Low Thyroid and Hair Loss

Updated on October 10, 2009
S.S. asks from Pleasant Grove, UT
14 answers

So just wondering...does anyone's hairbrush get hair in it after showering/brushing hair? How common is that?
It seemed like once I started on armour thyroid medication, my hair started doing that- after a month or two,(also when just brushing it.) After 3-4 months, it bothered me so much that I called the office and told them that it was happening, then again a month later saying it was still happening, and I thought it was because of the medication. Then, they called me back and said the Dr. said to stop the medication for one month and then come back in for a blood test. The Dr. didn't think it was because of the medication. But, it started happening once I took the medication. The pharmacist said he thought it was just coincidence because once your thyroid gets too low, that is a side effect-hair thinning. He thought that maybe it just got too low and it was timing. I can tell it is a little better since I stopped taking it, it doesn't feel as coarse and limp. But it is still happening, which is disturbing. (This never happened before I started taking thyroid.
just wondering if anyone else experiences this, and how much is normal?
Thanks in advance!

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answers from Denver on

Are you sure it's an abnormal amount of hair loss? I'd guess that I lose about 20-30 hairs when I comb my fingers through my hair after showering. (I have curly hair so I don't use a hairbrush.) That doesn't count what I lose here & there over the course of a day, or what I lose while actually in the shower.

Sometimes if you've gone through a period of low hair loss (like after being pregnant & having a baby) it can seem like you're suddenly losing crazy amounts of hair when it's really the norm... you've just gotten used to it not happening.

Maybe you could take in the hairs from one day and ask the doctor or pharmacist if that's a normal amount of hair to lose after brushing or not.

Best of luck!



answers from Casper on

hair loss is usually 3 months behind or so I've heard. I take vitamins for my hair and have actually had more growth in the front of my scalp. They are cheap on ebay and are called growth stimulator vitamins. Meanwhile, I would look into herbs for your thyroid, you could heal the problem rather than being on medications the rest of your life.



answers from Denver on

Surprisingly, my endocrinologist told me that hair can also thin from TOO MUCH thyroid hormone, so getting it just right is important. Also, with regard to "uptake"--making sure your body uses all you take--he recommended me to take my meds before bed, at least two hours after eating, which I found much easier than trying to NOT eat for two hours after taking it in the morning. When I switched times, my hair improved. Also, if you don't have total confidence in your doctor, find another. If it's your regular doctor treating you, go to an endocrinologist, it's totally worth it seeing a specialist, though in my area it takes about 2 months to get a first appointment. The hair loss thing is really hard, especially for women. Good luck working it out!



answers from Denver on

Agreed with the others that it's not the hormone, it's the hypothyroidism that is likely causing your hair loss. Replacement hormone is not even a medication in the sense of introducing a new chemical to your body -- it's just replacing what your body can't produce.

Also, agreed that this may be a delayed reaction. I once had some hair loss due to stress, and it occured about 2 months after my stressful period.

And definitely insist on the full panel. Most doctors nowadays just do the TSH, and base their diagnosis on that. But my endocrinologist warned me that even if the TSH is in acceptable range -- sometimes the other hormone levels can still be off. Also, what is an acceptable hormone level is different from person to person. Some people feel miserable on the same hormone levels that are perfect for another person.

I've taken Synthroid for about 15 years, and it took 6 months of "tweeking" when I first went on it to get just the right dosage. Synthroid has worked out just fine for me and my 3 sisters (we have Hashimoto's Disease, which is an auto-immune disorder that can be inherited), but I know that some people prefer Armour, which is produced from pig's blood.

Good luck -- hypothyroidism can be trying, but once you find the regimen that works for you, it's just a matter of maintenance checks and occasional tweeking.



answers from Denver on

Hello S.,

I take Thyroid medicine just as you do for a low thyroid. There are a few different kinds of medicine that are available for low thyroid. I have taken the Armour medication and it did not work as well as a combination of Levothyroxine and Cytomil (now generic under the name of Liothyronine sod). My doctor switched me to Armour as it was a generic and less expensive but it definatley did not work as well. My numbers were okay but I did not feel as well as when I am on the Cytomil (or generic form). Now that Cytomil is generic the cost is the same as the Armour so it is not an issue any longer. I also was loosing lots of hair. I have curly hair and a hairdresser told me people with curly hair loose more than straight hair...

Another thing that I have done is I switched to using more chemical free products in my home. These have really helped me feel better about being exposed to toxins etc. People with thyroid conditions have a weakened immune system and so removing chemicals from your home is an important way to help your immune system and help you feel better.

Let me know if you want any more information on the medication or my thryoid doctor's name, or on the chemical free products. The company that makes the chemical free products also offers a webcast about low thyroid and immune system issues.

Thanks, C. H



answers from Salt Lake City on

Hair loss is definitely a symptom of hypothyroidism. I've never heard of it being related to the actual medication for thyroid problems.

Hair loss is something I have been struggling with for about a year now (I've been on Synthroid for Hypo for 4 years). It was also really bad right when I got my diagnosis, but then got better for a while.

Hopefully, once your test results get back in the'normal' range you will find the hair loss wanes, although many people (myself included, but only recently) continue to have symptoms related to hypo, even though our test results are in the 'normal' range, but that's another story... good luck.



answers from Denver on

It sounds like the Armour is working. It's REALLY hard to find right now! Did your Dr.do a Total T3? There is a great book by Dr. Brownstein MD you may want to check into.

