Thyroid UK
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Can low SHBG levels cause hair loss

Hi everyone, I would be grateful if anyone can advise. I'm a 46 yr old woman and have suffered from heavy hair loss from my brows and scalp for 5/4 years. I had a SHBG test back in 2015 which was normal but low at 43 range up to 145. I've recently read that this can cause high levels of unbound testosterone.

I've asked for this test to be done again but the NHS lab have refused to do this several times now stating that my androgen and testosterone levels are normal 1.6 range 0.05 - 2.6.However the NHS doesn't test for free testosterone.

The labs refusal to carry out this test is in my opinion stopping medicine and treatment and my condition is becoming progressively worse.

The NHS have also declined to add private blood tests to my medical records.

I've contacted a solicitor but had no response so I really am in a bad place

Is there anything I can do to jolt the NHS to act in my interest. Would anyone know if there medicine available to help treat low SHBG.

39 Replies
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Personally I would try reported natural treatments whether the condition is caused by thyroid, PCSOS or something else. So diet, exercise and general wellbeing improvements. This is also suggested online eg pcos.com/shgb-sex-hormone-b...

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Hi, I'm taking quite a few supplements but when ever my t4 is lowered to keep the TSH in range the hair comes out. It doesn't grow back.

I walk 20 minutes a day. Every bone and limb hurts. Get very tired. T4 is ok at 18. Don't remember the range. But tsh very low below 0.05 so they keep cropping the T4.

Xxx

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Basically I need to get the SHBG up quickly before I go bald and can't function anymore.

Xx

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This is really good link. Thank you for this. I don't have POCSO. But hair started to come out as I was gaining weight and tsh raised. So bit if a circle with that.

Many thanks

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Hi Karen. Do you know what your cortisol levels are? Both high and low cortisol can cause hait loss. The best test is a cortisol saliva test.

Also you may have low stomach acid which is common with hypos.

I also see that your iron levels are still low a common symptom of which is hair loss. Iron levels need to be higher.

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Thanks Mischa, I don't remember my cortisol test range but it good at 185. So low and still in good range.

I'm really working at my iron but it's taken over 9 months to get to this range.

Xxx

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Hi again Mischa, I've had my cortisol test done again at 9.00 a.m and it was much higher at 294 range 145 to 619. I'd been awake for just over an hour. However compared with the previous results taken approximately one hr later. Is it normal for cortisol to drop so quickly. What do you think.

The hair loss is now a lot worse. Lots half my lashes no brows heavy fall from scalp.

Burning hands. Did you have burning hands?

Xx

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Hi Karen154 - Have you had a recent thyroid test done? You need to do another one without taking thyroid meds the morning of the blood test. You had taken meds previously on the morning of the last blood test. It's difficult to know where your thyroid levels are unless you take another blood test. That way you will be able to see exactly where your levels are. You may well be over medicated and that will cause hair loss for sure.

Your cortisol level is low but not drastically low.

How is your ferritin? It was low before. Low ferritin will cause hair loss. You need to make sure you raise ferritin too.

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Hi, thanks for getting back. No, I didn't take any thyroid medicine the morning of the cortisol test.

I was wondering if it was normal for it to drop do drastically in 1 hr.

Having thyroid test next week at the hospital. The consultant will then discharge me when my tsh normal has raised. Problem is when this raises the hair comes out.

I'm in a real mess now. The hospital won't address the hair loss and just look at the bloods. Dr"s don't seem to know.

I've also been taking liquid iron for 12 months. It's really hard to the iron up when your taking g thyroid medicine.

Xxx

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Hi Karen154

As far as your cortisol is concerned, if it dropped an hour after being at 294, then I would suggest doing a cortisol saliva test to see exactly where your levels are throughout the day. This is important as you will really only know how your adrenals are producing during the course of the day with a saliva test.

Cortisol begins high first thing in the morning and gradually lowers as the day wears on. So it's like a curve or it should be. Your's appears different and I say appears deliberately as without a saliva test you don't know and you don't know how to treat or not. You do need to do a saliva test. Genova do this test and it's pages can be found on Thyroid UK under testing.

Secondly, your thyroid blood test is being done next week. Don't take any thyroid meds that morning, take them after you have the blood test and do the test as early in the morning as possible. If your Endo is adjusting your thyroid meds solely on a TSH number, then he is a blundering idiot. The most important figures are the FT4 and FT3.

