Hair loss seems to have three common causes for hypothyroid patients:

1) being on inadequate medications like Synthroid, Levoxyl, Eltroxin, Levothyroxine and other T4-only meds

2) having inadequate levels of iron

3) being underdosed on even Natural Desiccated Thyroid or T3

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Janie’s story of poorly treated hypothyroid

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 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 to find my own unique optimal dose. 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!

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. 

Being underdosed even on Natural Desiccated Thyroid or T3

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.

Are there other less common causes of hair loss?

Some of the reasons include:

  • Chronic illness
  • Hormonal changes
  • Pregnancy
  • Physical injury
  • High heavy metals due to the MTHFR mutation
  • Colon cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • PCOS
  • Hereditary male-or-female-pattern baldness

What to do?

Bottom line…discover and treat the reasons for your hair loss. For a high percentage of hypothyroid patients, it’s usually the three most common causes listed above.

Have a story to tell about hair loss and it’s 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.