Weight Gain Hair Loss Causes
Unexplained weight gain and hair loss are two common signs of hypothyroid disorders (Hypothyroidism). Hair loss and weight gain usually occur with age. However, they could be sings of an underlying disease. Other symptoms include pale, dry skin; weakness; depression; heavy menstrual periods and exhaustion. To make things a bit clear, lets talk about Hypothyroidism and how it leads to weight gain and hair loss.
What Is Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland can’t make enough thyroid hormone to keep the body running normally. Too little thyroid hormone in the blood mean you’re hypothyroid. Since the main purpose of thyroid hormone is to “run the body’s metabolism,” it is understandable that people with this condition will have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism. Hypothyroidism is more common than people would believe, and millions are currently hypothyroid and don’t know it.
What Is Thyroid?(What is a Thyroid Problem?)
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck that is responsible for production of thyroid hormones that are essential for metabolic processes throughout the body. It is made up of two halves, called lobes, that lie along the windpipe and are joined together by a narrow band of thyroid tissue, known as the isthmus. It is situated just below the “Adams apple” or larynx.
The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, which is made up of glands that produce, store, and release hormones into the bloodstream so the hormones can reach the body’s cells. The thyroid gland uses iodine from the foods you eat to make two main hormones Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4). It is important that T3 and T4 levels are neither too high nor too low.
Here is a video from The Doctors show that explains what thyroid is and how to do a thyroid self-exam.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
There can be many reasons why the cells in the thyroid gland can’t make enough thyroid hormone.
In some cases, the immune system that protects the body from invading infections can mistake thyroid gland cells and their enzymes for invaders and can attack them. Which results not enough thyroid cells and enzymes to make enough thyroid hormone. Autoimmune thyroiditis can begin suddenly or it can develop slowly over years. This is more common in women than men.
Surgical removal of the thyroid gland:
If the whole thyroid is removed, people will definitely become hypothyroid. If part of the gland is left, it may be able to make enough thyroid hormone to keep blood levels normal.
For the purpose of destroying the thyroid gland, some doctors treat patients with radioactive iodine. All these patients can lose part or all of their thyroid function due to this treatment.
hypothyroidism that a baby is born with(Congenital hypothyroidism):
Inadequate thyroid hormone production in newborn infants. It can occur because of an anatomic defect in the gland, an inborn error of thyroid metabolism, or iodine deficiency.
Thyroiditis is an inflammation (not an infection) of the thyroid gland. Several types of thyroiditis exist, and the treatment is different for each.
Medicines such as amiodarone, lithium, interferon alpha, and interleukin-2 can prevent the thyroid gland from being able to make hormone normally. Which triggers hypothyroidism in patients who have a genetic tendency to autoimmune thyroid disease.
Iodine is important to make thyroid hormone. This chemical element comes into the body in food and travels through the blood to the thyroid. The right amount of iodine keeps the thyroid hormone production in balance. Too much iodine can cause hypothyroidism.
Damage to the pituitary gland:
When the pituitary is damaged by a tumor, radiation, or surgery, it may no longer be able to give the thyroid instructions and the thyroid may stop making enough hormone.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Both an underactive and overactive thyroid gland can cause symptoms. See if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Depression or anxiety.
- Changes in sleep.
- Changes in weight.
- Intolerance to hot or cold temperature.
- Hair loss.
- Dry skin.
- Muscles aches or tremors.
- Menstrual irregularities.
Additionally, symptoms of thyroid enlargement such as a swelling in the neck, hoarse voice, or increased discomfort wearing neckties or turtlenecks, should prompt a thyroid investigation. Ask your doctor to test your thyroid function if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
An individual may not always present signs or symptoms of a thyroid condition during a physical exam. It is therefore critical to conduct a blood test to gauge the functions of the thyroid.
Your doctor can diagnose hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism by testing the levels of thyroid hormones in your blood. To treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) the doctor will prescribe you daily hormone replacement tablets like levothyroxine. Levothyroxine replaces the thyroxine hormone, which your thyroid doesn’t make enough of. You’ll initially have regular blood tests until you reach the correct dose of levothyroxine.
Foods to help eliminate thyroid disruptors
In this video from The Dr Oz show, Dr. Natasha Turner and Dr. Oz discuss how to eliminate thyroid disruptors:
Thyroid And Weight Gain
Going up a few dress sizes can be caused by so many things that it’s unlikely your doctor will look at weight gain alone as a potential thyroid disorder symptom. However, weight gain is one of the top reasons women show up in the doctor’s office for a thyroid checkup.
Because patients with an underactive thyroid tend to have a very low basal metabolic rate, one of the most noticeable symptoms ofhypothyroidism is weight gain and difficulty losing extra weight. (Sometimes an overactive thyroid can mimic an underactive thyroid by causing weight gain, although this is less common.
A minority of women with hypothyroidism don’t gain weight. The difference arises from their individual biochemistry, the quality of the calories they consume, and how they use those calories.
Hair Loss Caused By Thyroid
Sudden hair loss and weight gain happen due to Hormone Changes. The hormonal system is delicately balanced, and hormonal changes occur throughout your life. Such changes may
lead to weight gain and hair loss. Pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding,
menstruation, perimenopause and menopause all cause changes in your hormones. If you
experience hair loss and weight gain due to hormonal changes, check with your doctor or gynecologist to discuss your options.
Severe and prolonged hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause loss of hair. The loss is diffuse and 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. Anti-thyroid drugs (carbimazole and propylthiouracil) can, in rare cases, cause diffuse hair loss. It 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 hyperthyroidism. Radioiodine does not cause hair loss.
What To Do?
Most cases of scalp and eyebrow hair loss caused by thyroid disorders are temporary. It may take several months for the medication to stimulate the hair to regrow. Regrowth can be unpredictable, so be aware that new hair may differ in texture and color.
It helps to know you’re not alone, and that it is usual to feel a psychological impact of hair loss. If you’ve lost your hair, even temporarily, life will be easier if you can accept what’s happened. So focus on all your positive qualities and, if necessary, enhance your altered appearance.
Avoid products high in iodine (such as kelp) and ‘thyroid support products’ as they can be dangerous and cause either underactivity of the thyroid (hypothyroidism) or in some cases overactivity (hyperthyroidism).
Only take iodine supplements if recommended by your GP or hospital consultant. Preferably have a varied and healthy diet, with calcium-rich foods and/or supplements taken 4 hours apart from your levothyroxine dose.