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Hair And Your Thyroid

Karen Marie Shelton - Copyright - All Rights Reserved. 
Revised Publication Date: 01/10/10

Introduction

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Most people have no idea what the thyroid looks like or even where it's located in the human body.

The thyroid is a small gland which resembles the outspread wings of a bat.  It actually sits at the base of the throat.

The thyroid excretes hormones which are divided mainly into T4 known as thyroxine and T3 or triiodothyronine

These thyroid hormones help cells convert calories and oxygen into energy.  Thryoid hormones also play a key part in the growth and maintenance of hair on the head.

Many people suffering from hyperthroidism will experience hair loss issues ranging from minor to severe.

Ironically some experts believe a high consumption of soy in the diet may actually interfere in the absorption of any thyroid medications prescribed to treat any malfunctioning of the thyroid gland.

Whether your thyroid is underactive or overactive it may ultimately trigger hair loss in either men or women.  A diseased thyroid can also manifest as overall hair changes again which can range from relatively minor to major.

Continued below ↓
 

Determination Of Diseased Thyroid Gland

One of the controversies over the years in the medical profession, especially with thyroid disease sufferers is whether the diagnostic tests used are finely calibrated in order to accurately catch those with a thyroid condition.

Some thyroid experts now believe there is a strong link between thyroid disease and Premenstrual Symptoms (PMS).  Women with a long history of PMS should pay close attention to their thyroid and be proactive about finding a doctor who is willing to do any necessary testing to diagnose the existence of disease.

Holistic physicians believe that if a diagnostic test is inconclusive but you have real physical symptoms, you may be able to still pinpoint the problem through awareness of symptoms.

Keeping a journal to track symptoms if a medical test is clear is an excellent way to investigate further.  Trusting in what your body and hair is telling you is always an excellent step in locating and resolving physical issues.

Symptoms Of Hypothyroid

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If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed below you may have hypothroid issues:

  • Constipation

  • Dry Skin

  • Decreased libido

  • Depression

  • Fatigue

  • Feeling Cold

  • Goiter

  • Headaches

  • Irregular menstrual periods (long, heavy)

  • Irritability

  • Slow healing

  • Slow pulse

  • Water retention

  • Weight gain

Symptoms Of Hyperthyroid

If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed below you may have hypothroid issues:

  • Anxiety

  • Nervousness

  • Bulging eyes

  • Diarrhea

  • Enlarged thyroid gland

  • Excessive sweating

  • Hair Loss

  • Increased hunger

  • Insomnia

  • Irregular menstrual periods (skipped, light or spotty)

  • Irritability

  • Rapid heart beats

  • Heart palpitations

  • Trembling hands

  • Weight loss

Note:  Check out:  Fluoride, Your Thyroid, Your Hair - How fluoride consumption may impact your thyroid and your hair.

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Relationship Between Thyroid Issues And Progesterone

Doctors believe there is a strong link between progesterone deficiency and hypothyroidism. 

It is believed that when progesterone receptors malfunction due to low blood sugar, high stress, adrenal fatigue or menopause, the thyroid malfunctions as a result.  Low progesterone often goes hand in hand with low thyroid.

Hormone fluctuations play a major part in hair loss issues as well as thyroid disease.  Again, a common coincidence.

Some doctors believe women experiencing sudden hair loss should always have their thyroids checked as a matter of course.  Others believe women should routinely have their thyroids checked as they transition into peri or full blown menopause.  Regardless of their age. 

Since some women are now experiencing menopausal shifts as early as their 30s, the thyroid may be impacted, even at that age.

During this hormonal shift, the thyroid may begin to malfunction due to the change in progesterone levels and the earlier the problem is caught, the better chance of managing any thyroid disease effectively.

American Thyroid Association

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The official position of the American Thyroid Association promotes screening only for those people who are 35 or older. 

The American College of Physicians/American Society of Internal Medicine believe thyroid testing should not be performed before age 50. 

When to test and whether it should be routine or only when symptoms present themselves is up to the individual physician you consult with if you have hair loss or other thyroid disease indicators.

Thyroid imbalances are not preventable but they can be managed.  The best bet is to catch a malfunctioning thyroid as early as possible to prevent hair loss or other secondary symptoms.

Basal Temperature Tracking And TSH Tests

Some doctors will ask their patients with possible thyroid issues to track their basal body temperatures for a period of time to see if it is running low.  A measurement less than 97.6 several mornings in a row may be a good indicator.

Other physicans will depend solely on a TSH blood test which measures the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormones in the blood. A normal reading is thought to be between 0.5-5.  Anything great than 5 may indicate thyroid hormone production is low.

The TSH blood test and the readings have been known to be controversial with some people testing normal but still experiencing hair loss or other thyroid deficiency issues. 

A normal TSH may not mean your are free of thyroid disease, which is why it's important to look at the symptoms, track your temperature and seek alternative opinions if you believe you have thyroid issues.

Controversial TSH Results

Not all people who test normal with TSH are free of thyroid issues and not all people who test abnormal actually are. 

The British Medical Journal in 2000 acknowledged that the TSH testing results may be ambiguous and should be determined accurately by how the patient ultimately feels.

Not All Hair Loss Tied To Thyroid Imbalances

Not all hair loss is directly tied to thyroid imbalances.  It can just be one of the causes but if the thyroid is involved, it can be a major cause which can be handled with medication.

Diagnosing and treating thyroid issues can be challenging which is why it's very important to find a physician you trust and take responsibility for doing your own research into the symptoms, causes and treatments which may be best for you.  When in doubt get a second or even third opinion.

Summary

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Hair loss may actually be a symptom of a malfunctioning thyroid glad, especially when the thyroid is hypothyroid.  Other thyroid deficiences may show up as extremely dry tresses or a general change in the hair's mantle.

While thyroid disease is not the be all and end all to hair loss symptoms and cures, it can be a contributing factor.  Or not.

Diagnosing thyroid disease may not always be an exact science but with the help of a medical expert and listening to your own body and symptoms if your hair is impacted, you can find positive resolutions.

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Original Publication Date:  03/06/08 - Revised Publication Date:  01/10/10

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