Antithyroid Drugs

Antithyroid Medications

Antithyroid medications are used to treat an overactive thyroid gland (also know as hyperthyroidism). When the thyroid gland is overactive, it makes too much thyroxine (also known as T4). The extra thyroxine can accelerate the metabolism rate of your body. As a result, it can cause weight loss and irregular heart activity.

Antithyroid Medication Image

Therefore, antithyroid medications (which includes methimazole and propylithiouracil) are used to reduce the amount of hormone (T4) released by the thyroid gland. These drugs does not affect the thyroxine which is already made, but reduce the further production. Therefore, it may take four to eight weeks of treatment for your thyroxine level to come down to normal.

Antithyroid Drugs during pregnancy

If you take antithyroid drugs, you should discuss your treatment with your doctor before becoming pregnant:

  • Methimazole: Using methimazole during pregnancy could harm the unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you become pregnant while using this medicine.

Methimazole can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Ask your doctor about any risk.

  • Propylthiouracil: Do not use propylthiouracil if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away, if you become pregnant. This medicine can harm an unborn baby, or cause serious liver problems or death of the baby or the mother. You may need to use another medication during late pregnancy.

It may not be safe to breast-feed while using propylthiouracil. Ask your doctor about any risk.

Side Effects of Antithyroid medications?

You may require careful monitoring to get the right levels of these medicines for you. However, when taking an antithyroid medicine, if you develop any of the side-effects (listed below) or any other signs of infection, you must stop the medicine and report this to your doctor immediately.

  • Rash
  • Mild stomach upset
  • Headache
  • Painful joints

The above side-effects are usually not serious and often go, even if you continue with the medication.

But in rare cases, antithyroid medicine can cause a serious side-effect on the blood-making cells. This can drastically reduce the number of blood cells in your body, including the cells that fight off infection and those that help to stop bleeding.

There’s also the risk of liver damage. Therefore, see your doctor right away if you develop following symptoms, while taking these drugs.

  • A sore throat.
  • Mouth ulcers.
  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding.
  • Rash
  • Fever
  • Itching
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Any other signs of infection.
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Hair Loss and Thyroid

Hair loss can occur when your thyroid gland is not working correctly.

Hair Loss and Thyroid

Thyroid is a small gland which has the shape like a butterfly that sits low on the front of the neck. It helps to regulate many body functions by constantly releasing a steady amount of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream.

The important hormones produced by thyroid gland are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3)

Furthermore, thyroid conditions occur when your thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones Or producing too much of hormones. The most common type of thyroid conditions are as following:

Both conditions (Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism) can cause dry, brittle hair or thinning hair on your scalp and body.

The Link Between Thyroid Conditions and Hair Loss

Thyroid conditions can cause hair loss if they are severe and left untreated. But, before understanding how these conditions cause hair loss, let us first understand the hair growth process.

  1. Hair starts growing from the roots (bottom of your hair follicles) on your scalp.
  2. Your scalp’s blood vessels provide nutrients to the root and help in hair growth.
  3. Hair pushes up and out through your skin. The hair passes through the oil glands that help maintain the required moisture in the hair.
  4. Hair grows for sometime and then falls off as a new hair growth cycle starts.

Kindly note, the thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) directly affect hair growth and its development. When the hormone production is disturbed, it can lead to hair thinning across your scalp and other areas such as your eyebrows.

Hair loss due to Autoimmune thyroid disease

Most people with Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism have autoimmune thyroid disease. If someone has one type of autoimmune disease, he/she is more likely to develop another autoimmune condition for example: 

Alopecia areata: Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss in people having autoimmune thyroid disease.

It causes circular patches of hair loss in more discrete areas. In most cases this is temporary and does not progress, but unfortunately it can cause significant baldness. 

There are other rare autoimmune conditions that can also cause hair loss :

Hair loss and Antithyroid Drugs

Some antithyroid drugs such as (carbimazole and propylthiouracil) can, in rare cases, cause hair loss. But, it may be very difficult to tell whether the drug or your thyroid condition is causing hair loss.

Furthermore, it is very rare for anti-thyroid drugs or treatment to cause hair loss. Kindly note, Antithyroid drugs are used to treat an overactive thyroid (Hyperthyroidism).

Symptoms of Thyroid Related Hair Loss

Slow and gradual thinning of hair is the most common symptom of thyroid related hair loss. You may notice more than usual hair lose while combing.

