Synthroid and Hair Loss – Low Thyroid Medication Friend or Foe ?

by admin on September 11, 2007

SynthroidAs many of you already know from reading my story, I am currently taking the medication synthroid for low thyroid. Recently I’ve been seriously looking towards that as being the cause of my excessive hair loss, and what seems like an endless hair shedding that has been going on for years non stop. Let me first clarify that I know for a fact that isn’t what initially started my hair loss. What started my hair loss was from stopping high androgen index birth control pills, however, I think that synthroid may be exacerbating the situation.

When I first started losing my hair approximately 8 years ago I would notice that my hair shredding would sort of go in cycles, there would be 4 months of a crazy shed and the next 4 months it would seem to slow down tremendously. That break in shedding would would allow for some hair to grow back. But, as of the last couple years I’ve been shedding non stop with a recent tremendous increase this year. My thyroid medication dose has been raised this year and last year as well. I don’t know if that is just a coincidence or it that level is too much for my hair.

I came stumbled across a website today where people were sharing their experiences with hair loss and Synthroid. The stories were very mixed, similar to what you will find in any forum, which is precisely what my gripe was yesterday when I was talking about my issue with hair loss forums. But, I still find myself scanning various internet sites in hopes to find something… anything that may help me. I do think that certainly enough people complain that they believe it is the cause of their hair loss, that I should start looking into another medication to treat my hypothyroidism.

It is always scary switching any medication when you are suffering with hair loss, at least it is for me. I want to try and find a local thyroid doctor who believes in treating his/her patients with a natural thyroid.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Mona September 14, 2007 at 8:30 am

I am wondering the same thing about Synthroid. I thought it was suppose to help but I think it is making my hair loss worse. Does anyone know anything about the natural synthroid Armour? How do you find a doctor who prescribes it?

Beth September 20, 2007 at 10:53 pm

Go to http://www.armourthyroid.com and click on “find a doctor near you” and you can search for docs in your area. I plan on looking into this debate a bit more myself.

admin September 21, 2007 at 6:55 am

Hi Beth, welcome to the site, thanks for the link! I’m going to check it out and try and find a doctor who treats thyroid with armour. I’ll keep everyone posted on how that goes.

Harriet January 8, 2008 at 2:15 pm

I had radio active Iodine Jan.06 for over active Thyroid and nodules. Then I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.I had chemo and Radiation so my hair fell out,but it never came back right.I had sooo much hair before and now it is so thin and baby like that I cannot go without a wig.I take synthroid now and I am wondering if that could be the problem. I am looking for a new Endo. doctor who will work with me on this I saw a top notch dermatoligist who just advise Rogaine Foam .Any info would be appreciated.

Susannah September 7, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Wow. Wow. Wow. And I thought I wasn’t taking enough synthroid. I actually always thought my 100mg dose was too much (mg I think?). My hair loss pattern is the same as yours… thanks for the insight!!!!

Amanda September 26, 2009 at 8:29 am

OMGosh….I have been losing handfuls of hair for over a year now. It started around the time I switched from Levoxyl to Synthroid. I have been very suspicious, and recently switched back to levoxyl…although the shedding hasn’t stopped. I’m wondering if the Synthroid triggered it. Now I’m almost convinced. I cry everyday in the shower as I watch tons of hair flow down the drain. My endo dr says its normal hair shedding. ITS NOT. I’ve lost over 60 percent of my hair. I’m definitely following up with another dr. Thanks for the insight and info….

