There are days when your hair seems to have its mission, and you can’t seem to get it under control. Do you have bristle-like hair? Are the strands pointing in every direction? Every woman’s nightmare is straw-like hair, which occurs when moisture and luster leave your strands. But don’t give up. With an appropriate hair care routine, you can transform straw into silk.
Nevertheless, before we address the do’s and the don’ts, we first need to look at the causes of straw-like hair.
According to experts, one of the primary causes of this condition is hypothyroidism and hypoparathyroidism. The two happen when your thyroid gland and body produce inadequate amounts of thyroid and parathyroid hormones, respectively. Another cause is hyperthyroidism, which entails the overproduction of thyroid hormone.
And so, to answer your question, yes! Thyroid issues can cause your hair to straw!
The Fundamentals of Hair Thinning and Loss
Indeed, your thyroid can cause hair loss by interfering with your body’s natural hair development cycle.
It’s worth noting that each hair on your scalp through a four-step growth process:
- Anagen phase – hair begins to grow from the follicle.
- Catagen Phase – the follicle contracts, and the hair separate from the scalp.
- Telogen Phase – a new hair begins to develop beneath the old hair.
- Exogen Phase – new hair replaces the old hair.
In general, when your old hairs reach the pinnacle of their development cycle, they start falling out of your scalp making you lose between 50 to 100 hairs per day. Because hair follicles do not grow in lockstep, this daily loss has little effect on your appearance.
Understanding this straightforward process is critical to comprehending how thyroid issues and a variety of other medical illnesses can impact your hair.
Thyroid Disease and Hair Thinning and Loss
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can manifest themselves in various ways, ranging from decreased or enhanced energy and stamina to changes in your body weight and composition. These changes may directly impact your hair growth and appearance.
Because the thyroid is involved in the regulation of a large number of body activities, any interruption in the synthesis of thyroid hormones, including triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), can have a detrimental effect on several critical internal processes (Including healthy hair growth).
If your metabolism is compromised, you may notice that your hair does not grow as fast as it usually does. This means that once your old hair reaches maturity, new ones will not extend to replace them. Besides your scalp may lack the necessary oil and nutrients to feed your roots and moisturize your hair as it grows, which may gradually lead to thinning, baldness and brittleness.
Unlike in male pattern baldness that typically results in a distinct, recognizable pattern of hair loss, hair loss caused by a thyroid problem takes on a somewhat different appearance. Rather than a receding hairline or balding crown, you’ll typically observe dispersed thinning throughout your entire scalp.
Simply put, your hair may appear relatively thinner, allowing you to see your scalp rather plainly in bright light. The strands will also point in different directions. And because they’re mainly comprised of old hair, they will be brittle.
It’s worth noting that thyroid problems might directly alter the texture of your hair. Your hair may feel very fine and fragile with hyperthyroidism (an overproduction of thyroid hormone). On the other hand, with hypothyroidism (underproduction of thyroid hormone), your hair may feel dry, coarse, and brittle. In short, your hair would appear more straw-like if you have hypothyroidism rather than hyperthyroidism.
Diagnosing Hair Loss Caused by the Thyroid
Thyroid disorders do not just affect the hair; they can cause a variety of other symptoms as well.
With hypothyroidism (underproduction of thyroid hormone), you may have the following symptoms:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Abnormal weight gain
- Dryness of skin
- Decreased heart rate
- Heightened cold sensitivity
- Swelling, pain, or discomfort of the joints
- Muscle weakness, aches, pain, and stiffness
- Croaky voice
- Memory loss
With hyperthyroidism, you can have the following symptoms:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeats or palpitations of the heart.
- Loss of weight and difficulties regaining a healthy weight.
- Increased hunger, frequently without associated weight gain.
- Anxiety, agitation, nervousness, and tremors.
- Increased heat sensitivity.
- Weakness or tiredness of the muscles.
- Increased frequency of bowel movements.
- Insomnia or inability to sleep.
It’s also important to note that hyperthyroidism is frequently misdiagnosed as depression in adults over 60. Elderly folks may demonstrate a variety of symptoms, such as decreased appetite or social withdrawal.
Thyroid disorders are relatively simple to diagnose. If you exhibit signs of a thyroid issue, your healthcare practitioner may order a blood test to determine your TSH and T4 hormone levels.
If these values are out of the ordinary, your healthcare professional may prescribe more testing to determine the underlying cause.
If you’re concerned that you may have thyroid-associated hair straws, the best course of action is to discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider’s doctor.
How to Treat Hair Conditions Caused by Thyroid Disease?
Many individuals fear that they will lose all of their hair. Still, the reality is that hair damages caused by thyroid issues are typically transient and reversible, mainly if you engage an endocrinologist.
Rebalancing your hormones with thyroid medication may help replace lost hair; however, it may take time to see new growth.
According to specialists, you should request a comprehensive thyroid panel from your doctor to determine your TSH, free T3, reverse T3, and free T4.
These should be optimal levels, not merely “normal.” What is the difference? Normal readings — particularly for T4 and TSH— may still produce problems such as hair loss. Then, with your doctor’s help, identify the best thyroid medication for your thyroid hormone imbalance. Your endocrinologist will assist you in determining the most appropriate treatment.
Consult a doctor who is familiar with the complexities of thyroid disorders. It’s critical to track your symptoms, how long you’ve been taking your prescription and schedule regular thyroid exams. Ask about all available treatment options and combinations, specifically if hair loss persists despite medical treatment.
How to Resolve Hormonal Hair Problems
So, after establishing your hormone-related hair issues, what’s the next step? Consider the following:
- Check your iron levels and increase them if necessary. A deficiency in iron causes low ferritin levels, a blood protein related to hair growth. Thyroid problems also cause low ferritin, so you should get your ferritin and iron levels evaluated simultaneously with your thyroid.
- Protein is a crucial component of hair, so make sure you’re getting enough of it.
- Consider taking a multivitamin that contains biotin. Vitamins A, C, E, and B and zinc, copper, and CoQ10 can all help with hair health. Biotin is a necessary B vitamin — and you can purchase “hair, skin, and nails” biotin tablets pretty much anywhere. Remember to buy from a respected vitamin firm that sells “pharmaceutical-grade” or “professional-grade” vitamins, as these are better and more effective.
- Stress management and diet can also have an impact on hair health. And so, keep an eye on your daily stressors. Cortisol overflow occurs when there is an excess of stress. Our hormones are finely tuned, and persistent stress may tip the scales, throwing everything out of order, including your hair.
- If you take thyroid medicine but are constantly stressed out, you won’t see the benefits. Stress hormones, according to specialists, play a significant role in hair health and overall hormonal abnormalities. When stress becomes lodged in the body, it results in an ‘always-on’ stress response. This can lead to physical difficulties unless addressed.
- Experts advise patients to use a daily salivary cortisol test, which “may identify high or low cortisol, both of which might cause hair issues.” In addition to treatment, daily meditation, writing, yoga, or other stress-relieving activities, such as outdoor exercise, can help reduce cortisol levels.
If you’re having thyroid production-related issues, you might experience some hair loss. Unlike male pattern baldness, thyroid-related hair loss usually results in diffuse hair loss across the entire scalp rather than a receding hairline or a bald area at the crown. It causes your hair to appear as brittle straws.
Most issues resolve independently if the specific thyroid problem causing the hair loss is treated. And with the help of supplements and stress-relieving strategies, you can regain your average hair growth.
Be sure to contact your healthcare professional if you are worried about thyroid-related hair loss. Since thyroid issues can cause many physical problems, it’s best if you address the condition sooner.