Hair Loss and Thyroid: What You Need to Know (Symptoms & Treatment)
Hair loss is a common problem that can affect both men and women of all ages. While there are many possible causes of hair loss, one that may not be immediately obvious is thyroid problems.
We'll take a closer look at the relationship between hair loss and thyroid problems, and explore some of the ways in which these two issues may be connected.
For example, an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis can lead to hair loss, and certain medications used to treat thyroid problems can also cause hair loss.
Thyroid function and hair loss: How are they linked?
The key to seeing where your thyroid and hair may be related is to take action. Your doctor should know if you have hypothyroidism, but it can be difficult for physicians to find out if all of the symptoms aren't accounted for. The good news is that there are other places, besides your thyroid gland, that secrete thyroxine so even if there's a problem with this gland we'll want to also see what the levels of this hormone in other parts of our body look like.
It will only take about 10 minutes of your time and will help you to better understand the relationship between your thyroid health and hair growth.
Your doctor can also do a blood draw to check not just for thyroxine (thyroid hormone levels in general) but also for antibodies that are associated with Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune disorder that is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. This blood draw can also help to determine the cause of your hair loss, even if you don't have any symptoms of thyroid disease.
If you're experiencing diffuse hair loss and think it might be related to your thyroid health, don't wait-consult a specialist and get yourself self medically reviewed! You may need medication to bring your hormone levels back into balance and help to reverse some of the effects, like hair loss, that has already occurred.
Symptoms of thyroid-related hair loss
Thousands of people in the United States suffer from hair loss, also known as alopecia. Around 40% of cases are due to autoimmune disorders like lupus or sclerotic ovary syndrome, and 10% are caused by medications like chemotherapy or blood thinners; the majority of these conditions must be diagnosed by a physician after ruling out other causes. The remaining 50% were attributed to celiac disease until September 2017 when an article in Dermatology Advisor found that patients with thyroid-related issues may experience sudden unexplained hair loss too among other signs, such as weight fluctuations and irregular periods for women.
Tiredness can interfere with nutrients needed for the proper growth of nails, skin cells that eventually line the scalp, and hair follicle.
While hair loss is a common symptom of thyroid dysfunction, it's not always clear whether there is an actual link between the two conditions. In many cases, people see their doctor complaining about hair loss and are only then diagnosed with thyroid disorders after blood work confirms elevated levels of TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) in the bloodstream. Up to 60% of people with thyroid disease may not have any symptoms, so it's important for people who are concerned about their hair health to be aware of the signs and symptoms of both conditions and talk to their doctor if they're experiencing any changes.
When there is too much thyroid hormone, the hair gets thinner. Here are the symptoms of thyroid-related hair loss that are usually gradual and may include:
- Hair that feels dry, straw-like, or brittle;
- More hair in the shower drain, on your pillowcase, or in your brush after styling;
- A receding hairline or bald patches on the scalp;
- A wider part or thinning hair at the temples;
- Difficult styling your hair because it's so fine and falls out easily.
Ways to treat
There are a few different options for treating thyroid-related hair loss. The most important thing is to treat the underlying cause of hair loss. In some cases, this may mean taking medication to regulate your thyroid hormone levels. In other cases, it may mean undergoing surgery to remove part or all of your thyroid gland.
There are a few different options for treating thyroid-related hair loss:
1. Taking medication to regulate your thyroid hormone levels
In case of hair loss due to an overactive thyroid, your doctor may prescribe medication to help regulate your thyroid hormone levels. There are a few different types of medication that can be used for this purpose, including:
Thyroid hormone replacement therapy: This involves taking medication that replaces the hormones that your thyroid gland is no longer producing.
Beta-blockers: These medications help to control the symptoms of an overactive thyroid, such as rapid heart rate and sweating.
Antithyroid drugs: These drugs help to stop the production of thyroid hormones.
2. Undergoing surgery to remove part or all of your thyroid gland
This surgery is typically performed in cases of hyperthyroidism, Graves' disease (thyroid eye disease), or thyroid cancer.
Before deciding to undergo surgery, it is important to speak with your doctor about the potential risks and benefits. Surgery to remove the thyroid gland can cause symptoms such as voice changes, difficulty swallowing, and hoarseness. It can also lead to hypothyroidism, which can cause a wide range of symptoms including weight gain, fatigue, etc.
3. Seeing a trichologist for hair loss treatment options
When it comes to hair loss, it's important to seek professional help. Seeing a trichologist is one of the best ways to get to the bottom of the problem and find a solution. A trichologist is a specialist in hair and scalp health, so they can help you determine the cause of your hair loss and recommend a treatment plan.
Home remedies to treat hair loss
1. Checking & improving iron intake
Iron is an important mineral for the human body. It helps to form hemoglobin and myoglobin, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Iron is also necessary for energy production and a healthy immune system. A lack of iron can lead to anemia, which can cause symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, irritability, poor concentration, and hair loss. The best way to get enough iron is through diet. Foods that are high in iron include red meat, poultry, fish, legumes (beans), green leafy vegetables, and fortified foods like cereal and bread. If you find that you are not getting enough iron from your diet, you may need to take an iron supplement.
There are a few things you can do to improve your intake of iron:
- Eat foods that are high in iron.
