I have Hashimoto's and have a long running battle with hair loss too. It's quite a common problem. It can related to quite a number of things aside from just your thyroid. A lot of people with thyroid issues suffer malabsorption of nutrients and their system has problems digesting protein. Your hair is around 98% protein. Low ferritin is another issues as well as low Vit D and in some low B12 and i've also got low iodine and this can cause hair shedding too. Another problem area is imbalanced hormones so get your hormones tested as too high/low levels of certain hormones can cause hair shedding. Stress wont help and rising and falling TSH levels are also linked to hair shedding.
I emailed my doctor yesterday regarding hair shedding and TSH levels. He replied back saying insufficient Vit D and iodine will contribute to it too. I"m already taking both of those so i guess i'll have to wait and see.
I do know that things were coming along nicely for me and then i went through some MAJOR stress buying and moving into my own appartment in september '08. All my levels dropped and went all over the place after that. Now i'm feeling a lot better but would like my hair situation to improve.
I can say though, in my experience, my hair did improve after introducing pure iodine daily. You shouldn't self supplement iodine though. I did a urine test as blood tests aren't as accurate. Then later my thyroid doctor got me to do one of those 24hr iodine load tests where they determine how much iodine your body is absorbing in a 24hr period. This way they know what dosage to give you daily.
I'm experiencing the exact opposite right now and it's making me nervous. I have a TSH of 43 (last test) and Hashi antibodies through the roof, along with some moderate TSI antibodies. Since starting Synthroid at 75 mcg for 6 weeks and then having the dose dropped to 50 mcg due to heart palps, shaking, etc. I started to notice shedding. I don't lose a lot in the shower when I wash my hair or even when I blowdry it, but if I run my fingers through my hair I'll come out with hair every time.
Now, all of a sudden, next to nothing is coming out. I know that the "average" person (even those without TD) loses 50-100 hairs a day. It's normal. So I'm wondering why I'm not seeing those 50-100 hairs. After my dosage was adjusted from 75 to 50 I still was feeling wired and I did go a week or so with no meds back at the very end of March and on top of that was going through a very stressful situation. I'm hoping that I'm not going to experience a HUGE hair loss situation in a month or two as a result.
On the other hand, I'm taking every supplement under the sun that's supposed to help our hair. I take a ton of biotin, b vitamins, evening primrose oil, L-lysine and I'm eating healthier than ever. Oh and I've been taking BioSil which is supposed to do wonders to strengthen the hair. Still, I'm wondering where those 'normal' hairs that should be falling out daily are.
Scootersmom - it's difficult to say what is going on with your hair situation. Everybody seems to have varying scenarious occuring.
I was shedding hair at one point and it simply stopped shedding whatsoever for a whole entire month, then started again. This was prior to being diagnosed with hashimoto's. The only thing i could attribute it to back then was that a few months prior i had begun supplementing with iodine, which i lacked.
There are too many things which can cause shedding, but it's such a common thing for thyroid sufferers. I hate it and wish i could at least have my hair back the way it used to be. I'd gladly trade the other symptoms for my hair
On a side note, have you ever had your testosterone checked? Mine is slightly above the lab range maximum. Higher testosterone levels are also linked to hair shedding. Then again, someone else i know has extremely high testosterone levels and her hair is not shedding the way mine is. I guess once again it could be an individual thing, just like not every single thyroid sufferer sheds abnormal amounts of hair and not every single hypo sufferer has put on excess weight. It seems even though certain symptoms are common for hypo or hyper, one person can have a symptom which others wont necessarily have.
Hi, I was diagnosed hyper, before I was diagnosed I was losing alot of hair my hairdresser said my hair was getting thin, after being put on hyper meds, my hair stopped coming out as much, hardly any came out when washed, or brushed and it also stopped turning gray (I am 38 and my hair has been turning gray for about 3 years) but then I went hypo and had to get off my meds, then my hair started coming out real bad when brused or washed and you can see it thinning at my temples and see my scalp next to my bangs.
I am on the same medicine for my hyper-thyroids.I noticed my hair was thin to the scalp.So,I spoke with my hair dresser and she suggested that i take biotin,msm,and fish oil every morning and I should see a dramatic change in my hair.About 6 months ago I started taking all of those vitamins along with mega women and my hair has gotten healthier.You should try them as well,and fyi (I take 3 biotins every morning).
misslady, can I ask what the total amount of biotin you're taking is? I usually take 1000 mcg in the morning, along with my multi, 1000 of fish oil and 500 of evening primrose oil (this is really supposed to help hair shedding), along with the BioSil. In the afternoon I take a Bcomplex and another fish oil and evening primrose oil cap and another BioSil. I'm just not sure how much biotin to take.
I also started eating a lot of protein and taking digestive enzymes with every meal, because as one poster said if the nutrients aren't being absorbed well they won't help. Oh, I also added a liquid Vitamin D3 and a liquid B12.
