Low iron stores: a risk factor for excessive hair loss in non-menopausal women

by admin on October 22, 2007

Low Iron Stores: A Risk Factor For Excessive Hair Loss In Non-Menopausal WomenI found this study really interesting as it cites low iron stores as a possible contributing cause of women’s hair loss. I know one of the first things that usually gets tested when a woman complains of hair loss is the iron levels. Of course there is such a huge range of what is considered normal its hard to tell the optimal level for our body.

Here it is:

European Journal of Dermatology. Volume 17, Number 6, 507-12, November-December 2007, Investigative report

*Abstract

Author(s) : Claire Deloche, Philippe Bastien, Stéphanie Chadoutaud, Pilar Galan, Sandrine Bertrais, Serge Hercberg, Olivier de Lacharrière

Summary : Iron deficiency has been suspected to represent one of the possible causes of excessive hair loss in women. The aim of our study was to assess this relationship in a very large population of 5110 women aged between 35 and 60 years. Hair loss was evaluated using a standardized questionnaire sent to all volunteers. The iron status was assessed by a serum ferritin assay carried out in each volunteer. Multivariate analysis allowed us to identify three categories: “absence of hair loss” (43%), “moderate hair loss” (48%) and “excessive hair loss” (9%). Among the women affected by excessive hair loss, a larger proportion of women (59%) had low iron stores (<\; 40 µg/L) compared to the remainder of the population (48%). Analysis of variance and logistic regression show that a low iron store represents a risk factor for hair loss in non-menopausal women.

The article is broken down into the following areas

Introduction

Materials and Methods

  • Volunteers
  • Hair Loss Assessment
  • Biochemical Measurements
  • Statistical Analysis

Results

  • Hair Loss Quantification
  • Link Between Hair Loss And Serum Ferritin Levels

Discussion

This study, carried out for the first time on a very large cohort of women, provides strong arguments in favor of an association between depleted iron stores and hair loss, particularly excessive hair loss in women before menopause. It is likely that women classified in the present study under “excessive hair loss” were mainly women with androgenetic alopecia [17], however considering their large number, women with CTE [3] might also be included. Since serum ferritin measurement has been reported to be the most sensitive assay for estimating the iron status in an adult population [24], we used this assay to verify a possible link between iron status and hair loss. […]

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jeni October 22, 2007 at 2:07 pm

I think low iron may be contributing to my hair loss. When I had my ferritin level checked several years ago, it came up in the “normal” range, but I think it was 40, whereas I read you need it to be 70 to keep your hair from falling out. The doctor told me I could take Slow FE iron pills. They never seemed to help. I haven’t figured out if there are other types of iron I should be taking instead.

I don’t like meat, and I’ve read that the iron in meat is the best type of iron for raising your ferritin levels. Then I’ve also read that some women may get enough iron, but their bodies won’t store the iron, so that could be the problem.

I’m still confused about the iron issue and how to resolve it.

Gretchen October 22, 2007 at 2:25 pm

My ferritin level was 20 when I had mine checked! That is at the very low end of the normal range (20-200) and my derm said that because all of the other iron levels were in the middle of the normal ranges, the ferritin level wasn’t of any concern. I’m not sure if I completely agree with that, but I’m trying to eat red meat once a week and am eating more food with iron in it.

Marianne October 22, 2007 at 3:34 pm

I have low ferritin as well…it was 16.5. I am taking slow-release iron and have started eating lean red meat again (I quit eating red meat for about 10 years!!). Spinach is a good veggie to eat for iron too and throw on some tomatoes for vitamin C. But I think iron is better absorbed by your body from meat than plants. If you are taking iron supplements make sure you don’t take it with calcium, magnesium, copper, or zinc because it competes for absorption. Try to take your iron with vitamin C because it improves absorption.

Make sure you need to supplement with iron (i.e. doctors recommendation/orders) before you do because too much iron can cause serious health problems…and I probably hair loss too!! Go figure!

AtlantaJJ October 24, 2007 at 2:09 pm

Hi,

It seems my energy levels have gone up, I don’t feel as tired since I started taking my iron with vit. C. I mean I can feel a difference!! I tested my theory a couple of days by taking it when I was feeling a little weary… it worked both times!! It could be a mental thing but I’m going to continue to take it because I was on the low range also in the 20’s doctor said that was “normal” my girl friend said we should be at 70 for healthy hair… I dunno…just seemed low to me… so I’m taking it…couldn’t hurt until the levels get to high. I have a long way to go at 20 …

AtlantaJJ October 24, 2007 at 5:10 pm

I just found this web site while research a supplement I just purchased L-Lysine Plus:

Web Site : http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/hairloss for full article

One area that seems clear is that iron deficiency (a low serum ferritin without anemia) is linked to hair loss in women. In one study, 72% of women with low iron stores (a serum ferritin less than 40 mcg/l) had reduced hair density.

The amino acid L-lysine plays a part in the absorption of iron and zinc. Among plant foods, L-lysine is only found in high amounts in legumes, and a vegan who doesn’t eat many legumes could find themselves falling short on lysine. In some women, iron supplementation does not lead to an increase in iron stores. But in one study, adding L-lysine (at 1.5 – 2 g/day for 6 months) to iron supplementation in such women did increase iron stores and decreased hair loss by one half.

Dr. Rushton noted the following odds and ends:

In a multivitamin, if the level of zinc is equal to the level of iron, then iron uptake is significantly decreased. A ratio of 3 to 1, iron to zinc, is desirable to prevent competitive interference.
Excessive vitamin E supplementation (for example, 600 IU per day for 1 month) can adversely affect hair growth. In patients with hair loss who show high levels of folic acid (also known as folate), excessive folic acid supplementation should probably be discontinued.
Reducing the frequency of shampooing does not help preserve hair and can increase the fear of hair loss because a higher amount of hair will be lost all at once when it is washed.

