Hypothyroidism and Hair Loss
The length, thickness, and color of your hair is often a good indication of the health of the rest of your body. This is particularly true in the case of hormones, as the quality of your hair may be representative of overall hormonal balance. By the same token, hair loss might be an indication that a hormonal imbalance exists. Testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and thyroid are a few of the hormones that may have a profound impact on the appearance of your hair. Of these three hormones, thyroid is a common cause for hair loss among individuals who have either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. To better understand why, we must first examine how these three major hormones interact with one another during the hair growth cycle.
Understanding Testosterone, Dihydrotestosterone, & Thyroid
Testosterone: Testosterone is widely recognized as the male hormone, however it is present in females as well. The hormone is primarily produced by the reproductive organs of both men and women—in the testes and ovaries, respectfully. Smaller amounts of testosterone are also produced in the adrenal glands of both sexes. In males, the primary role of testosterone is to fuel the development of reproductive tissues. In both sexes, testosterone also plays a critical role in the development of bones, muscle mass, and of course, hair.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT): DHT is formed when testosterone is synthesized by a very unique enzyme, 5α-reductase. DHT also influences the development of sexual organs and secondary sexual characteristics, like physical appearance. Unlike testosterone, DHT may cause the hair follicle to shrink (and in some causes disappear). This leads to thinning, shedding, or loss of hair.
Thyroid: Thyroid hormone is produced by the thyroid gland, one of the body’s largest endocrine glands. Thyroid hormone serves as a “regulator” of sorts, controlling a number of vital body functions. These include metabolism, involuntary muscle contractions, and the production of cellular energy. When a thyroid condition exists, the body has a difficult time producing the correct amount of thyroid hormone. As a result, the body becomes unable to effectively regulate other body functions, including hair growth.
Hypothyroidism and Hair Loss: 4 Things to Know
Hypothyroidism is a medical condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Common causes of hypothyroidism include iodine deficiency, lack of proper gland function, or even stress.
When it comes to hypothyroidism and hair loss, there are 4 important things to know and understand:
1. Overactive Thyroid May Increase Synthesis of DHT
As noted above, DHT is a synthesized version of the hormone testosterone. Unlike testosterone, however, DHT disrupts the natural growth cycle of hair and may eventually cause total loss of the hair follicle. For some individuals, a thyroid disorder may perpetuate hair loss by exacerbating the conversion of testosterone into DHT.
2. Thyroid Medication May Cause Hair Loss
Thyroid disorders come in two main varieties: Hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism. A common treatment for hypothyroidism is levothyroxine sodium, a prescription medication that is available under many brand names including Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid, and Unithroid. Prolonged hair loss is a side effect of this medication for many individuals, specifically for patients taking Synthroid.
3. Additional Thyroid Medications Might Be Necessary to Prevent Hair Loss
If you take thyroid medication and exhibit signs of hair loss, you may need additional prescription medications to effectively treat both conditions. Patients must understand that any prescription drug may cause short term or long term side effects however, and they must always consult a physician prior to starting, switching, or ending a prescription medication regimen.
4. Drug-Free Hair Loss Treatments Are an Effective Option
If you suffer with hair loss that is the result of a thyroid condition, or is the side effect of the thyroid medication you take to treat your condition, you may want to explore other drug-free hair loss treatments. These may include:
- Hair Transplant Surgery: Hair transplant procedures are now conducted with greater precision and effectiveness than ever before. The Hair Transplant Institute’s very own Dr. Paul Rose is co-creator of Follicular Isolation Technique (FIT), a new transplant process by which individual follicular units are extracted from the donor area and transplanted with minimal scarring. More traditional Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) procedures are also available.
- Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT): LLLT treatment for thinning hair uses state-of-the-art lasers to stimulate hair growth at the follicle. Click here to watch Dr. Nusbaum explain this exciting new technology in this introductory video segment to laser hair therapy with the LaserCap™ device.
Schedule an Evaluation with the Hair Transplant Institute
Our friendly staff includes South Florida’s finest hair transplant surgeons, microscopists, technicians, and registered nurses. We understand the agony and frustration that accompanies hair loss, and we are committed to helping you develop a customized plan that will create natural results.
To learn more about Miami hair transplant procedures at the Hair Transplant Institute, please contact us online or call us directly at 1.877.443.9070.