• Chloe McElmury

Thyroids and Hair Loss

Thyroid cancer and disease can cause a whole host of symptoms that take a toll on our bodies. One of these includes hair loss or changes in your hair. Both hypo- and hyperthyroidism can cause dry, brittle, or thinning hair. 


Although thyroid cancer is usually a type of cancer that gets to avoid chemotherapy treatments that cause your hair to fall out, it’s still possible to have issues with your hair. I think we all know that our hair isn’t everything, but it’s a major part of our outward appearance to ourselves and those around us. When my hair is looking good, I feel good! 


A member of our community, Jayne, wanted to bring awareness to the loss of hair from thyroid cancer patients due to hormonal imbalances. Thanks Jayne for that idea which led to this blog post! Here is what Jayne said:


“I lost a lot of hair which wasn’t noticeable to others because I had super thick hair to begin with. But now since it’s all growing back I get asked a lot if I have bangs and I don’t–it’s just my hair is growing back from where it fell out.




How hair growth works

  1. Hair starts growing at the root in the bottom of your hair follicle on your scalp.

  2. Your scalp’s blood vessels feed the root, creating more cells and making your hair grow.

  3. Hair pushes up and out through your skin. It passes through oil glands that help keep it soft and shiny.

  4. Hair grows for a while but then falls out as each new regrowth cycle begins. (Healthline)

Hormones

If you’re a survivor, you should know that your thyroid makes hormones that affect so many other processes in your body. When hormone production of T3 and T4 is disrupted or changed, it can affect development of hair at the root. When your hair falls out, it might not be replaced by new growth, which results in thinning hair.

According to Heathline, other conditions can also overlap with thyroid conditions which cause hair loss. Alopecia, polycystic ovary syndrome, and lupus erythematous are autoimmune conditions that are often linked to thyroid issues.


You might not notice hair loss all at once because it can develop slowly with hypo- and hyperthyroidism. You might not necessarily notice large patches of hair missing and it could just be a general thinning of hair all over your scalp or other places of the body, like your eyebrows.


Solutions

There are some things you can do to fix hair loss. It might just be a matter of waiting until your thyroid levels are more optimal. Here’s my recommendations, combined with advice from Healthline.


1. Work with your doctor to find an optimal TSH level and other thyroid hormone levels. Be sure to advocate for yourself about any changes to your hair (or anything else in your body) because they could be connected to your thyroid medication(s).


2. Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to hair loss. Especially for the following items. Please don’t just start adding these vitamins to your diet. Consult your doctor, get bloodwork, and see what your levels are at. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing! Too much supplementation can lead to hair thinning.

  • B vitamins: B7 (biotin) and B complex

  • Zinc

  • Copper

  • Iron

  • Vitamins C, E, and A

  • Coenzyme Q10

3. Be gentle! You can slow hair loss by showing your hair kindness. Don’t pull your hair into tight braids, buns, or ponytails. Don’t twist or pull your hair. Use a wide-toothed comb when loosening knots or brushing your hair. These acts won’t help you regrow hair, but can help you from losing hair before it would naturally fall out.



I hope this blog post helps a little bit. If anyone has certain hair products or strategies they found work for them, please comment below! We would all love to hear.


As always, if you’d like to share your survivor story with us, please tag us on Instagram @thycan_survivors or DM us. You can also email your story to thycan.about@gmail.com.



©2020 by Thycan Survivors