Amanda

melanie January 9, 2010 at 1:50 am

i feel the need to share my story as much as possible in hopes of saving someone alot of stress. ive been battling low thyroid, weight gain and hair loss for 7 years now. long story short ive switched from high doses, to low doses, to synthroid, to armour, to levoxyl…. on and on it goes. today i am at my highest weight ever, but guess what? my hair is about 75% gone and that stresses me out alot more than my weight. according to my doc, my thyroid levels are good but i have less hair than ever now.
so, here is my theory: the cause of my ongoing extreme shedding is constant fluctuations in hormone changes due to changing my meds constantly. i dont think my levels have ever had the oppurtunity to level out long enough to see a difference. i think now that any time i make a change in my meds i will give it atleast 9 months before i say yay or nay. i know that when you are losing your hair it seems logical to changfe things to fix it, wich is what im famous for. but maybe that is the worse thing you can do? my ultimate goal is to be able to hop all of these message boards and share a success story but in the meantime, i hope my theory is helpful? we will see…

Anji B. January 12, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I am on my own journey to stop the thyroid madness….And I feel I have found a way to FINALLY feel like a human being again!

I was initially put on Levoxyl and my hypothyroidism symptoms grew worse. I suffered from extreme hair loss, fatigue, body aches, depression and brain fog. Then I learned about Armour and found a doctor who was very knowledgeable about thyroid problems in general.

He prescribed me Armour and my hair grew back and I felt wonderful for a month – Then all the symptoms came back – except for the hair loss. I started researching – thinking it was all in my head – and discovered that Armour had changed its fillers without letting their consumers know. As a result, all of my hypo symptoms returned – with a vengeance! My doctor – as disgusted as me – put me on a compounded drug with Levoxyl and Cytomel.

I still felt terrible – worse really. An all of the new hair that ha grown back has fallen out again.

So, I started researching natural treatments and discovered that I could buy the very same ingredient that made me feel so good when I was on Armour’s original medication – dessicated pork thyroid. I bought a bottle of Raw Adrenal and Raw Thyroid. (You can buy these products online) I also learne that Kelp, Bladderwrack, Selenium and B12 play a very important role in assisting the production of the thyroid.

It has been four days and I have been on my feet all day – doing things that I have not done one in months. I am thinking more clearly and the fatigue is fading more and more by the day.

Therefore, I absolutely REFUSE to take Levoxyl, Synthroid or any of their generics EVER again. I personally feel that nature is a safer, more efficient route than a chemically engineered hormone.

Feeling BETTER and loving it!

susan February 13, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I had the same problem with synthyroid and hair loss, but decided to change
to armour, and that has been a disaster. I have had severe shoulder ligament
weakness, which is what I had before I started thyroid treatment, and my
skin on my arm has thinned and also my blood, and have these blood blisters on my arm, like an old person. The people that advocate armour, say nothing but good things about it, but I have certainly had bad affects from it.
I was so excited about it because of what I read, but now I don’t know what to do. Think I will go back to synthroid, and make sure I get the brand name,
was using generic before, maybe that will help. My pharmacist did tell me that hair loss was a symptom of synthroid, and I must say my hair did stop coming out once I was on armour, but these other things really scare me.

Joyce AF February 6, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I’m on L Thyroxine which is a form of synthroid. I am itching and have severe hair loss. But the itching has me more uncomfortable. What is a normal TSH Level? I have an appointment with an ENDO but it’s a month away. I feel awful; lightheaded, itchy eyes, very depressed over this.HELP!
Also, will my hair grow back once I get thyroid level corrected?

Nicole April 18, 2011 at 6:16 am

I had a similar issue after being on synthroid for over 15 years. I am now on NatureThryoid 65mg and though I can’t say my hair is regrowing, I do believe the loss has slowed.

Holly April 26, 2011 at 12:33 am

Just to add my experience:

I was put on Levothyroxine at a very low dose because of a slight increase in my TSH…and because my menstruation had suddenly become irregular (prior to thyroid meds, I was put on Orthotricyclen, which made my hair fall out in chunks! When I stopped BCP, hair loss stopped, too). I felt great on Levothyroxine and lter switched to brand – because I thought it would be better. Long story short, my hair began falling out like crazy. Endo said it’s not the meds, GP said “wait it out” but 4 months later, it was coming out in clumps. I finally stopped taking it in September ’10 and 7 months later, I’m seeing ome slow down in hair loss, but hair regrowth…not so much. I never had hair loss before this experience and I had a TON of hair. Now, 50%+ gone…in addition to some hair loss on my arms and legs. Would you believe doctors are trying to convince me to get back on the stuff at my barely elevated TSH?! And I’ve seen 4 Endos about this!

