The thyroid is a small but mighty gland in the neck that produces hormones to help regulate the body’s metabolism, digestive system, heart rate and other areas. When hormone production is disrupted it can affect the body in many ways, including the health of your hair.
During Thyroid Awareness Month, Eva Proudman MIT IAT, Chairman of The Institute of Trichologists, discusses thyroid function and the hair, and offers hope for those suffering:
- Hypothyroidism, (low/underactive thyroid function) and Hyperthyroidism, (overly active thyroid function) are both conditions caused by an imbalance of hormones, where your thyroid gland either doesn’t produce enough or produces too much of certain hormones, which in turn can affect the body’s production of hair cells.
- Severe and prolonged cases can cause reduced hair growth and hair loss, which may present as ‘diffuse’ thinning across the entire scalp.
- With low/underactive thyroid function the hair can appear to grow more slowly and be more fragile and prone to breakage. With an overactive thyroid function the hair can shed more than normal.
- Regrowth can, and often does occur with successful treatment of the thyroid disorder, with the appropriate medications. It can sometimes take time to find the right balance of treatment and the hair will reflect this until the treatments are stabilised.
- The thyroid can have a sudden onset and be diagnosed at an early stage, whereas, other thyroid disorders can be undetected for months or even years.
It is also worth checking dietary intake and vitamin and mineral levels to ensure that there are no other underlying causes that might be affecting the hair and could be put down incorrectly to the thyroid.
The good news is that although thyroid conditions can affect the hair and cause hair loss, it is not permanent, once medication is balanced the hair can and does recover.