One of the more psychologically unpleasant and frustrating side effects that can occur with either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism is hair loss. There is no way to predict which patients will experience hair loss and which will not. Similarly, there is no way to predict who will be severely affected and who will have only minimal hair loss.
Because each person is unique, responses to thyroid disease and treatment will vary. This can be disturbing to patients who have lost a great deal of hair and want to know exactly when this will stop and when their hair will be normal again.
Here are a few facts to remember if you experience hair loss because of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism:
- Hair loss from thyroid disease is usually reversible with proper treatment of the thyroid condition.
- Typically hair loss does not immediately stop when the blood work becomes normal. Most people stop losing their hair and begin replacing lost hair a few months after the thyroid hormone levels become normal. In some cases, it can take longer.
- Stress can contribute to hair loss. Because of the nature of thyroid disease, it can have a direct impact on the psychological well-being of patients, particularly on the coping mechanisms that deal with stress. Unfortunately, as patients become more and more concerned about their hair loss, their stress levels increase, making the situation worse.
- It is advisable to take caution when considering chemical treatments of the hair-for example, coloring or permanent waves. If at all possible, avoid such treatments until the hair loss has stopped.
- Cutting the hair shorter, using moisturizing and conditioning hair products, and avoiding back combing are other methods to decrease stress on the hair.
The most important things you can do to minimize further hair loss are to faithfully take prescribed thyroid medications and to be calm and patient.