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Will I recover Synthroid-induced hair loss?

Discussion in 'Medications that can cause Hair Loss' started by lily13, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. lily13

    lily13 New Member

    Apr 21, 2009
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    Any words of advice would be most welcome.

    As I sit here typing this, I'm crying uncontrollably. My hair has been thinning out for about 1.5 years. When it started, I would remember so many hairs falling out in the shower. For the last year or so, the shed has stabilized and is not abnormal, but my hair is still thinning out aggressively.

    I started seeking out treatments about a year ago and was diagnosed with hypothyroid. Between August 2008 and February 2009, the doctor wasn't sure so I wasn't on any medication. My hair continued to thin out, but not too much.

    In March 2009, I started taking levothyroxine (thyroid hormone) and then switched to Synthroid two months later. Since then, my hair thinning increased so dramatically that I cannot hide it on the top anymore. It is really bad and progressing at a crazy speed - I have thinned out SO much over the last 3-4 months that I am absolutely devastated every time I take a picture. All this time, I'm not seeing much actual shedding in the shower or on my pillow, but visually it's getting worse and worse.

    I went to see Dr. Redmond in New York two weeks ago and he said that I'm probably not hypothyroid. I'm weaning off Synthroid now. But the hair thinning is progressing. Even though Redmond said that levothyroxine/synthroid do not cause the hair thinning, I am now looking back at pictures in January and February and I had a lot more hair.

    He put me on 20 mcg of Yaz and 200 mg of aldactone (generic: Spironolactone).

    My question is, if you have experienced this type of hair loss which I suspect is Synthroid-related, have you seen regrowth? I am devastated to think that Synthroid might have caused the aggressive thinning and that it could have been avoided.

    I can't stop crying, I am in such despair.
  2. RobinL71

    RobinL71 Guest

    hair loss is most definitely a possible side effect of synthroid... it states as much right in the patient literature...

    I don't see how Redmond could say that synthroid doesn't cause hair loss bc ANY medication has the propensity to cause hair loss... especially one that screws around w/ the endocrine system...

    regardless.. if the hair loss you experienced was synthroid induced... then by removing the trigger yes your hair should recover...

    Did Redmond perform any diagnostic work like blood draws before weaning you off the synthroid and before putting you on Spironolactone and Yaz?

    Also.. how old are you? Was hair loss the only symptom that prompted you to go on synthroid to begin with? Or did you have other classic hypo symptoms?
  3. lily13

    lily13 New Member

    Apr 21, 2009
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    I am 22 years old. I did not have any other symptoms of either hypo- or hyperthyroid, so I was surprised to learn that. The endocrinologist who put me on thyroid hormone said that my hair loss should slow down once I take it, but it's only gotten worse.

    Yes, Redmond did a lot of blood work and I actually had blood work going back to when I was not on thyroid hormone, so he said I am probably not hypothyroid looking at those old tests.

    My hair loss was the only symptom that prompted going to a derm, then an endocrinologist. Before I went on thyroid hormone, it did not seem to progress that much between August 2008 (when I noticed it and started seeing doctors) and March 2009 (when I started taking medication). And now I'm seeing really progressive thinning, even though I don't notice much shedding (under 10 in shower).

    Redmond said that it will take 4 months to notice slowing in shedding and up to a year to notice thickening/regrowth of hair. I know I have to be patient, but I am afraid of:
    (1) More thinning within the next 4 months while Aldactone effects become noticeable
    (2) Not experiencing any regrowth

    I should also mention that I saw Vera Price in SF and had the same exact experience as described by others. She did a biopsy and confirmed Androgenetic Alopecia, even though I do not have a history of baldness in my family. I was less than satisfied and that is when I finally saw Redmond.
  4. kimm

    kimm Guest

    Was "autopsy" a fruedian slip? :)

    Sorry to hear you are having such issues. I hope your new regime brings you some relief.

    I was diagnosed hypothyroid myself and my doctor doesn't think I should be on anything at the moment. I'm really nervous about the possibility of having to go on meds since I'm pretty sure he prescribes synthroid.
  5. lily13

    lily13 New Member

    Apr 21, 2009
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    Haha, it probably was! I'll correct it now.

