Abnormal hormones are responsible for loss of scalp hair. There are lots of different conditions that can cause hair loss in men and women. Women lose hair after childbirth and at the time of the menopause while most men will lose some hair by the time of reaching adulthood. You will find elderly males and females that develop baldness of various degrees, which is largely determined by genetic factors. One of most common causes of hair loss is called “telogen effluvium”. This can be triggered by any severe illness, for instance pneumonia or a major operation.
Hair loss due to Thyroid disease
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are the most common causes for hair loss. This loss is usually on the entire scalp rather than specific areas. Re-growth can take place with the successful treatment of the thyroid disorder, though it will take several months and may be incomplete.
It is not useful for mild (e.g. subclinical) hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, or short-lived thyroid problems. Some forms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can be diagnosed early while others can be present for months or years. Hair loss due to thyroid disease can become visible after several months or years before diagnosis. This is because of the long hair cycle. In such cases, hair loss may follow the treatment for the thyroid. The thyroid medication can be blamed, leading to withdrawal of treatment, which in turn may worsen the hair loss.
Hair loss and anti-thyroid treatment
Anti thyroid drugs (carbimazole and propylthiouracil) can lessen hair loss. It can be difficult to decide whether the hair loss is due to the over activity of the thyroid or the anti-thyroid drugs.
Hair loss associated with autoimmune thyroid disease
Most people with hypo- or hyper-thyroidism have autoimmune thyroid disease. Unlike other types of diffuse hair loss, alopecia areata causes specific, often circular, areas of hair loss. This condition will not progress but it can cause significant baldness. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is associated with autoimmune thyroid disease and may occur as diffuse hair loss, as well. The other side effects include irregular periods, obesity and acne.
Seek advice from your doctor, if you are experiencing hair loss due to thyroid. Usually a thyroid disease will always cause hair loss without other symptoms of an over- or underactive thyroid. You also have rare causes of hair loss due to thyroid, such as iron deficiency.
What can I do?
Try to be patient if you are facing hair loss due thyroid disease as regrowth can be unpredictable. The texture of the re-growth hair may differ in texture and color.
You may feel the psychological impact of hair loss, but life is much easier if you accept and move on in your life. Talk to your loved one, friends and family. You can join a support group that shares stories and information for hair loss in women and for men. Avoid falling for fast cures and be aware that your hair loss is due to thyroid disease
Listen to tips from qualified and experienced hairdressers. Take care while washing and grooming your hair. Do not use any home products, instead use recommended professional products for dye, highlights and conditioning. Use wide toothed brush or combs. Keep away from ‘hair supplements’ that contain iodine or interfere with levothyroxine absorption.