Hair loss treatment: Treating an under or overactive thyroid might boost hair growth

This Morning’s Dr Chris explains under-active thyroid symptoms

When a person has either of these health conditions, and it’s not treated, hair loss can occur all over the scalp. Spareness becomes the norm, but regrowth is possible with thyroid treatment. “Hair loss becomes apparent several months after the onset of thyroid disease,” said the charity. The thyroid gland, located in the neck, secretes two hormones into the bloodstream: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

These hormones are “necessary for all the cells in your body to work normally”.

The extremely common condition, affecting around one in 20 people, affects a person’s metabolism – the speed at which the body’s cells work.

Overactive thyroid

Hyperthyroidism is the result of the thyroid secreting too much of the hormones.

Underactive thyroid

Meanwhile, hypothyroidism means the thyroid gland doesn’t secrete enough hormones.

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An overactive thyroid (i.e. hyperthyroidism) can lead to the following symptoms, alongside hair loss:

  • Weight loss
  • Heat intolerance
  • Anxiety
  • Sore and gritty eyes

An underactive thyroid (i.e. hypothyroidism) could lead to the following symptoms:

  • Tiredness
  • Feeling cold
  • Weight gain
  • Poor concentration
  • Depression

The pituitary gland – that lies underneath the brain in the skull – is in charge of regulating thyroid secretions.

To illustrate, when too little of the T3 and T4 hormones are circulating in the bloodstream, the pituitary gland will release the “thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)”.

TSH would then active the thyroid gland to secrete more T3 and T4 into the bloodstream.

When there’s too many T3 and T4 hormones circulating in the bloodstream, then the pituitary gland will sense this.

As a result, the pituitary gland would stop secreting TSH so that the thyroid gland reduces its secretion of T3 and T4 hormones.

People who suffer from a thyroid issue are likely to have an autoimmune thyroid disease called Graves’ disease.

This is when the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid cells, causing either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

Blood tests can measure if there’s too much or too little T3 and T4 circulating in the bloodstream.

In addition, a blood sample can identify how active the pituitary gland is by measuring the TSH.

Most thyroid conditions can be treated with daily medication, and hair growth can be achieved after several months of treatment.

“Try to be patient as regrowth can be unpredictable, and be aware that new hair may differ in texture and colour,” said the British Thyroid Foundation.

Due to the long hair growth cycle, hair loss may seemingly follow treatment of thyroid disease.

However, if thyroid medication is erroneously blamed – when in reality, it’s because of the thyroid disease – some people may be tempted to stop treatment.

This would be a mistake as it can worsen hair loss in the long term; it’s better to stick with treatment and eventually hair regrowth can emerge.

For more information on thyroid disease please visit the British Thyroid Foundation.

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