Hair loss is something you might have experienced at least once in your life. You must have heard of different reasons for this. These include poor diet, insomnia, smoking, stress, chemical treatments and hair coloring. But, did you know that you can lose your hair because of thyroid problems? Here, we have discussed what you need to know about thyroid-induced hair loss. Let us take a look.
The link between thyroid problems and hair loss
Thyroid disorders can result in a condition called telogen effluvium, where the hair growth cycle ends prematurely. Thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) control the hair follicle function. Disturbance in the production of these hormones can result in increased hair shedding, hair loss and hair thinning. Studies have linked severe and prolonged hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism to hair loss. (Source: NCBI)
Types of thyroid disorders associated with hair loss
There are different conditions due to which you can have hair loss such as:
- Hypothyroidism: An under active thyroid gland in hypothyroidism produces an inadequate quantity of thyroid hormones. Symptoms include thinning of hair in the eyebrows or hair loss on the scalp.
- Hyperthyroidism: An overactive thyroid gland in hyperthyroidism produces a surplus number of thyroid hormones than is required. Symptoms include thin or fragile hair and rapid hair loss.
- Thyroiditis: It is an inflammatory action in the thyroid gland, triggered by bacterial or viral infection. Hair loss is the main symptom.
- Post-partum thyroiditis: It develops following suppression of the mother’s immune system during pregnancy. The symptoms can be quite confusing. They include those of hyperthyroidism initially, followed by those of hypothyroidism. And the symptoms of both these disorders include hair loss.
- Myxedema: This is a manifestation of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Symptoms include hair loss and baldness.
- Graves’ disease: It is an autoimmune disorder that triggers emotional stress and secretes excess hormones. The main symptom is hair loss.
Symptoms of hair loss associated with thyroid disorders
Wondering if your hair loss is associated with a thyroid disorder? You may check for the following symptoms:
- You have hair loss throughout the scalp and not in distinct areas. Uniformly sparse scalp hair is one of the symptoms of thyroid.
- You experience gradual thinning of hair. Since thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism develop over a period, the symptoms take time to manifest.
- You see dry, brittle hair or thinning hair on your scalp.
- You have hair loss throughout your body.
On top of diffuse hair loss all over the scalp, thyroid disease can activate patchy hair loss (alopecia areata). Bald patches might appear spontaneously over the scalp in this condition. Hyperthyroidism causes hair loss on the scalp, making hair thin and sparse. Hypothyroidism makes hair dry, brittle, rough and thin, on the outer edge of the eyebrows.
Hyperthyroidism-induced hair loss signs are:
- Weight loss
- Heat intolerance
- Increased appetite
- Rapid heartbeat
- Frequent stools
- Anxiety or nervousness
Hypothyroidism-induced hair loss signs are:
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
How to diagnose the condition?
Thyroid disease can trigger a number of symptoms – some apparent, some subtle. Your trichologist will order a simple blood test to confirm the diagnosis. When the cause of hair loss due to a thyroid problem is recognized, the next step is to treat the hormonal problem. Once this is done, hair fall automatically comes under control.
Homeopathy: Safe treatment for thyroid-induced hair loss
Telogen effluvium can be reversed by removing the trigger factors. So, hair regrowth is possible if the underlying thyroid disorder is corrected. Homeopathy treats the root cause of the problem – in this case, thyroid problems. To achieve this, a homeopathic doctor analyses the type of hair loss with the individual’s personality or temperament and their emotional symptoms. You should have patience and give adequate time for the treatment to show results. This is because it takes some time for the homeopathic medicine to help your hair re-grow. In most cases, once the hormones reach normal levels, excessive hair loss comes under control. Likewise, the density or volume of hair which had reduced comes back to normal. Nevertheless, this could take up to one hair cycle i.e., three years.
If you are concerned about your hair or thyroid, visit your nearest homeopathy clinic and talk to a homeopathic doctor. Depending on the root causes, he or she might be able to recommend homeopathic medicines which are free of any toxic side-effects.
Iodine deficiency is linked to thyroid disorders. Hence, include iodine-rich foods like seafood and iodized salt in your diet. Avoid inflammatory foods like sugar, fried foods, processed foods and red meat. These might aggravate your thyroid gland. Adding more omega 3 fatty acid rich foods such as fish, flax seeds and walnuts will encourage hair to grow healthier and at a faster rate. Besides, omega 3 foods are also known to fight off thyroid complications caused from hair loss.