I’m losing my hair!
I didn’t notice any problems with my hair when I first became hypothyroid in my late 20’s, nor did I notice it for the first 10 years on T4-only medications, even though I had plenty of other sorry symptoms of an inadequate treatment.
But that was soon to change. In the second decade of my Synthroid and late Levoxyl use, I slowly started losing hair. Now considering that I had enough hair to cover the heads of three other gals, it was not noticeable to a soul. But it was noticeable to ME! What had before taken only two turns of the hair band for my ponytail, was now taking three and four turns, as the thickness of the tail was steadily shrinking. And it wasn’t fun having to remove all that hair from the shower drain.
I started going to Dermatologists, and they each simply stated I had age-related “alopecia areata”–a fancy-dancy name for a “hair loss condition”. Great.
And all this time, I was “adequately treated” with Synthroid and later Levoxyl, and had a “target TSH”. So my thyroid condition had nothing to do with it…I thought.
I was dead wrong. I switched to natural desiccated thyroid after twenty years of being on T4-only, slowly making my way up and up. And within six months, it was clear I had turned a corner. My hair loss had slowed down to a normal rate. No more was I losing a mass of hair each and every time I washed it or combed it out. It still took time to see my normal thickness to return, but return it did. Today, on my optimal dose of 3 1/2 grains of natural desiccated thyroid (your optimal dose may be different), my hair is very full and healthy! And it stays put, with only normal loss!
Why does hair fall out? Your hair starts out under your skin as a bulb and a root. And it happily grows and grows. You’ll see cycles of growth–a long phase, followed by a short phase, and then a short resting phase. The latter is where some hair will naturally fall out, and new hairs start the cycle all over again.
But, when other parts of your body are stressed, whether due to illness, hormonal changes, hypothyroidism or more, energy is diverted from your hair growth cycle to other parts of your body in need. And the hair loss cycle increases. This is especially true for patients who are left hypothyroid on the inadequate T4-only medications.
Additionally, many thyroid patients treated with the inadequate T4-only meds find their iron falling lower and lower i.e. continued hypothyroid leads to lowered absorption of key nutrients, including iron. And there you have one more reason for hair loss. I personally saw massive hair loss with iron deficient anemia!
What to do? Bottom line…discover and treat the reasons for your hair loss, which for most thyroid patients, are the following:
And all the above can be exacerbated if you have low cortisol. And female hormonal issues can thin your hair. So when you do discover and treat your hair loss causes, be prepared that the reversal of hair loss can take time. But reversal you WILL get!!
p.s. Did you know that another symptom of having undiagnosed hypothyroid, or being on an inadequate treatment like Synthroid, is thinning outer eyebrows?
Have a story to tell about hair loss and it’s return once you better treated your hypothyroid and/or low iron? Send it to Janie below by clicking on Contact, and I’ll include your story here.