Tag Archive for: Thyroid

What You Need to Know About Thyroid Imbalances & Hair Loss

Friends sitting together talking over health and hair loss. It's important to look into the treatments you're taking and what side effects they can have over time like hair loss.

Your hair is noticeably thinning, and it’s stressing you out. So, you visit your dermatologist, and they order blood work, including markers for Thyroid Stimulating Hormones (TSH), T3, T4, and thyroid antibody tests. Why are they doing that? What does your thyroid have to do with the strands you’ve been cleaning out of the sink each morning? Is there something more sinister causing your hair loss than you thought?  Before you jump to conclusions and fear the worst, here’s what you need to know about thyroid imbalances and hair loss.  

Thyroid Conditions Often Go Undetected

Consider this. Most hair loss is caused by male or female pattern hair loss, which is genetic. It doesn’t affect your health, just your hair. Thyroid conditions, however, can also cause hair loss, especially if untreated. According to the American Thyroid Association, more than twelve percent of the U.S. population will experience a thyroid disorder at some point in their lives. Up to sixty percent of those people are unaware of their condition. (01) That’s why dermatologists routinely run thyroid panels on their patients experiencing hair loss. 

Your Thyroid Affects Your Hormones

Let’s talk a little bit about what the thyroid is and its purpose. There’s a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland in front of your neck. That’s your thyroid. Its main job is to produce hormones that control your metabolism and how your body uses energy. When your thyroid is out of whack, your hormones go haywire too. That’s where the problems begin.  

Different Types of Thyroid Conditions

A few different conditions can cause thyroid dysfunction.  Iodine deficiency is one. If you don’t get enough iodine in your diet, your thyroid may grow larger into a goiter. This is because your thyroid wants to hold onto enough iodine to produce enough thyroid hormone.

Autoimmune diseases can also cause your thyroid to go haywire. When this happens, the immune system attacks the thyroid. Hyperthyroidism, also called Graves Disease, can occur when the thyroid overproduces hormones. Underproduction can lead to hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s disease.  Other causes of thyroid dysfunction include a virus or bacteria, nodules, medications, medical treatments, and some genetic disorders. In some cases, pregnancy can trigger or exacerbate thyroid issues.  

Having one autoimmune disease also puts you at risk of having another. For example, it’s not unusual for someone with Graves disease to experience alopecia areata or lichen planopilaris.     

Weight Gain or Loss is Just One Symptom of Thyroid Imbalance

Symptoms of thyroid imbalance will vary based on the cause. Hypothyroidism may make you feel sensitive to the cold or gain weight. Hyperthyroidism causes the opposite — weight loss and often feeling warm. Other symptoms may include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Brain fog
  • Hair loss

Thyroid Imbalances Disrupt the Hair Growth Cycle

Now that we’ve reviewed some basics about thyroid disorders let’s circle back to where we started and discuss how your thyroid affects your hair. When your hormone production is disrupted, other processes in your body are affected too. That includes your hair. If your hair’s growth cycle is interrupted, your hair could fall out, and new growth could be halted. Thinning of your hair and eyebrows could result. Some patterns to look for include:

  • Changes in your hair’s texture — Hair may become coarse and dry with hypothyroidism. It can become very soft and fine with hyperthyroidism
  • Loss of facial hair — Hypothyroidism could cause hair loss on the outer edges of your eyebrows
  • Smooth, circular bald patches in discrete parts of your scalp
  • Diffuse hair loss or thinning across your entire scalp

There are Ways to Regrow Your Hair When You Have a Thyroid Condition

If your lab work comes back and indicates that you have a thyroid condition, your dermatologist will likely refer you to an endocrinologist.  Endocrinologists specialize in treating glands and the hormones they produce. Often, once your thyroid is back in balance, your hair will grow back. While you’re in the wait-and-see mode, thickening shampoo and conditioner, and hair growth supplements may make your hair healthier, stronger, and shinier. They may also help reduce shedding.  

If your thyroid is balanced, it’s been six months or longer, and your hair doesn’t seem to grow, it’s time to check in with your dermatologist. Depending on your diagnosis and gender, your dermatologist may recommend prescription vasodilators or DHT blockers. Hair loss medications enlarge your hair follicles and block DHT to support your hair’s growth. If you’re on thyroid medication and are concerned about taking multiple pills, easy-to-apply topical Minoxidil, Finasteride, or Spironolactone are available. Topicals are often more appealing because they are not systemic, don’t interact with other medications you are taking, and don’t cause sexual or other bothersome side effects.  

It’s time to recap. Dermatologists routinely check their patients experiencing hair loss to rule out thyroid imbalances. Since so many people go undiagnosed, it’s not a stretch. If your thyroid is an issue, your hair will often grow back once your thyroid is back in balance. The right shampoo, conditioner, and supplements may help in the meanwhile. If your hair doesn’t grow back within a few months, it’s time to touch base with your dermatologist to determine if you have another conditions besides thyroid disease.  

Dermatologists who are also hair loss specialists are not always easy to find.  f you need a consultation, Happy Head is here. All of our doctors are board-certified dermatologists who specialize in hair growth. They are qualified to perform telemedicine and are here to help.  Simply fill out a short questionnaire to get started.  



