When you suffer from a thyroid condition, the hormones in your body tend to get out whack. Your weight, mood, energy, digestion, and skin all change due to the lack of or too many hormones.
While we all lose hair on a daily basis, those who have a thyroid condition may experience more hair loss than others.
This article will discuss:
- What’s the connection between my thyroid and hair loss?
- How do I know it’s hair loss related to a thyroid issue?
- What causes thyroid related hair loss?
- How should I treat thyroid related hair loss?
What’s the connection between your thyroid and hair loss?
On average, humans lose about 50 – 100 hairs a day. Thyroid conditions can cause hair loss if they are severe or are left untreated. To understand the difference between normal hair loss and that related to thyroid conditions, it’s important to understand how hair grows.
- Hair begins to grow at the root of the bottom of the hair follicles in your scalp.
- The blood vessels in your scalp nourish the root, creating more cells and making your hair grow.
- The hair pushes out and through the skin. It passes through the oil glands that help protect and nourish the hair.
- The hair will prepare to shed and eventually fall out.
- It will be replaced by new growth and a new hair cycle begins.
There are many medical conditions that cause hair loss, thyroid diseases being a common cause. Thyroid problems, including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, can disrupt the growth of hair.
When the body has too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), the hair on your head may start to thin out and become very fine. When there is too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism), old growth is not replaced with new growth and there can be hair loss, not just on the scalp, but on other parts of the body.
Specifically, when the T3 and T4 hormones are disrupted it affects the development of hair at the root.
Most people with thyroid conditions will go through a full thyroid panel test to check all their levels.
The hair will fall out but may not be replaced by new growth, therefore, causing thinning across the scalp and maybe even other areas.
How do I know it’s hair loss related to a thyroid issue?
Often times thyroid related hair loss follows some patterns including:
- Hair loss and thinning across the entire scalp
- Hair loss that occurs in specific spots on the scalp – resulting in smooth circular bald patches
- Loss of hair in other parts of the body such as your eyebrows
- Changes in hair texture. With hypothyroidism the hair becomes dry and coarse, along with your skin. With hyperthyroidism, the hair becomes extremely soft and fine
What causes thyroid related hair loss?
Hair loss related to thyroid conditions often lead to or happen in conjunction with other autoimmune conditions. This is due to the fact that the thyroid hormones play such an important role in so many different processes in the body.
This is an autoimmune disorder that often exists in conjunction with a thyroid condition. Studies show that people diagnosed with hypothyroidism have the strongest association with Alopecia areta.
With Alopecia areta, the body attacks its healthy hair follicles disrupting the normal hair growth process. Circular bald patches and spots will begin to appear on the scalp.
Lupus is another autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own healthy tissues and organs. It is another condition that is often linked to a thyroid disorder.
Hair loss due to Lupus is caused by widespread inflammation of the skin. The inflammation will cause hair loss in not only the scalp but also eyebrows, eyelashes and beards.
Sometimes, Lupus causes sores and lesions that result in scarring. Once these lesions form and leave scars, it often damages the hair follicles resulting in permanent hair loss.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
PCOS is the most prevalent endocrine disorder affecting women in reproductive age. It is a condition where the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens, which are male sex hormones that normally only appear in very small amounts in women.
PCOS and an autoimmune thyroid disorder are often associated together. Studies have shown that between 18-40% of women who suffer from PCOS also have a thyroid condition.
One of the common side affects of PCOS is also hair loss. The excess amount of androgens results in hair loss specifically at the front of the scalp. This is often known as Androgenic Alopecia or female pattern hair loss.
How should I treat thyroid related hair loss?
Treatment for thyroid related hair loss involves taking proper medication for the condition.
In most cases, hair loss is typically reversed after thyroid hormone levels are normalized.
Some other treatments those with thyroid related hair loss can include:
- Seeing a dermatologist to better understand where the hair loss in occurring
- Avoiding styles that pull on the hair (high pony tails, tight buns or braids)
- Trying hair thickening products
If you are experiencing hair loss that may be related to a thyroid condition, consult your healthcare provider for the best steps forward.
- Those who have a thyroid condition may experience more hair loss than others
- On average, humans lose about 50 – 100 hairs a day
- Hyperthyroidism may cause the hair on your head to thin out and become very fine
- Hypothyroidism may cause the hair to become coarse and dry
- When the T3 and T4 hormones are disrupted it affects the development of hair at the root
- Hair loss related to thyroid conditions often lead to or happen in conjunction with other autoimmune conditions
- Alopecia areta
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
- Treatment for thyroid related hair loss involves taking proper medication for the condition
- Hair loss is typically reversed after thyroid hormone levels are normalized
If you are experiencing hair loss that may be related to a thyroid condition, consult your healthcare provider for the best steps.
Hair loss is one of the many symptoms that can occur with a thyroid condition. If you are looking for a better way to keep track of these symptoms to see how you process, download the ThyForLife app today!