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  • Hypo and Hair Loss

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    Old 07-15-2004, 09:37 AM   #1
    Hyhair14
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    Hypo and Hair Loss

    Just wondering -

    (1) If a person is hypothyroid - how exactly does the lack of thyroid hormone cause hair loss?
    (2) Does the hair loss happen rapidly if hypo - what is the frame, weeks, months, years?
    (3) Does the hair loss occur all over the scalp or specific areas if hypo?
    (4) Does a person's hair texture/quality change if hypo?

    The reason I ask is as follows.

    I started to lose my hair 3 years ago. At the time I thought it was male pattern baldness (MPB). Basically, my hairline started to recede. Fast forward to today and while my hairline is still receding, I am finding that the hair on the sides of head, around the ears and even lower down on the back of the head is thinning rapidly as well. (Maybe worse than the top) These are areas, from which I understand are not usually hit my MPB. Also, the quality of my hair has changed radically. It is has thinned (of course), gone wavy, almost curly, but more importantly looks and feels really unhealthy - and my hair is so wirey. I condition my hair daily but by noon, my hair is dry - and also feels awful. (as does my scalp)

    If anyone has some insight, could this be another hypo symptom to discuss with a doctor?

    Thanks

     
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    Old 07-15-2004, 10:32 AM   #2
    midwest1
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    Re: Hypo and Hair Loss

    Quote:
    (1) If a person is hypothyroid - how exactly does the lack of thyroid hormone cause hair loss?
    When there isn't enough thyroid hormone, two things happen: The ratio of hair that is actively growing to that which is "resting" is changed so that more hair rests, and less grows. Also, the hormone imbalance causes the hair shaft to weaken and be more prone to breakage, so in addition to the resting hair that is shed, the active hair breaks off more easily. Either way, you end up with a sparser head of hair.
    Quote:
    (2) Does the hair loss happen rapidly if hypo - what is the frame, weeks, months, years?
    It generally happens gradually, over months or years.
    Quote:
    (3) Does the hair loss occur all over the scalp or specific areas if hypo?
    Generally, it's a diffuse loss... all over the scalp. Although, the loss of the outer third of the eyebrows is a very common occurrence, so I would imagine that some people may have more scalp hair loss in some places than others. I suspect that for you, it may be a combination of MPB and thyroid dysfunction. I say this only because TD rarely causes total loss of scalp hair, but I think your thinning hair in places other than typical MPB suggests thyroid.
    Quote:
    (4) Does a person's hair texture/quality change if hypo?
    Absolutely, it can.
    Quote:
    ...could this be another hypo symptom to discuss with a doctor?
    I have to chuckle as I answer this, because I'm female. If a woman brings up this subject in such great detail as you describe, she's written off as vain and Rx'd an antidepressant to take her mind off her appearance. Few doctors take the issue seriously on its own, unless they're cosmetic surgeons who make a great deal of money from vanity.
    A man might have smoother sailing, or it might be worse even than for women. A lot probably depends on the MDs attitude toward the worth of his own hair.
    My shorter answer would be to mention that your hair is thinning in places where it shouldn't be and is far drier and wiry than it used to be. It would be best to list your very worst symptoms first, then move on to what the doctor may consider less important issues. For example, if you have profound fatigue, and it's your worst symptom, bring that up first. Tell him briefly how badly it affects the quality of your life and give a brief example of how it does that. Then move on to more incidental symptoms that are associated with thyroid, but which don't bother you quite as much, and use them to "seal the deal" so to speak.

     
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