The thyroid has a surprisingly important role in the body relative to its size. This small, butterfly-shaped gland in the neck produces a hormone (aptly named thyroid hormone, or TH) that regulates your body’s temperature, metabolism, and even your heartbeat. If this little gland starts producing too much or too little TH, however, the symptoms can affect a wide variety of bodily functions.
Many early symptoms of thyroid dysfunction go untreated due to the fact they can reasonably be attributed to other factors. Feeling sluggish and gaining a little weight, for example, are easy to dismiss as a part of getting older. It is often when the illness progresses and symptoms become more prominent and affect other parts of the body that patients begin to realize there is an issue.
Thinning hair is a common symptom for people whose thyroid is producing both too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism) TH. With hypothyroidism, hair becomes dry and brittle and can easily break or fall out, giving the appearance of thinning hair. In addition to the hair loss on their head, sufferers of hypothyroidism can experience hair loss or thinning on their arms, legs, or even eyebrows, while hyperthyroid patients generally only experience issues with the hair on their heads. The changes in and ultimate loss of hair is caused by the unnatural levels of TH interrupting the growth cycle of your hair. The hair growth cycle is broken down into three phases: growth (anagen), resting (catagen), and expulsion (telogen). TH imbalances rush follicles into the resting phase, where the hair stops growing and begins its journey to the surface of your scalp where it will ultimately fall out. When this happens to too many follicles, hair becomes thin and hair loss occurs.
The good news is hair loss that is caused by thyroid problems is often treatable with the help of a medical professional. The first step is visiting your physician and talking about your symptoms. They will likely order a blood test to determine the amount of TH in your body. In addition to medication that will bring the amount of TH in your system back to an appropriate level, some patients will seek out other treatments to reduce the symptoms they experience. For patients with thinning hair, low-level light therapy with the LaserCap® may be an effective way to slow, stop, or reverse hair loss.
Below is a list of common symptoms related to thyroid imbalances…if you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect your thyroid may be to blame, schedule an appointment to talk to your doctor.
- Emotional irregularities such as depression or increased anxiety
- Lack of concentration or “brain fog”
- Changes in taste and appetite
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Low libido
- Hair thinning and hair loss
- Heart palpitations
- Dry skin or changes in skin texture
- Digestive issues, especially constipation or diarrhea
- Menstrual changes
- Pain in muscles or joints
- High blood pressure or high cholesterol
- Inability to regulate temperature
- Difficulty falling asleep or difficulty waking up, even after a full night’s sleep
- Feeling hoarse or as if there’s a lump in your throat
About LaserCap® Company – Transdermal Cap, Inc. was formed in 2006 by co-inventors Michael Rabin, MD and M.I.T.-trained optical physicist David Smith, PhD, in collaboration with Harvard-based photomedicine expert Michael Hamblin, PhD and internationally acclaimed hair restoration physician Robert Haber, MD, to develop innovative light-based devices for the Global Beauty & Health Industries. Its first commercial product is LaserCap® for women and men with thinning hair or at risk for thinning hair, a condition that affects up to 50% of adult women and 80% of adult men. Patents pending, Copyright 2009 Transdermal Cap, Inc.