An underactive thyroid is one of the leading causes of hair loss in both men and women, but it is a medical problem that often goes undetected, as people attribute the symptoms to other things. Here are a few telltale signs that mean you might need to pay a visit to the GP:

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterised by numbness or pain and a tingling sensation in the hand and fingers. This is a relatively common condition and should not be a cause for concern on its own, but if you notice it happening frequently in conjunction with some of the other symptoms below, it could be a sign of hypothyroidism.

Loss of appetite combined with weight gain

People with an underactive thyroid often feel that eating is too much effort and can no longer muster up the enthusiasm for even their favourite foods. Conversely, they may notice unusual levels of weight gain, that would seem to contradict their frugal eating habits.

Slow thought and movements

Hypothyroid sufferers can find themselves feeling very tired all the time, and may notice that even their thought processes seem to have slowed down.

Heavy and irregular menstruation

Although obviously only applicable to women, this can be a sign of an underactive thyroid. If you have noticed a change in the frequency or heaviness of your periods and are also displaying some of the other symptoms mentioned here then it might be time for a trip to the GP for a thyroid check.

Hair loss

The hormone produced by the thyroid is needed by every part of the body in order for it to function properly, and that includes the hair follicles. If you have an underactive thyroid, you may notice that more and more of your hair is falling out when you brush it, or in the shower, and in extreme cases you might start to notice some bald patches on the scalp.

If you think your hair lossthyroid and hair loss might be linked to a thyroid problem, it is a good idea to visit your GP and tell him/her about your symptoms. S/he can then perform a test to check your thyroid, and if you are right, you will be prescribed medication to correct the problem.

Hair loss from hypothyroidism is usually temporary, and once treatment commences the hair should regrow. This can take a few months though, so you will need to have patience.

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By Ian Watson

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