Doctors should know the side effects of meds before prescribing and not make patients feel crazy by denying hair loss as a side effect of the medication. It’s a real side effect; read the literature. Synthroid is synthetic junk and is only handed out like candy because the company is great at marketing with doctors. And not many doctors seem to be proactive enough to read up on the pros/cons of these meds. My guess is, these pharmaceutical companies must line most doctors’ pockets, otherwise what they do by prescribing synthetic thyroid meds to patients so irresponsibly is completely unethical.

All of that to say…Synthroid does cause hair loss, and a severe one at that.

storme June 17, 2011 at 8:41 am

seconding everyone’s comments, in particular my experience with Eutirox marketed by Glaxo SmithKline. They changed the formula (still available in some countries though) and several patients complained of side effects including hair loss. Since becoming hypo (was hyper, then radioative iodine); my long thick (mid back length) hair thinned immensely. Now with this past 1.5 years on Eutirox, it began falling – in chunks, just putting my hand in my air. Am currently set to see an Endo back in Europe who is open to T3 supplementation, which I have never tried and suspect I need to. Whatever you do – stay AWAY from Eutirox by Glaxo (google it). I only just found out as much by my research of recent. It is a shame about Armour’s changed formula; reviews generally seem very positive prior to. I think I might lean towards supplementing with Cynomel. The RAW thyroid info above sounds good too: we have to treat ourselves. Listen to our own bodies. I have come to realize with thyroid disease: only YOU know YOU and how you feel, best. Go by that for your “cure”.

storme June 18, 2011 at 12:57 am

a correction to my previous post: I meant to type ELTROXIN and not EUTIROX by Glaxo SmithKline. again; avoid it.

NC June 21, 2011 at 7:41 pm

AnjiB,
If you still visit this site, I’d love to hear what your current experience is now 6 mos into the natural combo you’ve found for yourself. My hair breakage started years ago (before diagnosis of hypothyroidism and meds). I started on Armour and now am on a combo of Armour and Levothyroxine and have seen an increase in the hair shedding/loss. I did experiment with a Raw Thyroid from a whole food store, but didn’t really feel a difference. I came across Adrenal Glandular, but never took it. I wonder now if in combo these two things would help support.

Any good news to report from your experience?

gisela September 13, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Hi.
Reading all your comments is making me scared.
I have been loosing my air for many many years, and I have and am so worried about it. My doctor says it is age and over weight more then anything else. I never heard this that so many of you say about synthroid.
I take 125mgr a day. I thought I am taking too little and a too low dose. Now I am really scared.
Should I just stop taking it??
If I do, then what happens with the thyroid??
How can I stop taking synthroid and still keep my thyroid in place??
I am morbidly obese. So they say. I way 270lbs. And am 5’9″.
Am taking meds for cholesterol and high bloodpressure now too. I am realizing I am really a mess.
On the description from one of you above, you described to have itching. I itch in my scalp. To the point where it really burns.
I took one medicine but lost my feeling to touch on my skin on my arms. Very scary.
Please, If anyone has any idea what I could do, let me know.
Thank you. Gisela

Jan October 3, 2011 at 6:34 am

I started taking Biotin 5000 mcg a day. I’ve been taking it over a month now and my hair loss has stopped completely. I can’t say that it has grown back where I lost it, but it has definitely stopped the shedding. I am hypothyroid, just mildly, but I’m scared to take the Synthroid prescribed. I’m afraid it will make the hair loss worse.

anna October 19, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Does anyone know if there is a way to wean off levoxyl and go to a natural thyroid replacement? I’ve been on it for almost 2 years now, and have been losing hair just in that amount of time, too.
I tried the t3 types of medicine before, as well as iodine, but my body does not respond well to t3 – makes my heart racy and gives me insomnia. I just tried upping my levoxyl to 37 mcg (from 25) and made hair loss worse!
How to keep thyroid under control but also the hair loss from stoppin?!
So i naturally, then, after a couple weeks of that, went back down to 25, and now i feel like hell! Exhausted, sluggish, light-headed….could changing doses for such a short time really affect me that much? And has anyone read about the thyroid/adrenal connection?
AHhhhhhh, so confused and scared!!!