FYI – I am so on to the iron thing… my doctors totally blew right over this one! – JJ

Gretchen October 25, 2007 at 8:58 am

Wow, that is very interesting! I think my ferritin level at 20 is definitely an issue. My sister went to school for nutrition and she says that taking an iron supplement isn’t very harmful. She told me our bodies only absorb what it needs and basically you pee out the rest! Since I’m at a 20, I think increasing iron is important. Thanks for sharing this information!

angela December 19, 2007 at 11:28 am

I just got my ferritin levels back and I’m at 45. I am no longer a vegetarian (as of Thanksgiving, bc I am convinced the iron has somthing to do with my hair being so fragile).
Gretchen, how is the eating red meat once a week thing going? Any improvements?

Nicole January 4, 2008 at 9:55 pm

I started suffering from Telogen Effluvium at 21. Each year’s hair loss would vary but the shedding was consistent and distressing. No doctor or specialist I saw could offer a solution until I turned 32 and was finally diagnosed as hypothyroid with a TSH of 7.9. I was put on levothyroxin and the hair loss increased. Instead of switching my meds, they increased my dose. I asked for Cytomel after doing my own research. The Cytomel helped some symptoms but not the hair loss.

Recently, now at 34, I read the article on iron stores needing to be around 70 for shedding to stop. By the time I went to my dermatologist to ask for the serum ferritin test I had a one inch part and could hear people making comments on my hair. I would even stay home if I didn’t absolutely have to go out.

My iron stores came back at 41 and the doctor dismissed it as normal.

I took matters into my own hands and stopped the thyroid meds and started taking iron. My hair loss has almost stopped!!! I just take a brand from the local drug store. I will be meeting with a naturopath in February about my thyroid but even with a TSH of 10.8 the iron is helping the hair loss.

Lisa January 15, 2008 at 12:25 am

Does anyone know if taking B vitamins with iron helps?

Lori January 16, 2008 at 6:23 pm

I read somewhere that if your serum ferritin is 40 or under, you will lose hair, but that it has to be over 70 in order to regrow hair. I’ve been taking iron supplements for 9 months, and my serum ferritin has gone from 10 (yeah, crazy low!) to 33. I’ve doubled the dose, so I’m now taking 100 mg daily. Hopefully I’ll see a change.

I have heard that high amounts of iron can cause iron toxicity, but I’ve seen medical websites touting 100-200 mg/day as a therapeutic dose, so I figure I’m still okay.

What a trip this hair loss is. As someone who has always had thin hair and an *extremely* high forehead (as in, people constantly remark on it), losing so much hair in front has been a real killer, especially when it’s all nice and thick-as-it-used-to-be in the back.

I’m trying hard not to obsess, because I worry that what I think about I will bring about, but it’s hard. My little girl said, “Mama, I can see your head,” and I was so sad.

Gretchen January 17, 2008 at 6:23 am

Lori, that’s great to hear! I recently was prescribed with an iron supplement because my ferritin level is at 20. I was told I need to get it to at least a 40. I’m taking 150mg a day right now. I’m hoping that the iron will help. I’m also taking Spiro because I have underlying androgenic alopecia. Your post made me very hopeful, so thank you!

angela January 17, 2008 at 8:38 am

Hi girls,

My ferritin is at 45 and I can see little baby hairs but not very many of them. I want to try and get my levels above 70 to see if that does anything. I just starting taking an iron supplement on Monday (200mg) and it did NOT make me feel very well stoamch-wise. I’m going to see if I can break my tablets in half and take only 100mg.

Gretchen: how did you find out you have underlying androgenic alopecia? I am still unsure if my hair loss is hormonal, iron, or genetic.

Lori: does the doctor think your hairloss is related to your iron levels? and did you notice post-pardum shedding? i got off the pill which almost mimics post pardum hormone levels and i noticed major shedding; however, i was a vegetarian for 10 years as well so i was thinking it might have been the low iron the hormones but now i am not sure if it is a bigger issue like genetics.

admin January 17, 2008 at 9:06 am

Hi Nicole, I have similar experience with you with the thyroid medication. I’ve been on synthroid for quite some time now, but the last two years my doctor up’d my dosage based on my annual blood work, each year it got progressively worse until this year I finally couldn’t take it anymore. I suspected the increase in thyroid had been causing the super excessive hair loss far beyond my regular androgenetic alopecia. i consulted with another thyroid doctor who confirmed my suspicions, that the possibility exists that synthroid can in itself cause hair loss and increasing dosage could exacerbate it. I couldn’t bring myself to get off completely so I had my dosage lowered back down to 88mcg which was my starting dose years ago where it seemed fine.

Good for you for taking charge of your own health, that is awesome! Doctors don’t know everything, you have to make the choices you feel comfortable with and if your doctor doesn’t listen, find somebody who will.

Thank you for sharing that information about the thyroid and the success you’ve had with iron, I know other women are in the same situation.

~Y

Lori January 18, 2008 at 9:09 am

I can’t tell you how glad I am to have found this site! Just knowing I can hear from people who have the same issues is fabulous.

Angela: I have been taking “Gentle Iron” by Solgar, which is iron bisglycinate and is supposedly more gentle on the stomach.

My doctor did say she thinks the low ferritin levels are part of the problem. Her take on it – which I find pretty cavalier – is, “The two most common causes of hair loss are anemia and hypothyroidism. You have both, and you are now being treated for both, so we’ll just wait and see.”

Lori January 18, 2008 at 9:13 am

Oh – I forgot to add about the postpartum hair loss.

I had gorgeous hair when I was pregnant. I was so thrilled by the way it was growing that I didn’t cut it, and it grew halfway down my back.

When my daughter was a few months old, it started shedding. I think it’s especially bad when LONG hair falls out! The sheer volume of it completely freaked me out. I cut it short pretty soon after.

