Thyroid & Hair Loss Problem

a woman combing her hair

What is Thyroid?

The thyroid is present at the base of the neck and is a butterfly-shaped gland. It is of two types that is hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland controls the function of hormones affecting various body metabolism, and sleep. When this thyroid gland does abnormal production of the thyroid hormones it leads to Hashimoto's disease or grave’s disease. One acts as an underactive thyroid gland and the other acts as an overactive thyroid gland. 

The thyroid gland when produces a decreased amount of thyroid hormones is known as hypothyroidism is underactive thyroid and when the thyroid gland produces an increased amount of thyroid hormones is known as hyperthyroidism is overactive hypothyroidism.

The symptoms include:

  • Dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Fatigueness or tiredness
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Pain in joints
  • Feeling of anxiety
  • Getting easily irritated

The thyroid cannot be easily detected as all these symptoms also show other health conditions. So, always take advice from your doctor or healthcare expert who would suggest for a blood test to know the amount of thyroid hormones level.

The thyroid produces thyroid hormones that keep organs and muscles working actively and keep us stay warm. Hair loss is also the other symptom that is caused by an overactive or underactive thyroid.

Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid can lead to weight gain whereas hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid can lead to weight loss. The symptoms of hypothyroidism develop slowly and are unknown for many years. Both overactive and underactive thyroid causes thinning of hair and makes your scalp dry.

The connection between thyroid and your hair

The thyroid can lead to hair loss if not treated properly when the conditions are severe. When T3 and T4 hormones productions are disturbed it affects the whole body functioning. Development of hair at the root also gets disrupted, hair falls out and maybe regrowth does not take place by new hair and also results in thinning of hair on scalp and areas on the eyebrows.

Some autoimmune diseases develop if the thyroid is left untreated leading to baldness and hair loss and can also lead to polycystic ovary syndrome. Many drugs and other medications can also lead to hair thinning and hair loss.

Symptoms of hair loss due to thyroid

Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism cause hair loss and some patches of hair spots on your scalp and you may have thinner hair. If you lose hair from your scalp those hair is not replaced by the regrowth of new hair. 

Hair loss may also be caused by the drugs used for the treatment of the thyroid and which is not permanent. We have discussed the symptoms above. 

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Tiredness
  • Feeling cold
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin than before
  • Mood swing and depression 
  • Constipation
  • Change in menstrual pattern

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Feeling of nervousness
  • Getting irritated
  • More sweating
  • Faster heartbeat
  • Feel anxious
  • Sleeplessness 
  • Skin thinning
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Weakness
  • Loose motions
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Swelling areas of the eyes
  • Change in menstrual pattern

Treatment

The hair loss caused by the thyroid will get treated only when the thyroid is treated and hence it becomes important to treat the thyroid. As the symptoms of thyroid are unknown for years it becomes necessary to consult a doctor and have a blood test to confirm the disease based on your symptoms.

Doctors generally prescribe hormones that are chemically made as like levothyroxine for the treatment of underactive thyroid.

Treatment for hyperthyroidism include:

  • Propylthiouracil and methimazole
  • Beta-blocker
  • Surgery
  • Antithyroid drugs such as methimazole
  • Radioactive iodine

A severe form of the thyroid causes hair losses and thinning of hair whereas mild form does not lead to hair thinning. You should take the treatment as per the doctor's control and keep checking the hair growth. Also, keep checking the level of thyroid every month. 

Hair loss may not be the only cause of underactive or overactive thyroid. Hair loss may also be due to some other reasons like pregnancy or childbirth, illnesses, nutritional problems, etc.

Some homemade remedies include boosting iron intake if having a deficiency of vitamins and other nutrients treat them, take supplements, have a healthy diet, check iodine intake.

Some foods that treat hair loss and keep it healthy are:

Fish - It contains omega-3 fatty acids that prevent the scalp from drying.

Green leafy vegetables that are rich in vitamin A and C can help in improving the condition of hair.

Foods in rich protein like lean meats, nuts, legumes, etc help make hair strong and prevent it from getting thinner.

Egg yolk, yeast, grains are the source of biotin that prevents hair loss and stimulates hair growth.

Take Away

The thyroid is of two types hyperthyroid/ overactive and hypothyroid/underactive leads to hair loss and many other symptoms. If the thyroid is severe it can lead to hair loss and thinning of hair. And hence it is important to take precautions and treatment for the loss of hair as it may cause balding on the scalp and thus it becomes necessary to treat the thyroid.