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March 25, 2008 at 10:45 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Can a Thyroid Disorder Cause Female Hair Loss?

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

A thyroid disorder can lead to the development of many complications within the human body, including female hair loss.

Your Thyroid Gland: What does it do?

The thyroid is actually one of the most important glands in the body. This is because the thyroid gland is responsible for the production of many hormones that influence nearly every metabolic process within your body.

The Danger of Thyroid Disorders

There are two common thyroid disorders, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is the abnormally high production and secretion of certain thyroid hormones. When there are excessive amounts of these hormones present within the bloodstream, this can lead to the development of many problems. Hypothyroidism is the exact opposite, as it occurs when there are deficient amounts of thyroid hormones present in the bloodstream. This can lead to the development of certain complications as well, including a specific type of hair loss, known as toxic alopecia.

Toxic Alopecia: What is it?

Toxic alopecia, also known as anagen effluvium, is hair loss that is associated with the presence of substances that inhibit the cells that normally proliferate rapidly. Hair cells are commonly noted with rapid cell proliferation, which is responsible for hair growth and maintenance. Toxic alopecia is commonly noted to have a rapid onset time and typically is cause for all hair to fall out. However, the hair follicles are not destroyed, but put into a suspended state. For this reason, it is possible for hair to re-grow to its normal density after a period of time.

Causes of Toxic Alopecia

There are many causes of toxic alopecia in women.

  • Certain Medications: These commonly include blood pressure medications, chemotherapy drugs, oral contraceptives, and lithium valproate.
  • Retinoids: Retinoids have diverse functions within the body, but are particularly active in the presence of vitamin A. Vitamin A requires certain amounts of retinoids to be present for proper function in hair maintenance and growth.
  • Severe Illness: Certain illnesses are associated with hair loss, particularly those involving the presence of a high fever.
  • Under-active Glands: Disorders or under-activity of the thyroid or pituitary gland can cause hair loss.
  • Weight loss: Sudden weight loss is cause for stress on the body and can therefore lead to hair loss.
  • Vitamin A Deficiency: The hair follicle requires certain nutrients for growth and maintenance, one such example is vitamin A.

Toxic Alopecia and Pregnancy

Toxic alopecia is commonly noted to occur after pregnancy due to thyroid under-activity, as there have been many hormonal changes of the thyroid throughout pregnancy.

Thyroid Disorders and Hair Loss

If you are concerned that you hair loss may be associated with a thyroid disorder, contact your physician. There are certain exams that can determine if your thyroid is working effectively. Additionally, your physician can help in the overall process of developing a treatment or combination of treatments for your hair loss if it is caused by a thyroid disorder or another cause.

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