Furthermore, hair loss may develop slowly with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. You won’t necessarily see patches or bald spots on your scalp, but, your hair may seem thinner all over.

In most cases, hair loss caused by thyroid conditions is temporary, but regrowth of hairs may take several months.

It is important to note here that, you can still experience hair loss even after starting medicines for your thyroid condition. This is because the hair growth cycle is a months long process. But some people start wrongly blaming the thyroid medicines for hair loss. Unfortunately, if they stop their thyroid medicines, the hair loss problem will become worse.

Kindly note, it is perfectly normal to lose 50–100 hairs from your head each day. However, hair loss beyond this needs medical attention and may be related to thyroid problem.

Treatment options for thyroid related hair loss

Dear Reader, always remember that, “Treating thyroid related hair loss requires treating the Thyroid Problem“.

Working with your doctor to keep your thyroid disorder under control with medication may keep your hair thicker and can regenerate hair growth. But try to be patient because, regrowth of hairs can be unpredictable and may take several months.

Treatment for an underactive thyroid – (hypothyroidism):

  • levothyroxine: Your doctor will usually prescribe a synthetic hormone called levothyroxine to treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).

    This medicine is given when your thyroid gland does not produce enough of this hormone on its own.

Treatment for an overactive thyroid – (hyperthyroidism):

  • Antithyroid medications: Antithyroid medications, such as (propylthiouracil and methimazole) decrease the thyroid gland’s ability to make the thyroid hormone. It is used to treat overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).
  • Radioactive iodine: This treatment kills some cells in the thyroid gland and reduce the amount of hormones that the gland produces. This treatment induces hypothyroidism, which is then managed by using thyroid hormone replacement therapy for the rest the life.
  • Surgery: Your doctor will monitor your thyroid levels while you are on medication. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. It involves the removal of some or all of the thyroid gland, which may lead to hypothyroidism.

Kindly note, with the treatment, hair growth may be noticeable within several months. But be aware that the new hair may differ in color or texture from your original hair.

Home Remedies for thyroid related hair loss

Along with medication suggested by your doctor, you may try different home remedies to slowdown hair loss or regenerate hair growth. While the home remedies given below do not hold any scientific evidence, but you can give them a try to boost your hair growth.

1. Eating a balanced diet can help in growth and improve the condition of your hair. Foods that can increase the chances of having healthy hair include:

  • Fish: Oily fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that can help prevent a dry scalp.
  • Green vegetables: Vegetables such as spinach have high levels of vitamins A and C. These vitamins can improve the condition of hair.
  • Protein rich foods: Eating foods rich in protein can help prevent weak hair. Dairy products, nuts and lean meats all contain high levels of protein.
  • Calcium rich foods: Calcium is key to hair growth. Dairy products, such as milk and cheese are Good sources of calcium.
  • Iron Rich Foods: Iron deficiency and thyroid related hair loss are related. You can get tested for iron levels in your body and consider supplements for iron rich foods like liver, eggs, lamb, green leafy vegetables and so on.

2. Apply Essential Oils: Essential oils like eucalyptus oil and other plant extracts are known to improve hair growth. But, it’s important to talk with your doctor before using essential oils and use caution while choosing a quality brand.

Furthermore, you should also always do a patch test before using any essential oil for hair growth.

3. Control Iodine Intake: People with autoimmune thyroid disorders should check their iodine consumption. The body uses iodine to make thyroid hormone, so too much of iodine consumption may lead to imbalances.

Therefore, It is very important to understand how much iodine you would require in a day.

4. Yoga Asanas: A healthy lifestyle, which includes balanced diet and regular exercise, can help you live well with thyroid disease. Furthermore, adding yoga to your daily routine may help improve your thyroid function and hair growth.

Yoga for healthy thyroid and hair growth

Dear Reader, please discuss the above mentioned home remedies with your doctor before you start.

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Graves’ Disease

Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder. It cause an over active thyroid gland and results in an over production of thyroid hormones. This condition is also known as hyperthyroidism. In this disease, your immune system creates antibodies known as thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins (TSI).

These antibodies then attach to healthy thyroid cells and can cause your thyroid to create too much thyroid hormone. It is most common form of hyperthyroidism. Although Graves’ disease may affect anyone, but it’s more common among women than men.

Graves Disease Image

What Causes Graves’ Disease?

