Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. Your thyroid gland—located in the front of your lower neck—produces hormones to regulate metabolic processes in your body. According to Dr. Mary Parks with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), when your thyroid doesn’t work properly, it affects the function of your brain, heart, kidneys, liver and skin. Your thyroid function can be affected by poor diet, chemicals in food, consumption of saturated fats, radiation from X-rays, alcohol and drugs. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, fatigue, depression, dry skin and hair loss.
Hair loss is a common symptom for sufferers of hypothyroidism. When you begin taking thyroid medication to treat underactive thyroid, you will continue to experience the symptoms of hypothyroidism for two to three months. Continuing to lose hair after starting on thyroid medication is normal; however, if you are still losing hair after being on medication for two to three months, you should consult with your physician. Medications for underactive thyroid provide the identical natural thyroid hormone produced by your body. According to Dr. Mary Parks, medication side effects—like hair loss—mostly occur because of over-dosage. Medications for underactive thyroid include leothyroxine, synthroid, levoxyl and levothroid. Underactive thyroid medication may need to be taken for a lifetime to maintain healthy hormone levels. To avoid hair loss, it’s important to have routine testing—while on thyroid medication—to be certain you still need the medicine and are taking the correct dose.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland produces too much hormone. Hyperthyroidism symptoms include weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, tremors and hair loss. Hyperthyroidism can be more difficult to treat than hypothyroidism. Treatment options include taking medication to slow down the production of thyroid hormone, surgery to remove the thyroid or radioactive iodine therapy to slow down the production of thyroid hormone. Treatment options for hyperthyroidism, including the medications propylthioracil and methimazole, don’t cause hair loss. The treatment on your thyroid can cause other thyroid conditions and worsen symptoms like hair loss. According to Dr. Mary Parks with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), treatment options for hyperthyroidism may treat the problem of overactive thyroid, but usually cause the patient to develop an underactive thyroid.
Medications and Hair Loss
Thyroid conditions—hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism—cause hair loss not medication. Thyroid medication can cause you to develop an overactive thyroid when being treated for an underactive thyroid and vice versa. You will continue to lose hair—while on medication—if the thyroid medication isn’t helping your body to produce normal levels of thyroid hormone. Finding a successful treatment for your thyroid condition includes discussing medication and routine testing options with your physician so you don’t suffer from over medication and further loss of hair.
There are natural alternatives—for treating thyroid disease—you can discuss with your physician. Attempting to treat your thyroid naturally before undergoing surgery, radiation, or being on medication for the rest of your life may be a great choice for some. The natural approach to thyroid disease is to give the thyroid the nutrients needed for healthy hormone production and allow your thyroid time to correct its self. The first step in naturally healing your thyroid is to eat a healthy diet including 8 to 10 servings of organic fruit and vegetables a day and exercising for 30 minutes a day 4 to 5 days a week. Your thyroid needs adequate amounts of vitamin B, zinc, iodine, copper, manganese, and molybdenum to function properly. The amino acid L-Tyrosine—which can be taken in supplement form—is also needed for normal hormone production. If you choose to take the natural route, talk to your doctor about referring you to a nutritionist or naturopath.