Dr. Angela Phipps, D.O., A.B.H.R.S., Medical Advisor to Hair Club and Bosley Medical Group Physician*, is sharing hair loss information through a quarterly guest post on our blog, The Good Hair Guide. This post is the second part of a pair discussing women's hair loss. You can read Part 1 here.
Thyroid diseases, such as Hashimoto’s, are much more prevalent in women than men and tend to occur in middle age. Hair loss can be caused by thyroid disease. The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, which produces hormones that control bodily functions, including the hair growth cycle. If a woman has been diagnosed with thyroid disease and has hair loss, I ask her what prescription and over-the-counter medications she’s taking. Often, people don’t realize that Biotin, a B vitamin, can skew the results of thyroid blood tests, resulting in a possible misdiagnosis.
Studies have shown Biotin, even in low doses, can interfere with diagnostic blood tests leading to both false negatives and false positives. That’s why it’s important to let your healthcare provider know about any supplements you’re taking, including Biotin, before you have any tests done. You may be asked to stop taking Biotin for a period of time before testing or another type of test may be requested.
Biotin is a B vitamin commonly found in foods such as eggs, meat, fish, milk, nuts, sweet potatoes and bananas. It helps improve the infrastructure of keratin in the body. Keratin is a protein and makes up the basic building blocks of hair, nails and skin. Although rare in North America, people who are Biotin deficient can experience thinning hair, brittle nails, skin rashes and hair loss.
When not working properly, the thyroid gland can cause hormone levels to rise above or fall below normal levels, leading to a hormonal imbalance. A common side effect of this imbalance can be hair loss. Other symptoms of thyroid disease may include sudden weight gain or loss, moodiness, anxiety, tiredness and insomnia. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor about what testing may be appropriate for you and the best way to ensure accurate results.
The issue with diagnostic blood tests in today’s world is that almost all use a technology that is Biotin-dependent for measurement. This is why taking Biotin can skew the results of your blood tests, showing either a false positive or a false negative. Inaccurate test results can have profound consequences such as treating a disease that a patient doesn’t have, or leaving a serious condition untreated. What’s worse, many people think that a simple multivitamin is not worth mentioning to their healthcare provider because it’s not considered medicine.
Talk to your doctor about any and all medications and vitamins you’re taking. In the case of Biotin, it’s a water-soluble vitamin. That means if you stop taking it a week before your blood tests, it should be out of your system, allowing an accurate result. Once your testing is complete, you should be able to resume taking your vitamins. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider about appropriate dosage levels.
Hair Club has been providing customized hair loss solutions to clients since 1976. They offer a comprehensive suite of options that can help anyone, at any age, with any level of hair loss. I recommend you schedule a free, private consultation with one of their hair enhancement, treatment, and restoration experts. You’ll learn about your level of hair loss, the condition of your scalp and which personalized solution will give you the hair you’ve always wanted.
*Hair Club does not employ physicians. Professional hair transplantation services provided by the affiliated physicians of the Bosley Medical Group. Please note that no surgical procedures are performed until a patient has been examined, diagnosed and accepted treatment by a Bosley® physician.
For informational purposes only. The information presented herein is general in nature and is not intended to substitute the advice of a physician or other health care professional. The exact cause of hair loss can only be determined by a medical professional.