Hair loss may be a sign of a thyroid problem. It can also be a sign that hormone treatment for your thyroid disease may not be balanced for you.
“According to the Academy of Dermatology, almost half of the American population experiences thinning hair by the age of 40, but people with certain thyroid conditions may start to lose their hair even earlier and more quickly,” reported Foxnews.com.
Interestingly, the type of hair loss, and area of the body in which you have been losing your hair can be a clue as to what may be going on inside, due to thyroid problems.
According Mary Shomon, a nationally known advocate for thyroid patients, a unique identifier of hypothyroidism is hair loss on the outside of the eyebrows.
She explained on the American Hair Loss Association’s website that other hair loss clues such as hair loss from other places of the body like the underarms and legs, hair that changes in texture and becomes thinner, as well as hair that no longer will take a perm or curl, may be an indicator of a thyroid hormone imbalance.
The other possible cause for the problem of hair loss is that even if you are receiving hormone treatment for hypothyroidism, you may not be on the best type of medication for you.
“Most medication that we get for thyroid is T4 (thyroxine), and most patients do very well on that,” Dr. Jennifer Landa, chief medical officer for BodyLogicMD said to Foxnews.com.
“But there are many patients that would benefit from the addition of some T3 into their thyroid hormone regimen to help them grow back hair longer and stronger.”
She suggests that if a patient has been on a T4, such as Synthyroid, without seeing improvement, to ask to have their T3 level tested as well.
Even after you have gotten your thyroid hormones checked, you might still want to pursue other avenues to determine if your hair loss might be due to other problems.
An evaluation by a dermatologist or rheumatologist may help uncover whether there are immune reasons causing you to lose your hair.
Healthline.com lists a number of possible causes of hair loss such as: autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus, alopecia areata, lichen planus or scleroderma. There are other hormone imbalances that occur in illnesses such as Addison’s disease or hypopituitary disease. Even stress can account for hair loss.
Lastly, sometimes taking supplements may help.
Mary Shomon claims that even after getting her thyroid hormones more balanced, she found that evening primrose oil helped her.
She quotes endocrinologist Dr. Kenneth Blanchard who said, “if a woman is losing hair in partly a male pattern - -then, the problem is there is excessive conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone at the level of the hair follicle. Evening primrose oil is an inhibitor of that conversion. So almost anybody with hair loss probably will benefit from evening primrose oil."
A good multivitamin may provide you with some missing vitamins that you are not getting in your diet associated with hair loss, such as zinc or B6.
In the end, if it is determined that your thyroid imbalance is really the main culprit to your hair loss, try and be patient. It may take some months for it to grow back, but many people find their hair does in fact regrow.
Hair Loss Can Be A Sign Of A Thyroid Problem. American Hair Loss Association. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
Is a thyroid condition causing your hair loss? Fox News.com. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
Hair Loss Solutions For Thyroid Patients. About.com. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
What causes hair loss? 19 possible conditions. Healthline. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues.
Edited by Jody Smith