Treatment for Hypothyroidism Hair Loss

Most lists of common hypothyroidism symptoms include hair loss and there’s a good reason for this.  The thyroid gland regulates metabolism and science is finding that metabolism and healthy hair go hand in glove in more ways than just the obvious advantages of eating a healthy balanced diet. Researchers have found that our metabolic rate and our hair growth could be very closely aligned, which adds to the growing body of knowledge about hypothyroidism hair loss and hair growth.

Hair follicles have a cycle of growth (anagen phase), intermediate (catagen phase) and resting/shedding (telogen phase).  While most of your hairs are growing, some of them are in the intermediate and resting/shedding phases too.  However, changes within the body like those that happen with thyroid disorders can throw this cycle off and push excessive amounts of hair prematurely into their shedding stage. Telogen effluvium is one example of this.  When this happens it leads to excess hair loss and even balding.

Hypothyroidism hair loss is not confined to scalp hair either.  There may also be hair loss on the outer edges of the eyebrows and from other parts of the body.

Interesting Questions about Thyroid:

Beta-Blocking Drugs

When are beta-blocking drugs used?

Beta-blocking drugs, also called beta blockers, treat the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. They do not significantly affect the gland or the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood. Instead, they “block” the effects of thyroid hormones.

Beta blockers are most useful for patients whose hyperthyroidism makes them uncomfortable. High hormone levels can cause a faster heart rate and trembling. Beta-blocking drugs help control these symptoms.

Beta-blocking drugs should not be used by patients with asthma.

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What About Women and Thyroid Disease?

Hyperthyroidism

  • means too much thyroid hormone
  • affects 2.5 million people in the United States
  • affects 2% of all women in the United States
  • affects women 5 to 10 times more than men
  • can cause infertility and miscarriage

Graves’ disease

Hypothyroidism

  • means too little thyroid hormone
  • affects 5 million Americans
  • affects women 10 times more than men
  • affects 1 out of every 4,000 infants born
  • can cause infertility and miscarriage

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Postpartum thyroiditis

  • occurs in 5% – 9% of women after giving birth
  • is usually temporary but can recur with future pregnancies

Thyroid nodules

  • affect 4% – 7% of the population
  • are benign 90% of the time
  • are less likely to be cancerous in women

*Autoimmune diseases run in families and are 5 times more common in women than men.

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Can High Cholesterol Be an Indication of Thyroid Disease?

How does thyroid disease affect my cholesterol level?

One of the observed side effects of hypothyroidism is an elevation of LDL cholesterol, the “bad cholesterol.” Elevated LDL levels have been associated with heart disease, particularly coronary artery disease, and peripheral vascular disease. Elevated triglycerides also pose a serious medical problem. However, only in the most severe cases of hypothyroidism does the disease cause a marked elevation in triglyceride levels.

The “good cholesterol” is called HDL cholesterol. Scientific studies are inconclusive about the effects of hypothyroidism on HDL levels. Some have shown a decrease; others have shown no change; and a few have shown a minimal increase.

All patients with hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) should have tests of their thyroid function since a small percentage of these patients will have hypothyroidism contributing to their cholesterol problem. Treatment with thyroid hormone will lower cholesterol levels in those patients with an abnormal cholesterol from hypothyroidism.

The overall effect of hypothyroidism is a significant increase in the bad cholesterol. Long-standing, untreated hypothyroidism can lead to permanent damage to the coronary arteries and other blood vessels. Therefore, it is important to treat hypothyroidism and monitor cholesterol levels closely.

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Have more questions? Need more answers? Check our Full Thyroid FAQ

Hypothyroidism Hair Loss And DHT

A hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is responsible for many types of hair loss.  DHT attacks the follicle of the hair and shrinks it, causing the hair to shed.  As DHT production is accelerated with hypothyroidism it can cause abnormal hair loss in some patients.

Hypothyroidism Hair Loss Can Be Treated

The good news is that hypothyroidism hair loss can usually be resolved with appropriate treatment, which usually involves hormone replacement medications.   See our article here for more thyroid disease and hair loss facts.

Helping Your Hypothyroidism Hair Loss

  • Take your hormone replacement medications as directed but be aware that it generally takes time for the hair loss process to be reversed and for you to start growing new hair.
  • Stress and anxiety are also known causes of hair loss.  As these increase with diseases like hypothyroidism it’s important to try and keep them under control.   Your hair will thank you!
  • Be sure that your thyroid drug Synthroid is not prompting hair loss. This particular drug used in the treatment of hypothyroidism can have side effects like hair loss.
  • Talk to your hair dresser about appropriate types of hair cuts, styling, shampoos, conditioners and color treatments for reducing stress on your hair and improving the health of your scalp and hair follicles.
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Donna Morgan

Donna Morgan

Crank It is where inspiration, aspiration and solution converge to make things ‘happen’. Turn on your life or turn it around and see where it takes you!

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