Another thing that I really think has helped is Nioxin products. While I'm not wild for the shampoo and conditioner (they tend to make my hair feel dry), they supposedly do a great job of keeping the hair follicles in perfect order.
scootersmom - i wonder how the Nioxin keeps the hair in place? The moment you stop using it i found the hair all began coming out. I too found it an extremely drying shampoo.
I tried biotin years ago but i didn't find any difference. Maybe a larger dose is needed.
What i don't understand are people i work with who have a very bad diet, smoke, drink, don't look after themselves and their hair is great and not shedding. What's the problem with me??? My thyroid meds are working, my ferritin is nice and high as is my Vit D and B12. I don't appear to be deficient in anything as the supplements i'm on are covering all areas. My adrenal function has been correct, my digestive issues have been corrected with the help of digestive enzymes.
One fact is, when it's winter here, in July/August i don't shed any hair. Once the weather begins warming up a little i will begin to shed a little. When the hottest months hit, January/February, i'll begin losing it big time and it will continue one way or another till nearly winter. It's a very frustrating cycle. Why does it stop totally during the coldest months and begin shedding massively during the warmest months?
Audrey how much biotin were you taking? I take 1000 mcg each morning, but I've read that 5,000 mcg is the theraputic dosage.
As for the Nioxin, I use it 2 times a week and then alternate with other shampoos and conditioners (I wash my hair every other day). I find that the 2 times a week is enough.
You're right though - some people make one little adjustment and have no more hair issues, while others can try everything and the shedding continues. I've got a TSH of 43 and can't get my ferritin level up - it was 20, but I'm working on it, yet I'm not losing tons of hair. I know people who take Synthroid and never have a problem and I know people who take Armour and lose lots of hair. You're correct - it IS confusing.
Oh, here's a hint about the Nioxin - when I use it I use the #7 shampoo and conditioner, but then use a little bit of a moisturing conditioner on my hair and run it through. It helps counteract the dryness.
Have you tried BioSil? I've been using it for 2 weeks and it's too early to tell yet, but people swear it makes hair stronger. I'm not 100% convinced that anything other than stable hormone levels REALLY make a difference, but I'm still willing to try anything and everything under the sun LOL. Although my ferritin isn't where it should be and my Vitamin D3 was low, I'm taking liquid Vitamin D3 now and my B12 level was good. I also can't live without the digestive enzymes. Oh, also the evening primrose oil is supposed to help.
I've also added more protein to my diet along with the supplements. I know my thyroid levels are FAR from stable, so I'm surprised I'm not losing more hair.
What meds are you on and what dosage?
The way the Nioxin was explained to me is that it really cleans out the hair follicles and keeps the scalp very healthy, but I still don't know how that would affect us thyroid sufferers.
Last edited by Scootersmom; 05-09-2009 at 08:23 PM.
Hi Scootersmom - thanks on the Nioxin tips. I'll keep them in mind I've purposfully not used any of the "hair retaining" shampoos as i've wanted to see what my hair was up to. I've found a very gentle shampoo which contains no parabens, detergents etc and i really like it. Even the shampoo container is made from plant products and it's totaly biodegradable.
I take something called Triiodothyronine, which is natural and not synthetic for my T3 (50micgrograms daily). My doctors chemist makes it. I'm also on thyroxine 25micrograms 3 times per week for my T4. I can go on Armour if i wish as he has a compounding chemist who can make it for him, but i'm doing well on what i'm on at the moment.
I'm on iodine, selenium, vit D and ferretin, also the digestive enzymes and betaine hydrochloride. I take a multi B vitamin every couple of days as my B12 is good.
The Vitamin D is important as it helps the absorption of ferretin, zinc, calcium and i think magnesium too.
I don't recall what amount of biotin i was on, it was years ago. My naturopath did suggest i take Silica, saying it strengthens the hair within the follicle. If it's not hormonal then i don't know why it falls out so easily.
I have an oily scalp so have to wash it every second day. I did read something ages ago, but not sure if i'll get the wording right (so don't quote me ) it was about when the scalp oils reach the surface and the oxygen gets to the oils it changes the oils and creates testosterone (or some such thing) and makes the hair fall out. I'm wondering whether having an oilier scalp has anything to do with it. I do know oilier skin can be connected to higher testosterone. I'd love to know where i found the info on the oily scalp and oxygen as it was intriguing and did make sense.
I was on Synthroid for approx. 10 years for hypo-T. Before that I had long healthy moderately thick hair. Since then I have lost over 1/2 of my hair throughout the years & it was very depressing. It was so whisper thin & also balding at the top/front at one point a few years back when my dosage was changed due to hasimotos & nodules.
