Hair loss: slightly high TSH vs. low ferritin?

I've had hair loss for a while - it kicked in after my daughter turned 1 I think - but it has really ramped up in the last couple months and I finally dragged myself to the GP to have some blood tests. I've had one round of tests back and need some input re the results:

B12 = 390 (190-660 ng/L)

TSH = 6.31 (0.27-4.20 u/L)

Free T4 = 13 (12-22 pmol/L)

Ferritin = 24 (13-150 ug/L)

The GP initially wanted to wait 3 months for a follow-up test, but I mentioned my husband and I want to start trying for a second child asap, so she has ordered another round of tests next week, I think to check for antibodies. I am so distraught over my hair loss, to the point where I'm only washing/combing my hair every 3-4 days because I can't bear to see all the hair clogging up my drain. I feel like I have loads of other symptoms of hypothyroidism, but I've read that hair loss can be a symptom of low ferritin, too. I just want to stop losing my hair! And get ship shape for baby 2. I am 35. I am IMPATIENT. Anything I can do to stop the hair loss quickly? And what do you think about my levels re hypothyroidism? Should I ask for more tests, eg Free T3 levels?

Any input would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

16 Replies

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  • Hey,

    I feel your pain. We are in the same boat. Hair loss is the worst symptom of thyroid illness. And sorting it out is not easy. I'm 34, slowly been losing hair for a couple of years. Only noticed it January 2016 as always had thick hair. Now, half the volume and is still ongoing. What did I do to help? Well, my ferritin started at 24. Managed to get it to 94 within 4 months. Still loosing hair. I'm on Armour thyroid since July. After starting, hair falling out more. But apparently it's a temporary thing until the levels of hormones normalise. Right now still low on T3. Apparently should be in top end of the range as T3 directly related to the hair follicle. Also estrogen dominance can cause hair loss. Ao just had that tested. So I'm putting my hopes into that once my T3 is up and my progesterone levels aren't low anymore the hair loss stops. Otherwise I'm at loss.... I cried and cried and stressed over it but no quick solution. I keep being told "not to worry about my hair, as it's not that bad..." and I just feel like like saying "shush already as your words are not comforting to say the least". Utterly distressing. But stressing wont help. Accept it for now and try to do the interventions I mentioned. Check out articles, there are a few on thyroid hair loss. Good luck and let me know how you're getting on. Also biotin, Evening primrose oil and many different supplements I'm taking. However, as far as I am concerned, until the hormones are sorted, the hair loss won't cease

    Kate

  • Thanks so much, Kate. Your message has made me feel loads better. No amount of 'consoling' from friends and family does any good. I am really struggling to accept that I'm going to have to change my lifestyle and diet, which i didn't think were that bad really! Did you have your % absobtion of iron tested? I think that sounds sensible, so that I'm not just stuffing my face with spinach while my body refuses to use it and the hair keeps piling up on the floor. Did you have to change your diet loads to get your ferritin up, or was it mainly down to supplements? Many thanks again.

  • also make sure your dr test for d3, free t3, b12 and deficiencies bec i know people that had deficiencies that their thyroid got back into shape after they got everything else and hormone in balance......and didnt even need thyroid hormone hence they were estrogen dominant....

    also i trried everything and still am and low and behold find out i have high cortisol from a 4x saliva test and also have high selenium for some odd reason and low normal free t3....ALL CAUSE HAIR LOSS

    AND I WAS ALREADY DOING THE IRON THING BEC I HAD LOW NORMAL FERRITIN...

  • Yep. Could be a million reasons for hair loss. Awful. My cortisol is also high. But i always feel shattered. Strange. How did your find out you have high selenium? Is there a test? I'm taking selenium supplement as was told it helps stop hair loss. So confusing. The most important is to balance adrenals and oftentimes thyroid gets better as a result. But balancing adrenals is difficult I find :-(

  • well all you hear is how great selenium for thyroid patients but i dont eat brazila nuts or anything or were i taking a supplement except multi and dr did a blood test of zinc selenium and iodine and selenium came back high which was shocking

  • Eelikoos,

    Hairloss may be due to hypothyroidism but can also be due to low ferritin. You'll need ferritin >70 to stop hairloss but >100 is better. Supplement iron with 500-1,000mg vitamin C to aid absorption and minimise constipation.

