Male baldness is a fact of life for millions of men, but rather than throwing your hands up, consider whether one tiny culprit may be to blame — the thyroid.
Responsible for controlling metabolism, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ at the front of the throat that produces hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Too much or too little of these hormones can throw the body into disarray, with symptoms including changes in weight, mood, hair, skin and energy level.
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Men are five to eight times less likely to have problems with their thyroids than women, according to Men's Health. But that doesn't mean men should ignore the symptoms, which may include thinning hair or bald patches on the head or beard.
An underactive thyroid — known as hypothyroidism — is more likely to cause hair loss than one that produces too much thyroid hormone.
"Hair may be coarse, hair loss is common, and the nails become brittle due to slower turnover of cells, reduced blood flow and access to nutrients," licensed pharmacist and author Izabella Wentz said, according to Men's Health.
Wentz has written about Hashimoto’s disease, a condition in which a person's immune system attacks their thyroid.
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Hair loss that is a result of thyroid problems is usually temporary, according to Healthline.
Medications — such as levothyroxine for hypothyroidism or propylthiouracil and methimazole for hyperthyroidism — could help maintain a healthy thyroid and promote a thick head of hair or regeneration hair growth, Healthline said.
In addition to medication, some natural remedies to consider include treating deficiencies in B-7; zinc; copper; iron; vitamins C, E, and A; and coenzyme Q10.
It may take time for the thyroid to balance out, and certain medicines may temporarily contribute to hair loss, according to Everyday Health. In the meantime, those experiencing hair loss can ease their anxiety with topical treatments, hairstyles or hair pieces that hide the problem.
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This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.