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Your Thyroid And Hair Loss

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The ability of hair cells, aka the fastest growing cells in the entire body, to temporarily stop their growth and direct their energy towards aiding in the recovery of whatever body part is affected by illness, makes hair loss a prime side-effect of thyroid gland disorders. This hair loss may not involve the development of bald spots or pathces but will instead manifest as an overall thinning of your hair as the hair growth cycle is disrupted. The good news though, is that hair growth resumes as soon as thyroid hormone levels are stabilized. The bad news: this can take anywhere between 4 months to 1 year.

How Thyroid Issues Cause Hair Loss:

Hair growth depends upon the functioning of the thyroid gland. So, while low amounts of thyroid hormones T3 and T4 (hypothyroidism) cause the overall thinning of scalp hair and loss of eyebrow hairs on the outer edge, the overproduction of these hormones (hyperthyroidism) leads to rapid hair loss on the scalp and body. Excess of DHT, or dihydrotestosterone-which shrinks hair follicles-due to hormonal imbalance can also be a major cause of hair loss. However, only prolonged and severe hyper- and hypothyroidism contribute towards this side-effect.

The Treatment:

From lab tests to home remedies, here is how to identify and combat thyroid-caused hair loss:

1- Make Sure You’re Not Undertreated:

Some doctors prescribe generic thyroid medication without taking a patient’s individual condition into account, for instance, unregulated TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) levels outside of the optimum range, i.e. 1.0-2.0 could be causing your hair loss, and your doctor might not have prescribed anything for it. Check with several specialists to find out if your current medication is right for you. Also have your Free T4 (FT4) and T3 (FT3) levels examined as they might also be the causative agents of hair loss.

2- Check Your Medication:

If Levothyroxine-the premier drug for T4 regulation-is causing your hair loss, consult with your doctor about the possibilities of switching to another medicine. Moreover, combining your current T4 medication (which is what doctors usually prescribe for thyroid treatment) with a T3 drug could benefit hair growth, especially if long-term use of T4 medicines is worsening hair loss.

3- Know Your Deficiencies:

Iron, or particularly Ferritin (the stored and useable form of iron) deficiency might result in hair loss, and for those with hypothyroid, low zinc levels have been linked to furthering hair loss. In both cases, consult with your practitioner for iron or zinc supplements. Other nutrient supplements that might prevent your hair form falling include pantothenic acid, saw palmetto, and vitamin B6.

4- Specialized Hair Loss Drugs:

If excess DHT is behind your hair woes, using the popular hair loss treatments, Minoxidil-applied topically (like a lotion)-and Finasteride-in pill form-can inhibit DHT’s function and halt hair loss. However, both drugs require between a few months to a year for visible results, with continued use to maintain hair growth. Known to cause birth and developmental defects, these drugs are not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Talk to your doctor before you begin taking them.

5- Adrenal Fatigue:

Famous for producing adrenaline in fight-or-flight situations, excessive stress sends the adrenal gland into overdrive for days on end, tiring it out. This reduces thyroid hormone production and conversion, resulting in various symptoms of hypothyroid, including hair loss.

6- A Good Diet:

Avoid inflammatory foods such as corn, soy, eggs, nuts, seeds and dairy products. Instead, fill your meal plan with thyroid-friendly foods rich in iodine, selenium, zinc, iron and Vitamins D, B and A to help the conversion of T4 into T3 and revert hair loss. Examples include leafy green and starchy vegetables, farm-fresh fruits and healthy fats. Giving up caffiene and alchohol may also contribute to the prevention of hair loss.

7- Special Shampoos:

Moisturizing or hydrating shampoos that contain either Glycerin, Silicone or Keratin are ideal for thyroid-caused thin and dry hair-the common hair condition of thyroid patients. If your hair isn’t dry, look for specialized hair loss shampoos.

8- Coconut Oil:

For patients with hypothyroidism, consumption of 1 tbsp coconut oil or direct application onto the scalp can curb hair loss. This is because coconut oil contains healthy saturated fats that are beneficial for thyroid function.

9- Evening Primrose Oil (EPO):

The Omega-6 fatty acids in EPO control hair fall by halting the conversion of DHT. It can be applied topically to the scalp or taken in the form of 2 500mg capsules daily.

Discuss with your practitioner before choosing to employ any of the methods above. Book an Appointment with a top Endocrinologist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com. Or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your Thyroid troubles.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.
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