Help!! I have hair loss!
Losing one’s hair is a common complaint by hypothyroid patients, no matter the cause of their thyroid problem. Hair loss sucks.
Hair loss seems to have 5 common causes:
- being on inadequate medications like Synthroid, Levoxyl, Eltroxin, Levothyroxine and other T4-only meds (leaves you hypo, thus hair loss
- having inadequate levels of iron (it’s not about just being anywhere in those ridiculous ranges)
- being underdosed/not optimal on even Natural Desiccated Thyroid, T4/T3, or T3-only (makes you even more hypo)
- High thyroid antibodies (raises inflammation) due to having Hashimoto’s
- Low cortisol (keeps you hypo since you can’t get out of a hypo state without enough cortisol to allow T3 into cells
Janie’s story of hair loss due to treatment with Synthroid (or any T4-only medication)
I, Janie, 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 later Levoxyl use (both T4-only meds), 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 having T3 in my treatment and getting optimal, which at the time was when natural desiccated thyroid** aka NDT worked far better than it does now. After twenty years of being on T4-only, slowly making my way up and up to find my own unique optimal dose. And within a few 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. And it stays put, with only normal loss!
**You can read why I said what I did about NDT here.
Inadequate iron as a cause of our hair loss
Another extremely common cause of hair loss in hypothyroid patients is inadequate levels of iron, whether mildly low or the more serious form called iron deficiency anemia–i.e. when our iron drops so low that the levels can’t help the production of our red blood cells (RBC).
Why do inadequate levels of iron cause our hair to fall out, shed and/or thin? Iron is a critical nutrient within the hemoglobin in your red blood cells, carrying oxygen throughout your body. Thus, if your body is receiving inadequate levels of oxygen, it goes into a survival mode, shifting oxygen towards other important functions rather than your hair follicles. So your hair starts to fall out.
See where iron levels should be here. It’s NOT about falling anywhere in those ridiculous ranges!!
Being underdosed even with T3 in your treatment
Unfortunately, though a growing body of doctors have been influenced by Stop the Thyroid Madness as well as patients who have studied it, and are willing to prescribe NDT or T3…they don’t understand how to raise it! Thus, being held to lower doses makes one more hypothyroid. And hypothyroidism can eventually cause hair loss.
It’s about being OPTIMAL, not just falling anywhere in those ridiculous ranges.
Hashimoto’s–the autoimmune version of thyroid issues
When the thyroid is being attacked by your own antibodies, the stress to your body can take energy away from the follicles for hair growth and cause your hair to fall out. Those antibodies could even attack your own hair follicles, say some research. The inflammation it causes can also cause hair loss. Read Hashimoto’s: Taming the Beast
Are there other causes of hair loss?
Some of the reasons include:
- Chronic illness or inflammation
- Lyme disease
- Hormonal changes
- Physical injury
- High heavy metals or detoxing them
- Colon cancer or other cancers
- Hereditary male-or-female-pattern baldness
- Mold illness
What to do about hair loss?
Bottom line…discover and treat the reasons for your hair loss. For a high percentage of hypothyroid patients, it’s usually the most common causes listed above, but it’s worth it to explore the other list above.
Have a story to tell about hair loss and its return once you better treated your hypothyroid and/or low iron or other? Send it to Janie below by clicking on Contact, and I’ll include your story here.