    I just don't know what to believe anymore. I know someone whom Redmond helped tremendously, so I have faith in him. He says that Synthroid should not have had any major effect on my hair loss, but I am beginning to think that it did.

    If you are feeling fine and hair loss is the only symptom of your "hypothyroidism," I would explore other options. Although again, what do I know?

    Redmond says to not believe most things that are on the Internet, especially in forums.
  6. kimm

    kimm Guest

    Yes most of the docs I've talked to roll their eyes at the mention of the internet as a source of info.

    Most of us can use our brains though and at least google something to see if it comes up anywhere else. You can also access medical studies.

    I can't tell you how many docs told me that bcps don't cause hair loss, but that is the one thing I changed when hair began raining out of my head.

    If it wasn't for forums I wouldn't have known about half of the treatments I'm on. I wouldn't know anything about pcos ( the main culprit of my hair loss)

    You can't believe everything your read, but you also need to take what your doctors say and double check them as well. I've followed some BAD advice in the past. A little more researching might have saved me a bit of trouble!

    Good luck. I know how hard and confusing this is!
  7. RobinL71

    RobinL71 Guest

    Well when I was first dx'd w/ Hashimoto's Thyroiditis years ago... my endo put me on synthroid and I began shedding like a sheep dog.
    I called my endo bc not only was I shedding but I felt very foggy and just felt like crap overall... he pulled me off the synthroid and the shedding stabilzed...
    the lit that comes w/ the prescription states that hair loss is a possible side effect...
    not to mention... synthroid is a synthetic thyroid hormone... so it bears repeating that any medication that affects the endocrine system has the ability to affect hair...

    I do agree with him that you have to be careful about what info you come across on the internet and in forums... but and by the same token and regarding hair loss... those of us here on this forum have firsthand experience with female hair loss... and we have knowledge due to our experience and due diligence... so my personal feeling is that alot of the advice given here can be really good, sound advice.

    The bottom line is that nobody knows your body better than you... so go with your gut instincts... if you feel that your hair loss was a result of synthroid then chances are you are probably right... especially given the fact that you never had any thyroid symptoms... and your thyroid tests show normal...

    I'm glad that Redmond was able to help your friend... hopefully he will be able to help you too...
  8. Jubilee

    Jubilee Guest

    I went to a local wig shop where the female proprietor said she had worn wigs herself for 20 years due to a thyroid condition. She eventually got it under control (don't remember for certain if it was removed but may have been) and the hair grew back. She was probably around 60 yrs old and wore a short, teased hair style - it wasn't super thick, but she would definitely be off of anyone's hair loss radar screen. I don't know anything about Synthroid vs Levoxyl, but I do believe if there is associated hair loss due to thryoid problems or medication there is an excellent chance it will grow back if everything gets regulated properly. She also credited her regrowth to Avon's multivitamins but they have quit distributing them (I wonder if its possible to find out the formula and get something similar?) And she faithfully uses Hayashi's System Hinoki Hair Thickener Leave In Body Booster - (if you try this it doesn't take more than the size of a dime, at most). Hang in there & good luck!
  9. kimm

    kimm Guest

    So does anyone know why some of these thyroid meds cause hair loss?

    I've read that it's the med itself and I've also read that it's just because you aren't on the right dose or combo and not balanced yet.

    Does anyone have any ideas on that one?

    I have a feeling I may have to cross this bridge at some point again, and will be in a stalemate on what to do!

    (terrible with tough choices...have another baby? Go on thyroid meds? try Rogaine? Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?)

    I'm seeing a thyroid expert who's treating my dad's wife, and is apparently highly regarded. I mentioned armour to him (and the bad reaction I had) and he said that he did not believe in using that med, because he didn't feel it was precise enough. Note that I'm also seeing other docs that do believe in armour but they aren't necessarily the ones I'm going to with this.

    I had a really dramatic reaction to a low dose of armour. My one holistic doctor thinks it's because my adrenals were/are on overdrive and the small dose of med just overfueled that fire. Needless to say, that alone makes me really nervous about going down that path again, if my tests start to come back more hypo.

