Hypothyroidism and Hair Loss

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located near your Adam's apple that produces the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3 and T4 regulate all aspects of your metabolism, such as maintaining the rate that your body uses carbohydrates, helping to control your body temperature, and regulating protein production.

Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by your thyroid gland not producing enough T3 or T4, or your pituitary gland not producing enough of the hormone that causes the thyroid to release hormones (thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH). There are many different causes of hypothyroidism, including:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Radiation therapy
  • Thyroid surgery
  • Certain medications

Hypothyroidism can cause a number of different symptoms, including alopecia (hair loss). Thankfully, there are a number of treatments available that can help you treat hypothyroidism and hair loss. To learn more about treatment options, find a healthcare provider here.

Hypothyroidism Hair Loss Pattern

There is a connection between the thyroid and hair loss, as thyroid hormones are crucial for helping your hair follicles stimulate hair growth. Your hair goes through two main phases: growth and resting. Research has found that T4 and, to a lesser extent, T3 regulate the growth phase of hair, and also suppress the death of hair follicles. As a result, a lack of thyroid hormones due to hypothyroidism can cause thinning hair, though it may take months for significant hair loss to become noticeable. However, since hypothyroidism can be difficult to diagnose, thinning hair can be an important indication that you have issues with your thyroid gland.

Besides hair loss, other symptoms of hypothyroidism may include:

  • Fatigue or muscle weakness
  • Stiffness, swelling, or pain in the joints
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, including hair loss or thinning, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Treatment for Hair Loss Due to Hypothyroidism

Early diagnosis of hypothyroidism hair loss can help prevent any further hair loss, and in most cases, help you regrow your lost hair. To diagnose the condition, a blood test is used to determine the amounts of thyroid hormones, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and/or thyroid antibodies that are in your system.

If a positive diagnosis is made, there are many methods available for treatment of hypothyroidism, and once your hormone levels are restored to normal, your hair loss may be reversed. Talk with your healthcare provider about which treatment is right for you. If you need help finding a provider, check out our physician directory .

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Hypothyroidism Cause Hair Loss?

Thinning hair can be one of many symptoms symptom of hypothyroidism. Since hypothyroidism can be difficult to diagnose, thinning hair can be an important indication that you have issues with your thyroid gland.

Why Does Hypothyroidism Cause Hair Loss?

The thyroid hormones T3 and T4 help to regulate the growth of hair, meaning that a loss of thyroid hormones means a potential increase in hair loss as well.

Is Hair Loss the Only Symptom of Hypothyroidism?

No. While the symptoms of hypothyroidism can vary due to the severity of your hormone deficiency, other symptoms like fatigue, weight gain or loss, depression, joint problems, impaired memory, and others are common.

How Can You Diagnose Hypothyroidism?

A blood test can be used to measure the amount of thyroid hormones, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and/or thyroid antibodies that are in your system.

How Can You Stop Hair Loss Caused by Hypothyroidism?

There are a number of treatments that can help to raise your thyroid hormones to healthy levels, such as thyroid medication, supplementation, and diet and lifestyle changes. Talk to your healthcare provider about what treatment is right for you.

Will My Hair Grow Back After Thyroid Treatment?

While most cases of hair loss due to hypothyroidism are reversible, it will take some time for the hair to grow back.

References

1. Billoni N et al. Thyroid hormone receptor beta1 is expressed in the human hair follicle. Br J Dermatol 2000; 142(4): 645-52.

2. Chapman RS and Main RA. Diffuse thinning of hair in iodide-induced hypothyroidism. Br J Dermatol 1967; 79(2): 103-105.

3. Freinkel R and Kreinkel N. Hair growth and alopecia in hypothyroidism. Arch Dermatol 1972; 106(3): 349-352.

4. Mayo Clinic Staff. MayoClinic.org. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20350284. Published December 6, 2017. Accessed December 13, 2017.

5. Myers, Amy. AmyMyersMD.com. 10 Tips to Reverse Thyroid Hair Loss. https://www.amymyersmd.com/2016/10/10-tips-reverse-thyroid-hair-loss/. Published October 10, 2016. Accessed December 13, 2017.

6. Northrup, Christiane. What is Thyroid Disease? Common Thyroid Disease Symptoms To Look For. Christiane Northrup, Christiane Northrup, M.D.

7. Osansky, Eric. Natural Endocrine Solutions. http://www.naturalendocrinesolutions.com/archives/how-long-does-it-take-to-reverse-thyroid-hair-loss/. Published January 28, 2016. Accessed December 13, 2017.

8. Rajapet, Meenal. StyleCraze.com. http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/simple-natural-ways-to-combat-thyroid-induced-hair-loss/#gref. 8 Simple Ways to Combat Thyroid-Induced Hair Loss Naturally. Published September 19, 2017. Accessed December 13, 2017.

9. Thyroid and Hair Loss. Thyroidadvisor.com. https://thyroidadvisor.com/thyroid-hair-loss/. Published 2017. Accessed December 13, 2017.

10. WebMD Staff. WebMD. Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Road to Good Health?. https://www.webmd.com/diet/anti-inflammatory-diet-road-to-good-health#1. Published January 16, 2017. Accessed December 13, 2017.

11. WebMD Staff. WebMD. Hypothyroidism - Topic Overview. https://www.webmd.com/women/tc/hypothyroidism-topic-overview#1. Published 2017. Accessed December 13, 2017.