Irregular thyroid levels are one of the reasons that can exacerbate hair loss. Here, we will help you understand how to combat thyroid-induced hair loss. Fortunately, hair loss due to the thyroid is temporary. One can control the hair fall by taking some medications and making diet changes. In this article, we look into thyroid-induced hair loss, how to combat it, and more. Continue reading.
In This Article
Thyroid disorders (hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Hashimotos disease, and Graves disease), excessive thyroid supplementation, and antithyroid drugs can result in a condition called telogen effluvium, where the hair growth cycle ends prematurely. Thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) regulate the hair follicle function. Disruption in their production can result in increased hair shedding, hair loss, and hair thinning (1). Studies have also linked severe and prolonged hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism to hair loss (2).
Is Your Hair Loss Due To A Thyroid Disorder?
Hair loss is a natural phenomenon that increases with age. However, how to identify if your hair loss is associated with a thyroid disorder? You may check for the following symptoms.
Symptoms of hair loss associated with thyroid disorders (3)
- You have hair loss throughout the scalp and not in discrete areas. Uniformly sparse scalp hair is a symptom of thyroid dysfunction. Alopecia areata where patchy hair loss happens is usually associated with autoimmune thyroid disease.
- You experience slow and gradual thinning of hair. Since thyroid disorders, like hypothyroidism, develop over a period, the symptoms also take time to manifest.
- You observe dry, brittle hair or thinning hair on your scalp.
- You have hair loss throughout your body.
It is evident thyroid disorders can cause hair loss. But can this be reversed? What does the science say?
Can Such Hair Loss Be Reversed?
Telogen effluvium can be reversed by removing the trigger factors (4). Hence, hair regrowth could be possible if the underlying thyroid disorder is corrected. Generally, thyroid supplementation helps correct the hormone levels in the body and may aid hair loss reversal.
Keep in mind this is a slow process. Results can take anywhere between six to eighteen months to show (4). Results also can vary from person to person.
In the following section, we discuss the various treatment options available for hair loss due to thyroid disease.
How To Treat Hair Loss Due To Thyroid Disease
A simple blood test can help identify any imbalance in your thyroid hormones. This diagnosis is important to ensure you are on the right type and dose of supplemental thyroid hormone. Consult a licensed medical practitioner for diagnosis and treatment.
- Balance your hormones
Certain drugs such as levothyroxine, propylthiouracil, and methimazole are prescribed to correct hormone levels (5), (6). These keep your thyroid hormone levels under control and help minimize the risk of hair loss.
- Correct any nutritional deficiencies
- Iodine deficiency is linked to thyroid disorders. Hence, include iodine-rich foods like seafood, iodized salt, or even iodine supplements in your diet (7).
- Include foods rich in biotin, essential fatty acids, zinc, copper, and collagen in your diet (8), (9).
- Take a multivitamin supplement after consulting with your doctor. Vitamins A, E, C, and B complex are essential for proper hair growth (9).
- Iron-rich foods such as liver, green leafy vegetables, and eggs can help fight hair loss related to thyroid disorders (10), (11). Low ferritin (a protein that stores iron) has been linked to hair loss (12).
- Reduce inflammatory foods
- Avoid inflammatory foods such as sugar, fried foods, processed foods, and red meat. These may aggravate your thyroid gland.
- Include anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric and ginger (13).
- Medical treatment options
- Radiation therapy can help eliminate rogue cells that cause hormonal imbalances. You also may go for hormone replacement therapy. Your hair growth can improve once the hormone levels are back to normal.
- Thyroid disorders may need surgical intervention where a part of the entire gland is removed. However, this is often the last resort. A good diet, supplementation, and exercise post-surgery might regrow lost hair.
- Finasteride and minoxidil are FDA-approved drugs for treating hair loss (14). However, ensure you speak to your doctor before going for any of them.
Home Remedies For Treating Hair Loss Due To Thyroid Disorders
These home remedies and hair care practices are not backed by scientific evidence. However, anecdotal testimonies suggest they are safe. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns.
- You can treat adrenal fatigue with a proper diet and yoga.
- You can reduce stress by aromatherapy. Massaging your hair with the essential oils of rosemary, lavender, or eucalyptus may improve hair growth. Remember to dilute the essential oils with carrier oils like that of coconut or jojoba before application. Always perform a patch test before you start using essential oils for hair growth.
- Herbs like chaste berry, palmetto, false unicorn, dong quai, and red clover are known to treat hair loss. However, consult a doctor before you start using them.
- Methods to boost blood flow to hair can improve hair growth. These can include a hot oil massage or inversion method. Consult the respective experts for more details.
- Avoid hairstyles like tight buns or ponytails that tug at your hair and weaken it, making it prone to breakage and loss.
Thyroid dysfunction may cause hair loss. But restoring normal thyroid function, in most cases, can reverse the condition. Keep in mind it is a slow and gradual process and has to be followed under the supervision of a medical professional. Following a well-balanced diet also helps manage hair loss related to thyroid issues.
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- Thyroid hormones directly alter human hair follicle functions: anagen prolongation and stimulation of both hair matrix keratinocyte proliferation and hair pigmentation.
- A descriptive study of alopecia patterns and their relation to thyroid dysfunction
- Thyroid Disease: A Checklist of Skin, Hair, and Nail Changes.
- Telogen effluvium: a review.
- Antithyroid Drugs.
- Office of Dietary Supplements – Iodine.
- Nutrition and Hair.
- Diet and Hair Loss: Effects of Nutrient Deficiency and Supplement Use.
- Diagnosing and Treating Hair Loss.
- The Impact of Iron and Selenium Deficiencies on Iodine and Thyroid Metabolism: Biochemistry and Relevance to Public Health.
- Iron plays a certain role in patterned hair loss.
- Physiological and Therapeutical Roles of Ginger and Turmeric on Endocrine Functions
- A Systemic Review on Topical Marketed Formulations, Natural Products, and Oral Supplements to Prevent Androgenic Alopecia: A Review.