    Sorry about the rambling....
  10. alicat

    alicat Guest

    I'm sorry your hair is falling fast.

    I was wondering, though...you started thyroid treatment in March and your hair was already thinning, right? Is it possible that it's not the thyroid meds, and is just your own body doing this? I ask because would it be too soon to see such a dramatic difference? Plus you say you're not seeing visible hair falling? Hmmmmm.

    Synthroid can cause initial hair thinning. It should correct itself in time. Some women are given too much or too little Synthroid. I was always given too little Synthroid. I am now on a higher dose, and my hair isn't thinning further.

    I am wondering if you have Hashi's? It is an autoimmune thyroidism that can carry a "normal" TSH, but an abnormal TSH, T4 and positive anti-bodies. Is the endo starting you on Synthroid to prevent possible symptoms down the road? Did your endo tell you anything about hypothyroidism?

    Good luck!!! Hair loss is soooooooooooo tricky!
  11. alicat

    alicat Guest

    Hey Kimm...my hubby is in medicine. I should ask him about the whole hair loss thing. My feeling is that it's because the dose isn't right. I have heard it's tricky to find the right dose for some ppl too! Stupid hormones. Being hypothyroid predisposes us to hair loss. Bummer!
  12. curlylocks

    curlylocks Guest

    I have 2 friends and an aunt who have had their thyroids removed and are using synthroid as a hormone replacement. All 3 of them have beautiful hair. My own hair loss has slowed down considerably since I started taking synthroid and I am seeing regrowth. I was shedding drastically when I started taking it. I also added Rogaine 5% to the mix. My shed continued for a while, then slowed. Now, it is a little more than pre-te. It's as hard to say what's caused the loss as it is what's causing my regrowth. I also know, that the shed could start up again tomorrow...It's so hard to know what's working and what's not. I do believe that the synthroid will help if it's regulated properly.
  13. lost_stars

    lost_stars Guest

    I had massive hair loss while on synthroid. Now I'm on nature throid tabs which seem to be a lot better.
  14. ttc

    ttc Guest


    First of all, I'm so sorry you are going through this...I think most of us as have been at the point you are at and my heart goes out to you. This is all so hard...and the doctors often just add to our confusion. We put out trust in them and then end up feeling betrayed because we expect they should know what they are doing and what they are talking about!! I've been experiencing the same deal with them for several years now...I gave up for like a year because it was getting me no where but just recently decided to look further into the possiblilty of thyroid related issues for myself.
    I ordered 4 books about hypothyroidism off Amazon and when I saw that Redmond told you Synthroid does not cause hair loss I had to respond. In Mary J Shoman's book "Living Well With Hypothyroidism" on page 352 she says that prolonged hair loss IS a side effect of synthroid for some people, and that it even mentions hair loss as a side effect in the Synthroid patient literature...but she also says many Dr.'s are not aware of this. I am a former patient of Dr. Redmond and I don't think he's the expert we all wish he was. The 5 months he had me on Avodart for my hair loss was the worst my hair ever shed....and he wanted me to stay on it longer. I know some ladies here feel that he has helped them, but my experience was that he was never really that interested in my personal situation and that the treatment he prescribed was the same sort of standard thing he does for the majority of women that go to him. My point here is not to dog Dr. R...but to say the best thing you can do is educate yourself and research hypothyroidism before you give up on it being related. He told me I did not have Hashimoto's and now recent tests I had locally have shown that I do. He had ordered an ultrasound of my thryroid a couple years ago that came back showing it was slightly enlarged, but no nodules so he figured it was not Hashi's...but come to find out you really need to have a radioactive thyroid uptake scan to find out. Also, your TSH may not reflect the imbalance, but make sure you test for Thyroid anitbodies because many doctor's don't and it is an idicator for Hashi's. Not that I'm saying you have it...but these are some things I recently learned and I've suspected my thryroid for years and been to many people and just now am getting somewhere. I hope this helps in some way. Regardless....hang in there and keep researching things for yourself. Best wishes :)
  15. ccc888

