Thyroid and hair loss – Will it grow back?

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If you notice the following symptoms perhaps your hair loss is due to thyroid dysfunction, and you should see a doctor in order to rule it out.

  • Sudden bouts of anxiety or irritability
  • An aversion to extreme temperatures
  • Insomnia
  • Abnormal and unexplained fluctuations in body weight
  • Myasthenia
  • Dry skin
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory loss

Dysfunction of the thyroid gland is a very common disorder around the world; in fact, thyroid dysfunction is so prevalent that the

thyroid hair loss in men

epidemiology of the disease is one of the better understood in the medical world. The thyroid gland and the hormones it synthesizes are essential for neuronal function and the regulation of the metabolism of energy. The most common types of thyroid gland dysfunction are Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism, and these affect all populations worldwide.

However, thyroid disease is much more prevalent in women than in men. This trend is in part due to the fact that thyroid dysfunction falls under the category of autoimmune disease and, in general, these are more commonly seen in women. Nevertheless, when thyroid disease affects men, it tends to behave differently and cause different symptoms and side effects than it does on the female sex. It is a well-established fact that this type of endocrine disorder is known to cause hair loss in men. Why does this happen, and more importantly, will hair lost because of a dysfunctional thyroid grow back?

The thyroid gland is located on the frontal base of the neck and is composed of 2 lobes that are shaped like a small butterfly. Its primary function is to maintain all the systems of the organism in action while also regulating the body’s sensibility to hormonal activity. This fact is essential in this discussion because thyroid hormones are able to significantly alter the capillary cycles and thus generate a diffuse loss of hair. Additionally, proper thyroid functions have been linked with the production and synthesis of sebum in the sebaceous glands which lubricates the hair follicle and hair strand. All of these factors play decisive roles in the health of our hair; if there is a problem with the thyroid gland, we will certainly notice it in our hair.

As we previously mentioned, the two most common diseases related to the thyroid gland are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

 

 

AN OVERWORKED THYROID

Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism occurs when thyroid activity is more elevated than usual. Regarding hair growth and hair loss in men, we can say that hyperthyroidism causes a marked acceleration of the hair follicle cycle. As direct consequence men experience an increased rate of hair growth that leads to an abnormal quantity of hair loss. Hyperthyroidism most commonly leads to a case of diffuse alopecia.

Diffuse alopecia is characterized by a significant decrease in hair density over the whole surface of the scalp. Whatever hair does remain becomes fragile, the fruit of excessive acceleration of the follicular life cycle.

AN UNDERWORKED THYROID

Hypothyroidism: When the thyroid gland stops producing sufficient thyroid hormones it can be said that you are suffering from hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is harder to diagnose and therefore trickier to deal with than its more active counterpart because the changes if produces usually develop at a much slower pace. Hair loss caused by an inactive thyroid gland is often misdiagnosed and blamed on other factors.

Having low levels of thyroid hormones will drastically reduce the body’s ability to regenerate cells properly. As a direct consequence, the phase of hair follicle development is severely shortened, and the falling out phase is unnaturally lengthened.

WILL MY HAIR GROW BACK?

Thankfully thyroid dysfunction is treatable. Most of the hair is lost from the scalp, and other areas that are caused by thyroid disorders will eventually grow back. However, it is essential to understand that recuperating your hair loss will take significantly longer than it took to lose it. Most of the time the new hair might even differ from the hair you lost in color and texture.

It is also crucial that you understand that in order to grow any hair lost because of a thyroid disorder you will have to treat the root problem with your thyroid gland directly. In the case of hyperthyroidism, you will need to take medicine that slows down the production of thyroid hormones. If Hypothyroidism causes your hair loss, you will need to undergo hormone replacement therapy to get your thyroid hormone levels up to par.

In extreme cases, surgery will be necessary to correct the underlying problem with your thyroid gland, while in the more benign cases merely taking dietary supplements such as iodine pills will be enough to relieve the symptoms associated with thyroid dysfunction including loss of hair.

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR HAIR LOSS IS CAUSED BY THYROID DISEASE?

 

More detailed symptoms can be found here

Once your primary care doctor has run the appropriate tests and identified thyroid disorder as the culprit behind your hair loss, he or she will then be able to assign an appropriate course of treatment. Additionally, we recommend routinely undergoing some type of hair loss treatment in order to restore the hair loss more efficiently.

You shouldn’t worry too much since thyroid dysfunction affects women much more frequently than men, close to a rate of 5 to 1. If you are suffering from any significant hair loss chances are it is due to more traditional reasons such as genetics. Remember that it is reasonable to a certain degree to experience hair loss as you grow older. Some types of hair loss can even be triggered by temporary illness such as pneumonia and also run of the mill stress. The human follicular growth cycle is long, and hair loss may take months before it becomes abundantly apparent whatever the case may be.

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

  • Price, Vera H. “Treatment of hair loss.” New England Journal of Medicine 341.13 (1999): 964-973.
  • Cotsarelis, George, and Sarah E. Millar. “Towards a molecular understanding of hair loss and its treatment.” Trends in molecular medicine 7.7 (2001): 293-301.
  • Ladenson, Paul W., et al. “American Thyroid Association guidelines for detection of thyroid dysfunction.” Archives of internal medicine 160.11 (2000): 1573-1575.
  • Freinkel, Ruth K., and Norbert Freinkel. “Hair growth and alopecia in hypothyroidism.” Archives of dermatology 106.3 (1972): 349-352.
  • Messenger, A. G. “Thyroid hormone and hair growth.” British Journal of Dermatology 142.4 (2000): 633-634.
  • Friedmann, P. S. “Alopecia areata and auto‐immunity.” British Journal of Dermatology 105.2 (1981): 153-157.
  • Thyroid WIKIPEDIA

 

 

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