In this disease, the immune system begins to fight against healthy tissues and cells in your body. In other words, your immune system usually produces proteins known as antibodies, which normally protects us from foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Sometimes your immune system mistakenly produces antibodies called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins (TSI). Which targets your own healthy thyroid cells.

Furthermore, these antibodies (TSI) in Graves’ disease bind to receptors on the surface of thyroid cells and stimulate those cells to overproduce and release thyroid hormones. This results in an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

People who have an increased risk include:

  • Having another autoimmune disease also increases your risk for developing Grave’s disease.
  • A family history of Graves’ disease increases the chance of developing the condition.
  • Individuals who smoke too much are at higher risk of developing graves’ disease.
  • Women develop this disease more than men.
  • Individuals suffering from physical or mental stress.

Symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of Graves’ disease include:

  • Bulging eyes
  • Heat intolerance
  • Hand tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Graves’ dermopathy, with thick red skin on the shins
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Weight loss
  • Change in menstrual cycles
Graves Disease Symptoms

Diagnosis

Your doctor may order laboratory tests, if they suspect you have Graves’ disease. This will need to be confirmed by thyroid blood tests. A doctor who specializes in diseases related to hormones, known as an endocrinologist, may handle your tests and diagnosis.

How Is Graves’ Disease Treated?

Three treatment options are available for people with this disease:

Anti-thyroid medication: The most commonly utilized treatment for Graves’ disease is anti-thyroid medication. This medication helps prevent the thyroid gland from producing excess amounts of hormones by blocking the oxidation of iodine in the thyroid gland.

Radioactive iodine therapy: Radioactive iodine is taken orally and directly targets the thyroid gland. This usually requires you to swallow small amounts in pill form. When medication is taken, the radioactive iodine soon builds up in the thyroid gland and slowly destroys any overactive thyroid cells. Your doctor will talk to you about any precautions you should take with this therapy.

Thyroid Surgery: Because other treatments for Graves’ disease have steadily improved, surgery is now less common. However, it is still used if other treatments are unsuccessful. If surgery is necessary, your doctor may remove your entire thyroid gland to eliminate the risk of hyperthyroidism returning. But you will need thyroid hormone replacement therapy on an ongoing basis, if you opt for surgery. Most importantly, speak with your doctor to learn more about the benefits and risks of different treatment options.

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Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormones. It refers to a state in which a person’s thyroid hormones production is above normal level. It is also called overactive thyroid. Hyperthyroidism can accelerate the metabolism rate of your body. As a result, it can cause weight loss and irregular heart activity. It is more common in women than men. Blood tests are the only way to reliably confirm a diagnosis.

Furthermore, having too much of thyroid hormones can cause unpleasant and potentially serious problems that may need treatment. Signs and symptoms of it varies from person to person. But some symptoms of it can be easily confused with other disease.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

  • Bulging Eyes
  • Abnormal Heart Rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight Loss
  • Irritability
  • Itching
  • Heat Intolerance
  • Stress
  • Sleeplessness
  • Vision Problem
  • Frequent Sweating
  • Irregular Mensuration
  • Nervousness
Hyperthyroidism Symptoms Image

If you suspect your symptoms are the result of a thyroid problem, it’s most important you talk with your doctor. They can order a blood test to measure the amount of thyroid hormones in your blood. Because high levels of Thyroxine (T4) and low amounts of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) in blood indicates an overactive thyroid.

Treatment of Hyperthyroidism

Antithyroid medications (sometimes written as anti-thyroid medications) suggested by your doctor is a common treatment for hyperthyroidism. Hence, the goal of antithyroid medications is to prevent the thyroid from producing excess amounts of T3 and T4 hormones.

Diet In Hyperthyroidism

If we talk about diet plan, then there are certainly many do’s and dont’s. Although a healthy diet can’t cure or prevent hyperthyroidism. However, eating healthy foods may help ease hyperthyroidism symptoms.

What to Eat
  • Lentils
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Potato
  • Honey
  • Red Meat
  • Cauliflower, Broccoli
  • Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry
  • Unsalted Nuts
What to avoid
  • Dairy Products
  • Soy Products
  • Salted Nuts and Seeds
  • Caffeine

Also, healthy eating, exercising and stress management plan can help ease hyperthyroid symptoms. Medication plays an important role in treating hyperthyroidism, but it is also important to do exercise on daily basis. So you can start with some simple exercises like walking, aerobics, pushups and yoga.

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