At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we often say that it’s the details that make the difference, primarily because it is those details that make every case unique. Other doctors who treat hair loss might rely solely on one technique or a single piece of technology, but Dr. Edmond Griffin and Dr. Ashley Curtis take the time to thoroughly diagnose every patient individually so that they can formulate a treatment plan that is customized to their specific needs. This diagnostic process can be complicated, but it begins with an understanding that hair loss can be caused by a variety of very different conditions. Last month we talked the various forms of scarring alopecia, relatively rare disorders that can result in irreversible damage to the hair follicles and permanent hair loss. In this installment of The Many Causes of Hair Loss, we will examine a cause of hair loss that disproportionately affects female hair loss sufferers: an imbalance in thyroid hormones.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck and it is primarily responsible for producing the hormones that regulate the speed of the body’s growth and metabolism. When it is not functioning correctly, it can produce either too much or too little of the hormone thyroxine, which can cause a variety of physical and mental symptoms and specifically affect hair growth. Too much of this thyroid hormone (a condition called hyperthyroidism) causes the hair on the head can become fine, and appear to be thinning all over the scalp. On the other hand, too little of this hormone (hypothyroidism), can cause the hair to become dry and brittle in texture, leading to hair loss not just on the scalp, but anywhere on the body. Women are between five and eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems and about one woman in eight women can expect to develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime. This puts thyroid problems among the most likely potential causes of women’s hair loss.
If a patient who is suffering from thyroid-related hair loss is instead treated for common genetic pattern baldness, the results are usually far from optimal and other potentially serious health symptoms may be overlooked. This is why a comprehensive diagnosis that includes blood tests is so vital. However, once the right treatment is found to regulate and maintain the patient’s thyroid hormone levels, the hair loss problem usually resolves itself. This approach may require more time and expertise, but the long-term results are worth it. While a patient is waiting for their hormone levels to stabilize, red light therapy, topical prescription medications for hair loss like minoxidil (Rogaine® 5% solution), or any of the custom topical blends that we formulate for patients at The Griffin Center can also help to encourage more rapid hair growth and recovery.
Hair loss is more complicated than it might seem, but at The Griffin Center we take the time to make sure that our patients are getting the proper diagnosis and a treatment that will work best for them. If you are interested in learning more about your hair restoration options, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news or answers to your questions about hair restoration and research or contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration so that we can schedule an appointment for a full consultation.