Some people with thyroid disorders (underactive or overactive thyroid gland) develop hair loss, brittle hair, or thinning hair directly related to their thyroid condition.
Thyroid disorders are reversible, but not everyone understands how to slow, stop, or reverse thyroid hair loss. Medications like levothyroxine, individualized nutrient therapy,, and simple lifestyle changes like avoiding tight buns (what is this?) can make a huge difference.
The good news is that hair loss caused by thyroid conditions is often temporary and treatable. Once your thyroid hormone levels are normalized through treatments or just over time, your hair loss should resolve.
At PrimeHealth, we’ve helped many people like you reverse their thyroid conditions. Many people deal with thyroid problems for years without realizing their symptoms are explainable and often curable. Denver, CO residents, schedule your free consultation now to learn more.
Thinning Hair Is Often One of the First Signs of Thyroid Disease
Early warning signs of thyroid problems include thinning hair, sensitivity to temperature, weight changes, fatigue, dry skin, and goiter.
A few symptoms of thyroid disease overlap with menopause, such as hair loss. Women sometimes mistake thyroid symptoms for signs of menopause. Consult your healthcare provider about diagnosing thyroid problems versus menopause with blood tests.
How Thyroid Disease Leads to Hair Loss
Thyroid-related hair loss affects more than a third of thyroid patients. Alopecia areata is the name for autoimmune baldness often associated with autoimmune thyroid diseases. The two primary autoimmune diseases associated with the thyroid and hair loss are:
- Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). A primary symptom of hypothyroidism is hair loss.
- Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition that leads to overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). This thyroid issue leads to thinning hair.
Here’s the science of why this happens: Healthy hair follicles contain thyroid hormone receptors. A decrease in thyroid hormone levels seems to reduce hair follicle activity, the underlying cause of hair loss. Conversely, too much thyroid hormone also seems to cause thinning hair.
You naturally lose 50-100 hairs a day. When new hair growth is delayed by altered production of thyroid hormones or overall poor thyroid health, the lost hair will not be replaced as it normally is.
You may notice balding spots within a few weeks, typically on the top of your head. You may also recognize hair loss on your eyebrows or body hair.
Diffuse hair loss is a type of hair loss characterized by the shedding of hair from all over the scalp, rather than in specific, localized areas. It often results in overall hair thinning without distinct bald spots or patches. It may also be a side effect of certain thyroid medications.
Treating the Root Cause of Thyroid Hair Loss
Mild thyroid disease doesn’t usually result in thinning hair or hair loss. However, treating thyroid hair loss when it does happen must start with addressing the root cause — the thyroid problem.
Conventional doctors may prescribe medications, but there are natural remedies that work for many people, as well as lifestyle changes and handy tips to prevent as much hair loss as you can.
Your doctor may prescribe thyroid medication or antithyroid drugs to keep your condition under control. These drugs or hormone medications should help keep your hair thick or even regenerate hair growth.
Medications for thyroid disease and thyroid hair loss may include:
- Levothyroxine (for hypothyroidism)
- Liothyronine (for hypothyroidism)
- Desiccated thyroid gland (for hypothyroidism)
- Propylthiouracil (for hyperthyroidism)
- Methimazole (for hyperthyroidism)
- Beta-blockers (for hyperthyroidism)
As healthcare providers, our team typically tries the least pharmaceutical method of treatment first to reverse our patients’ thyroid issues. However, if treatment doesn’t seem to address associated hair loss, we may consider one of the above thyroid medications in the short or long term, as needed.
How do you fix thyroid hair loss? We’ve found that most people can fix thyroid hair loss with natural thyroid treatments and lifestyle changes. Consider evidence-based herbs and essential oils, but focus on eating a balanced, anti-inflammatory diet to restore healthy thyroid function.
Natural remedies to reverse thyroid hair loss include:
- Address nutritional deficiencies, including iodine, zinc, and iron/ferritin
- Ensure you’re not vitamin deficient, especially in vitamins A, all B vitamins (especially B7 (biotin)), vitamin C, and vitamin E
- Avoid inflammatory foods, such as processed or sugary foods
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods, such as fatty fish and dark chocolate
- Herbal remedies like saw palmetto or ginger supplements
- Essential oils like eucalyptus
Low estrogen may also thin your hair follicles, giving the appearance of overall hair loss. Talk to your doctor about checking hormone levels — not only thyroid hormones, but estrogen, too.