I became frustrated with treatment (and Endo Dr.s) back in 2005 - so I took myself off of Synthroid. My hair slowly stopped falling out & seemed to level off since then.
I recently was diagnosed with follicular carcinoma (left side removal last month) & next month will have my 2nd operation to remove my remaining thyroid. I just started taking a compounded T3 & T4 - because I asked my new Dr. for a different treatment other than Synthroid. I am hoping this medicine will treat me better.
However, for the past 6 months I have been taking a liquid multi-v & mineral supplement with antioxidants .... during this time my hairdresser noticed little hairs growing back & my hair is also starting to feel better & have more volume. This is the only change I have made to my diet/intake - as I eat pretty healthy already. So I am hopeful & thankful for that!
Bottom line is - on one hand - you hear & read that hair loss is a "symptom" of a thyroid condition & then on the other - you read that it's a "side effect" of certain medicines .... enough to make you crazy!!!
My personal thoughts are this - the more "natural type" foods & supplements you put into your body are far better than any processed food & synthetic supplements & meds ... (this comes from my own personal experience).
Audrey how much selenium are you taking daily? That's one mineral that scares the heck out of me because I've read "not enough and you lose hair and just a little too much and you lose hair". I'm really careful with the selenium.
What do you mean you're taking ferritin? I thought ferritin was the stored iron we have in our body. Do you mean you're taking an iron supplement? Weird thing with me is my iron panel is good, but my ferritin is low. I don't want iron overload, so I'm not quite sure what to do.
I wash my hair every other day also. My hair tends to be on the dry side, but my scalp can get oily. The evening primrose oil is supposed to be very good at blocking testosterone which is why I'm downing 1000 mcg of the stuff every day.
My hair does a weird kind of shedding. I don't lose a whole lot when I shampoo it, and I don't lose a whole lot when I blow dry it or even when I brush it. I DO see it come out when I run my fingers through my hair. Drives me nuts!!
With a TSH of 43 I'm surprised I have hair left!! I think that my Hashi antibodies and my TSI antibodies must be balancing each other out. With a TSH of 43 and Hashi antibodies in outer space I should feel like roadkill, but I don't. I just feel like me - the majority of the time. And I'm only on 50 mcg of Synthroid a day. I get blood work in 2 weeks and it'll be interesting to see where my TSH is. I don't seem to be converting T4 to T3 - my T4 has gone up from below level to mid-range, but my T3 is exactly where it was when I was diagnosed - at 94. I've asked the endo to add some T3 to the mix, but because I felt so hyper on 75 mcg of Synthroid she's hesitant to add T3.
Kim5 - i've read various posts and research on the net where there is a belief that hair shedding can be a symptom of the medication you are on. The medication most often talked of is Synthroid and it's a synthetic drug as opposed to some meds which are 'natural', or as close as to what the body might naturally make.
I don't know as i've never been on Synthroid so i can't comment.
The fact you are now off Synthroid and taking a compounded thyroid medication which is likely of a more natural form, this could be helping your hair situation. Not everybody feels better with less symptoms on exactly the same type of medication. We are all individuals with individual things impacting our overall health and our thyroid health. This is seen in the hair, weight gain and tiredness areas. For instance, most people put on weight with a slow thyroid. I on the other hand look more like i'm hyperthyroid, but i'm definitely hypo and have Hashi's. This is why i think we need to look at medication, thyroid situation and other health factors as an individual thing. It's great to make comparisons to one another on the healthboard so we know where we stand, but we wont necessarily get the same results.
I'm glad your hairdresser has noticed new growth Aren't hairdressers wonderful, i've heard from so many people who have been 'diagnosed' by their hair dressers due to them handling your hair on a regular basis. Our skin and hair condition tells us so much about our health.
Hoping you get lots more new hair. It's a wonderful feeling
Hi Scootersmom - I know, selenium can be a dangerous supplement to play with and you would want to know where you stand prior to taking it. I'm taking mine strictly under doctors orders. My doctor said the difficult thing with selenium is that blood tests aren't the most accurate way of know where you stand. He did say that small doses of selenium are ok to take for a period of up to 5 years. Selenium is supposed to be very good for lowering thyroid antibodies. Some people have noticed a big difference with lower antibodies. I've only been on 2 drops of selenium daily. The days i eat Brazil nuts i don't take the selenium as 4 Brazil nuts daily are supposed to give you your daily quota of selenium. Also the Brazil nuts contain further health benefits so i usually eat 4 of them daily along with almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, pistachio and walnuts. I wont eat the same ones daily, i'll mix and match, but i only buy those which have NOT been salted. They help boost my daily protein too.