His book says: Thyroid hormone production conversion of T4 to T3, as well as receptor function and recognition of thyroid hormones. Your Thyroid was under active, but you might have a hard time converting. You can supplement with Iodine. (you can even eat some seaweed)the recommended intake is anywhere from 10-20 mg a day. Plus, you can add Selenium, Manganese and Chromium. I had the same issue, I took Iodine Synergy and Thyroid Synergy from Designs for Health. It really worked for me and I notice a difference right away with those and the Armour. Here is a link to Dr. Brownsteins site his books are great.

Good luck!



answers from Denver on

Hi Stacy,
I think it's low hormones. Did you just have a baby? Or did you just stop nursing? Things such as these can cause the hormone fluctuation that causes hair loss. I have been on Armour Thyroid for over 9 years and never experienced hair loss, with the exception of each time I had a baby. And that is completely normal. I experienced hair loss with both of my boys before my hypothyroidism/armour thyroid days too. It's a natural process & some of us experience it more thaan others. Take care! G

Just a side note: Synthroid is just that Synthetic thyroid. I was on that from my OBGYN before "finding" Armour. It is not a good option as your body does not readily absorb it because it is synthetic. Another great option if Armour becomes a little scarce (it's happened before :) is Naturethroid. The mom who suggested a full thyroid panel is right on target. I had to take T3, or T4 I can't remember which when I first started because I was lacking in that. And your thyroid needs all of those to function properly. I personally took it for just a few months before my body started producing it on it's own.



answers from Provo on

Mine falls out after having a baby. Have you had a baby with in the last year?



answers from Denver on

It is a symptom of low thyroid, not the medicine. You may not have been on a high enough dose. It takes time for the hormone to get all the way through your body and for all the symptoms to go away. Also, were you waiting one hour between taking the medicine in the morning and eating? This is important for the medicine to work all the way. Also do not take iron or calcium supplements at the same time of day as the thyroid medicine or it will be cancelled out (this includes prenatal vitamins). Take vitamins at dinner and thyroid medicine in the morning. It can take a long time (maybe 6 months) to find the right dose and start feeling better. Do not take Synthroid or you will continue to feel slightly low thyroid forever (at least that's my experience).



answers from Pocatello on

Hair loss can be related to so many things but this is definatly one of them, not actually taking the pills but NOT taking the pills. Hypothyroidism can definitely make your hair fall out and made mine fall out really bad. I still have bouts where my hair thins and then replenishes, its very hormonal. The problem with taking a pill everyday, yes it does level out the thyroid but it does not keep it at exactly where your body had it in the first place so it may not be where your levels were originally so they just do blood tests until you are at the level that is the average. Every person is different and maybe your hair liked to stay in your head with more or less thyroid hormone in your body, who knows. The point of all this is, the best solution is to just keep taking the pills because your thyroid performs so many functions in the body and is really very important and it needs to work for more than just thick lustrous hair. I have been on it now for over 10 years and go for blood draws every 3-6 months to make sure the dosing is still right. If you have had a baby recently that will also affect hair loss, the hormones from post pregnancy will make you lose hair but it will come back. Unfortunately my hair has never been the same since I found out about my hypothyroidism and yes I want my hair back to but I have accepted it as part of my body and as long as I am doing all that I can to keep my hair where it is then I don't stress over it too much. You can ask your doctor to play with the dosing if he/she is willing and see if it helps. There are also several different shampoos on the market that stimulate the hair folicles to thicken hair. I have tried a few and they work a bit but are quite costly and I am just not that into my hair to pay the price for them.

Best of luck.

S., Mom of 4



answers from Salt Lake City on

After I had my first child I noticed that my hair was still falling out a lot. Finally when my son was five months old I had my thyroid checked and it was overactive. When I came back a few days later, it was underactive. Your thyroid can "burn itself out" which is probably what happened to mine, I think. Anyway, I would go in for another test and see if it is low or high. The nurses didn't seem to know which it was even though I was being given a prescrition for the problem, so be sure you know.

I'm sure you could go to the library or Google or go to Webmd.com and type in your symptoms. It does sound like a thyroid problem to me. Are you tired? I was extremely tired until my thyroid was balanced, but I am still tired most of the time, but that could be due to something else. Also, my skin was very dry. It's hard for me to lose weight, but maybe your thyroid is hyperactive. It is a lifelong problem though, just so you know. I don't know why your doctor would have you taking thyroid meds if he wasn't sure you had a thyroid problem. That could cause harm to your thyroid if you didn't need it. Don't be taking thyroid just to lose weight either, not that you are, but you should know that it would only cause problems.

Good Luck!



answers from Denver on

Sorry you are going through this. It is so normal and a very disturbing side effect from these drugs. I was expecting to lose my hair when I started taking Synthroid but never had a problem, maybe the Doctor can switch you to that one?



answers from Salt Lake City on

Many of the people in my family have a thyroid problem. Hypothyroid just as you. One of the symptoms is thinning hair. I don't know what to tell you though-it sounds like more of the medication than anything. I have a huge problem with hair falling out. I have tons and tons and tons-I could keep going-of hair. However I lose what would be about 1/4 of most peoples hair daily. I don't know what it is, but at the same time I am okay with it because my hair is so thick already. When I am pregnant that is the only time I don't lose hair like crazy and it drives me nuts because my hair is too dang thick. Well good luck-hope you find the result to your problem.

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