July 10th, 2018 Written by a Staff Member of Hair Loss in Women
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland on your neck that is below the Adam’s apple and along the front of the windpipe. It’s one of your largest endocrine glands. Its job is to produce hormones that regulate the speed of your metabolism. Imbalances in the thyroid and hair loss may be related.
If your thyroid is out of balance, it can affect many systems in your body. In general, if your thyroid is out of balance, you will feel it. Thyroid issues are especially common in women.
And since your hair cells are some of the fastest growing in your body, when your thyroid is producing too little, or too much thyroid hormones, you will often see your hair breaking easily, dry hair, thinning hair and even shedding.
If your body is under a lot of stress, it may stop producing hair to focus on another system in the body. So the health of your hair is one way to check your overall health.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism
An underactive thyroid is called hypothyroidism (the most common thyroid imbalance), and an overactive thyroid is called hyperthyroidism (which is more common in women).
Both can affect your hair, and not just on your scalp. Both types of thyroid issues can cause hair to fall out. The good news is that usually, your hair will grow back once your thyroid has been successfully treated.
Women suffering from hyperthyroidism may also have itchy and dry skin.
Changes in weight are one of the most common symptoms of thyroid issues. Hyperthyroidism will cause weight loss, and hypothyroidism will cause unexplained weight gain. So if you’ve been exercising and watching your diet and you’re STILL putting on weight, you may have an underactive thyroid.
An underactive thyroid will cause a lack of mental clarity, and often making people feel tired, having no energy, and sometimes depressed.
An overactive thyroid can cause your heart to beat faster (even causing heart palpitations), create a feeling of being amped up, and may include anxiety, sweating, and an aversion to heat. It may also cause problems with sleeping, and irritability.
Another way to tell if you have a thyroid issue is to check for swelling in your neck below your Adam’s apple. If you’re not sure, try drinking water in front of a mirror. Tilt your head back and look for bumps or protrusions.
Thyroid issues can affect the menstrual cycle. Sometimes women think they’re going into menopause when they’re actually dealing with a thyroid imbalance. It’s possible to be going into menopause and have thyroid issues.
Hyperthyroidism can also cause frequent bowel movements, whereas hypothyroidism can cause constipation.
A family history of thyroid issues increases your chances of having an imbalance. If you have some of the above symptoms (for either imbalance) please see a doctor. A doctor can give you a simple blood test to see if you have thyroid issues.
If you do test positive for a thyroid issue, your doctor may prescribe you a medication. Possible medications include:
- levothyroxine (hypothyroidism)
- propylthiouracil and methimazole (hyperthyroidism)
- beta blockers (hyperthyroidism)
Your doctor will then monitor your thyroid levels while you’re on medication. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. This will be determined by your doctor.
With treatment, hair growth may be noticeable within several months. Be aware that the new hair growth may differ in color or texture from your original hair.
First, we want to stress how important it is to speak to your doctor and get tested for any thyroid issues if you have any of the symptoms we listed above. But along with medications, there are some natural treatments out there.
Here are some quick tips:
- Boost iron levels
- Take care of any nutritional deficiencies
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet
Have you experienced an under or overactive thyroid and hair loss? Please leave us a comment below.
I am nearly bald. and can NOT find a doctor to help. I have tried for years when the thinning first started. and now, I am about 90% bald. I have just the top layer of hair that i keep back to hide my scalp, but it is increasingly getting more difficult to strategically cover up the baldness. My Thyroid seems to function low normal…. but my thyroid antibodies are through the roof elevated..NOONE will listen to me. I am 52 years old… and just so self conscious and depressed about my hair loss… it effects every aspect of my life…and is on my mind every single second of every day. I just don’t know what to do.
I have thyroid problem. Despite my hormone levels are at a normal range now, I still experience severe hair shedding and my nails are very brittle. Symptoms like dry skin and dandruff are also present.
I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism 8 years ago. A year later I was diagnosed with PCOS. Last year I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I’ve had hair loss issues for a few years now. I’ve tried changing my diet, adding vitamins and minerals. Ive followed all the advice from my doctors, but nothing has helped. I’m at a loss of what to do. Any ideas would be helpful.