How Your Thyroid Affects Your Hair
There are many reasons for what is occurring in your body right now. Hair loss is a common body signal. Your hair is a report card with what is happening on the inside of your body.
Hair cells grow fast, and when your body is under stress, or in crisis, hair cells shut down in order to redirect energy elsewhere. The types of physical situations that cause hair loss include hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, a variety of medications, surgery, medical conditions, in particular, thyroid disease.
Hair loss is actually fairly common. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly half of all adults in the U.S. will experience thinning hair by age 40. But thyroid patients in particular may experience hair loss earlier and more quickly than usual.
Normally hair grows about a half-inch per month for about three years then goes into a resting period. One in ten hairs are in a resting period at any time, and after three months, a new hair pushes the old one out. When more hairs go into resting, the conversion process speeds up. Balance then becomes disrupted, and hair loss occurs.
Hormonally induced hair loss occurs when an enzyme starts to convert the hormone testosterone on the scalp to its less valuable version, dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. DHT then attacks the hair follicle, shrinks it, sometimes making it disappear altogether. Hair becomes thinner and finer, and may stop grown entirely. This conversion of testosterone to DHT seems to speed up in some patients with hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, and may be the cause of hair loss that continues for thyroid patients, despite what is considered sufficient thyroid treatment.
Some people actually complain their rapid hair loss is the worst symptom about their thyroid problem (the thinning hair, large amounts of hair falling out in the shower or sink, often accompanied by changes in the hair’s texture, making it dry, coarse, or easily tangled). Interestingly, some people have actually written to tell me their thyroid problem was initially “diagnosed” by a hairdresser who noticed the change in their hair!
While thyroid disease frequently causes general hair loss from the hair on the head, a unique and characteristic symptom of hypothyroidism is loss of the hair on the outer edge of the eyebrows. General loss of body hair from areas other than the head can also be seen in thyroid disease.
If you have a thyroid condition, and are concerned about the amount of hair you are losing, here are some steps to take:
– Have a TSH, T3, and T4 Bloodspot test
– Once the results of the test are in, we can assist you in a strategy for thyroid restoration. We have successfully helped many patients stop hair loss and assisted in re-growth.
– Areas that may need to be addressed include the liver and colon. This is where conversion of T4 to T3 occurs.
– I would like to suggest my book, “Dr. Bob’s Drugless Guide to Balancing Female Hormones”.
I have a chapter in the book on the thyroid. There are some significant tidbits you need to discover on the thyroid. It was recently reported in the USA Today that more cases of thyroid cancer are taking place. That doesn’t have to be you.
Source 1: Shomon, Mary J. Hair Loss Solutions for Thyroid Patients. 2010. Source 2
If you have any general health questions about this article, please email askdrbob at druglessdoctor dot com, or schedule a consultation with Dr. Bob.