January is the month for new beginnings, new goals and the time when many of us take a renewed interest in our health and wellness.
It’s also Thyroid Awareness Month, a month dedicated to giving the thyroid gland some special attention, especially if you are experiencing hair loss.
I am writing this blog for several reasons:
First of all, I have a thyroid disorder myself, so I truly understand how your overall well-being can be linked to having your thyroid hormones in balance. The hormones secreted by this butterfly-shaped gland regulate the body’s metabolism, so a healthy thyroid is essential to nearly every bodily function.
The second reason I am addressing thyroid health is because many people are unaware that thyroid imbalances may be a common cause for hair (and even eyebrow) thinning. According to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), up to 60 percent of individuals with thyroid disorders are unaware of their condition. That’s pretty sobering!
Thirdly, thyroid disorders are often misdiagnosed. Some forms of thyroid disease come on abruptly and are diagnosed quickly. However, others are present for months (or even years) before a correct diagnosis is made. There are a variety of signs and symptoms you may experience if you have thyroid disease. Unfortunately, symptoms of a thyroid disorder are often similar to the signs of other medical conditions. This can make it difficult to know if your symptoms are related to a thyroid issue or something else entirely. It is important that your doctor is able to make a careful and correct diagnosis of your medical condition.
Symptoms of Thyroid-Related Hair Loss
For the most part, the symptoms of thyroid disease can be divided into two groups – those related to having too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) and those related to having too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism).
The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism include: fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, brain fog, memory loss, depression, cold hands/feet, dry skin, brittle nails, PMS, puffy face and lack of sex drive.
The most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: weight loss, tremors, excessive sweating, heart palpitations, goiter (enlarged thyroid gland), insomnia, changes in menstrual cycle, anxiety and restlessness.
Severe and prolonged hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can cause loss of hair. Typically, hair loss is diffuse and involves the entire scalp rather than discrete areas. Many people worry that all of their hair will fall out, but the good news is that most cases of scalp and eyebrow hair loss due to thyroid disorders is usually temporary. Your physician will determine the appropriate treatment plan for you.
It’s important to know that you're not alone and it is normal to be concerned about your hair loss. Any hair loss, even temporary, can be distressing. Rest assured, one of our hair loss specialists at Advanced Hair Solutions is available to discuss your concerns during a complimentary and confidential consultation. There are many options available to restore your hair and confidence.
Additional Information Regarding the Prevalence and Impact of Thyroid Disease (from the ATA):
- More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime.
- An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease.
- Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.
- One woman in eight will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime.
- The causes of thyroid problems are largely unknown.
- Undiagnosed thyroid disease may put patients at risk for certain serious conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and infertility.
- Pregnant women with undiagnosed hypothyroidism have an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery and severe developmental problems in their children.
- Most thyroid diseases are life-long conditions that can be managed with proper medical care.
For more valuable information from the ATA (including information on clinical trials and finding a thyroid specialist in your area), click here.
We are our own health advocates, so if you suspect you are suffering from a thyroid disorder, I encourage you to consult with your physician. If you think you need a second opinion, please get one. I have firsthand experience of receiving professional care when dealing with a thyroid disorder. It’s a puzzling and frustrating condition, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, you can feel great (and have great hair, too)!
Keep reading our blogs for more helpful health and wellness tips, hair care information, and much more!
Renata Marie Vestevich