Question: I have had an underactive thyroid for about 20 years and am presently taking 125mcg thyroxine daily. However, I am presently experiencing severe hair loss, not something a female wants. My doctor doesn't appear to be taking this seriously which concerns me greatly. This is beginning to have a huge effect on my social life as I only go to work and then immediately home as I am so self-conscious of my hair being so very, thin. Can you suggest anything to help? I'm not in the UK, so it's not like I can even book in for a consultation.
Answer: Hi, Janet. We absolutely understand how the effect this type of hair loss can have on a person's self-confidence, as well as how frustrating it can be when it seems the issue is not being taken seriously. We often hear this from clients experiencing thinning through illness, who find that even just having someone who listens and does not dismiss this aspect is a huge relief.
Firstly, try not to worry - thinning hair is very common in people with thyroid complaints. This is because it can occur not only from the condition itself, but also as a side effect of some thyroid medications, including levothyroxine. Secondly, the good news is that there are ways to help stop this type of shedding.
In cases of thyroid disorders the initial hair loss may be a sign of the health issue before it is diagnosed. Thinning hair from all over the scalp may occur as a result of the body diverting nutrients needed for healthy hair growth away to help fight the illness.
This can result in a temporary condition known as Telogen Effluvium. It tends to strike around 3 to 4 months after the condition's onset and last up to 12 months. The hair will usually regrow naturally, however treatment for Telogen Effluvium may help to speed this process up.
Once the illness has been diagnosed and treatment is sought, the same hair loss condition can present while the body adjusts to the new medication. Again, the hair should regrow naturally, however, if the shedding continues for more than 12 months it is considered to have progressed to Chronic Telogen Effluvium which lasts a minimum of 12 months. As with the less extreme version, there is treatment for Chronic Telogen Effluvium available.
You don't mention how long you have been experiencing such severe hair loss but if it is related to your underactive thyroid or the medications you take - particularly if you have changed meds or doses recently - it is highly likely to be a result of one of these two conditions.
There is also the possibility that your shedding is unrelated or, if you have a genetic predisposition to hereditary hair loss, it could be androgenic alopecia. This is more commonly known as female pattern hair loss and causes shedding from the top of the head only. It can be sparked off, in those who are predisposed, by Telogen Effluvium as well as stress and a number of other triggers, although your genes are the main reason for this condition. It is also possible for Female Pattern Hair Loss and Telogen Effluvium or Chronic TE to present simultaneously.
It is definitely worth getting a professional diagnosis from a hair loss specialist - which can be done via an Online Consultation as you live abroad so that a regrowth plan can be tailored to your specific situation. A personalised treatment plan featuring topical applications of minoxidil and a selection of hair growth boosters can be arranged to help to prevent further shedding and regrow hair, as well as improving its condition. This can be sent out to you in the post or by international courier.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.