I recently received correspondence from someone who felt reasonably sure that her hair loss and shedding was due to an underlying thyroid issue, However, in addition to the hair loss, she was also experiencing problems with her scalp. Most of the time, it was tight and tingling. But other times, she was experiencing some pain and itching also. She had read about the symptoms of thyroid problems as they related to hair and although she learned that hair loss was common, she hadn’t been able to find anything about the corresponding scalp issues. She wanted to know if the scalp issues could be related to the thyroid issues or if they were separate things entirely. I will discuss this more in the following article.
Thyroid Issues Can Bring About Telogen Effluvium (TE) Which Can In Turn Affect Your Scalp: Scalp issues are not all that commonly discussed as a symptom of thyroid problems, although hair loss often is. But, this doesn’t mean that one doesn’t have anything to do with the other. Often, hormonal swings, disturbances, or inadequacies (like hyper or hypo thyroid) can give rise to a condition called telogen effluvium where your hair follicles go from the growing to the resting phrase and as the result shed out in large numbers.
Because so many follicles are effected at one time, inflammation can most certainly occur and this in turn gives rise to that pain, itching, and tingling that I’m often asked about. The thyroid issues are not directly causing these issues. The TE is what is causing this, but the hormonal issues brought about the TE. So, in that sense, they are most certainly indirectly related. You will often see this condition referred to as “burning scalp syndrome.”
Androgens And Hair Regrowing Are Other Issues That Can Cause Tingling, Itching, Or Pain Of The Scalp: There are some other things related to this cycle that can also cause scalp issues. Sometimes, when you’re on the tail end of the TE, you will start to regrow a large amount of hair. As those follicles become active again and begin to regrow, you may feel this in your scalp.
Also, sometimes there is an underlying androgen issue or a growing sensitivity to the androgens that the hormonal issue is aggravating or uncovering. A sensitivity to androgens is probably (other than TE) the most common cause of problems and discomfort with the scalp so it’s a good idea to look at this possibility as well if you have not already ruled this out.
How Can You Make Your Problematic Scalp Feel Better?: The first step in getting some relief is to see if you can determine why this is happening. If this is due to androgens, there are ways to lessen your sensitivity. It can make sense to try topicals to accomplish this before you resort to medications or herbs. If the scalp problems are due to the hormonal telogen effluvium, the initial TE will usually have to run its course. (You can usually attempt to prevent future shedding by getting the thyroid issue under control.)
In the meantime, you can and should address the inflammation. There are many topicals that can soothe and begin to heal your scalp as well as stimulate regrowth. Be careful though, that you don’t chose an anti inflammatory that might clog the follicles that you are wanting to stimulate right now. Both tea tree oil and emu oil work well, but they often need to be diluted and paired with other things to minimize this risk.