I recently interviewed a woman in her mid 60s, whom I’ll will call D, about her experience with hypothyroid-related hair loss.
I’m posting it here because I feel it helps to get an entire profile on other women who are experiencing/have experienced hair loss due to hypothyroidism, and how they have dealt with it.
I believe this is one of the most important ways to pick out patterns that affect us all.
Here are the questions I asked her, along with her responses.
1. Your age:
2. I want to know about the onset of your hair loss problem (gradually or suddenly)?
This is a hard one! I was pregnant with my 1st child & my OB-GYN noticed problems. I was oblivious other than being cold & tired all the time. Had lots of hair so truthfully I don’t know if I had hair loss then. She told me, tho, that I didn’t test correctly & would probably have to “fight for my life” for the rest of my life. Boy! was she correct about that!!
I actually noticed it many years later when my ‘doctor’ decided I didn’t need my thyroid. That date I can’t tell you. Think it was possibly in the mid 80’s, maybe.
3. How old were you when the hair loss began?
Guess I’d have been in my 40’s
4. Has the hair loss continued steadily from the time it began, or have their been any breaks – please describe these.
My hair stays where it belongs unless I am taken off my thyroid meds. Otherwise my hair stays where it belongs! Well, actually I shed worse than my pets but i am not bald in spots!
5. Have you seen a doctor or been diagnosed with any medical problems.
yes. Hypothyroidism. My tests are WAY off. Seems to be a family thing.
6. Does the problem run in your family?
Absolutely, tho some of us haven’t been treated because doctors or NPs won’t look past the tests.
7.What is your diet like? And what was it like when you first started losing your hair?
I have always eaten fairly healthfully tho my diet is now very limited because of food allergy issues. But I do eat mostly unprocessed foods other than they are canned or frozen. It is just that my diet is quite limited. Now.
8. Would you say the hair loss was perhaps “triggered” by an event such as: childbirth or some other stressful life event, a
new medication or drug, etc.?
My hair loss has always been triggered by a reduction or cessation of my thyroid meds.
9. What are some of your most troubling symptoms besides losing hair? These can include being overweight, growing hair where you shouldn’t (hirsutism), heart trouble, insomnia, things like that.
Again, this is all associated with hypothyroidism for me. Irritability, losing hair, short of breath, headache, lack of energy, always cold, fatigue, there really is no 1 overwhelming problem. They are all just horrid. & the longer I am off my meds the worse I get.
10. What does the hair loss look like (thinning all over, receding temples, etc)?
All over but mostly above the temples at each side of my forehead. Receding hairline I think is the correct term. Makes my high forehead much higher!
11. Which thyroid/other medications (like brand-specific) have helped you?
Synthroid & levothyroxin have been the prescribed ones. When the doctor/Np took my meds away I tried health store supplements & herb supplements. They really didn’t do much if any thing. Levo works just fine for now.
12. What specific troubles have you had with medical professionals or with acquiring the right treatment/medical care that actually solves the hair loss/health problem? Conversely, if you have had doctors treat you right, please talk a little about that as well.
In the course of my life after my dear OB GYN doctor got me straightened out, I think I had 2 maybe 3 reasonable doctor/NPs who did what they should.
Dr. —– probably gone by now, was well known as being a terrific doctor.
After that I pretty much had to fight my way thru life. Up & down over & over.
The doctors who would listen to what I said & work WITH me made my life good. the rest tortured me unreasonably. You wouldn’t believe the stories & they extend over the years.
In the early 90’s I had an NP cooperate with me & I did well. Then I don’t know what happened but I suspect things, she suddenly decided I didn’t need my meds & started lying to me & giving me fits.
I quit her & went back Dr. —— who understood what I needed. He put me back on my proper dosage, & my hair stayed in, grew back in & all my other symptoms settled down.
From him (there is a story here but has nothing to do with the subject) I went to a truly wonderful doctor ——. I don’t have anything bad to say about her except she MOVED!!!
Now I am going to be seeing a new NP & am stressed but I am still on my meds & my hair is still where it belongs!.
(End of Interview)
There was something I found interesting in her comments, and that was the fact that she goes through periods of intense shedding every time, it is due to a reduction in her thyroid medication by her doctors.
As soon as her tests come back “normal,” her dosage gets reduced or taken away completely by the doctors.
I’ve experienced this problem before too. When I was 21, after one year of supplementation, my TSH cam back normal, my doctors said I wasn’t hypothyroid anymore, and cut off my synthetic thyroid Rx.
After that, I lost hair for many years, and aged at an alarming rate.
Have you ever had similar problems?