One more weird thing: ever since that time, any hair that does grow in is wavy/frizzy. I used to have straight hair! Hormones…

barbara January 19, 2008 at 7:00 am

Pls be careful with iron, especially if your post menopausal- it creates heart problems. Be sensible with it- My hair has thinned out alot and want to try taking more iron, but wont. I’ll just get it from better sources

admin January 20, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Hi Lori, I have heard that hair can grow back in a completely different texture after it’s fallen out, I’ve most often read it in stories written by women who lost their hair from cancer and then it grew back in straight when it was one curly or vice versa. Heck I don’t care if mine grows back in green, pink, curly straight, kinky, wavy.. I just want it to grow back in period :)

Hi Barbara, thank you for sharing that important piece of information about iron, sometimes we can get so wrapped up in trying to fix our hair that we forgot about being cautious about the things we take that could create a whole set of other problems. It is probably a good idea if you are taking iron to get your levels tested regularly to make sure every is okay.

Alice February 21, 2008 at 2:01 pm

Hi girls,
Glad to have found all these posts! I’m 22, and eventually went to the doctor a few weeks ago after months of depression caused by hair loss and they immediately sent me for a ferritin test. The results came back – my iron level was at 9!
As you can tell from these previous posts, it needs to be above 20 to be healthy, but preferably higher. I’ve been prescribed 200mg iron a day. As a previous poster said, these pills are very harsh on the stomach.
The first day I took them I went home from work with cramping pains in my stomach. I’ve since started taking them with a glass of orange juice, and although I still have digestive issues with them (which is expected with iron pills!) but at least the stomach pain has gone!
So far, I’m noticing a few changes – the main thing is that I’m much less tired than I used to be – I guess I never even realised how drained I was. And although my hair isn’t miraculously growing back (wouldn’t expect it to!), I have noticed less shedding since I started taking them. Maybe it’s the start of things improving – I hope so.
I guess I just wanted to post here because if anyone with hair loss hasn’t yet looked into their ferritin levels yet, it might be worth checking out – low iron can be the cause of so many problems, and it’s incredibly common.

Kathy Jorddan February 22, 2008 at 5:42 am

Please advise how one goes about taking a ferritin test. My daughter of 22 is suffering severe hair loss and is petrified of needles. Can this test be taken via a urine test?

Thanks,

Kathy Jordaan

Lisa February 22, 2008 at 7:54 am

Hi Everyone:

I wanted to get in on the iron conversation. My doctor told me that my iron was fine but just on the low side. I never had a ferritin level test. These are my results along with the “ranges” next to them:

IRON SER 57 35-175 mg/dL
Iron Unsaturated 232 110-370 mcg/dL
TOTAL IRON BINDING CAPACITY 289 250-400 mcg/dl
TRANSFERRIN SATURATION 19.7 15.0-50.0 %

Does anyone know if they look like they could contribute to hairloss?

Shanlaree February 22, 2008 at 12:45 pm

More Info on Iron:

Iron is an essential mineral. It is part of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of the blood. Iron-deficient people tire easily in part because their bodies are starved for oxygen. Iron is also part of myoglobin, which helps muscle cells store oxygen. Without enough iron, adenosine triphosphate (ATP; the fuel the body runs on) cannot be properly synthesized. As a result, some iron-deficient people become fatigued even when their hemoglobin levels are normal (i.e., when they are not anemic).
Where is it found?

The most absorbable form of iron, called “heme” iron, is found in oysters, meat and poultry, and fish. Non-heme iron is also found in these foods, as well as in dried fruit, molasses, leafy green vegetables, wine, and iron supplements. Acidic foods (such as tomato sauce) cooked in an iron pan can also be a source of dietary iron.

Iron has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information): see website- link on bottom here.

Which forms of supplemental iron are best?

All iron supplements are not the same. Ferrous iron (e.g. ferrous sulfate) is much better absorbed than ferric iron (e.g. ferric citrate).13 14 The most common form of iron supplement is ferrous sulfate, but it is known to produce intestinal side effects (such as constipation, nausea, and bloating) in many users.15 Some forms of ferrous sulfate are enteric-coated to delay tablet dissolving and prevent some side effects,16 but enteric-coated iron may not absorb as well as iron from standard supplements.17 18 19 Other forms of iron supplements, such as ferrous fumarate,20 21 ferrous gluconate,22 heme iron concentrate,23 24 25 26 and iron glycine amino acid chelate27 28 are readily absorbed and less likely to cause intestinal side effects.

How much is usually taken?

If a doctor diagnoses iron deficiency, iron supplementation is essential. To treat iron deficiency, a common recommended amount for an adult is 100 mg per day; that amount is usually reduced after the deficiency is corrected. When iron deficiency is diagnosed, the doctor must also determine the cause. Usually it’s not serious (such as normal menstrual blood loss or blood donation). Occasionally, however, iron deficiency signals ulcers or even colon cancer.

Some premenopausal women become marginally iron deficient unless they supplement with iron. However, the 18 mg of iron present in many multivitamin-mineral supplements is often adequate to prevent deficiency. A doctor should be consulted to determine the amount of iron that is needed.

Are there any side effects or interactions?

Iron (ferrous sulfate) is the leading cause of accidental poisonings in children.29 30 31 The incidence of iron poisonings in young children increased dramatically in 1986. Many of these children obtained the iron from a child-resistant container opened by themselves or another child, or left open or improperly closed by an adult.32 Deaths in children have occurred from ingesting as little as 200 mg to as much as 5.85 grams of iron.33 Keep iron-containing supplements out of a child’s reach.

Hemochromatosis, hemosiderosis, polycythemia, and iron-loading anemias (such as thalassemia and sickle cell anemia) are conditions involving excessive storage of iron. Supplementing iron can be quite dangerous for people with these diseases.

