At LaDonna Roye Hairstylist & Hair Loss Solutions, one type of hair loss we frequently see is a result of thyroid issues.
Thyroid related hair loss includes general thinning of the hair, especially noticeable on top of the head, and texture change, from soft and shiny to coarse, dull and brittle.
In its early stages many clients believe it is simply a problem with their hair condition and assume conditioners will improve it. However, no topical hair treatment will improve this issue. The only solution for this type of hair loss is to see a qualified medical professional and get to the bottom of this serious medical issue.
The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is located in front of the neck where it produces hormones to control the body’s metabolism. When not functioning properly it can speed up or slow down the body’s metabolic processes, leading to a wide range of symptoms.
It is not always easy to tell if you are experiencing abnormal thyroid symptoms. You may gain weight, feel run down, experience “brain fog” and hair loss. Others may sweat lots more than usual and feel anxious or hyper. Some may confuse menopause symptoms with abnormal thyroid symptoms. It is possible to have a combination of two causes. The only way to tell for sure is to have a blood test.
If the thyroid gland is producing lower than normal levels of thyroid hormones it is called hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Low energy
- Slow heartbeat
- Feeling cold
- Feeling depressed
- Changes in the menstrual cycle
- Dry skin
- Brittle nails
- Tingling and numbness in the hands or fingers.
Hashimoto’s Disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. The immune system mistakenly targets and damages the thyroid gland so not enough hormones are produced.
A problem with the pituitary gland may cause of hypothyroidism. The pituitary, located at the base of the brain, controls the function of many other glands, including the thyroid. The pituitary gland produces TSH, which signals the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. If there is a problem with the pituitary gland resulting in insufficient TSH production, it may result in hypothyroidism.
Low thyroid hormone levels can also be caused by inflammation of the thyroid or certain medications.
Untreated hypothyroidism can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Other complications can include loss of bone density and heart problems. In extreme cases, coma and a life-threatening lowering of body temperature can occur.
Treatment for hypothyroidism usually involves taking thyroid hormones in pill form.
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition that causes the immune system to target the thyroid gland. In this case, the immune system attack triggers the release of high levels of thyroid hormones causing hyperthyroidism. A swelling behind the eyes causing them to bulge is one of the signs of Graves’ disease.
Goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland, can often be seen as a swelling in the front of the neck. A goiter can occur both as a result of either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. It can also be caused by tumors or nodules that develop within the thyroid gland.
The most common treatment for hyperthyroidism includes taking anti-thyroid medication which lowers the amount of thyroid hormone produced. Radioactive iodine is a treatment option that destroys the thyroid gland over a period of weeks. After the gland is destroyed it is necessary to take thyroid hormones in a pill form.
Thyroid cancer is not common and is among the least deadly types of cancer. Only about 5% of thyroid nodules are cancerous. A lump or swelling in the thyroid gland is the most common sign. Thyroid cancer is typically treated by surgery, followed by radioactive iodine or radiation therapy.
Thyroid disease is most common in women over the age of 60. Family history of thyroid disease increases your chances of developing thyroid conditions. The American Thyroid Association recommends that everyone, starting at age 35, be screened annually for thyroid disease.
The good news about thyroid-related hair loss is that when thyroid hormone levels are returned to normal, the hair usually grows back. For many people with thyroid issues, hair loss and texture change are a sign that they should see their doctor and have their thyroid levels rechecked.
While waiting for their hair to return to normal people often choose to use a hairpiece or wig. Call us at LaDonna Roye Hairstylist & Hair Loss Solutions for your confidential consultation and let us show you the many natural-looking solutions we offer.