Your thyroid glad lives in the front or your neck. It produces hormones that impact your metabolism. If you develop an illness related to your thyroid, it can be either overactive or underactive.
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid production, can result in sleepiness, weight gain and a sense of malaise. An overactive, or hyperthyroid production, will cause agitation and weight loss. In both cases, you can be quite tired. If you can’t seem to get enough sleep no matter how much rest you try for, an underactive thyroid may be to blame. If you can’t get to sleep, an overactive thyroid may be the problem.
Both conditions can cause hair loss. As a general rule, once the thyroid imbalance is treated, most sufferers find that the hair grows back over time.
Why Does Thyroid Disease Cause Hair Loss?
Hormones are what make your hair grow, and your thyroid gland regulates hormone production all over your body. Your hair
- grows from hair follicles in your scalp
- is fed by oil glands in the scalp
- grows for a time, falls out and starts again
If your thyroid is out of balance, this growth cycle can be disrupted. Your body may not produce oil, causing your hair to be dry, brittle and break off at the scalp. You may start losing hair at a faster rate, or the rate of re-growth may be slowed. No matter what is going on with your thyroid, your body may simply not grow hair at the same rate it used to, and the result will be a thinning of your hair.
If your thyroid disease is severe enough that you’re losing hair, it may take time to get your hair growth started again. In fact, some medications for thyroid disease can cause further hair loss at the start of your dosage. However, as your body begins to put the medication to work, most who suffer hair loss find that their hair grows back in time. The hair that grows back may be different in texture and even color. You may need a new hair style to adapt to the change in hair quality.
There are things you can do to support your body while you adjust to your new thyroid levels and sources. Consider upping your iron intake, as thyroid hormone levels can impact your ferritin levels. Many people struggle to take iron, as it can irritate the stomach. If this is a concern for you, consider adding iron via a fortified breakfast cereal.
Other nutritional challenges that can occur when you have a thyroid problem include low levels of
- Vitamin B and B Complex
- Copper, Iron and Zinc
- Vitamins A, C & E
- Coenzyme Q10
Excessive supplementation can further contribute to thinning hair. Before you start piling on supplements, get a blood test to determine what level of supplements you need.
Work hard to improve your diet. Inflammatory foods and beverages, including coffee, wine and red meat, can increase your thyroid condition symptoms. Non-inflammatory herbs, particularly turmeric and ginger, are a good addition to your diet.
Some sufferers of hair loss from thyroid disease find that herbs and essential oils can help. Take the time and bear the expense to use herbs and oils that are pure, organically sourced, and safe to use, either internally or externally.
While you’re waiting for your thyroid levels to normalize and your hair growth to return, purchase a wide-toothed comb to detangle your hair before washing it. Invest in a silk pillow case to reduce tugging while you sleep, or learn to wrap your head in a silk scarf. If your hair is long, gently braid it and keep it loosely tied back to avoid excessive pulling. If you’ve lost enough hair that your scalp is showing through, you may want to cut it short, invest in a wig, and allow your hair to fill back in naturally.
Some hair loss is natural, but if your hair density or texture suffers a radical change, there may be something else going on. If you undergo testing and your thyroid is out of balance, your hair growth should return to normal just a few months after you start treatment. We’re happy to help you during this challenging time. Call us at (205) 352-9141.