroxine hormones into the bloodstream.
These hormones help in regulation of important body processes like metabolism which ensures health and growth.
Is hair fall or loss due to thyroid disease or disorder?
One of the indicators of a problem with your this hormone is hair fall. Since hair growth is initiated by activities of the follicles, any change in its growth cycle can affect its condition on the scalp or eyebrows.
Another reason why it causes hair loss is due to the fact that there is a fluctuation of hormones produced by the thyroid gland.
Below is a brief discussion to help you understand how this disorders associated with losing hair. (We have highlighted some of the symptoms).
To begin, hyperthyroidism means that it produces less-than-required thyroid hormone. Patients with Hashimoto’s disease are at risk of this condition.
Hair thinning on the entire scalp could indicate that you are suffering from it. Besides, other symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Feeling fatigued
- Dry and rough, pale-looking skin
- Not being able to tolerate cold temperature
- Frequent muscle aches and cramps
- Heavy or abnormal menstrual cycles in females
- Decreased libido or infertility
- Depression and memory loss
In this case, patients have an overly active thyroid gland meaning that it produces excessive thyroxine hormone more than the body requires.
Grave’s disease causes it in more than half of the reported cases.
Common symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Fine hair
- Hair that snaps easily with little stretching
- Weakness in muscles
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased perspiration and heartbeats
- Thinner skin
IMPORTANT: A severe hyper and hypothyroidism can actually cause baldness in both men and women.
As opposed to, genetic androgenetic pattern, severe cases, either excessive or less leads to diffuse thinning or hair falling out across the entire scalp. This occurs in a progressive manner.
This disorder is due to inflammation of the thyroid caused by infection. Bacterial or viral infections can lead to this inflammation.
Symptoms may vary according to forms of inflammation namely, sub-acute, postpartum and autoimmune thyroiditis. Viral infections are responsible for sub-acute cases. Postpartum thyroiditis is another form that shows up in women usually within 6 months after having given birth.
Other autoimmune conditions associated with autoimmune thyroiditis include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and lupus erythematosus.
This inflammation can cause swollen or enlarged thyroid among other symptoms such as flu-like symptoms or fever, nervousness, body tremor and warmer feeling in the body.
Notably, autoimmune one symptomatic of the painless swollen thyroid. Moreover, people with autoimmune thyroid disorder are at risk of developing alopecia areata. Sometimes, this disorder may run in families.
Myxedema could result from either hyper or hypothyroidism especially when in severe forms. Therefore, myxedema is a serious disorder.
Thyroid disorder and pregnancy
During pregnancy, this hormone levels normally rise naturally. This poses a challenge as far as diagnosing or evaluating it are concerned.
Some women may experience recurring symptoms, especially after pregnancy. Besides consulting your GP, it is also important to go for diagnosis after every pregnancy.
Diagnosis of these disorders
Treatment for hair loss and this disorder is more likely to be achieved after diagnoses are done properly. Experts and doctors diagnose different thyroidal disorders through blood tests, measuring antibody levels or physical examination.
As we have seen, patients with this disorders experience not only losing hair but also unwelcome life realities some of which can raise concerns in one’s social life.
Are these disorders problems reversible? Find out how thyroidal disorders or diseases associated with loss of hair may be overcome.
Artificial hormones (anti-thyroid drugs)
Use of drugs that inhibit its production can help solve the problems with your overactive glands. These drugs are thought to work by inhibiting iodination. The medicines are effective after a few weeks of treatment. Patients should visit their doctor as treatment is ongoing.
Drug sample used in the treatment of hypothyroidism include Carbimazole, Methimazole, and Propylthiouracil.
Some hormone preparations can actually lead to hair loss. For instance, levothyroxine can combine with testosterone which results in it falling off.
According to the British Thyroid Foundation, certain drugs used in getting control of this disorder problems can result in diffuse hair loss. These include Amiodarone, Axitinib, Interferons, and Lithium drugs.
Treatment for thyroiditis
This disorder can resolve on its own. Optionally, if the symptoms persist – e.g. pain due to inflammation – your doctor will prescribe steroid medicines to deal with the problem.
Furthermore, on a successful examination, your doctor should explain the expected outcome during and after treatment.
If the symptoms of thyroiditis do not resolve, beta blockers may also be given to help clear the symptoms.
Also termed as radio-iodine therapy, this form of treatment is preferably used for hyperthyroidism more so when there is no good response to other treatments. Reportedly, this form of cure has a better success rate compared with medications given.
However, patients with Grave’s disease can develop hypothyroidism with long-lasting symptoms. Moreover, some patients may need to undergo more therapy treatments if the previous one does not serve the purpose. Sometimes, hyperthyroidism symptoms may worsen.
Radio-iodine therapy is restricted to pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Other treatments for hyperthyroidism include restrictions on diet and thyroid storm.
NOTE: Stopping your treatment may worsen the symptoms or result in more hair loss.
Surgery is not used as a primary method of dealing with this diseases. Additionally, there is the health risk linked to their removal. However, after consultation, some people with Grave’s disease can opt for surgery.
Besides the above options, below are other natural treatments for thyroid diseases include the following:
Vitamin B complex
These vitamins are essential for the well-being and can also help in promoting hair growth by influencing how thyroid gland produces hormones. These include vitamin B6, B12, and B7 or Biotin.
Most sources of vitamin A, C, D, and E really support hair growth and scalp health.
All fatty acids are essential requirements for symptoms such as grey hair and thinning. Some of these fatty acids include Evening primrose oil, Gamma-Linolenic Acid (omega 6 fatty acid) and Omega 3 such as fish oil.
Consult your GP if the following remedies can be ideal for your problem.
- Phosphoric acidum
Living or coping with hair loss and thyroidal diseases
How do people with thyroid disorders live to cope up with hair loss? Even if there are solutions for these disorders, there is still need to seek assistance from a medical team or get relevant support from your family.
Below are other helpful tips to help you cope with or living with these diseases.
- Continue washing it as part of hygiene or healthy living
- If you see there is need to use hair products, please consult your professional healthcare provider
- Take hair supplements with caution. It is even safer to follow your GP’s advice on supplements
- Avoid products or foods whose iodine content is high such as edible seaweed, kelps, etc.
- Some patients find hair extensions, wigs or makeup to be useful too especially women with this problem.
- Patients are encouraged to eat healthily but should observe regulations on diet. For instance, individuals should help themselves with Calcium-rich foods
- Individuals who want to re-grow hair back faster can also use specialized shampoo for hair growth
- Minimize stress if you want to regrow hair faster after reverse treatment. Stress and hair loss can be disappointing
- Avoid high-iodine hair shampoo or conditioners
You may also find it helpful if you join a support group. If otherwise, it significantly affects on your part of daily life or activities, talk to your doctor who has specialized in hair loss.
In general, hair loss and thyroid problems are usually temporary. Some people may not realize diffuse thinning until or after undergoing treatment of thyroid diseases.
The scalp is not the only area where loss of hair is expected to occur. Other areas of the body including the eyelashes, eyebrows, and beard can show quite a noticeable hair fall.
In special cases where hair is expected to re-grow after falling out, anyone should be patient. Even though it becomes difficult, try talking to your family or support group members for help. The bottom line is to see a hair loss specialist to possibly rule out other causes of hair falling out.