Supplemental amounts required to overcome iron deficiency can cause constipation. Sometimes switching the form of iron (see “Which forms of supplemental iron are best?” above), getting more exercise, or treating the constipation with fiber and fluids is helpful, though fiber can reduce iron absorption (see below). Sometimes the amount of iron must be reduced if constipation occurs.

Some researchers have linked excess iron levels to diabetes,34 cancer,35 increased risk of infection,36 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE),37 exacerbation of rheumatoid arthritis,38 and Huntington’s disease.39 The greatest concern has surrounded the possibility that excess storage of iron in the body increases the risk of heart disease.40 41 42 Two analyses of published studies came to different conclusions about whether iron could increase heart disease risk.43 44 One trial has suggested that such a link may exist, but only in some people (possibly smokers or those with elevated cholesterol levels).45 The link between excess iron and any of the diseases mentioned earlier in this paragraph has not been definitively proven. Nonetheless, too much iron causes free radical damage, which can, in theory, promote or exacerbate most of these diseases. People who are not iron deficient should generally not take iron supplements.

check out:out:http://www.truestarhealth.com/Notes/2870003.html

Alice March 5, 2008 at 9:45 am

Kathy – ferritin levels are tested via blood test. I’m not sure if it can be done via a urine test. I’m the same age as your daughter so I know how she must be feeling – try to encourage her to have the blood test – it really isn’t too awful!

Tracy March 12, 2008 at 6:04 am

Couple things (first let me say how happy I am to have found you all) 1. i’m just curious the extent of hair loss people have experienced. I have been slowly, slowly losing hair over the last 10 -15 years … it’s just now gotton to the point that I clealy have a bald spot–well, very thin, at the top of my head. My hair is also quite thin on the sides as well. and 2. I just found out that my iron stores are “on the low side of normal” and while I was told to take an iron supplement, I wasn’t told how many mg to take. I am currently taking ferrus sulfate and the label indicates the level of iron is 65mg which my OB told me to take 2x day (just had a baby in early Feb to compound things).

It’s nice to know I’m not the only woman going through this. I’m assuming the hairloss is reversable — am I wrong?

Diane March 13, 2008 at 11:58 am

Hi Ladies,

Thanks for all the info you’ve posted. It’s been very helpful. I talked to a lady at the health food store and she recommended Floradix Iron + Herbs. I’ve started taking it and I’ll post again in a month to report any differences. =)

Punky April 13, 2008 at 9:22 pm

Hi Everyone,
I am so happy to have found this site. I noticed my hair was thinning the night before my 36th birthday, and totally freaked out. I have always had very thick, long hair. I went to my doctor and she did some routine blood tests and said my iron was a little low but nothing to worry about. She suggested I could go see a dermatologist. I was too worried the dermatolgogist would not have any solutions so I put it off, as well as friends and family said I had lots of hair, what was I talking about !

A year later I finally went to see a dermatologist- as I was getting very depressed and losing more and more hair. She immediately suggested I have my ferritin levels checked (this was September ’07). I was at 28 – she said that was very low – the range is from 20 to 100 and something – supposedly). She prescribed Chromagen Forte – which is some kind of iron supplement I guess. I took it for 8 weeks and had blood tested again, the ferritin level had actually had dropped down to 20. She doubled up my prescription and I had my blood checked after 8 more weeks and I am now up to about 90. I really am not seeing any regrowth yet – but am hopeful. I have an appointment with her this week, so we’ll see what she wants to do next.

Has anyone noticed their hair falling out more in the spring than the winter ? Mine seems to for some reason – and lateley it’s been falling out a lot, so I hope this is just the time of year.

I had also visited a 2nd dermatologist (man) who was supposed to be a hair specialist, shortly after getting prescribed the Chromagen Forte, as I hoped he would confirm what the first dermatologist said. He didn’t offer to do any blood tests, he said go ahead and try Rogaine for men – which I found to be a wierd recommendation, as I had read the formula for men is not supposed to be used by women, as it may be harmful I guess. He basically said don’t stress out, this is part of getting older – I wish I didnt’ waste my time with him, because he only depressed me. Later I found out he is retiring soon, so I am chalking him up as someone who probably doesn’t stay up to date with new findings and doesn’t really care. The first dermatologist seems very caring, as she had lost all her hair due to cancer (chemo). She said she has had several patients who have had success in growing hair back once the iron and ferritin levels are improved – I hope I can be one of them.

I appreciate all your postings – It’s nice to have friends out there. I have done lots of research on hair loss for women, and never once heard about ferritin until I went to the dermatologist. Unless you specifically search for ferritin, I have not ever seen it related to hair loss on the internet- everyone just wants to direct you over to Bosley for hair restoration…. I hope this ferritin thing is the answer for us all :-)

Elizabeth April 18, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Punky,

I’ve noticed my hair falling out more in the spring too! I’m going through a big shed right now and it sucks. Just found this website today and it’s totally awesome. Exactly what I needed! (Well, that, and more hair:) Good luck with the iron, I hope it helps. I never thought to have my levels checked before but now I will.

Caroline April 23, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Hello everyone !

I have also low ferritin levels, I started taking Floradix tablets 2 weeks ago, so far I see no difference in my hair (I have very thing hair), I have been a vegetarian for many years and my mother and her father and my mother´s sister have androgenetic alopecia, so I am a bit worried I might end up having it as well….so far my hair looks normal only thin. I will let you know in a couple of months if my hair gets stronger or get new hair ! please Diane tell us if your ferritin goes up or you notice any change in your hair ! :-) if anyone knows anything about how the androgenetic alopecia is passed from grandparents, parents etc please write about it ! I am not sure if it passed only from male to male or if it can jump from male to female and from female to male !

biDl May 15, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Hi Punky,
Please do tell us your progress so far. I’m on Iron supplements since a month and am really hoping my hair will come back once my ferritin stores are up.