- Take an iron supplement if you need one.
- Avoid drinking coffee and tea with meals, as they can decrease the absorption of iron from food.
- Make sure you are taking in enough vitamin C, as it helps the body to absorb iron.
- Avoid eating high-calorie foods and snacks that can crowd out healthier options.
- If you are a vegetarian or vegan, make sure you are getting enough bioavailable iron.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that you are getting the iron you need to stay healthy and look your best!
2. Treating nutritional deficiencies to stop hair loss
The most common cause of hair loss is nutritional deficiencies. A deficiency in one or more vitamins or minerals can lead to a thinning of the hair shaft and eventually bald patches. Thankfully, most cases of hair loss can be treated by correcting the underlying nutritional deficiencies.
Taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement is the best way to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients your body needs. If you are not getting enough protein in your diet, then consider taking a protein supplement as well. Some evidence suggests that biotin may help improve hair health, so you may also want to consider taking a biotin supplement as well.
Make sure you are drinking plenty of water each day, as dehydration can also lead to hair loss. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, as they are a good source of vitamins and minerals.
If you are still suffering from hair loss after correcting your nutritional deficiencies, then you may want to see a doctor to determine if there is an underlying medical condition causing your hair loss. If you are diagnosed with a thyroid condition, then treating the thyroid disorder will usually resolve the hair loss as well.
3. Avoiding inflammatory foods
If you're noticing hair loss, it's important to rule out any underlying causes, such as an underactive thyroid gland. One common symptom of an underactive thyroid is inflammation, which can contribute to hair loss. There are a few things you can do to avoid inflammatory foods and help treat your hair loss.
First, try avoiding processed foods and eating more whole foods instead. Second, focus on including these ingredients in your diets, such as Omega-3 fatty acids, turmeric, ginger, and garlic.
These foods can help reduce inflammation and support healthy hair growth. Make sure you're getting enough protein and vitamins B6 and B12; both are essential for healthy hair growth.
4. Adding anti-inflammatory foods to treat hair loss
Discover the best foods that help moisturize hair and scalp, heal a dry scalp and encourage healthy hair growth with these helpful tips from specialists!
Not only does this tropical fruit have a delicious flavor, but there are also enzymes in pineapple which promote cell production to give you healthier skin. And unlike many fruits, pineapples offer high levels of vitamin C - so it’s not just taste-good results you can be achieved from including them in your diet!
Great for strengthening the immune system, Swiss chard offers anti-inflammatory benefits that will contribute to improved health in general - but specifically when paired with a dry or sensitive scalp.
This leafy green is packed with nutrients like folate and vitamin B12, as well as minerals like magnesium and zinc. All of these are essential for healthy hair growth - so spinach should definitely be on your list of go-to foods when you’re looking to improve your hair health!
One of the best sources of beta-carotene, sweet potatoes can help improve scalp health and encourage hair growth. They’re also a good source of vitamin C and other antioxidants, which can help to protect your scalp against free radicals that may cause damage.
Omega-rich salmon is another great food to add to your diet if you’re looking to improve the condition of your hair. Not only does salmon contain anti-inflammatory properties, but it’s also a good source of protein and vitamin B12 - both of which are essential for healthy hair growth.
Adding these foods into your daily routine can help to encourage healthy hair growth and reduce inflammation that may be contributing to hair loss. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about creating a diet plan tailored specifically for you and your needs!
5. Herbs and oils to treat hair loss
Herbs and oils have been used for centuries to treat hair loss and promote hair growth. Natural ingredients are often more gentle on the scalp and skin than harsh chemicals, making them a better choice for those with sensitive skin.
There are many herbs and oils that have been shown to be effective in treating hair loss, such as lavender oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil, thyme oil, and cedarwood oil. These ingredients can be included in shampoos, conditioners, or topical treatments to help promote hair growth and reduce hair loss.
6. Monitoring stress levels
Though it's not often thought of as a major factor in hair health, stress can actually be a very big contributor to hair loss. Constant or severe stress can cause a condition called telogen effluvium, which leads to your hair follicles prematurely entering the resting stage. This causes your hair to fall out more quickly than usual and can be difficult to reverse.
One of the best ways to combat hair loss caused by stress is by monitoring your daily stress levels. There are many great tools available for doing this, such as meditation apps, journaling, and exercise programs. If you find that you're constantly under a lot of stress, it may be helpful to seek out counseling or therapy to help you learn how to better cope.
By being proactive about monitoring your stress levels and seeing a doctor if you're concerned about your thyroid health, you can help reduce the likelihood of hair loss caused by these factors.
Other possible reasons for hair loss:
- Poor diet
- Hormonal imbalance
- Autoimmune thyroid diseases
- Certain medications
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer treatment
- Excessive use of hair products or heat styling tools
Thyroid problems can cause hair loss, and if left untreated, the hair loss can become worse. It's important to be able to tell the difference between hair loss caused by thyroid problems and other causes, like stress or genetics. We've outlined some of the key symptoms of each condition so that you can get a better idea of what might be causing your hair loss.
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's best to consult with your doctor to determine the root cause. Thankfully, most cases of thyroid-related hair loss are reversible with the right treatment. So don't wait - get started on finding the solution that's best for you!
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