One of the first symptoms of a thyroid disorder is hair loss. In many cases, this symptom tends to be ignored since a certain proportion of hair loss happens to many people. To ascertain the increase in hair loss is, therefore, not so easy. There have been instances when hairdressers have pointed out abnormal hair loss that has ultimately led to diagnosis of hypothyroidism (deficiency of thyroid hormones).
Hair growth can be affected by various occurrences throughout the body. A disruption in the normal functioning of the body can potentially affect hair growth, hair strength and the overall health of the hair.
Normally, the rate of hair growth is dependent on various factors like hereditary, diet, and exercise. Hair cells grow faster than other body cells. At any given point in time, one tenth of the hairs do not grow. The remaining active nine tenths that are in the growing mode continue to grow at the rate of approximately one-half an inch every month for three years.
Hypothyroidism often results in significant changes in the overall quality of hair. There is a considerable loss in texture and shine. Another sign of "hypothyroid hair loss" in women is the loss of hair in a pattern that is generally associated with male hair loss. The male pattern of hair loss is significant around the temples and at the top of the head.
Hair loss can also be a significant side effect of thyroid medications. If you are taking a synthetic hormonal supplement as part of your thyroid treatment, you may experience excessive hair loss as a side effect of the drug.
Since certain thyroid medicines can cause such side effects, it is mandatory that the thyroid treatment is monitored and managed closely. Although hormonal supplements can be prescribed in the form of a pure T4 drug or a combination of T3 and T4, it is essential that the exact dosage of the drug be specified precisely. It is important that patients follow dosing instructions carefully. Noticing the specific symptoms and alerting your physician in a timely manner can result in change of medication that may not produce this unfortunate side effect.
Proponents of natural thyroid medication theorize that hair growth is controlled by the kidneys. According to this theory, hair loss is a result of the following:
- Excessive production of testosterone that can result from high levels of exercise or over-stimulation
- Poor metabolism as a result of bad eating habits
- Inability to properly absorb nutrients in food
- Over-stimulation of adrenal glands by thyroid hormone supplements
The two symptoms of hypothyroidism that lead to an apparent decline a patient’s physical appearance are hair loss and obesity. This is likely to affect the confidence levels of the patient.
Alternative thyroid treatments include herbs that can stop hair loss to a great extent. Some of these herbs can help elevate feelings, too. The holistic approach of alternative therapies can prove to be beneficial for a healthy thyroid and healthy hair as well.