Rich Travis, Staff Writer
Hair Loss, Your Thyroid, and Steps for Regrowth
Regrowth and Thyroid
Hair loss is a common symptom of patients being treated for hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. It can be startling and even devastating to notice large amounts of hair coming out in the shower and on your hairbrush. Even with what is considered to be proper thyroid treatments, many patients continue to suffer hair loss. Hair loss can occur on the head, from the eyebrows, and other general areas of the body. Hair loss related to thyroid conditions usually involves the entire head making the hair appear uniformly sparse. Take comfort in the following information that will give you tips for preventing and slowing down your hair loss with regimens that are beneficial to your overall health.
1) Rule out other causes
Even if you have a diagnosed thyroid condition, it is still beneficial to see a dermatologist. A dermatologist can do a complete evaluation to assess the various conditions that cause hair loss and run tests that may identify other autoimmune conditions besides thyroid. A person with one autoimmune disease is more likely to have other autoimmune conditions related to hair loss.
Is it the drug you are taking? If you are taking levothyroxine (aka Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid, Levothyroxine, Tirosint) as your thyroid medication and still losing hair, you may need to investigate other options. While uncommon, prolonged and excessive hair loss can be a side effect of these drugs for some people. It is in the patient literature for each particular drug, even if your doctor does not mention it to you.
Possibly you are being undertreated or not taking the right drugs for your specific needs. Some studies show that patients suffering hair loss benefit from a combination of T4 and T3, not T4 alone. T4 is supposed to convert to T3 inside the body but this doesn’t always happen for everyone. Possibly the addition of T3 will help relieve brain fog, depression, and fatigue as well. Long term studies on hair loss in relation to this combination of drugs are not available at this time but there is some anecdotal evidence that supports this theory.
2) Evening Primrose Oil
If you are a woman suffering from male pattern baldness, the problem is over conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone at the follicle. Evening Primrose Oil has shown to be an inhibitor of that conversion. It may slow the hair loss, eventually stopping it, and even lead to new growth. Evening Primrose Oil is a great source of essential fatty acids which are an important part of a healthy diet.
3) Check both iron and lysine deficiencies
Have your ferritin levels checked. Ferritin is the stored form of iron. Remember that if your body is low on iron, it is going to take from other places to support the organs. So even if your iron level tests come back “fine”, you may not have enough for proper hair growth. Lysine is a difficult amino acid to get through diet alone. Lysine helps transport iron which is an essential element for metabolic functions. Meat, fish, and eggs are the only sources of lysine so you may want to consider a supplement, depending on the level of consumption of these foods in your diet. Please remember, if you take an iron supplement, not to take within three hours of your thyroid medication.
4) Eat well-rounded, whole foods
In addition to the specific supplements already mentioned, it is always a good idea to consume a well-rounded, healthy, whole foods diet to support hair growth. Keep your blood sugar in check by limiting carbs that are converted to sugar in your body and block the body’s ability to utilize T3, thus increasing hair shedding. Consider taking a Biotin supplement as biotin deficiencies have been found to cause hair loss. Evening Primrose Oil is another supplement worth looking into. If you are a woman suffering from male pattern baldness, the problem is over conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone at the hair follicle. Evening Primrose Oil has shown to be an inhibitor of that conversion. It may slow the hair loss, eventually stopping it, and even lead to new growth. Evening Primrose Oil is a great source of essential fatty acids which are an important part of a healthy diet.
You can talk to your doctor about a topical medication like mixoxidil or even consider a wig or hairpiece during the intermittent time between noticing your hair loss and finding a remedy.
For most people, once you have determined the hair loss is thyroid related, it may just be a waiting game. When you begin treatment and your hormone levels are in the normal range, your hair loss will likely slow down and stop. Keep in mind that it may take some time to find the right dosage and combination of medicine to get your condition under control and then a couple of months after that before you see your hair restored. In the meantime, don’t take hair loss lying down. Being diagnosed with a thyroid condition can be stressful enough! You deserve to feel good about the way you look. Try adding these supplements, ruling out other conditions, feeding yourself wholesome and healthy foods, and most importantly keep a dialog with the doctor that is treating you and be proactive about managing your symptoms.
About the Author
Rich Travis is a staff writer for ThyroidNation.com. Living with his wife and 2 children, he has a front row seat to the devastation thyroid disease can cause and offers an in-depth, up close and personal view of his experience. His wife of 18 years suffers from Hypothyroidism and was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Adrenal Fatigue in 2012. Seeking help, offering compassion and supporting cures for those that suffer, he is on a mission to educate the masses. Please follow him and Thyroid Nation on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Read more of his articles, here.