Ann May 20, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Hi everyone,

I have had diffuse loss since about January 2008. In October of 2007 there were 2 major deaths in my family while I was also under tremendous amounts of stress from grad school. I noticed the hair loss in late February (I think it took so long for me to notice b/c I had so much hair before). I had a bloodtest which showed my ferritin was at 5! Very low. My doc perscribed 325mg of ferrous sulfate 3x daily, plus I take a pre-natal multi-vitamin, and a biotin supplement. I recently saw a well known derm in the hair loss field and she said I likely have telogen effluvium that should subside once my ferritin levels get above 70 (preferably above 90). I hope this helps those of you who were also iron deficient. It sounds like many of you are taking much lower doses of iron. My doc said that my heavy iron intake would not harm me since I was at such a low point (5). I will keep you all updated if I see any changes in my hair. I have only been on the iron for about 1 month.

Nancy May 21, 2008 at 1:59 pm

I’m am so happy I found this site. I didn’t realize that there are so many out there with the same problem I have. I have a serrum ferratin level of 8 and I am also hypothyroid and taking 75 mg of levoxyl. My dermatologist put me on 325 mg’s of ferrous sulfate 3 x’s/day and I’ve been on that since March. He also says that I have androgenic alpocia. He wants to get my iron stores up before he treats the andorgenic alpocia. So far I haven’t seen any results and I think it is actually getting worse. I think the andorgenic alpocia makes my hair grow only so far and then it stops. I’m having to cut my hair shorter and shorter. Does anyone else have that problem? I sure hope that the iron helps soon!

Ann May 21, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Nancy:

Did your doc give you his/her reasoning for diagnosing you with androgenetic alopecia? I have read that hypothyroidism can cause hair loss as well. Did he mention a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium? This type of loss can be caused by low ferritin levels and hypothyroidism. I am just curious as to how he came to this conclusion. Also, if you don’t mind me asking…how old are you?…and…does hair loss run in your family?

Nancy May 22, 2008 at 10:22 am

I’m not really sure how he came to that conclusion. I have thinning hair at the temples and in the frontal aea which has been slowly progressing since I was in my thirties. Also, I mentioned the hair in the crown growing out about 3-4″ and stopping. I got the impression that my dr. was more concerned about my iron levels and wants to get my iron stores up to see what that does for my hairloss. He did not mention to me that he thought my hair loss was caused by my hypothyroidism. I am 53 and have not yet reached menopause. I think that my hairloss would of come from my father’s side of the family. He had very fine/thin hair although he was never bald. My mother’s hair was also thinning but not at the age I am now. She was in her mid to late 60’s and she had thinning hair all over. I am interested in learning more about telogen effluvium and hypothyroidism. Also, I forgot to mention that I started noticing my hairloss last summer in the back of my head where my hair has always grown well. I went to my hair dresser thinking that the hair lightning was causing my hair to break off there and she assured me that it was not. Then it started progressing around my head and now I am loosing hair in the front as well. Do you know if the telogen effluvium hair loss stops or the hair growth ever returns? I am getting desperate and very depressed. Thank you for you interest.

Ann May 22, 2008 at 11:55 am

Nancy:

If it is telogen effluvium, then what I have generally read is that it’ll eventually correct itself and hopefully grow back. Usually this form of hair loss is due to some sort of “trigger” which I have read can be due to severe stress, vitamin/mineral deficiencies, hormones, etc. Apparently there might be some link between low ferritin levels and this type of hair loss. Also, as I said before…I have read that often one side affect of hypothyroidism is hair loss…look this up on the internet and see what you think. Perhaps you should ask your doc to check your TSH level, etc. to see if everything is normal and working with your meds ok. Another note…from what I have read, if you have telogen effluvium, the majority of hair that falls out has a white bulb on the end of it. I am not sure how accurate of a test this is, but I do know that my derm said the same thing and most of my hair that falls out does have the white bulb. Finally, would you say then your overall hair loss has been gradual? Or have you noticed a rather abrupt shedding? Sorry for all of the q’s and random facts…but I have seen 2 dermatologists over this and feel I have done quite a bit of research…not that I am a doc by any means, but please feel free to keep asking questions. I’ll do my best to help. I know its tough. Don’t give up hope.

Nancy May 22, 2008 at 12:55 pm

I would have to say that I have had some gradual hair loss as I explained in my earlier post through the bang area and the sides of my hair not growing as long as the back. Since I have fine hair, I have worn my hair in a bob style for years to make it look thicker and I’ve noticed the sides and bangs not growing as well. I did have the abrupt hair loss which started in the back which has never had a problem. That’s when I first noticed something going on and my stylist noticed it too. By the time I decided to see a dermatologist, it had started speading around to the sides and front growing shorter at the crown. Right now I look like I have a very bad haircut! As far as my hypothyroid med’s, I just was tested earlier this month and my TSH level is at 2.65 which my doc seems to think is okay and I have been on thyroid med’s for a couple of years now. My main concerns right now is the hair all thru the crown area not growing and right up top in my bang area I have a balding spot. It’s very possible that the trigger for me was the iron loss due to heavy bleeding and I am working the my ob-gyn on that issue. I did have some severe stress in 2005 and 2006 but I really don’t think that is part of the cause. Meanwhile, I will look for the white bulb at the end of my fallen hairs. I really appreciate your interest. I don’t really have anyone to talk to that understands what I’m going through. Thank you!

Sandra May 23, 2008 at 4:33 am

Hi everyone …. I am new to this site. Nicole, I could totally relate to what you have been through. Actually, I could relate to what all of you have been through. I am 46 y/o female. I have been suffering from hair loss my entire adult life. I could usually camoflage it with a perm (yuck!). But that actually hurts your hair even more. When I was going through a divorce nine years ago, and then my mom died …. the hair was coming out in handfuls and I had to go to a wiglet. My mom had hair loss, my grandmother was almost bald and my greatgrandmother was bald. Each generation, the hair loss isn’t as much ….. I am hoping my three daughters don’t have to go through what I have been through.