Sherry November 10, 2011 at 12:08 am

Hi,
I just noticed that my hair is very thin on top. I recently went to the doctor and they are checking my thyroid. I am very scared reading these stories. How do I get my hair to stop falling out? It used to be very think and now it’s thin :(

Meghan O'Brien January 11, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I am 24 years old. September 21st, 2011 I had a hemi-thyroidectomy to remove a nodule on my right side, later to be determined BENIGN. It took a year to discover that the half of thyroid still left wasn’t producing enough thyroid hormone and I am now Hypo. If I could give anyone out there advice about having nodules removed from your thyroid, GET A SECOND OPINION!! Benign nodules can stay and never affect you later in life. After having surgery to remove half my thyroid for a benign nodule, I am now losing the most hair over a very short period of time. I have been off my levothyroxin 25mg for 2 weeks now blaming the hair loss on the med since it got increasingly worse as I was on the medication. But after reading above, I’m wondering if the fact that I’m on birth control and have been the past 7 years, could that be the reason of the hair loss? Could the combo between birth control and thyroid medication be causing the rapid hair loss?

Hope January 15, 2012 at 10:23 am

I’ve been on Synthroid for the last ten years and my hair is definitely thinner and drier than it used to be, although some of the hair loss is probably age-related. I take 500 mcg of Biotin daily and I seem to lose less hair. Unfortunately it doesn’t do anything for the texture.

Lotus April 18, 2012 at 2:24 am

So what is the solution for hair fall ? I am hypothyroid & menopausal, have tried this and it kind of works for a while.
1. Iron supplements help in hair growth if you are anemic.
2. Selenium is great too. 3. Neem Oil massage for scalp. Massage roots. Keep the oil on overnight. Wash hair in the morning.
4. My doctor prescribed ‘Meganeuron OD Plus’ tablet which contains (Mythylcobalamin +Folic Acid+Pyridoxine+Biotin+Benfotiamine+Alpha Lipoic Acid) . This is a Vitamin Combo capsule. Also Calcium+VitaminD tablets. 5. I have noticed that once I have taken Thyroxin at a stretch for say 3 months, my hair begins to fall. Then I go off it and it stops. In a couple of months when it begins to fall again I resume with my medication and then the hair fall stops. Nothing major happens to my T3, T4 readings though my TSH rises to 4.0 when I stop. The TSH goes back to the 1.0-1.5 range when I restart Thyroxin.

hopefulblond1 July 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I am seeing my doctor today and am going to ask him to put me on Armour. I’ve been on synthroid since 1997 and have had slow hairloss since then. It started to get so bad that I started using Rogaine. I did notice a slight improvement and was very happy with that. Then my doctor upped by sythroid dosage and my hair fell out in bunches. My heart started racing and I was sweating like crazy. I had to go back down to my lower dosage. And my hairloss has not stopped. It’s gone crazy. I’ve been so depressed about it. I started researching and heard a lot about Armour. Thank God I have a doctor who listens. I know that if I ask him to change my medication to Armour he will. I can hardly wait to try it. I will let you all know how it goes and if it helps at all. I’ve also started taking EPO (Evening Primrose Oil) and Saw Palmentto to see if it will help. I also take B vitamins and Salmon oil and iron. I’m doing all I can….this forum and support network has really helped. I’ll let you know how it goes after my appointment and I start the new medication.

laura November 13, 2012 at 8:37 am

I am taking syntroid, I have never noticed hair loss until I started this medication. I am 99% sure that taking this drug is making my hair fall our.

