Hair Loss & Thyroid: Everything You Need to Know
Although hair loss caused by thyroid disorders is usually temporary, it can be upsetting and even baffling to suddenly discover that your hair growth cycle has changed. It can take months for these changes to become noticeable because of the slow pace of the hair cycle, and because thyroid hair loss is not limited to any one specific place on the body.
Since hair loss can become apparent months or even years after a thyroid condition develops or is diagnosed, it can be difficult to pinpoint what is causing your hair loss and how best to address it. We’ve compiled all the information you need to know about thyroid-related hair loss in order to make the best choices for your needs. Let’s take a look at how to recognize and treat thyroid-related hair loss.
What Is The Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid is a gland at the base of your neck and below your Adam’s apple that helps to regulate your metabolism. It operates as a part of the endocrine system to coordinate different functions and activities in the body. When working correctly, the thyroid gland releases hormones into the bloodstream that play a role in growth, development, and metabolic functions all over the body.
Causes of Thyroid Dysfunction
The most common thyroid conditions that will cause thyroid dysfunction are Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Graves’ Disease, goiters, and thyroid nodules. Each of these conditions will result in either hypothyroidism, an underproduction of hormones, or hyperthyroidism, an overproduction of hormones.
Symptoms of a Thyroid Condition
Hyperthyroid symptoms can include, but are not limited to:
· Anxiety and restlessness
· Increased sweating, shaking, and heart rate
· Irritability, insomnia, and weight loss
Hypothyroid symptoms can include, but are not limited to:
· Fatigue, weakness, and slower heart rate
· Memory problems
· Weight gain and constipation
Both hypo- and hyperthyroidism can be hard to diagnose, or can go overlooked for years because they evolve so gradually, and because symptoms can mimic other underlying issues. However, if left untreated, both can result in an outward sign of thinning, increasingly brittle hair all over your body.
The Thyroid’s Impact on Hair Loss and Growth
The hair cycle goes through several stages, with each strand operating at different points of the cycle, so that there is rarely a prevalent change. Although we lose between 50 and 100 hairs per day from follicles going into the rest stage of the cycle, these gaps are hidden by the hair not in the rest stage until new hair grows in their place.
Thyroid conditions disrupt the growth hormones that are active in stimulating new hair production to replace the strands that fall out. This can also send more hair than typical into the rest stage simultaneously.
Hair growth starts at the scalp, where blood vessels connecting to the root of each hair follicle create cells that will push the hair out of the scalp. This process is facilitated by growth hormones called T3 and T4, which are regulated by the endocrine system and the thyroid gland. When a thyroid condition disrupts production of these hormones, the hair will continue to fall out, but may not be replaced.
How Do I Know if My Thyroid Condition is Causing My Hair Loss?
It can be difficult to understand what exactly is causing your hair loss and how to address it, because of the extended period of time often found between the underlying cause and the resulting hair loss.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition commonly linked to thyroid conditions, which causes patchy, initially discrete, hair loss on the head, eyebrows, and the rest of the body. Because it targets small, circular areas on diverse parts of the body, alopecia can take months to become noticeable, but will eventually present as brittle or thinning hair across the body.
Because of the delay in the cause and appearance of hair loss, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor and endocrinologist about getting a full panel of tests to determine the direct cause and how best to treat it.
What if It Isn’t My Thyroid Causing My Hair Loss?
Mild forms of thyroid disorders are not usually accompanied by thinning hair, although they can change the texture of existing hair.
Even if your thyroid disorder is not directly responsible, overproduction or underproduction related to the thyroid glands can contribute to other processes that alter hair growth patterns. Those with autoimmune thyroid diseases are more likely to have additional autoimmune conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome and lupus erythematosus, both of which can cause hair loss.
It is also possible that drugs used to treat thyroid conditions, such as Carbimazole and Propylthiouracil, can increase or cause hair loss. It is important to note here that although hair loss can appear to be coordinated with a new medication, this can be misleading as hair loss appears over a long period of time rather than instantaneously.
How to Combat Hair Loss and Stimulate Growth
Hair loss associated with thyroid disorders is usually temporary, and treatment of the thyroid disorder should also improve hair growth. However, there are a number of things you can do to help stimulate growth in the meantime.
Increase your iron intake:
· Low iron levels are linked to low levels of ferritin, a protein associated with hair growth
· Eat iron-rich foods such as: red meats, seafood, beans, dark leafy vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals
· Talk to your doctor about taking an iron supplement
Add anti-inflammatory staples to your diet:
· Decrease your intake of foods that can cause inflammation, such as: caffeine, alcohol, and sugar
· Seek out foods that will support the endocrine system and decrease inflammation, such as: ginger, turmeric, berries, and green tea
· Invest in a wide-toothed brush or comb
· Start brushing the ends of your hair and work up in small segments toward your roots
· Use a good conditioner regularly to prevent snags and tangles
· Avoid hairstyles like ponytails, buns, and braids that will strain your hair
Consider a supplement or multivitamin:
· Nutritional deficiencies disrupt protein production that facilitates the hair growth cycle
· Increased cortisol from higher stress levels effects all major systems in the body
· Hair loss can be magnified by these fluctuations in the body that are caused or worsened by thyroid disorders
· Talk to your doctor about supplements that can help restore balance
Add a hair growth product to your regimen:
· Hair growth products won’t solve the underlying problem, but they can help to lessen its impact
· Look for products rich in antioxidants, amino acids, caffeine, and biotin, which are essential for hair growth
· Prioritize pharmaceutical-grade products recommended by dermatologists
Where to Find Hair Growth Products that Yield Results
Googling hair growth products is overwhelming and often disappointing. We’ve created a hair assessment test to help match you with what products will best meet your specific needs.
Our REVITA hair stimulating shampoo, conditioner, and tablet products are clinically tested for results, and are recommended by countless dermatologists. Caffeine, biotin, and other necessary stimulants target hair loss at all stages for the most comprehensive results.
Our products also use Nanoxidil, which penetrates more deeply to effectively treat hair loss and stimulate hair growth on a shorter timeline.