My hair loss started getting better with Minox. I would mix the 2 and 5% together. Then I started using some other products ….. still better. I started using Dermatch to cover the top …. it works great. I have gone to countless docs and no one has helped me …. even a derm …. I received the same answer: its genetic.

Now, I am a laboratory medical rep …. and have discovered a lot of new things. I met a holistic doc who has helped me. I turned out to have hypothyroidism, low estrogen/testosterone/progesterone and my ferritin level is 28. He told me the same thing: it needs to be a 70 to grow hair. I am now taking 3 tsps. of “Tasty Iron.” I hate taking pills! But I will do it if it will get my hair back. I am sure that the thyroid issue and the hormone issues were only recently (in my 40’s); however, mixed with low iron stores it compounded the situation, and I’ve been fighting a losing battle.

I am chronicling my journey with this hair thing. I took pics of “before” and will take pics of my progress in six months. The only question I have is ….. does anyone know if “anemia” or low iron stores is genetic? Could my body not be storing the iron due to some kind of anomoly from my genetics (cuz three generations have had issues …. and they are ALL women)?

Frankie June 7, 2008 at 5:35 am

Hello there,
I’ve had hypothyrodism/depression for close to 20 years. Recently the last couple of years I’ve been losing lots of hair. My parents have both passed away within the past 3 three years. One of my physicians said it’s hereditary, my father was bald.

It’s to the point I hold off washing my hair because when I blow dry it comes out in handfuls. Luckily I’ve always had thick hair until now. I’m on synthroid & cytomel. I’ve always struggeled with low iron and have trouble taking iron supplements. I recently found my iron level to be at 4. I’ll be going in for iron infusion. Has anyone had this done? I hope this helps with feeling better, restoring my hair. I had no idea low iron may be the culpret of hair loss.
Thanks for this site and all your inputs. It give me hope.

Ann June 9, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Hi Nancy:

Just wondering if you have seen any change in the shedding with the iron you have been taking. I have been on 325mg of ferrous sulfate for about 2 and 1/2months now and have yet to see a change or decrease. My derm said my ferritin has to get above 70 ans stay there for a while before I begin to see any improvement. Have you heard or been told this as well? Also, I went to see an endo a week ago. She said hair loss is def associated with hypothyroidism. I had blookwork done and am scheduled for another appointment in 2 days. Will post whatever info I find out then. Hang in there!

Nancy June 11, 2008 at 7:32 am

I have been on ferrous sulfate for 3 month’s tomorrow and no, I have not seen any results yet. I did have a serrum ferritin blood test on monday but I do not have the results yet. Should know by Friday or the first of next week and will post my results. I am also going to see my hairdresser today and I’ll ask her if she thinks she sees any improvement. I’ve also heard that the level needs to be at 70 or above before you can expect any results. How did the endo determine that your hair loss was associated with hypothyroidism and what type of blood work did you have? And is there anything you can do for hypothyroidism hair loss? Seems that keeping your thyroid level in a normal range isn’t all that it takes like the doctors tell you! Thank you and you hang in there too!

ROXANNE June 12, 2008 at 9:41 am

I’m wondering, am I the only one whose Doctor told them to take 325 mg of iron twice daily? My iron levels are going up slowly, but now my platelets are low.

Nancy June 12, 2008 at 10:17 am

Hi Ann,
I just read a post about the Nuva Ring and was wondering if you have heard of anyone having hair loss while using the Mirena IUD. My doctor is really trying to get me to use it and I am hesitant about it. First of all, it uses synethic progrestrone for the birth control and I am the type of person who prefers the bioidentical approach. I saw her last monday due to my bleeding problems and she suggested that I try that or have an ablasion. I really don’t want either but I also don’t want to continue bleeding so much since I am trying to restore my iron stores. I know that the Nuva Ring has something that makes it androgenic and was wondering if you or anyone else knows what that is. Thanks!

Nancy June 12, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Roxanne,
I am on 325 mg’s 3x’x/day. My serrum ferritn level was 8 which is very low. The dose depends on your level. The lower the level, the more you take. How long have you been on the iron and do you know what your level is? I don’t know anything about platelets. How did you find that out? I just had a cbc on monday and am wondering if that is part of that test.

JC June 12, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Nancy – I am new to this site but just read your message. I did a lot of research on the NuvaRing. My doctor put me on the NuvaRing in May (to control excess spotting between periods) but when I read that there were reports of hair loss, I went off of it becaue I’ve had so much hair loss during the last 6 months. I believe that it being androgenic may mean that it can increase your male hormones. High male hormones (androgenic) in women can cause hair loss. My male hormones are low so my doctor wasn’t worried about the NuvaRing. I finally checked my ferritin after all of this and it is at 29 which explains the hair loss. I’m taking 50 mg Ferrous Fumarate (recommended by a local hair loss clinic) with vitamin C and Lysine but am probably not taking enough. I am worried about side effects (e.g. I have genetic high cholestorl/stomach issues).

ROXANNE June 13, 2008 at 3:47 am

Nancy- The platelets are included in that test. My level right now is 32,prior to that it was 22,42, and 52. So it has gone up and down through the years. I don’t know if its ever been over 70, since my hair has always been thin. It also grows very slowly. I’ve only been on the iron since 5/08. Also if you are having stomach problems with iron, you should try eating something before taking it. I have made the mistake of not eating before, and also not eating enough before taking the iron.

Marlen June 24, 2008 at 5:07 am

I have read all the post and see that alot of you have low ferritin like me I have 5 and am also on iron pills 150 mg 1 a day . But has anyone seen positive outcome. I hear alot of people taking the iron but have not read one person that says yes it worked for me . Is anyone out there that the iron worked for.

