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Discussion:
Curly Hair from Thyroid?
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It's the strangest thing. I've always had pin straight hair, very thin. Now I've got very course and curly hair.

It started getting a wave at the roots a couple of years ago. After cutting it, I now have a very wavy curly hair in the entire back. The front and sides are still straight. It's really kind of odd.

It usta take me minutes to do my hair, now I have no idea how to deal with the mess of unruly, dry, course curls.

I saw on a chart that it is one of the things that can happen with hypothyroid.

I was wondering if this has happened to anyone else?.
Posted on 02/25/09, 09:42 am
18 Replies | Most Recent Add Your Reply
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Reply #11 - 03/14/09  9:48am
" Peacequeen,

I always had long hair and cut it really short last summer.....So this winter I've tried the flat iron idea, but it is just too tiring....LOL....Now I'm also trying to let my hair grow back longer now.....I'm starting to actually like it a "bit"..LOL "
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Reply #12 - 03/14/09  1:04pm
" Tips for the hair Loss is Make sure ur thyroid levels are straight. try taking evening primrose oil and some Biotin along w/ a good multi vitamin..eat right lots of protiens. Try to stick to natural hair care products and dont wash ur hair everyday try and go w/ every other day Stay away from hot irons it really can destroy ur hair due to being hypo thyroid our hair is already dry and brittle and the hot irons make it 10X worse "
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Reply #13 - 03/18/09  10:59pm
" Thanks for the tips 2smile!

debbied, if I didn't have such a chubby face, I'd probably like the short hair.lol With long hair I can make my hair bigger than my face.lol BTW, I love the kitty photo! "
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Reply #14 - 03/19/09  10:48am
" Thanks trying2smile, I think I might give Evening Primrose Oil a try....I think I read that it's supposed to help with PMS also....Poor hubby has to put up with a cranky lady with frizzy, crazy hair once a month...LOL....So Primrose just might be the ticket.

PeaceQueen, My SIL told me my face is too full for short hair...I got it cut short anyway...It looked alright, but longer hair makes me feel more feminine....Thanks for the compliment on my Avatar...That is my cat named Puss...She thinks she's the boss of the house....She likes to drink soda, so I have to watch my glass to make sure she doesn't see it. LOL Hubby just started drinking Rootbeer Floats and that is now her passion....She sits and stares at him till he finished, then she gets to lick the straw....Really weird cat!....But we love her. "
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Reply #15 - 03/21/09  8:36pm
" Hi Girls!

I've been posting a lot of serious stuff because I strongly believe that thyroid disorders are grossly under-diagnosed AND grossly UNDER-TREATED.

But the hair is interesting, because it has been my experience over the years that even very small imbalances (too much or too little) in thyroid hormone can affect my hair.

My hair is my barometer. My hair will fall out just a little more than normal shedding if I am just a wee bit "hyper," even if I feel fine.

For example, when my hair started shedding too much I immediately asked for a TSH test and it revealed that my TSH had dropped to a 0.25 when it should be very close to 1.0. Then my very experienced thyroid specialist "fine tuned" (his words) my thyroid dose.

The smallest dose change (for example, my thyroid specialist cut back my dose by just 1/2 of a 112 mcg Levoxyl pill per WEEK) meant that my TSH test (after giving the new dose 12 weeks to be recognized by the pituitary gland) came back as 0.75 which is very close to the ideal 1.0, AND the little bit of too much hair shedding stopped.

There is a delay in the hair shedding process. That is, if your hair is just started to fall out, then your imbalance started weeks ago (I forget the time lag). It has to do with the hair growth cycle. Normally the hair stops growing and then sits in the follicle inactive (not falling out) for weeks while a new hair starts, then it falls out. When the thyroid is imbalanced then it messes up the cycle and you have hair falling out faster than new hair can grow in.

As far as the curls: I have always had curly hair and it stayed curly. When I was hyPERthyroid, it did get limper (less curly), and the hair shaft got thinner, in addition to some thinning do to too much shedding which nobody noticed except for me and my hairdresser. I ended up wearing my hair shorter.

After total ablation and T4 therapy, my hair came back full again, even though I was still quite sick from exhaustion from being hyper thyroid combined with my body not being able to convert T4 into T3 adequately enough to make up for the 20% of active thyroid (T3) that I would have been getting directly from my thyroid gland if I still had a thyroid gland.

When I became hypo due to inadequate thyroid hormone replacement therapy (UNDER-TREATMENT), I kept wearing my hair short. I eventually decided to let it grow and see what would happen. It was full, but it did seem to be frizzier (more curly), so that seems to something all you straight hair gals are experiencing with your hypothyriods.

When I finally got the help I needed (T3/T4 combination therapy), my hair gradually, and it takes months, returned to what it was before I developed thyroid disease. It is full and curly and the shaft seems to be stronger although I have always had fine (small diameter) hair.

I'm happy with my hair, and have learned not to get freaked if it sheds more than usual, but to go right away and get my TSH tested, and then get the T4 part of my dose "fine tuned." Then I thank my hair and reward it with plenty of protein in my diet to help it grow back the few extra hairs it should have.

My hair is my best friend because it tells me before anything else that my hormone needs have changed due to estrogen levels changing or other mysterious changes in the body that even the experts are still trying to figure out.

The worse possibility would be that I got a bad batch of thyroid pills, (and so my thyroid needs really would not have changed), but I use Levoxyl because they have a pretty good record of recalling defective batches the last time I looked which was actually a long time ago. (I should check this out again.)

