Thyroid conditions occur when your thyroid gland starts acting up and fails to produce some hormones or produces too much of some hormones. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland that is situated in the lower front part of the neck.
Thyroid problems are more common than you think, therefore there isn’t much to worry about. However, if you’re suffering from hair loss due to thyroid, and if that is affecting your confidence, then you should definitely do something about it.
Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism
- Hypothyroidism means an underactive thyroid. In layman’s terms, it translates to insufficient amounts of thyroid hormone. Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include weight gain to fatigue. Most people don’t develop symptoms of hypothyroidism until months or years later.
- Hyperthyroidism means an overactive thyroid and can include everything from weight gain to bouts of nervousness.
Patients of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause hair loss in people. The causes of thyroid conditions are typically related to autoimmune conditions. For instance, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis causes hypothyroidism while Graves disease is responsible for hyperthyroidism.
The connection between hair loss and thyroid
If you are wondering what is the link between thyroid and hair loss, we’ve got you covered. Here is everything you need to know about hair loss due to thyroid.
The thyroid hormone has an essential role to play in the development and maintenance of the hair follicles. So since the hair grows from the hair follicles, hair growth is affected under thyroid conditions. The thyroid can cause hair to fall out and it may not be replaced with new hair growth. Thus, hair starts thinning around your scalp.
When the body cannot produce enough thyroid hormone or produces too much of it, it can send you into a state of telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium is a disorder of the scalp which causes the hair roots to enter the resting stage of the hair cycle too early. About 70% of your hair can fall out within 2 months of the telogen effluvium stage.
Alopecia, an autoimmune condition is often seen to be associated with thyroid conditions. It causes patches of hair loss in more discrete areas. Over time alopecia condition can lead to premature baldness. Other autoimmune diseases that may lead to hair loss and are often linked to thyroid issues include lupus erythematosus, etc.
Hair loss due to thyroid can also be a side effect of the drugs consumed because of thyroid problems. These antithyroid drugs like methimazole and propylthiouracil often lead to hair loss.
Symptoms of hair loss due to thyroid
Hair loss may develop slowly with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. However, people with telogen effluvium often report that their hair comes out in handfuls. Hair loss due to thyroid is most noticeable on the scalp but it can also affect other areas including your eyebrows.
It is important to know that hair loss isn’t and cannot be the only symptom of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Feeling cold and tired
- Dry skin
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Anxiety and fast heartbeat
- Nervousness and hand tremors
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Muscle weakness
- Frequent bowel movements
- Increased sweating
- Hand tremors
- Thinning of the skin
- Brittle hair
- Swelling around the eyes
It may be possible that your hair loss is not due to an underlying thyroid condition but may be connected to other diagnosable conditions. Therefore, it is important that you skip the self-diagnosis and consult a medical professional before jumping to conclusions.
Thyroid and hair loss treatment options
Treating hair loss due to thyroid conditions require diagnosing and treating the thyroid problem itself. The most common methods of treating thyroid conditions are:
- Surgery: Surgery for treating thyroid problems involves surgical removal of the thyroid gland or parts of the thyroid gland.
- Radioactive iodine: Internal radiation therapy can be useful in damaging the cells in the thyroid gland and thus, control the number of hormones that the thyroid gland is producing.
- Antithyroid drugs: Antithyroid glands are useful as they work by blocking the gland’s ability to produce the thyroid hormone. The most common antithyroid drugs are methimazole and PTU.
Lifestyle changes to control hair loss due to thyroid conditions
Ferritin levels are related to the iron stores, and low ferritin can cause patterned hair loss. Therefore, getting your iron testing and using iron supplements following a doctor’s prescription can be useful.
There are foods that can increase and promote the chances of having healthy hair. These foods include:
- Fish: Fish that contains Omega 3 fatty acids that prevent dry scalp can promote hair growth
- Biotin-rich foods: Biotin deficiency usually leads to hair loss. Therefore, consuming biotin-rich foods like egg yolk, liver, whole grains and so the flour can be useful.
- Calcium-induced foods: Calcium is a major key for hair growth. Thus, incorporating calcium from dairy products like milk and cheese into your daily diet can stimulate hair growth.
- Green vegetables: Vegetables that are high in vitamins like vitamin A and C can prevent hair loss and boost hair growth. Spinach usually has high contents of vitamin A and vitamin C.
- Protein: Protein-rich foods prevent hair from becoming weak and brittle, thus preventing hair breakage. Foods that contain high levels of protein are legumes, nuts, and lean meats.
Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods that improve endocrine function into your diet can be very useful if you are suffering from hair loss due to thyroid. Ginger and turmeric are great anti-inflammatory foods.
Using essential oils like eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, argan oil and oil from other plant sources may promote hair growth. However, you should always do a patch test before you purchase any essential oil.
Herbs are known to treat hair loss and even serious hair loss conditions like alopecia. These herbs include palmetto, false unicorn, chaste berry, dong Quai, red clover, and black cohosh.
You can also go for Ayurveda or herbal therapies.
Note that you should always consult a medical professional or a doctor first before you try any of the above remedies for hair loss due to thyroid. A doctor will be able to guide you and treat your condition better.