Can thyroid problems cause hair loss? (hypothyroid, hyperthyroidism)

I am 40 years old with receding hairline and hair loss, Recently I was diagnosed with a thyroid (hypothyroid) disease and I also noticed that my hair loss has been accelerating rapidly. Can thyroid problems cause my hair loss?

Category: Hair Loss FAQs

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thyroid hair loss

An early statistics show that 10,000,000 people over the world are suffering from Thyroid Disease (usually low thyroid-hypothyroid ).

Hair can be considered a barometer of health because hair cells are some of the fastest-growing in the body. When the body is in crisis, the hair cells can shut down to redirect energy elsewhere. The types of situations that can cause hair loss include hormonal changes, poor diet and nutritional deficiencies, a variety of medications, surgery, and many medical conditions, but noticeably, thyroid disease.

It is widely believed that thyroid sufferers lose hair due to decreased metabolism in the scalp follicles, resulting in the early release of the shaft, root and all. sometimes the hair becomes just too brittle, and there is a great deal of loss from split ends and breakage. As you know, the thyroid is intimately involved with hair function, witness that early graying and loss of outer eyebrows, is a cardinal sign of low thyroid in oneself or in the family.

Many people notice rapid hair loss as a symptom of their hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Some people actually say this is the worst symptom of their thyroid problem -- this thinning hair, large amounts falling out in the shower or sink, often accompanied by changes in the hair's texture, making it dry, coarse, or easily tangled. Interestingly, some people have actually written to tell me that their thyroid problem was initially "diagnosed" by their hairdresser, who noticed the change!

As far as what can be done, the first and primary step is to restore full normal thyroid function. Consider that in general, the body's wisdom directs it to conserve energy when possible, from nonessential areas, shunting repair, and regeneration power to those functions considered more essential. Another mechanism is that when thyroid function is low, intestinal absorption and utilization of vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional cofactors is compromised also. Not only are there not enough of the raw materials available, but the enzymes and sometimes temperature required for optimal chemical reactions is lessened.

As to restoring full function, don't be misled into utilizing the TSH test alone as a terrific barometer of full restored function. This one laboratory determination is in no way up to that important task, regardless of what you may have been told by your doctor or HMO. A great many thyroid sufferers need more thyroid hormone replacement than most current endocrinologists are comfortable with giving.

We have seen people whose hair loss is only finally reversed, after years of unsuccessful treatments, with a fairly high dose of thyroid medicine, resulting in a very low TSH. Sometimes it is a mixture of thyroid pills (T3, T4, and/or natural all combined) that eventually does the trick.

First step!

  • 1. Get an Evaluation. First, to deal with hair loss, before assuming it's your thyroid, always have any hair loss evaluated by a dermatologist or hair loss expert to rule out any other causes -- such as infection. For a hair loss specialist, visit the American Hair Loss Council to find a doctor who focuses on hair loss.
  • 2. Be Patient

If you're experiencing hair loss and are just starting treatment for a hyperthyroid or hypothyroid condition, it's likely that for most of you, the loss will slow down, and eventually stop, once hormone levels are stabilized and in the normal range. This may take a few months, however. But rest assured, I've had many thousands of emails from people, and have yet to hear from anyone who lost all his or her hair or became bald, due to thyroid disease. But people -- including myself -- have experienced a significant loss of hair volume. In my case, I'd guess at one point, I lost almost half my hair. I had long, thick hair, and it got much thinner at various times.

Thank you for this very informative post. I think it is very important for people suffering from hair loss to investigate illnesses that may be causing this. A lot of people don't think about the fact that maybe there is something other than normal balding patterns that may be causing the loss. Being a woman, I don't question my thinning hair too much - I just attribute it to aging. However, especially for women, nutrition can play a big part of our hair loss. Also, things such as Thyroid disease, Lupus and other illnesses. So, thank you for reminding us of this. - forhair - 2 years ago
Do you take medication for this? Did your hair recover? My over all hair texure has changed since I was 20 and I've probably lost over 1/4 of my hair. Added to this, a lot of hairs have come out root, bulb, and all. I just assumed it was the onset of mpb since both my bro and dad have thinning hair. However, I spoke with them and their hair never became dry and brittle like mine, even when they were experiencing mpb. It would probably be worth consulting a derm. just to know, huh? - forhair - 2 years ago

There are many different causes of hair loss. one is medication. another is disease. the most common is male pattern hair loss or androgenic alopecia. a low thyroid and a high thyroid can cause diffuse hair loss. the first thing for you to do is to get the thyroid under control. this should resolve the problem. of course you should check other things that can cause hair loss such as increase male hormones in your system. the culprit in women is usually Dyhydroepiandrosterone or DHEA. you can have this checked. anemia and low iron counts can also cause hair loss. it is a good idea to make sure these are no the cause. in your case, the Thyroid seems to be the problem since your thyroid levels are high at this time. There are no shampoos that are FDA approved to reverse hair loss. There are no shampoos that reverse hair loss or stop hair loss.


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