    TSH of women planning pregnancy should be in the low-normal range 0.4-2.0 otherwise conception can be difficult and the risk of miscarriage increases when TSH is >2.0. Levothyroxine dose is usually increased by 25-50mcg when pregnancy is confirmed to ensure good foetal development and to avoid post-partum psychosis.

    B12 390 is sub optimal. I would supplement 1,000mcg methylcobalamin with a B Complex vitamin and you will presumably be supplementing folic acid or methylfolate.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.

  • Thanks Clutter - I actually have had two early miscarriages, one just this last June. Very painful, but at least there is are some possible explanations now, and hopefully some hope that I can turn thing around.

  • eelikoos,

    I'm sorry for your losses and I hope once your thyroid levels are stabilised you will have a successful pregnancy.

  • Just be aware that GPs don't generally treat low B12 levels and low ferritin levels that are in range. This is because you aren't "ill". So you either have to treat yourself or pay money to see a trichologist.

    For iron you want ferrous fumerate which you can buy in a pharmacy if you tell the pharmacist you have have "low iron" and have been advised to get it or online at Amazon. Over the counter iron tablets do not contain sufficient iron to raise levels in those who are deficient.

    With B12 get methylcobalamine lozenges which you can get online at Amazon.

    Raising ferritin levels like getting adequate thyroid levels doesn't happen quickly, but you need to do both if you are planning to have a second child.

  • Thanks bluebug, all very good to know. I'm annoyed that my GP didn't even mention the low ferritin (presumably because it's 'in range' - I only saw it when I requested a copy of the test results.

  • GPs like most doctors who work for the NHS aren't taught about ferritin and even if they know something about it the presume if the level is over 30, then you are fine.

    You have to talk to other health professionals e.g. sports scientists, trichologists plus doctors who work in the field of sports medicine and nutrition (these always work in the private sector) to know that your ferritin level should be higher. As they have read evidence that low but in range ferritin levels cause decreased exercise performance and hair loss.

    As GPs are generalists they have to have knowledge about a wide load of things but that knowledge is shallow. If you are lucky and have a GP - they are normally young - who is interested then you can teach them about things by showing them research papers. However lots of GPs aren't interested in specific conditions.

  • THAT S not uncommon......

    drs just shrug off low normal as okay...rather than address the side effects of such

  • B12 and ferritin need to be high in range. Have you checked D3, folate, total blood protein, etc.?

    My hair was falling out in clumps in the 90s. My FT3 was seriously low, I had severe adrenal stress, and celiac enteropathy had tanked my protein level. Yes, you need your doc to give you the full TSH/FT3/FT4/rT3/TPOAb/TGAb panel and you especially need to know if you are harboring Hashimoto's (the most frequent cause of hypothyroid). My hair loss didn't stop until my FT3 was in the top half of range.

    You need to be very aware that hypothyroidism is a HUGE risk to the health of another baby. Having TSH=6.3 is a red flag. Get yourself a copy of the Trentini/Shomon thyroid pregnancy book (thyroidpregnancybook.com) and follow their recommendations. Don't be in a rush, and end up being sorry later!

  • Thanks very much for this, i will ask the GP for the full panel. Have read some of the Living Well Shomon book, not surprised that T3 wasn't tested. Hoping I can get it included on the next round of tests.

  • BTW if you find out that you have Hashi's, you might want to look into the book by Izabella Wentz that details a lot of different approaches to lowering autoimmunity. Hypothyroid mom has a review of it at: hypothyroidmom.com/hashimot...

  • that is encouraging thanks for sharing

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