Some lifestyle changes and handy tips can help you prevent hair loss in your everyday life:
- Don’t braid or ponytail your hair.
- Avoid pulling your hair into tight buns.
- Use wide-toothed combs when dealing with hair knots.
- Limit harsh hair treatments, such as bleaching and chemical dye.
- Consider air drying your hair instead of exposing it to direct heat.
- Eat healthy, including leafy greens and calcium-rich foods.
- Openly seek emotional support during your hair loss/regrowth journey.
- Be patient with hair regrowth — it can take months, but it’s worth it.
Will hair loss from thyroid conditions grow back?
Yes, in most cases, thyroid hair loss will grow back when you address the root cause and return your thyroid hormone levels to balance. With thyroid hormones restored to normal, your hair follicles typically become as healthy and strong as before.
What are the side effects of thyroid medications?
Some potential side effects of thyroid hormone medication include:
- Sensitivity to heat
- Mood swings
- Trouble sleeping
- Muscle weakness
In severe cases, your provider may recommend radioactive iodine or thyroid surgery.
What is the thyroid gland?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland. It is a part of your endocrine system, located in your neck, and responsible for producing and secreting hormones, such as T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine).
Your thyroid directly impacts your heart, metabolism, digestive system, and most of the rest of your body.
What are the symptoms of thyroid disease?
Some of the common symptoms of thyroid problems (underactive and/or overactive thyroid) include:
- Hair loss or thinning hair
- Cold or heat sensitivity
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Anxiety, depression
- Chronic fatigue
- Dry skin
- Brittle nails
- Diarrhea, constipation
- Goiter (visibly enlarged thyroid gland)
Get the Support You’ve Been Searching For
If you’re losing hair, we recommend talking with your healthcare provider to identify and address the underlying cause. Almost all cases of hypothyroidism can be reversed — the proof is in the numerous clients who have come to us for help and found real answers.
Colorado residents: Book a free consultation today to work with PrimeHealth clinicians to treat the root cause of your thyroid condition. We will work with you to employ the right treatment plan for your unique situation.
- Hussein, R. S., Atia, T., Dayel, S. B., & DAYEL, S. B. (2023). Impact of Thyroid Dysfunction on Hair Disorders. Cureus, 15(8).
- Hasan, R., Juma, H., Eid, F. A., Alaswad, H. A., Ali, W. M., Aladraj, F. J., … & Aladraj, F. (2022). Effects of Hormones and Endocrine Disorders on Hair Growth. Cureus, 14(12).
- Tristan Asensi, M., Napoletano, A., Sofi, F., & Dinu, M. (2023). Low-Grade Inflammation and Ultra-Processed Foods Consumption: A Review. Nutrients, 15(6), 1546.
- Stromsnes, K., Correas, A. G., Lehmann, J., Gambini, J., & Olaso-Gonzalez, G. (2021). Anti-inflammatory properties of diet: Role in healthy aging. Biomedicines, 9(8), 922.
- Arca, E., Açıkgöz, G., Yeniay, Y., & Çalışkan, E. (2014). Erkeklerde Androgenetik Alopesi Tedavisinde Topikal Saw Palmetto ve Trichogen Veg Kompleksinin Etkinlik ve Güvenirliğinin Değerlendirilmesi. Turkish Journal of Dermatology/Turk Dermatoloji Dergisis, 8(4).
- Zgonc Škulj, A., Poljšak, N., Kočevar Glavač, N., & Kreft, S. (2020). Herbal preparations for the treatment of hair loss. Archives of dermatological research, 312, 395-406.
- Burg, D., Yamamoto, M., Namekata, M., Haklani, J., Koike, K., & Halasz, M. (2017). Promotion of anagen, increased hair density and reduction of hair fall in a clinical setting following identification of FGF5-inhibiting compounds via a novel 2-stage process. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 71-85.
- Guo, E. L., & Katta, R. (2017). Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use.Dermatology practical & conceptual, 7(1), 1.