It is no wonder you are losing hair if he is trying to raise your TSH you will go hypo and other symptoms. In saying that hair loss can have a number of causes but for now just let's concentrate on your ferritin, thyroid levels and cortisol.

Malabsorption is often a problem with us hypos. If we aren't absorping nutrients or supplementing then we often continue to have symptoms. If you can read anything by SlowDragon and Seaside Susie they give much need advice on in particular what supplements we need in order to support our bodies to process thyroid meds. This is so important. The essential ones are B12, ferritin (which you have done), Vitamin D and folate.

Also if you are like me then you stomach acid is low - this is from years of being badly treated/under-treated. I take Betaine HCL with pepsin to replace the acid I have lost. I continued to have hypo symptoms despite a healthy diet and supplementing. You don't have to take Betaine, lemon juice in water with a meal or apple cider vinegar in water with a meal is a gentler way of dealing with low stomach acid. If you're stomach acid is low then you will find you are not absorbing nutrients from food or thyroid meds. My blood tests for vitamins constantly showed low readings despite supplementing and it wasn't until I began taking HCL that after a while numbers began to rise and symptoms diminished or slowed.

Being hypo is a very complicated and difficult to understand condition or treat if you don't know how. You need to be very aware and read as much as you can about this condition. Doctors and Endos will not give you any of this information. Sadly, like you, I lost a lot of hair, eyelashes and eyebrows and long term my health suffered with being badly treated. I lost years of my life to being badly treated.

You must take your health into your own hands if you have any chance of getting and feeling better. I now have a much better quality of life and feel much more confident now having taken my health into my own capable hands. Don't hesitate to stay in touch when you need some help.

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Thank you for so much fantastic information. All the endos I've been to under the NHS have tried to rises the tsh I was over treated by all thyroid bloods but I just felt normal and really well. My hair as stable then. I do understand why they want to raise tsh but there is definitely a missing piece to this puzzle.

I will concentrate on getting for now and cortisol for now.

Now that your feeling well has your browser hair regrown. Xx

Many thanks xx

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If I remember correctly low SBHG is one of the predictors of hypothyroidism on the cellular level meaning that your T3 is not effectively used in the body. That also is related to hair loss.

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Thank you Samara, this is really helpful. I have taken a t3 supplement and body hair improved but it pushed down my TSH level far to low and scalp got worse.

Is there any supplement I can take to improve my SHBG.

Many thanks

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Some supplements listed in the link shown in my previous reply. Part of overall suggested well-being.

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What does SHBG stand for?

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Never mind. I googled the answer to my post.

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Thank you for your patience. Some of us work and reply instantly.

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Wow your shbg is even lower than mine at 58. My endo tests my shbg every 6 months as he says it is a good indicator of whether my t3 working. I am t3 only and on 75-100mcg daily. My endo said that my shbg should be between 70-90 to show good cell saturation, obvs mine is still low, he thinks i am thyroid hormone resistant as i have been up to 150mcg daily with no signs of over medication. It is also a test that cant be cheated by missing a few doses before blood test. If you take any t3 at all your tsh will be suppressed.

I would press your gp to get it done, put it in writing why you want it tested and that you want your request put on your medical records so that should it become relevant later on your gp will need to explain why he ignored your request. Detail why and how losing your hair is damaging you self esteem and if he doesnt think it is to do with your hormone levels, ask him to put in writing what he thinks is the reason and how he intends to treat it. That will put pressure on him to do something. I truly believe the first line of gp practice is to say NO repeatedly hoping you go away, those of us who take a firm, robust stance and write letters seem to fair better x

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Hi, can ask what you mean by no signs of over treatment. We're all your thyroid bloods in range at the same time. What was your tsh result at the time. My had told me he isn't the one testing me he referred me to the experts. Consultants.it's now 3 tread since asking for help and I'm no further on. Xx

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My tsh is always surpressed 0.02 t4 8 and T3 between 6-7 my endo looks for signs like hand tremor fast erratic heart beat irritability or shbg over 90 x

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Know it's been a while but I need to come back to this as I'm getting worse. Have you suffered hair loss due to low shbg. I tired T3 but my scalp shed in handfuls it was so scary. X

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Believe it or not the result was. Insiders normal. It's isn't my GP it's the lab refusing to do the test. Because my testosterone is normal.

