Does Hypothyroidism Cause Hair Loss?
Hair is an important part of who we are and how we present ourselves to society. It can be an accurate indicator of our overall health and quickly loses its healthy shine if we are suffering from ill health or a medical condition.
The Normal Rate of Hair Growth
A healthy head of hair normally grows about one inch every eight weeks and may have a slower resting period every few years. Male baldness occurs naturally in many men after middle age and is the result of new hair failing to grow. The hairline gradually recedes and the once full head of hair gradually becomes thinner. Noticeable hair loss is different and should be taken seriously in both men and women, especially if it starts to fall out in large amounts in the shower or in your hairbrush.
There are generally three causes of hair loss, excluding chemotherapy: iron deficiency, mineral deficiency, and thyroid problems. Often the most obvious symptom of hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is hair loss. There are many ways people can try to regain some of the lost hair, such as taking vitamins for hair loss.
Finasteride and Hair Loss
Some doctors prescribe the drug Finasteride as a cure to stop hair loss and male pattern baldness. However, long-term use of this drug has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. This drug is primarily prescribed to treat those with an enlarged prostate due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and should certainly never be taken by women to treat hair loss.
Finasteride works by lowering the male DHT hormone which controls the growth of the prostate and may affect male pattern baldness. However, the side effects of taking this drug include dizziness, lower libido and gynecomastia - the development of large breasts in males.
Those suffering from serious hair loss should consider treating the cause, rather than taking medication which is associated with such serious health risks.
Mineral Deficiency and Hair Loss
We mentioned earlier that hair loss is often caused by a deficiency of iron or natural minerals. This can easily be remedied by adopting a healthy balanced diet with plenty of green vegetables and a daily multivitamin supplement which includes Folic Acid or iron. If no improvements are seen, hair loss is most likely being caused by an underactive thyroid.
The hormones produced by the thyroid control the body's rate of metabolism which includes energy levels and cell renewal. One of the most common side effects of an underactive thyroid is rapid hair loss caused by the slower metabolic rate. The scalp follicles are insufficiently stimulated, leading to weak brittle hair which easily breaks at the root and fails to regrow as quickly as it should.
Hypothyroidism can only accurately be diagnosed through a blood test. If diagnosed and correctly treated then hair loss should stop, although lost hair may never be restored.
Natural Solutions to Support Healthy Hair Growth
Many natural herbs are used in shampoos as they are known to stimulate circulation to the scalp and support a healthy head of thick glossy hair. Evening primrose oil is known to inhibit dihydrotestosterone in the hair follicles which helps prevent hair loss.
Indian gooseberry is thought to provide essential nutrients for the scalp and hair, along with horsetail which is rich in silicon, potassium and calcium (possibly those mineral deficiencies mentioned earlier).
Biotin is essential for producing strong hair and nails and stinging nettle extract is often used in shampoos to create thick glossy hair.
There are also vitamins for hair loss you can take if you?re still searching for how to stop hair loss. These hair supplements often have one or more of the above-mentioned ingredients.
By ensuring you have a balanced thyroid and a healthy diet supported by natural supplements of vitamins and minerals, any hair loss should quickly be corrected. Remember, a healthy head of hair is an accurate indicator of your general health, so treating the cause may be wiser than treating the hair loss itself.