Lorri June 24, 2008 at 12:59 pm

I am new to this site and have also read all the postings. I have had low iron ferritin as low as 6 at one point and have also had thyroid problems. I am on Synthroid at 1.25mg and I take a prescription iron med Niferex 150 Forte twice a day right now. I would recommend this iron for anyone who has stomach problems with over the counter iron. I don’t want to carry on too much but I did have hair loss especially when my iron and my thyroid levels were off. One thyroid disease I had was Hashimoto’s diease. This is also measured by a blood test called thyroglobulin. I have since had my thyroid removed because I also had a couple of cancerous nodules. The combination of these issues I believe were the cause of my hair loss but unlike most of you I did not have some of the extreme hair loss as you. However, my ferritin level is about 20 now and this has been worked on for a few years but I loose so much blood in menstration that is why my ferritin level got so low. My hair has improved so much since all these problems were and are being resolved even though my ferritin is not very high and I am on Synthroid and am still adjusting the Synthroid. Of those who have hypothyroid issues I would recommend to have your doctor test you further with thyroid issues in case there is another issue that could contribute to the cause of hair loss. It has definitely taken time for my hair to be almost normal. My thyroid was removed 9/2004 and my hair has been looking much better for about a year give or take. But keep in mind there were a few issues going on here. I still have more hair loss than I would like but it is much better!!! Keep searching and don’t give up, it will get better.

Ann June 26, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Lorri:

Thanks so much for the info! I was just diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, but my docs claim my TSH levels are good and my thyroid is ok. I have lost about 50% of my hair though. The problem is that I am not sure if it is from stress, my low ferritin of 5, or the Hashimoto’s. Do you think yours is from the thyroid or the iron…or a combo? About how much did you lose? Did you notice it growing back…or was it a surprise?

Any info would help….thanks so much!

Lorri June 30, 2008 at 9:36 am

Ann,

I would think it would be from the low ferritin, 5 is extremely low. Since I had both issues going on like you it is hard to say. I hope you are taking some sort of iron supplement, you need to get that on the way up! It’s really hard for me to say how much hair loss I had but thank God my hair was pretty thick to begin with. I never had actual balding spots or anything but it felt extremely thin on my head for a while.

JC July 8, 2008 at 6:16 am

Marlen – I’m sorry for this late response but you ask if anyone has had success in raising ferritin levels with iron. Per my previous post, I’ve been taking 50 mg of Ferro-Sequals once a day since June and my levels went from 29 to 41 in 4 weeks. I take it on an empty stomach and have had no problems. I’ve read a lot about what interferes with iron (e.g. no dairy, whole grains or coffee/tea within 2 hours of taking supplement) and have been very strict about following a specific regiment (including vitamin C) plus adding red meat to my diet. They all seem to be helping with such a quick increase. I was shocked when I got my results today. Good luck!

Hannah July 10, 2008 at 5:46 pm

I’ve had success with iron supplementation and improvement in fatigue and odd hair shedding issues.

I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 20 years and have consistently had low ferritin (12-18 range) for at least ten years (probably much longer). I first had bloodwork done after complaining about general fatigue (in college at the time). Of course, my labs were interpreted as completely “normal”, 15 ferritin level included, and as has consistently been the case with almost evey doctor who has looked at labs in the intervening period, iron store issues were not identified as a possible factor contributing to my non-specific condition.

Given supplementation of so many foods (e.g. heavily fortified breakfast cereal) with iron (non-heme), I’m certain I’ve always consumed adequate quantities of iron, but the form consumed doesn’t seem to convert to ferritin – just enough seems to get absorbed to prevent development of actual anemia.

Thinking my iron status might have something to do with my tiredness, persistently cold hands/feet and hair issues, I’ve tried iron supplementation by itself in the past and it never had any meaningful impact on ferritin so I always quit after a month or two. However, last winter I started a regime that consists of one tablet daily or every other day of each of Slo-Fe, lysine, vitamin C and B12, taken together. Within a few months, my ferritin was up to 32 (the highest it’s ever been in the 10+ years that its been tested), my blood pressure has subsequently increased from about 90/60 to 110/70 (less dizziness, no more fainting if I have blood drawn/shots and less cold hands/feet), I can work out for more than 15 minutes without getting fatigued, I’m generally less tired, have less trouble concentrating and 8 months later shedding issues have improved noticeably – not resolved totally, but less of a concern.

Lauren July 11, 2008 at 6:26 pm

As much as I wish we were not going thru this problem – I am also glad to see I am not the only one. I have noticed gradual (slow thinning) over the last 4-6 months. About 2 months ago, my hair started to break off very very easily. Especially around my hairline. I went to the Dr. and they did tests for everything, Thyroid, Hormones, WBC etc.. as well as Iron. Turns out my Ferritin is at 17, which he said – is pretty much non existant Iron Stores. I am now on Liquid Iron, as the pill suppliments were not absorbing well (I had no problems with them, I just have IBS) so I started the Liquid yesterday and hope I start to at least see some slowing or stopping of the breakage/hair loss, which has proceeded all over my head and now taking on a Male Pattern Baldness theme (YES MY HORMONES ARE FINE :O ) … I see that most woman are speaking of hair loss, which I do have, but what about breakage, my hair shafts seems very thin which would make me prone to the breakage – when I wash and brush my hair – oh I cry for hrs after – its horrible. Anyone else have this ?? I dont have damaged hair as I do not process it.

God Bless.

Barbara July 12, 2008 at 11:01 am

I’ve been losing my hair for the past nine months. At first I was diagnosed with alopecia areata but now it seems like it must be something else because my condition is getting worse everyday. I had a biopsy done on my scalp but I won’t know the results until August 15th. I couldn’t get a an earlier appt with the doctor which is very upsetting. I just found out that my iron level is low at 24 but the TSH levels are normal. I was prescribed Repliva today but before that I was taking a low dose iron supplement that seems like it was not absorbed since my iron level is low. Has anyone taken Repliva before? Did it help at all with hair loss? I feel like I am going to have to quit my job soon since the hair loss keeps getting worse for me.