The GP has said that the if this is the labs policy then there is nothing they can do.

The lab nolonger test for T3.

Is there anything I can do to increase these levels myself.

Ms y Thanks

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My phone changes words. Sorry.

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It's a shame solicitors don't read these blogs lol.

Theses more then a few of us that need one.

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The testosterone levels you have given are on lower side.

NHS do tests free testosterone - I just had it done on NHS.

High thyroid, estrogen, testosterone hormones will cause shbg to increase.

Have you tested your estrogen?

It may be very low hence shbg is low.

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Hi, thanks for your reply. I have repeatedly asked for estrogen to be tested for 3 years and oestrogen was tested instead. I'm just getting anywhere. I think my problems lay with the lab. I need to take some kind of action with the lab.

Need to go to work but please keep replying and I'll get back when I'm free.

Many Thanks

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Estrogen = oestrogen

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Lol. I'll check my results and get back to you.

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Hi, I've been through my blood results :

Progesterone last taken in 2015, 56.4 nmol/ L no range.

Androstenerdiane rejected by lab.

Vitamin A rejected by lab.

Serum oestradial 741.pmol/L no range given. Testosterone taken at same time January 2018.

No estrogen / oestrogen requested. Could be because won't do it.

T3 resulted for two years. Nothing what so ever on my app to show if rejected.

Many Thanks

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Karen

You need to do all hormones again and take it from there. Possibly see proper endocrinologist.

Low shbg can be due to a lot of reasons - Google low shbg in women and effects

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Hi, is oestradial another term for estrogen? As I am unable to find a test for estrogen.

The doctor had told me if it's the labs policy not to check shgb or androgen again then that's it. They refused to do the last request in January. I was hypero but felt normal. I'm under my third endocrinologist and everyone is pretending not to know I'm so ill when t4 is lowered.

I may have to write the MP but I doubt that will get my anywhere.

Xxx

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Hey Karen

Yes, estrogen, oestrogen oestrodial all the same.

Ask to be referred to endocrinologist.

There's something out of ordinary with your results because with the hormones levels and the fact you're on t4 replacement your shbg should be high normal but actual is low.

Hence I said you need all hormones checked again and endocrinologist will be able to request those otherwise you'll need to do it privately but this is costly in UK

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Thank you. I don't think my bloods are normal either.

I'm currently under my third endocrinologist. He doesn't believe hormones effect thyroid balance.While the lab is refusing to do tests I'm in a really bad place.

Problem with nhs drs they work private so their pretty crap!

Where are you from please. I was wondering if I should try to get an American Dr. Could be possible these days with Skype and could send bloods abroad.

Many Thanks

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Karen

If you go on holiday abroad in Europe, pop over to the nearest private clinic and ask to do all hormones tests. You need to tell them what you want of course. This way it will be way cheaper than in UK.

Why is your endocrinologist refusing to do hormonal tests? That's bizarre.

Low shbg is obviously a sign of something not right. And as your basic bloods for testosterone and estrogen look normal that to me looks like something else is affecting your shbg. Online is mentioned Cushing! 😮

I'm in the UK but when I go on holiday to Poland I do all tests I think I need there, it costs me 80% than what I'd pay here.

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Thank you for all brilliant replies. I feel to ill to travel. The consultant said hormone levels won't be effecting the thyroid so that was the end of that.

He's backing the lab saying my Androgen and shbg is normal. I don't have POCSO either. So god knows what's causing it.

I've had a quick look at crushing disease and that doesn't quite fit either. Xxx

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Karen

I'm not sure what to advise you further.

You either find educated to standard doctor and quit that medieval quack you have now or you won't get your health sorted

You need all hormones tested at the same time as especially sex hormones need to be read together.

And yes, all hormones are entwined so thyroid has influence on sex hormones and sex hormones influence thyroid that's why a lot of menopausal women start having thyroid issues when menopause hits them.

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That's makes perfect sense and I've saying to drs for years is it menopause. I'll have to private and hope for the best.

Thanks for your advice. Xx

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I meant 80% cheaper than what I pay here

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Your estrogen levels look good to me on 1st glance.

Having said that all could have changed from 2015.

Are you hyper thyroid?

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