As a general rule, blonde hair is finer but there are more hairs per square inch than brunettes, and red hair is even finer and more fragile.

My advice: if your hair is not what it used to be then neither are you, and maybe your thyroid is not as balanced as it should be, even if you feel better then before being treated for hypothyroidism.

Excessive, abnormal hair shedding, AND change is hair texture, is caused by BOTH hyper and hypo.

One thing that keeps surprising me is that the labs and the doctors have not all kept up with recent guideline changes for the TSH number. The current thinking in the field is that "normal" is 0.5 to 2.5, however, some experts believe the upper limit should be no more than 2.0.

Yet many labs still use anywhere from 3.0 to 5.0 as an acceptable "normal" upper limit. They couldn't be more wrong. If your doctor is not up to date on the new guidelines, DUMP him or her, and find someone who is. Use this as a litmus test. If they haven't caught up with this change by now you can't trust them to do right by you.

Another litmus test to see if your doc knows what they are doing: you have to stay on a dose change for 8 to 12 weeks before getting retested or the test will NOT be accurate. Use this as another litmus test to find out if your "thyroid specialist" is just calling himself or herself that so they can attract more patients and earn some easy money reading a TSH number which any 7th grader could do.

It is also important to note that studies in the field have found that healthy people in the general population, are at their healthiest and feel their best, when their TSH is close to a 1.0.

So talk to your thyroid specialist about getting "fine tuned," even if you generally feel OK. You want to feel your very best, right? Not just "good enough." Most docs settle for "good enough," and they could care less about your hair.

If your doctor cringes, or criticizes your suggestion of "fine tuning" your thyroid dose, then he or she is not the expert they want you to think they are.

Any doctor who thinks "fine tuning" is out of the question or not sometimes necessary is just plain scared because they are not knowledgeable enough about thyroids, and are afraid to do what to them would feel like "messing around" with things they don't know about.

Many doctors do not even consider cutting your dose by one half of a pill per week, or some other adjustment that does not fit the "cookie cutter" pill strengths that the wonderful pharmaceutical companies make. If you bring it up as a possibility, and they agree to try it, then great, that MAY be an indication that your doc is competent enough to feel comfortable with this.

What to do in the meantime with your curly hair: Enjoy it! But before you can enjoy it, moisturize moisturize moisturize, as in a good conditioner. I hate conditioners that have silicone in them (which is just about everything now). Any ingredient that ends with a "icone" is type of silicone. "Dimeticone, etc."

Silicone will build up on any hair, but fine hair is especially affected by buildup.

I use Aubrey Organics GPB rinse out conditioner. Then I always use a good leave in moisturizing conditioner. I have been religiously using Nexus "Headdress Light Weight" leave in conditioner, but now Nexus had gone and ruined their whole line, copying all the other crap that's out there.

My "Headdress" now claims to fatten the hair shaft, making it appear thicker, which is not good for curly hair because what makes hair curly is that the cutilcle of the hair is already "fluffed up." I have not tried the new "Headress." Maybe its the same old formula with a new marketing pitch, and it doesn't fluff up anything but just coats it with protein, which is what it used to do.

I am used a Goldwell product, a leave in moisturizing conditioner for "damaged" hair.

If your hair is coarse I don't know what to say.

While you are trying to get a doctor to work with you to get you balanced enough so that your hair returns to what it was, try different products. Maybe the silicone products will work for you. They certainly work really great to smooth and soften out those curls before it starts to buildup and you've got to use a clarifying shampoo to get the gunk out.

One more story before I leave this fun topic of hair:
I have a friend.
She got ovarian cancer.
She got radiated like nothin' you can imagine.
She got chemo, she got it ALL.
Her hair fell out completely.
She wore a wig.
She got better.
She survived.
Her hair grew back really curly.
it stayed curly for a quite a time.
She learned to like it.
Then her hair started to grow back straight again.
She is still cancer free over five years later, and her hair is long and straight and just as beautiful as it was before the cancer treatments.

If her body can go through all of that pure hell and come back healed with her old hair to prove it, then I really think all of us thyroid people can achieve the same thing if our thyroid hormones are TRULY balanced! And when you are truly balanced you may find that you feel much better in many other ways.

I really believe that after many years of suffering from thyroid hormone imbalance, people get used to however they feel, and completely forget what "normal" or "healthy" REALLY feels like.

I know that after five years of thyroid illness and imbalance I forgot what healthy really felt like, until I got my health all the way back, not just "good enough."
NB "
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Reply #16 - 03/22/09  12:54am
" Thank you nightbyrd.......I appreciate you taking the time to give us so much information.....I'm also glad that your friend survived, and regained her health....I just love to hear good news! "
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Reply #17 - 03/22/09  4:14pm
" Wow. I never associated hair changes w/hypothyroidism. I was 17 when I was diagnosed, a senior in high school. My hair went from med brown to almost jet black. A lot of people thought I had dyed it but I hadn't. I use to perm my hair all the time because it was straight then in my early 20's a hairdresser told me to stop because it was damaging my hair. I did stop and after about a year my hair was naturally wavy and to this day at age of 39 soon to be 40 it still is wavy. "
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Reply #18 - 03/23/09  9:40pm
" I too had stick straight hair until my mid 20's. That is around the time all my hormones started to go crazy. I started 60MG's of Armour in mid December. Although my hair is still curly... the texture and strenght of it is amazingly better. What's strange though, now my nails seem to be breaking and these strange white spots. Before Armour my nails were always super thick. Not sure if it's related. "

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