There are actually two types of thyroid conditions. Hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid, which can cause different symptoms such as weight gain and fatigue. The other one is hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid that can cause weight loss and nervousness. In both conditions, the hair on your scalp and other parts of the body becomes affected. The thyroid conditions can cause hair to become dry, brittle, and thin on the scalp. Read on to know the things that you can do if your thyroid problem is affecting your hair.
Thyroid and Hair
For some time, we thought that the condition of our hair does not have any connection with the other systems of the body. The fact is that whatever is happening to the hair may be considered as signs and symptoms of certain systemic disorders.
Severe and untreated thyroid problems can cause hair loss and certain physical changes. Let us see how the hair grows first (aad.org/public/kids/hair/how-hair-grows):
- The growth of hair starts at the bottom of the hair follicle on the scalp.
- The blood vessels on the scalp serve as the source of nutrients that create more cells, thus making the hair grow.
- Hair pushes up and out through the skin. The oil gland keeps it shiny and healthy.
- Hair grows for a while but then falls out as each new regrowth cycle starts.
A disruption in the production of thyroid hormones can affect the other processes of the body. This includes the growth and development of hair. Hair falls and growth and development of new hair may not happen. As a result, there will be hair thinning across the scalp, eyebrows, and other areas. A hair loss condition called Alopecia is often seen with thyroid conditions. It causes patches of hair loss in more discrete areas.
If a thyroid condition is being treated, certain drugs may contribute to the thinning of hair. Examples of these drugs are Carbimazole and Propylthiouracil.
Studies have also shown that hair loss may develop slowly in patients with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Patches or bald spots may not be easily recognized and instead, you will observe thinning of hair (www.healthline.com). Fortunately, this event is only temporary and that there are treatments available for hair loss. The objective is to treat the hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism so that hair fall problem may also be given a solution. You will be surprised that within a few months of thyroid treatment, hair growth will be noticeable.
Tips to slow down hair fall
Hair fall may be a problem when you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. However, there are certain ways to slow this from happening along with thyroid problem medications. Here are some tips to make it from happening or even reverse the process (www.amymyersmd.com):
- Boost your iron intake. Studies have shown that thyroid conditions can affect the iron stores in the body. This can be determined through laboratory tests. Iron deficiency can cause hair loss in both men and women. When blood iron levels are low, the body cannot produce the hemoglobin in the blood that carries oxygen for the growth and repair of cells, including the cells that make the hair grow. Treatment can reverse iron deficiency and hair loss.
- Optimize your diet. There is a strong association between diet and hair loss. Diet needs to be optimized for thyroid health which includes avoiding toxic and inflammatory foods and adding in lots of nutrients needed for essential thyroid function. Eat foods that are rich in iodine, selenium, zinc, iron, vitamin D, B complex vitamins, and vitamin A. These nutrients will help thyroid produce its hormones. Health professionals recommend consumption of grass-fed pasture-raised meat, leafy vegetables, organic fruits, and healthy fats.
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods. Examples of these kinds of food are ginger and turmeric that may help improve the endocrine function. Adding these kinds of ingredients to your meals not only will make your dish taste good, but will also help in your thyroid problems.
- Monitor your iodine intake. Individuals with thyroid disorders should watch their iodine intake. Iodine is needed to make thyroid hormones, but too much may lead to imbalances. Seaweeds and many kinds of seafood are rich in iodine and may worsen symptoms, which include hair loss.
- Think of using herbs. Alternative medicine uses specific herbs to treat hair loss. Examples of these herbs are palmetto, black cohosh, dong quai, false unicorn, chasteberry, and red clover.
- Consider essential oils. Studies have shown that eucalyptus oil and other plant extracts may be very helpful in slowing hair fall and improve hair density.
- Add in collagen protein. Collagen is a type of protein that is rich in amino acids, including glutamine. Glutamine is essential in giving the hair its strength, skin its elasticity, supports healthy bones and joints, and maintains a healthy digestive system.
- Gently treat your hair. Treating the hair with care can slow hair fall. Avoid pulling your hair into tight braids, buns, or ponytails. Refrain twisting or even pulling your hair. It is also recommended to use a wide-toothed comb instead of harsher brushes.
It is always recommended to consult your doctor before doing any of these tips. Remember that hair loss in thyroid conditions will only happen if the disease is severe or untreated. Hair loss may also be a sign or symptom of other health conditions. Proper treatment will totally help you in having a fuller hair.