Hair Loss due to thyroid hormonal imbalance is very common and observed especially in women. Thyroid gland secrets important hormones that play a major role in hair growth. deficiency or overproduction of thyroid hormones can lead to dry and brittle hair and lead hair loss especially seen in females. Thyroid illness can also be associated with menstrual irregularities and mimic female pattern thinning in many cases.
The thyroid is a gland present in the throat and releases T3 and T4 Thyroid hormones under the action of Thyroid Stimulating Hormones secreted by the pituitary gland. Thyroid illness may involve increased or decreased production of T3 and T4 hormones leading to hyperthyroidism. Thyroid hormones are vital metabolic hormones and play important role in skin and hair growth. Thyroid activity can be regulated by nutritional deficiencies, pregnancy, medication or any underlying health conditions.
What Happens in Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is underactive thyroid not secreting enough thyroid hormones and it can range from mild to moderate or severe problems. It is one of the commonest disorders come across by doctors all over the world.
The low levels of thyroid hormones decrease the activity and the ability of the body to repair and regenerate cells. In the developing world, the primary cause of hypothyroidism is iodine insufficiency. Women are five times more prone to hypothyroidism and the incidence increases with advancing age.
Underactive thyroid could also be due to Hashimoto’s disease which is caused by abnormal autobodies, wherein white blood cells attack your thyroid cells. This is mostly a very slow progression and frequently goes unrecognized for years. Many of the symptoms mimic aging and as result, the condition often goes undetected. Therefore delay in seeking advice can lead to other health implications.
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid?
- Cardiovascular changes
- Weight gain in the absence of dietary or exercise changes
- Goiter or swelling in the thyroid area
- Cold Sensitivity
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Unexplained fatigue
- Brittle nails with ridging may present
- Hair Changes. The hair often becomes frizzy, dry, and brittle with hair loss and signs of thinning, These symptoms are what bring many female patients in particular to seek the expert help of a Trichologist. Detailed history taking can yield further information about changes in body hair growth, for example, eyebrows, pubic hair, leg, and arms.
- Raised Cholesterol
- Muscle cramps
- Memory loss and difficulty in concentration
- Dry, rough, and itchy skin
- Menstrual problem
What happens in hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid?
Overactive Thyroid or hyperthyroidism results are due to the overproduction of thyroid hormones T3 and T4.
A very large case of all hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves’ disease – an autoimmune disease. In this disorder, the thyroid cells are attacked by the immune system. Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin TSI antibodies are produced and have no controlling factors unlike TSH which is in synchrony with the levels of T3 and T4 in the blood, TSI causes and stimulates the thyroid to produce increased levels of T3 and T4 hormones.
Listed below are some of the main symptoms that could signal hyperthyroidism
- Unexplained weight loss even though eating well
- Fine tremors of hands
- Dry eyes
- Thyroid growths called Goiters
- Enlarged protruding eyes
- Difficulty in focusing and concentrating
- Loose motions
- Thinning hair and excess hair loss
- Increase in sweating and heat sensitive
- Heart palpitations
- Sensitivity to light
- Menstrual problems
If you feel you could be suffering from thyroid illness and have any of the three symptoms of either under or overactive thyroid, timely help can save further implications on health and prevent further hair loss.
Another aspect of thyroid malfunctioning is the presence of toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, aluminum, arsenic, and cadmium which can prevent vitamins and minerals required for thyroid functioning.
When considering hair loss related to thyroid inactivity, the key is to establish the cause. Hair loss treatment alone will not solve the problem. Hormonal or nutritional disturbances need to be addressed in the correct manner. For improvement in hair growth a treatment protocol can be designed by your Trichologist that can help you regain lost hair and improve the texture of hair.