Most people are familiar with hair loss due to genetics and age. However, there are many other causes, including a few autoimmune diseases. Specifically, Hashimoto’s disease and alopecia areata are two conditions that can cause your immune system to attack your body and cause hair loss. These diagnoses are unpleasant to hear and may require substantial treatment. Fortunately, there may be some options for taking on the hair loss component without seeing a doctor.
What Is Hashimoto’s Disease?
Hashimoto’s disease is a type of autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack your thyroid. This small gland in the neck helps to regulate many hormones that control various bodily functions.
Due to the immune system attacking the thyroid, it becomes underactive, also called hypothyroidism. One of the symptoms of this is hair loss. Other symptoms include fatigue, brittle nails, puffiness, sensitivity to cold and other difficulties. The thyroid plays such an important role in the body that the effects of Hashimoto’s disease are widespread and sometimes significant.
Although doctors do not know what causes Hashimoto’s disease, it is associated with some risk factors. It is more likely to happen to middle-aged women. Additionally, there may be a hereditary component. Other autoimmune diseases may cause Hashimoto’s disease.
Other thyroid issues may cause hair loss and similar symptoms. The only way to determine if you have Hashimoto’s disease is to visit your doctor for testing and medical diagnosis.
What Is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata is another autoimmune condition that causes hair loss. It affects the hair follicles in the skin, causing them to shrink and slow down hair growth. In this sense, it is similar in effect to androgenetic alopecia. However, the mechanism of alopecia areata is very different.
This disease can cause a wide range of hair loss. It may cause small patches of loss or total hair loss (alopecia universalis). The hair loss may be on the scalp, face or other parts of the body.
Like Hashimoto’s disease, the causes of alopecia areata are not fully known. It appears that there is a genetic component. It can affect both men and women of any age. However, alopecia areata typically occurs before age 30.
Like all forms of hair loss, alopecia areata can be difficult to recognize without a medical examination and testing. However, significant hair loss on areas other than the scalp is commonly associated with this autoimmune disease.
Can Autoimmune Hair Loss Be Treated?
Yes, hair loss from Hashimoto’s disease and alopecia areata can be treated. However, the approach is a little different compared to treating androgenetic alopecia or telogen effluvium.
The key to effectively treating hair loss caused by Hashimoto’s disease is to treat the hormone levels. Once the thyroid hormones have stabilized, the hair should begin to regrow.
Typically, this treatment involves using a daily synthetic replacement hormone medication. This isn’t always necessary. However, if you are experiencing hair loss from this disease, the medication likely is needed.
It is important to note that it is possible to have Hashimoto’s disease and hair loss without the former being the cause of the latter. Autoimmune diseases are risk factors for other autoimmune diseases. Therefore, you could, for example, have both Hashimoto’s disease and alopecia areata. Additionally, hair loss is common enough that is can be coincidentally caused by an unrelated condition.
To determine the cause of your hair loss and to develop a treatment plan for your condition, you need to see a physician. Proper management of medication is essential to effective treatment.
Hair regrowth following thyroid hormone stabilization can be slow. Many people with this condition choose to supplement their prescription treatment with over-the-counter hair loss treatments. These can encourage the hair follicles to produce more hair faster.
There is no known cure currently for alopecia areata. However, it can be treated and managed. In many cases, the hair can be regrown.
The most common way to treat the disease is by using corticosteroids. These are powerful anti-inflammatory medicines that help prevent the immune system from attacking the hair follicles. They may be administrated orally, via local injections or using a topical treatment. Once the autoimmune response is managed, hair should gradually start growing again.
Unlike Hashimoto’s disease, alopecia areata is directly associated with hair loss. Therefore, it would be extremely unusual to have the disease without it causing bald patches. However, it is possible to have multiple simultaneous causes of hair loss. Alopecia areata is a risk factor for having other autoimmune diseases.
In some cases, hair health treatments are used to treat alopecia areata. Many patients also choose to use over-the-counter solutions along with their corticosteroid therapy to increase the rate of regrowth.
What Products Can Promote Hair Growth?
At DS Laboratories, we have many effective hair health treatments. Several of them have been clinically tested and found to be effective for treating alopecia areata and other autoimmune-related hair loss. These are some of the most popular options:
SPECTRAL.DNC-N: This topical hair treatment includes Nanoxidil, a powerful vasodilator. It helps bring nutrients and oxygen to hair follicles, combatting the shrinking associated with hair loss. This treatment has been tested with alopecia areata patients and found to be an effective way to stimulate new hair growth.
REVITA CONDITIONER: Our hair stimulating conditioner includes 13 compounds that fight the causes of hair loss and promote new hair growth. Notably, it includes zinc gluconate, a mineral used to treat patients with alopecia areata.
- REVITA GEL: This treatment incorporates hair styling with hair health. It also incorporates zinc gluconate. It is a great option for people who are experiencing patches or thinning and want a convenient way to treat hair loss while still looking good.