Thyroid hair loss: Causes and treatments

Thyroid hair loss

Thyroid hair loss

Thyroid hair loss: With the monsoon setting in, the one thing we complain about is hair loss. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, you cannot deny the fact that monsoon wreaks havoc on our hair. However, hair loss doesn’t have a single cause and isn’t necessarily a result of seasonal variations. It may have more serious implications like thyroid and some other medical conditions.

How does thyroid cause hair loss?

The hair follicles follow a definitive developmental cycle that comprises a phase of growth followed by a phase of rest. Unlike other mammals, in humans, this does not happen synchronously for all follicles. So, at a given point in time, majority of the follicles are in the growth stage and only a few are in the rest phase.

In medical conditions like thyroid, the thyroid hormones produced are either too low or too high. The abnormal levels of these hormones disrupt the normal growth cycle of the hair follicles. As a result, more hair follicles are in rest phase than in growth phase. This leads to thyroid hair loss, thinning of hair and if untreated, it may also lead to balding.

The thyroid disease can be of two types: hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.  In hyperthyroidism, there is abnormally increased secretion on thyroid hormones which may result in thinning of hair. Such hair is very fine and devoid of much vigor, resulting in loss of volume of hair.

In deficiency of thyroid hormones, as in hypothyroidism, there is an overall hair loss in the body. It has also been noted that initial therapy with levothyroxine increases hair loss. However, this is transitory and subsides as the hormone levels stabilize.

How does one know if hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism is causing the hair loss?
The most definitive way to determine if hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism is the culprit for the hair loss is by undergoing a blood test to determine the thyroid hormone levels in our body. However there are some symptoms that one could watch out for:

  • Changes in weight
  • Intolerance to hot or cold temperatures
  • Change in mood, irritability, anxiety etc.
  • Sleeplessness or sleeping too much
  • Dryness of skin or hair
  • Loss or thinning of hair

Can thyroid hair loss be cured?

Well, the answer to this is a relieving YES! Early diagnosis and right treatment definitely helps in reducing the hair loss. The initial time taken to find the right dose and to bring back the hormone level to normalcy, there may be a brief period where hair loss is accentuated. One can wait for the treatment to help reverse the hair loss or alternatively opt for a hairstyle that masks the effect of hair fall. It is also advised to take topical medication like Minoxidil etc. to accelerate hair growth. Take care!

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