Stressed lady at workModel used for illustrative purposes only.

Have You Got Thyroid Hair Loss?

There are many conditions that can cause hair to fall out.

So if you suspect you have thyroid hair loss, you obviously need to get it checked and confirmed by a doctor.

However, this page should give you a good idea about whether or not your hair loss is thyroid-related and, if so, what type of thyroid condition it might be.

Your thyroid gland controls your rate of metabolism, which means it plays a very important role in your body. So it’s very unfortunate that thyroid disorders are extremely common. Women are affected the most (especially those aged between 20 and 50). Women are, in fact, about ten times more likely to develop thyroid problems than men.

Thyroid conditions usually develop very slowly, which unfortunately means that they might go undiagnosed for years (which also gives any thyroid hair loss you develop plenty of time to get quite severe). 

These conditions can affect your ability to work well, and so cause stress - which, of course, can only make things worse!

Here are the most common thyroid disorders:

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism develops when the thyroid gland produces an excess of hormones which then stimulate many of the body's functions.

So, given that hair is one of the fastest growing parts of the body, it’s easy to see how this type of thyroid hair loss might develop – if the hair growth cycle is accelerated, it can get forced through anagen (the growing phase) and into catagen (the shedding phase) sooner than it otherwise would. And this can then get noticed as an increase in your rate of hair loss.

Goiter symptom of thyroid problems

Also, your hair is very much a gauge of your general health. So, if you fall ill, increased hair loss might be one of the first signs that something is wrong.

Most cases of hyperthyroidism (about 75%) are due to Graves' disease - an autoimmune disease which is probably passed on genetically. Other autoimmune disorders, and thyroiditis, can also cause this condition.

Symptoms include:

  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss
  • Frequent bowel movement
  • Swelling of the neck (goiter - see image above)
  • Heat intolerant

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland produces a deficiency of hormones causing many body functions to slow down.

Hypothyroidism is often caused by thyroiditis, especially Hashimoto's thyroiditis (which is an autoimmune disease that seems to be genetic). It can also be congenital (from birth) or due to a dietary deficiency in iodine.

Symptoms include:

  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss and hair thinning
  • Constipation
  • Swelling of the neck (goiter)
  • Cold intolerant


This type of thyroid hair loss can also include thinning, or even complete baldness, in the outer third of both eyebrows (see picture below).

Hypothyroidism hair loss

It's interesting to note that these symptoms seem to be either exactly the same, or completely opposite, to those of hyperthyroidism.

Also, both these disorders appear to be linked to a genetic autoimmune disease - Graves' disease in the case of hyperthyroidism, and Hashimoto's thyroiditis in the case of hypothyroidism.

Thyroiditis

Anything with the word "itis" means inflammation. Thyroid inflammation is mostly caused by Hashimoto's thyroiditis (as already mentioned), a virus, or pregnancy-related (postpartum thyroiditis).

It's possible that symptoms can be the same as in hyperthyroidism followed by those of hypothyroidism.

Treatment for Thyroid Hair Loss

Iodine supplement

Conventional treatment for the thyroid conditions mentioned above can include one or more from: drugs, radioactive iodine capsules and surgery.

What a choice!

There are all sorts of alternative treatments including different types of seaweed such as kelp (i.e., to supply iodine) and various vitamins and other food supplements said to be of help.

My own hair regrowth techniques should also be able to help, but the underlying condition does need to be identified and rectified first.

Return to Causes of Hair Loss Index.


Note: Always consult with a doctor to identify which type of hair loss you have and how best to treat it.

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