    ccc888 Guest

    Hi Lily13, I'm interested to hear of your progress. The same thing happened to me, I lost about 1/2 of my hair on Levothyroxine due to a misdagnosis; that was 9 months ago and I am not seeing regrowth. Are you seing any regrowth yet?
  16. daisylover

    daisylover Established Member

    Aug 8, 2008
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    Kimm -- You sound just like me with decision-making!! :$ I feel a little paralyzed at the moment. I'm off BCP, I *think* I'm trying to get pregnant, but for some reason, that week I'm ovulating, I decide to wait another month. I don't know why. I'm pretty sure I want to have another baby. I'm positive I want the pregnancy hair back! :hairy: And I know the sooner I have the baby, the sooner I can start up with Rogaine.
  17. You who lost hair from synthroid, did your blood tests show hyper while on the med?
    Like too high T4 and too low TSH?
  18. erin

    erin Guest

    I have Hashi's Hyper.
    The doctor says I'm in the normal range, but I think a TSH of 0,7 is on the lowish side. Whenever my TSH gets lower (=hyper) and begin taking medication, the shedding doesnt stop, but after a while (it stabilizes for a while) it decreases. Then my levels drop again.

    So when your thyroid is out of balance, you will experience shedding. When you take medication, your thyroid hormone levels are changing constantly, so you'll again keep shedding. But if the level goes back to a normal range and stays there, the shedding will probably decrease. So I can understand if that women had her thyroid removed and took medication constantly, keeping her levels stable, and her hair grew back.

    And the normal range is different for everyone. My optimal TSH might be 1 and someone else's might be 1,7. So it's up to the doctor and patient to figure out the best level.
    That's what I learned from having thyroid problems for 5 years.
  19. I have very severe hypothyroid ( my TSH was 157 when I was dx @ age 12). I was on Synthroid (300mcg or 0.3mg daily) for over 20 years and had thicker and more hair than the average person.
    Then I started having a lot of pain and fatigue. I'd read that Armour thyroid can help with this so I went of of Synthroid and started Armour. At the same time, I also lost a lot of weight on the Atkins diet.
    That's when my hair loss started. A couple of years later, I went into premature menopause. More recently, I've been dx with the autoimmune disease Reiter's Syndrome (turns out that that was the cause of the pain and fatigue). So, probably all of these things contributed to my hair loss.
    Levothyroxine is the generic version of Synthroid.
    Years ago, I'd seen a TV program on thyroid disorders. On the show, a doctor stated that Synthroid is higher quality than Levothyroxine, and that the dosages are more precise and accurate. I asked my doctor at the time about this and he agreed. That's why I've never taken the generic.
    With Armour, dosage regulation is difficult and can be somewhat inaccurate.
    My TSH went up to 66 last year, but with a change in dosage it's now back to 2.
  20. Brandi

    Brandi Guest

    Hello All! I was on this site a while ago and promised to return when I found some hope! I am absolutely certain that Synthroid causes hair loss (mine was fine until I started taking it; then it fell out by the handfuls. The higher the dose, the more hair I lost.) I finally discovered that I had:
    - Low Iron (you need your ferritin to be 70 - 90 to grow hair. Mine was 23).
    - Low-Functioning Adrenals. I think since my adrenals were spent, they could not support Synthroid going into my body. I then produced a lot of Reverse T3 (which essentially blocks Thyroxine from entering your cells).
    I think it's so rare that the docs. don't know where to go, but I'm finding that those of us who might have the same thing are all in the same club. Low adrenal function and low iron.
    I'm now taking: 25 mcg. Cytomel
    10 mcg. Cortef (hydrocortisone for adrenal support)
    Iron supplements (36 mcg/day WITH vitamin C)
    Evening Primrose Oil
    I searched for 4 years to find the answer and I'm seeing slowed hair loss and re-growth! PLEASE get your RT3 tested, along with T3, T4 and TSH. Check iron levels and a saliva adrenal test will may show the problem. I really want to share this with everyone because I think there are a lot of us out there who are in the same boat. Your body cannot process T3 corrrectly without enough iron. I now feel the best I've felt in 4 years! I'm praising God!
    Visit the website: stopthethroidmadness for more information about RT3 syndrome and low iron.

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