Yes, by "ferritin" i meant iron supplements. My ferritin (iron stores) dropped to anemic level about 3 years ago. It's taken me 3 years to raise my levels up to about 70. My doctor would like me to get it up to 120 and stay there. A ferritin at 70 and above is the optimum level for correct hair growth, resting, shedding phase. A ferritin of 120 is linked to optimum liver detox function to put it simply. My previous treating doctor, a Trichologist (hair/scalp specialist) who was dealing with my hair shedding and helping me boost my ferritin was Dr Tony Pearce and he has written articles which you can read on the net if you want to find out more about ferritin and hair etc. As long as your doctor is keeping and eye on your levels you wont get toxic iron poisoning or any such thing. Besides, most people with thryoid issues tend to have a slow rising ferritin anyway and you would catch it before it got into the danger zone anyway.
I feel my new hair growth (even though i still go through some big sheds) has been helped along by my raised ferritin, but also a big boost due to my current thyroid doctor finding out my iodine was low. So now even if i lose a lot of hair i still have lots of regrowth.
A big help is also most likely the fact that i've been on digestive enzymes for a while now and it's helped me digest my protein foods so much more. Protein is great for our hair.
I too have heard that Evening Primrose Oil is great for the hair, but i've also read it naturally contains estrogenic qualities. I don't need extra estrogen as i already have excess estrogen. I'd like to try taking it but i dont want to mess with something else. I might ask my naturopath and see what they have to say about it as i'm on a herbal mix at the moment from the naturopath to help reduce my estrogen and thereby shrink a fibroid i've got.
It's really difficult figuring out whether thyroid levels, hormones, other health issues, medication or stress etc are responsible for hair staying put or falling out. Too confusing, but it's good to hear just the same what others are experiencing.
Hi Kim. Could you give me the name of the liquid multi-vitamin/mineral supplement you take? I like the liquid forms much better than the pills. I think they absorb better.
Are you saying that you completely stopped all meds in 2005 and never had any problems? In all truthfulness, I swear I feel better on no medication than I do ON medication and I have a killer case of Hashi's, but with a TSH of 43 and a low T3, I'm afraid to stop the meds.
Not having enough Thyroid medication will make your hair thinner. It is a hypo symptom..... are you sure you are taking enough medication?
My hair thinned for a bit after I started Cytomel but my Armour had been lowered at that time.....I am back up to optimum amount and hair is looking good again. Hair loss is not anything I experienced like others with Hashis. but when it started I HATED IT.
Make sure you are getting enough medication............. Oleander
My ferritin "issue" baffles me. My ferritin level was only 20, but my iron panel was good and so was my blood count. Only the ferritin was low, so I'm sort of afraid to mess around with iron too much. My iron numbers were far from anemic so I can't understand why the ferritin storage is low. Unfortunately, my endo only looks at the TSH number and even then her only comment is "you're very Hashi/hypo" - as if I didn't know that LOL. I had her test me for Vitamin D and sure enough it was on the low end, but she didn't tell me what to take or how much to take, etc. For some reason she doesn't believe in a Free T3 test, but I'm having it done anyway.
I totally agree with you about the varying causes of hair shedding. Despite what I've read I'm not 100% convinced that it's due to low ferritin as my ferritin level was low when diagnosed and I wasn't shedding hair. I think what happens with Hashi's a lot of the time is we're on a steady dose of medication (I'm on 50 mcg of Synthroid) and then our own thyroid gland sputters out hormones and it upsets the apple cart.
One thing I'm definitely pinning the endo down on for an answer is how somebody with a TSH of 43 and antibodies that are sky high and is on only 50 mcg of Synthroid a day can be functioning as well as I am. My own theory is that despite the high TSH, my thyroid is still producing and/or my TSI antibodies (and I'm far from hyper, but do have the abs), are balancing things out. Still, I need some explanation from her - that's what I'm supposedly paying her for. I like my endo a lot, but I get the feeling she never looks at previous bloodwork results and doesn't really answer questions with a direct answer. On my first visit with her I brought my $2,000.00 worth of blood test results. I think she MAY have just glanced at them....maybe.
I see her in 2 weeks and am going to do my very best to tell her that I really need to know that she's paying attention to all of the numbers, including the fact that I'm not converting T4 to T3, and not just look at the TSH.
Hi Oleander. I started out with a TSH of 60, Free T4 of 0.7 (a little below range) and a T3 Total of 0.94 (a little below range) and very few symptoms. I was initially put on 75 mcg of Synthroid and did well for the first 5 weeks, but then began to get the heart palpitations, racing pulse, shaking, trembling. All in all, I felt sick as a dog. The dosage was lowered to 50 mcg of Synthroid and I feel much better on this dose. The endo doesn't want to add Cytomel because she's afraid I'll end up with the heart palps, etc. again.
Weird thing is I didn't have any hair shedding (that I noticed anyway) before being diagnosed. I've been on the Synthroid for 3-1/2 months now. Makes no sense to me that somebody with a severe case of Hashi's like I have would have had very few symptoms - I would never have known I had any thyroid problems.