Thyroid Disorders & Hair Loss
Written by Philip Kingsley Trichologist, Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips.
Thyroid conditions can be complicated and involved, requiring careful and comprehensive management by health care providers - typically by Endocrinologists. The following information serves as a general overview for the purpose of offering a simple understanding of the system and why it may in fact be part of the reason you are noticing hair changes and challenges! (As well as many other variables that are to say at least annoying).
This discussion intentionally avoids specific drug therapies, as this is very much at the behest of your health provider and the individual health variables that are unique to you. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that your provider listens and hears all the symptoms that you share and treats you, and not just the laboratory numbers that are reported.
Arming ourselves with information is always the first part to comprehensive and effective management of our health. It allows us to ask the right questions, and work in partnership with our physicians.
Hair is considered a non-essential tissue by the body and so the brain will not direct energy to it when there are requirements in essential tissue elsewhere in the body. As hair needs a lot of energy to metabolize effectively, a redirection of this energy as a result of a thyroid challenge can leave hair at a sub optimal level – potentially resulting in hair loss, hair thinning, brittleness and dull, lifeless looking hair. Hair changes can present dramatically or subtly, depending on so many variables. Nonetheless, they are all frequently very upsetting for the patient. The pattern of loss associated with thyroid changes and dysfunction, irrespective of the underlying driver to that dysfunction, will predominantly manifest in a diffuse pattern of hair loss. However, hair loss that occurs as a result of thyroid imbalance has the potential to improve once the system recovers, and effective management of the system is sustained.
This requires follow up and in many cases it is important to share all nuances with your doctor so that they can assess whether your medication needs to be adjusted. Understanding what is happening and treating the system holistically will always create an environment where hair production is at each individual’s optimal.
REMEMBER THAT WE ARE ALWAYS OUR OWN BEST ADVOCATES!