What about my hair??

“I have spent years trying to get the right medication combination. It has definitely not been easy, to say the least. I was diagnosed Bipolar 1 and am currently taking Lamictal, Lithium, and Thorazine. The combination works great for all my manic symptoms, which are very hard for BP1s to control. My depressive symptoms come once in awhile but do not last long. So, it’s safe to say that things are going quite well. However, my side effects leave something to be desired. Because of the Lithium, I have developed hypothyroidism, which has caused my hair to fall out (among other things). The Thorazine has given me a sun allergy — and I live in TX! I can deal with the photosensitivity and some of the effects of hypothyroidism, but I cannot, cannot deal with my hair falling out. I am curious if you have any experience with this. I have tried absolutely everything and have exhausted all my other mood stabilizer options. I may ask my doctor about trying things like Trileptal and Gabapentin that aren’t traditional mood stabilizers. I am asking everyone for advice because I am fairly desperate at this point. It’s tough to have to choose between my hair and my stability…”

First off, let me say congratulations on finding a med combination that works for your mental health!!! I know that is very difficult.

I am actually going through a very similar situation that you are going through. I was put on Lithium, and I too developed Hypothyroid. I used to have extremely thick, long hair, and I absolutely loved my hair!!! But lately, I have about half the amount of hair I used to have, and it seems dull and lifeless and is easily tangled. So doing research for this post has actually helped me a lot, and I hope it will help you, too!

Hair loss is usually attributed to an enzyme converting testosterone on the scalp into something not nearly as useful, dihydro-testosterone, or DHT. Once the testosterone is converted into DHT, it then proceeds to attack the wonderful hair follicle, which makes it shrink, and sometimes disappear entirely.

There are a few things you should do medically first to treat the thinning of your hair. You can get evaluated by a dermatologist, who will do testing on your hair and scalp to see if you require medical intervention. He may also be able to tell if you have another medical condition call Alopecia, which is basically a fancy word for losing your hair in patches. It is an autoimmune disease. Alopecia can be linked to mental illness and stress, and people with thyroid conditions are more likely to develop it.

Something else you should look into is making sure your TSH levels are within the normal range and that you are on the right thyroid meds. It is very important to have your levels checked routinely to make sure your thyroid is responding to treatment. I also read that sometimes a person can have some sort of reaction to the medicine they are taking that may contribute to the hair loss, and may actually need a different type of thyroid medicine. But that is up to you and your doctor to discuss.

Ok, so, what are some natural remedies you can do to assist with hair re-growth? I’ve got quite a few of them, so get ready!!!

First, there are some supplements you can take, such as Evening Prim Rose and Gingko Biloba. These prevent the testosterone from turning into DHT and attacking your hair follicles. Drinking Green Tea or Stinging Nettle may also do the same thing.

Also, make sure you are getting all the proper nutrients to help your hair grow. Eating whole foods rich in silica (especially fruits and vegetables with the skin) as well as lean meats high in iron promote healthy hair growth. And it may be a good idea to take a multi-vitamin every day.

Then, there’s the stuff you can apply directly to your scalp to rid your follicles of that pesky DHT. You can rinse your scalp in Apple Cider Vinegar (just make sure you’re not getting ready for a hot date or he might think you smell funky!!!) Another thing I think I read correctly, was that you could put red pepper or onion juice on your scalp. I think this sounds kind of different, but hey, if you get desperate enough, you could always try it… And even if you don’t get your hair to grow using these, you at least have the ingredients for an interesting salad, right?

Well, I really hope I’ve helped you in some way. Let me just leave you with this-the majority of time, hair loss due to Hypothyroid is usually only temporary and will go away if you are just patient. Your hair will grow back with time. Don’t give up hope, and know that you can be beautiful no matter how much hair you have!!!

God bless!!!

One thought on “What about my hair??

  1. Thank you for this question and response. I just started taking lithium, and it has been working for far. However, it has only been five days. I have a lot of hair, and it sometimes falls out just because of the quantity. I am concerned, but not extremely because of the amount of hair that I do have. This is scary for anyone, and I think discussing our personal experiences is extremely beneficial.

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