One of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism is hair loss. This is a very sad thing, especially for women who treasure their hair so much. I remember when I had such a long and thick hair, that even sometimes I had a headache if I was wearing my ponytail too long (!), but… not anymore. In age around 20 I noticed that my hair are much thinner. I made a braid which was like 3 times thinner than before! 😦 But this was not the end. I noticed I also have some bold spots on my temples… It didn’t look that horrible because I am light blond, but still! Oh my God, like a man! I got really scared, panic and sad at the same time.
Do not make me bald, thyroid!
I didn’t want to be bald, and I am sure no one wants. I decided to take action and do not let hormones destroy my look completely. Another syndrome of hypothyroidism is loss of the hair on the outer edge of the eyebrows, which I also noticed on mine, so started to use some eyebrow shadow. This was horrible experience to me! Imagine going to a swimming pool – your eyebrow shadow won’t stay in place and… half eyebrows welcome to! No thank you.
What did I do? First I was of course panic, then disappointed, then super focused on looking for the reason and solution. I read many articles, tips for hair growth, blogs etc. What did I find useful?
If you are a woman and have a symptoms of baldness, check your testosterone level. Yes it is masculine hormone, but women also need some testosterone and it is normal that we have it in small amounts. What happens when you have too much?
According to Testosterone Centers of Texas, male pattern of hair loss is listed as first symptom of too much testosterone in women. Another symptoms may be excessive body hair growth (which women do not want…), as well as acne – also very common in hypothyroidism. American Hair Loss Association:
The hormonal process of testosterone converting to DHT, which then harms hair follicles, happens in both men and women. Under normal conditions, women have a minute fraction of the level of testosterone that men have, but even a lower level can cause DHT- triggered hair loss in women. And certainly when those levels rise, DHT is even more of a problem.
Getting your testosterone levels into balance could help to alleviate your symptoms, trust me. A good doctor can prescribe you for instance estradiol gel to have your hormones balanced – talk to your doctor if you see any symptoms of high testosterone in your body.
Iron – ferritin
Iron deficiency may cause very bad hair loss. Sometimes doctors check iron levels, but even if your blood red cells and iron are in “norms” it does not mean it is enough for you… You should actually check your ferritin level – which is the stored form of iron. It shows the iron which really is stored in your body, not the one you just gained by drinking a parsley-contained smoothie or eating goose liver. I know sounds weird, but this is what Dr. Philip Kingsley says:
Correct ferritin levels maximize your hair’s “anagen” or “growing” phase and encourage your hairs to grow to their full length. When you aren’t getting enough iron through your diet, your body takes ferritin stored in non-essential tissue, like your hair bulb, and gives it to essential tissue, such as your heart. Because your hair bulb is where all your hair cells are produced, this leeching of ferritin can cause your hair to shed before it reaches its maximum length.
The average reference ranges for ferritin are 14-170 micrograms per litre, but our research shows that ferritin should be at least 80 ug/L(micrograms per litre) in women for hair follicles to function at their best.
This means, that if your ferritin is low, your iron for sure is a way too low and you have to change it ASAP. Dr. Izabella Wentz writes on her blog about ferritin as well:
Ferritin hair loss presents as increased hair loss during shampooing and brushing, as well as overall thinning of hair without specific pattern or bald spots. Rather, the woman may find that her hair feels thinner all over, and is less dense. (www.thyroidpharmacist.com)
What I checked and it worked for me – my ferritin levels are much higher – Floradix. This is natural liquid with herbs available here. Floradix is very easy to absorb and does not have bad influence on my stomach and digestion (which happens very often with iron supplements). It also contains vitamin C which supports iron absorption. I really recommend this one. Do not worry, I am not paid for this “advertisement” I even had a hard time to find Floradix here in USA for myself (I used to buy it in Europe in local herb stores) :).
I know in comparison to hormones & minerals power it seems like a drop in the bucket, but some shampoos can only make your hair condition worse and cause even more hair loss. Some of mine contained SLS (check my article about toxic substances) which was making my scalp dry, itchy and my hair dry and matte. This is unnecessary if you already losing them! I highly recommend to try some organic shampoos with natural oils, like Pura d’or with Argan oil, available here or on Amazon.
Vitamins & mineral deficiency
Vitamins and minerals are very important if you want to prevent from losing your hair. Especially people with hypothyroidism or/and Hashimoto’s disease may have a difficulty absorbing some nutrients, that is why they have deficiencies (in fact sides effects like losing hair). You may require supplements: zinc, iodine, vit D, magnesium, B12, biotin. I am taking biotin and see the difference – have some baby hairs. I am taking now 10 000 mcg (Country Life brand), but I heard very good reviews about this one.
If you want your hair to be healthy and shiny, make sure you eat enough omega 3 (good) fats. You can supplement yourself with fish oil and add for instance some fresh-grounded flax seeds to your meals (I add it to salads, smoothies, cereals).
I am sure there is more factors which may cause hair loss, however in my case these above were crucial, especially ferritin and testosterone. Your hair loss problem may have different background, sometimes even thyroid medications (!) can cause it. If you do not have enough T3 although your blood tests shows “normal” levels, you may still need more hormones to stop your hair loss. If you want to know which medications may cause losing hair read article published on webmed.com.
Remember, if you are losing hair, you need to be patient and find the reason, stress and panic will not help here. Good luck it is possible to reverse it! 🙂