A common concern for aging men and women alike is thinning hair or hair loss. Both issues are likely for many people who carry a gene that causes such problems. Even more so because these could be symptoms of an illness or a side effect of medication. For those unfortunate enough to develop a thyroid illness, these symptoms may show up earlier in life than expected.
About the Thyroid
The thyroid (if you are unfamiliar) is a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck that produces hormones. These hormones control the speed of your metabolism, as well as growth in the body. Growth, in this sense, encompasses anything from bone mass to hair.
With hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland is not making enough hormones for your body to function properly. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause, a condition that causes the body to attack its immune system. In turn, your metabolism slows significantly, and symptoms such as sudden weight gain, fatigue, and depression arise. Hypothyroidism is common, and it affects about 4.6 percent of the United States population.
Hyperthyroidism is almost the exact opposite. Those with this disease have a thyroid that produces too much of its hormones. This speeds up your metabolism causing more issues within the body. Symptoms include fast heart rate, sudden weight loss, restlessness, and anxiety. Graves’ disease often causes hyperthyroidism causing the thyroid to work on overdrive.
Symptoms Include Hair loss
You inherit both thyroid diseases through your bloodline, and neither is curable. They can, however, be treated with lifelong medication to keep the thyroid’s hormone production stable. If left untreated, both diseases can cause sudden hair thinning. Unfortunately, your hair doesn’t thin in discrete areas; the whole scalp area thins out at once. Both men and women of any age or race can have either disease, but most are affected following puberty or giving birth.
Luckily, the medications available treat this symptom too. The treatment for hypothyroidism a daily hormone supplement. This supplement brings your hormones to regular levels inhibiting severe symptoms from appearing. Doctors prescribe antithyroid medications to treat hyperthyroidism. These are also taken daily to improve your symptoms gradually. Doctors can also use radioactive iodine as a treatment that slowly breaks down the thyroid. Without a thyroid, hormone replacement therapy is necessary to regulate the body’s metabolism.
By consistently taking medication, your hair will begin to grow in thicker and fuller, and the other symptoms will disappear as well once your hormones balance out in your body. Remember that while thyroid issues are unlikely to be cured, there are ways to live a normal life. If left untreated, hair loss can become much more extreme, and your body could face many other lifestyle-threatening issues.
If you’re interested in learning about all your hair loss options, come into Allusions and talk to one of our Hair Loss experts today!