Can Hair Loss be Caused by Thyroid?

You probably know, that people sometimes lose hair due to a certain illness. This is one of the ways our bodies cope with stress. It only makes sense that the body would conserve energy on less vital functions (like hair production) in order to be able to expend more energy on more vital functions. Therefore, after a short period of suffering from a health condition, hair falls. Luckily, after the illness is under control most of the lost hair grows back to normal. One of the common hair loss–specially among women– is thyroid hair loss. Be it due to an underactive or an overactive production of thyroid hormones

Underactive thyroid hormones (Hypothyroidism)

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormones. Since the main purpose of thyroid hormones is to “run the body’s metabolism,” it is understandable that people with this condition will have metabolism issues. This condition also cause various symptoms, the most common being tiredness, weight gain, constipation, aches, dry skin,  feeling cold, and hair loss. It’s because many cells and tissues in the body need thyroxine to keep them going correctly. When these cells are not getting enough hormones, they’ll stop functioning. However, symptoms due to an underactive thyroid may be similar to those caused by other illnesses. 

About 1 in 50 women and about 1 in 1,000 men develop an underactive production of thyroid hormones at some time in their lives. It most commonly develops in adult women and becomes more common with increasing age. However, it can occur at any age and can affect anyone. That’s why hair loss in women is usually called thyroid hair loss

Causes

There are two fairly common causes of underactive thyroid.

  • The first is a result of previous (or currently ongoing) inflammation of the thyroid gland. Which leaves a large percentage of dead cells of the thyroid due to damage. 
  • The second major cause is the broad category of medical treatments. The treatment of many thyroid conditions warrants surgical removal of a portion or all of the thyroid gland. If the total mass of thyroid producing cells left within the body are not enough to meet the needs of the body, the patient will develop hypothyroidism. 

Treatment

The treatment of the underactive production of thyroid hormones is to take levothyroxine (thyroxine) tablets each day. This replaces the thyroxine which your thyroid gland is not making. Most people feel much better soon after starting treatment. However, the treatment could be for life and the patient may need blood tests every once in a while. 

Summary  

  • Having an underactive production of thyroid hormones is common.
  • Symptoms develop gradually. They may be the same symptoms due to other conditions.
  • Treatment with levothyroxine tablets is usually easy and effective.
  • Treatment is usually for life.
  • Have a blood test once a year if you take levothyroxine tablets, once your dose has become stabilised.
  • Blood tests are needed more often when you first start treatment.

Overactive thyroid gland ( hyperthyroidism)

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is overactive and makes excessive amounts of thyroid hormones. When the thyroid gland is overactive the body’s processes speed up and you may experience nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, hand tremor, excessive sweating, weight loss, and sleep problems, among other symptoms.

Causes

The most common cause of over active production of thyroid hormones is the autoimmune disorder Graves’ disease. In this disorder, the body makes an antibody called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin that causes the thyroid gland to make too much thyroid hormones. Graves’ disease runs in families and is more common in women.

Treatment

You can treat overactive thyroid with anti-thyroid medications that interfere with the production of thyroid hormones. Another option is radioactive iodine therapy to damage the cells that make thyroid hormones. In rare cases in which women do not respond to or have side effects from these therapies, doctors suggest to remove the thyroid by surgery. In addition to these treatments, your doctor may also prescribe beta-blockers to block the effects of thyroid hormones on your body.

Thyroid hair loss

Severe overactive and underactive thyroid can cause hair loss. This thyroid hair loss involves the entire scalp rather than discrete areas. The hair appears uniformly sparse. Regrowth is usual with successful treatment of the thyroid disorder, though it will take several months and may be incomplete. Some forms of thyroid disorders come on abruptly and are diagnosed early, while others may have been present for months or years before diagnosis. Thyroid hair loss becomes apparent several months after the onset of thyroid disease. This is due to the long hair cycle. In such cases, paradoxically the hair loss may follow the treatment for the thyroid and the thyroid medication may be to blame. 

Anti-thyroid drugs can, in rare cases, cause diffuse thyroid hair loss. t may be very difficult to tell whether the hair loss is due to the effects of the previous overactivity of the thyroid or the anti-thyroid drugs. In all probability the anti-thyroid drugs are not the cause and it is unusual to have to seek alternative treatment for thyroid. 

Summary 

Yes, all types of thyroid disorder cause hair loss. However, thyroid hair loss can be treated once the condition is under control. It might take some time, but hair will grow back to its normal phase after the treatment is finished. 

 

 

Author: kari

Healthy hair, healthy body, healthy spirit, healthy mind, healthy soul means healthy and peaceful life. BE HEALTHY BE HAPPY!

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