lynette love November 18, 2012 at 7:34 am

i began Armour therapy in August. My hair has thinned significantly over the last two years in the crown of my head and I have experienced small bald spots on the sides of my head. The Armour therapy has helped with a lot of my hypothyroid symptoms. My doctor told me it would take several months for me to begin to notice a difference and said that I shouldn’t expect to see major changes with my hair for a whole year. I think I need iron supplementation (waiting on results). Going gluten free (i cheat 1-3 times per week) has helped reduce my hives and dry, very itchy scalp. The right supplements along with the medicine I think are critical, in addition to the right diet and exercise plan. Get your iron, vitamin D, vitamin B and mineral levels checked and work with your doctor to see what the right supplements can help with hair growth. Understand you made need to commit to the regimen for life, or with iron at least until you stop menstruating. I hope to have a wonderful update in late spring 2013 about how my hair has regrown and thickened back up!!!! I am praying for you ladies, I was previously no diagnosed for hypothyroidism because all my lab work was in normal range. I found a doctor that was willing to treat my symptoms and realized that my blood work was “low” normal.

Michelle December 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Check out Stopthethyroidmadness.com. I believe that this site will give you gals some hope. I believe that there might be a connection to gluten issues and thyroid as well. I have always had thick hair but it’s getting a bit thinner. I just started (today) a natural dessicated thyroid med from another country. I’m praying that it will give me more energy, help me lose some weight, and also regain the hair that I have lost. I urge you gals to check this site out. It’s for men and women. Lots of pertinent information on there. Whether you follow what they say or not, please, at least, take a look at it! My mom had thyroid issues and as she is very into the natural, she took Armour (the old formulation; it’s changed and so that’s why some of you are having trouble) then she did Dr. Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome (deals with your tempurature) (can find online) and now, other than a thyroid vitamin (with a little dessicated thyroid), she takes no meds and she’s going to be 71 yrs old in March:) She tries to focus on God made foods as she knows He makes the best kind!

Latoya April 16, 2014 at 4:42 pm

I was diagnosed as having hyperthyroidism and, Graves diesae in March 2013. I am 36 years old I’ve been experiencing symptoms for up to 3 years before I was aware such as always hot and, uncomfortable “sweating purfusly” motion sickness, nervous, slight memory loss, heart palpitations. In December of 2013 due to the severity of my conditions I was advised to have my entire thyroid gland removed. After my surgery instantly I felt better however I am now anemic, I have problems with my eyes bulging. I Now have Hypothyroidism and now all of my Hair has completely fallen out like paper and, it doesn’t appear to be growing back.
I am afraid because, 90% of my hair is gone.

SDjag May 8, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I switched from Synthroid to Armour Thyroid a few years ago. I had been complaining to my doctor at the time about losing my hair. (I initially started with ridiculously thick hair, had noticed some initial shedding when first starting thyroid replacement (my TSH had been 41 when I was diagnosed,) and it increased over the course of a couple of years.

I did notice an improvement a few months after switching–my g.p. had also prescribed progesterone creme, so low progesterone may have been a factor, too.

After the slow but steady improvement for a couple of years, I had a period of additional loss and could see my scalp at times in small areas. I went to a dermatologist and who prescribed spironolactone. I’ve been amazed at the improvement. While he said it would likely just help stop further loss, I’ve seen most of the shiny patches disappear. (It’s been about 4 months.) The downside is it was initially approved for high blood pressure (which was not an issue for me) and lately I’ve been feeling a little light headed at times.

Hope someone finds this info helpful. (I know things like hairloss pale in comparison with problems like cancer, but it was a terrible time for me. Best of luck to you all.)

Faye October 15, 2014 at 5:31 pm

vitamin D- I take 1000 units per day with a calcium supplement called Bone Up by Jarrow which has 1000 in it. My hair has thinned but at least it has slowed down the loss,. My thryroidectmy was 39 days ago.Might want to your Dr about D, taking too much is not good.

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