(01) https://www.thyroid.org/media-main/press-room/

Pregnancy, Hair Loss & What to Expect

Pregnant woman with hair loss. Hair loss is common among pregnant women and it's usually temporary based on hormonal changes as your body preps for birth.

Baby weight. Check. Nausea? Check. Shedding hair? Huh?  

You knew that your body would undergo some major changes during your pregnancy. Morning sickness, extra pounds, and swollen feet are probably a few that you expected. Hair loss, though? Probably not on your “things to watch out for” list. But it can happen. Hormonal changes due to pregnancy affect your whole body, including your hair. From, “Wow, my hair looks amazing,” to “Ugh, why does my hair look so stringy,” here’s the lowdown on how your hair may be affected during your pregnancy. And, we’ll share some tips on what to do if your hair begins to thin.  

Planning for Baby

You know those prenatal vitamins your OBGYN recommended? They help your baby grow healthy and strong, and they’re good for your hair too. Many prenatal vitamins include biotin. Biotin, also called Vitamin B7, is a keratin builder. Keratin is good because it’s a protein that makes up your hair, nails, and skin and keeps them healthy. Prenatal vitamins are also good if you have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Deficiencies are known for making your hair look dry, thin, or even fall out. The iron, vitamin D3, vitamin A, calcium, and other supplements will fill any voids and help your hair look silky and thick. 

First Trimester

During the first trimester of your pregnancy, your estrogen and androgen levels peak, which affects your hair. Some women find that the texture of their hair changes. More curls, less curls, more oily, aren’t unusual. Thicker, shinier, healthier looking hair is also likely. That’s because the higher estrogen levels prolong hair’s growth phase. Less hair falls out, leaving your hair looking thicker and fuller. Woo hoo!

Second Trimester

You made it through the morning sickness and thankfully you have more energy now. Not only are you feeling better and have that pregnancy glow that everyone talks about, but you may also find that you’re having a lot of good hair days thanks to less than normal shedding.

Third Trimester

Since estrogen levels decline in the third trimester, some women start seeing hair loss or shedding. The hair that was in the growth phase moves into a resting and shedding phase which causes the hair to fall out. If this happens to you, don’t freak out. It’s common and usually temporary as the hair follicles return to a normal growth cycle.  

Postpartum Hair Loss

Your baby is three to six months old and you’re noticing that your hair is thinner than it used to be, even before you got pregnant. What’s happening? Hormonal changes, combined with the physical stress of giving birth, can trigger a condition called telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium usually goes away on its own over time and doesn’t need any treatment. Thankfully, you should see improvement within six to twelve months after having your baby.  

A Healthy Lifestyle Leads to Healthy Hair

The best way to support hair health from when you think about getting pregnant until after your baby is born is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of our top tips:

1. Eat well

Did you know that the condition of your hair reflects your diet? It’s true, especially after having a baby and if you’re nursing. Eating lean, grass-fed protein, fresh vegetables, fruit, and whole grains will ensure you get the vitamins and minerals needed to support healthy hair growth.  

2. Ask about prenatal vitamins

If your OBGYN hasn’t already made the suggestion, make sure you ask about prenatal vitamins. Your hair will love biotin, folic acid, and other vitamins and minerals.  

3. Be gentle with your hair

Perms, bleaching, flat irons, tight ponytails, braids, and other harsh hair styling techniques can pull and cause breakage.

4. Manage stress

Being pregnant and becoming a new mom can be stressful. You’re in a new role trying to figure out the rules of the game as you go. You’ve probably heard these tips before: sleep when the baby sleeps, let your partner watch the baby while you take a hot shower, and find other ways to relax. You’ll feel better, and your hair will look better too. Being stressed out can cause telogen effluvium, so the more you can decompress, the better you’ll be able to minimize hair loss.  

What if Your Postpartum Hair Loss Seems Excessive?

So there’s postpartum hair loss, and there’s hair loss. If the amount you’re losing seems excessive, there’s no downside to having your dermatologist take a look. It’s good to get peace of mind. After all, your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy. Thyroid and autoimmune conditions can often appear post-pregnancy. He or she can rule out these and other conditions that may be affecting your hair.  

What if it turns out that your hair loss is due to some type of alopecia such as female pattern baldness or alopecia areata? Take a deep breath and know that treatment is available. Your dermatologist may prescribe treatments such as Minoxidil to help you regrow your hair. If you’re done having kids, oral or topical DHT blockers such as Finasteride, Dutasteride, or Spironolactone may also be prescribed.  

What if You Can’t Leave the Baby to Get a Hair Loss Consultation?

Leaving the house after you’ve had a baby can be difficult.  If you’re unsure whether your hair loss is normal or extreme, Happy Head is here to help.  Simply answer a few questions about your medical history from home and one of our licensed dermatologists will consult with you remotely.  If you’re experiencing normal postpartum shedding, hair growth supplements and thickening shampoo and conditioner may help support your hair’s growth as your body regulates itself. If treatment is needed, medications can be prescribed and shipped directly to your front door.