Theresa Carter July 14, 2008 at 6:55 am

Thought I would leave a note here.. I had my ferritin levels tested by my “SLEEP APNEA” doctor.. I have had “thinning of my hair for YEARS now.. I can run my fingers through my hair and hair will.. come out easily.. I am constantly tired no matter how long I rest/or sleep.. I have been tested several times for hypothyroidism.. and tests came back normal.. I do have sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.. the doctor took the ferritin test.. not because the thinning of my hair or my exhaustion.. but he took it because of my leg cramps/and restless leg synrdrome.. The range for “normal” on the ferritin test I took was 11-307ng/mL and my test showed that mine was at 41. My doctor said he liked to see his patients with restless leg syndrome to at least have levels to 50.. but after reading this site.. and knowing how long I have had hair loss.. and other problems.. it has made me wonder about what is considered to be “NORMAL”… ANYONE OUT THERE HAVE the same problems as I do..? Let me know how you have dealt with it to feel better!

Theresa Carter July 14, 2008 at 7:03 am

I failed to mention that the doctor put me on 325 mg of Ferruous Sulfate twice daily for the ferritin levels being at 41.. and wants it retested in 6 weeks from the time I started taking it regularly.

Michelle July 15, 2008 at 9:56 am

HI! I’ve been reading as much as I can about hair loss for the past few months and just stumbled upon this group as I was trying to find out more about ferritin (iron) levels and hair loss.

My hair has been thinning for years, but during the past few months, it has gotton really thin and extra fragile, especially on the top and sides. I recently had to have it cut short. I’ve been tested for everything and was given the “you’re perfectly healthy” thumbs-up which made me sick. Yes, I should be happy, but I’d rather KNOW what is wrong with me, because something is.

I have more symptoms which range from fatique, weight gain and depression, but no doctors seem to tie this together. So in the meantime, since my ferritin came back at 45 and I’ve read that many doctors say you need a level of 70 to keep your hair from falling out, and 100 to regrow it, I’ve decided to supplement on my own.

I now eat protein at every meal and take 325 mg of Ferruous Sulfate 3x a day. I’m taking this amount because my neighbor (true success story!) found out her ferritin was a 7 and her doctor put her on that dosage and within two months, you can see her hair growing back! She says it hasn’t looked like this in years (I didn’t know her then). I’m HOPING this works for me too.

Anyway, I’m writing to let everyone know that there is HOPE with the iron (we can try, right?) and also, take the iron with vitamin C, L-lysine and Evening Primrose Oil. Go ahead and do internet searches on these supplements and again, a lot of the information just might give you hope and might even work!

Don’t take iron supplements with coffee, tea or milk. I also am taking prescription biotin and silica gel. I really hope we all find answers soon and our hair grows back. This is so devastating! (BTW, I took antidepressants for several years and they have been linked to hair loss; not sure if that is part of my problem or not but still hoping the iron helps it to grow back.)

P July 16, 2008 at 7:10 am

Girls – supplementing with iron can cause a zinc imbalance which can cause hair loss mimicking AGA! Recommend a hair analysis (hair TMA) to see where your minerals/heavy metals stand.

Meghan July 29, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Wow!! After rading some of these comments, I am really in sad shape!! I went to the Dr because of hair falling out & my test came back an 8.9 !! I am on 325mg of ferrous sulfate 3x a day. Still waiting on the bulk of the lab work to come back. I am not a vegetarian, never have been. I eat meat not every day, but quite often. Wish I knew why my iron was so low. Hopefully the lab results will tell me something.

Jan July 31, 2008 at 6:20 am

Hi everyone, who would have know low ferritin could give us so many problems. I had thick hair for years and about 2 years ago I noticed that it was thinning. My ferritin was 14 and now it’s 30, but, still no regrowth. It has been 5 months since I started taking the iron supplements. I take 150 mg of iron a day. I noticed some of you are taking more. I go in next week for another blood test. If anyone has increased their ferritin to 70-100 and has had success, please let us know. This would be the easiest solution, if it works. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

DD August 1, 2008 at 6:58 am

Glad I found this site too! I’m 41 and have always had very fine thin hair, just thought it was crappy genetics. Only while I was pregnant at 30 did I think my hair actually looked good. I thought it grew thicker and did not shed at all. That didn’t last however and within a few months after delivery it fell out and returned to it’s pitiful state. Over the last few years I noticed my hair getting even thinner all over and breaking. I thought it was just over-processed. Then I thought it was caused by depression…catch 22, cuz my hair loss WAS causing depression! I’m sure you all can relate, I was in tears, rarely wanted to leave the house. Only recently did I see a Dr. and had blood work done. They said everything was great. I thought maybe it was a thyroid thing…nope, all good. Depressed even more, I went home thinking there’s no hope for me. I’ll just continue losing hair until it’s gone and buy a wig. OMG! I spent all my free time researching on the internet, what it could be. I decided to see a Dermatologist. They ordered a new set of labs. Hu…. funny how this goes. They told me I was very anemic, I had low white and red blood cell counts and my Ferritin level was 10 (the lowest she had even seen) What the hell! My Dr.said everything was ok. Not the case. My Dermatologist put me on Iron(65mg) 3x a day-5mg Biotin and I’m taking a multivitamin.She also recommended Minoxodil and Olux foam. I tried them but Minoxodil is just awful sticky stuff, I couldn’t deal with it. And Olux costs about $250/month, can’t afford it. So I’m just doing the pills right now. I just have to say to all of you THERE IS HOPE! After a month, my ferritin level went from 10 to 25.I know that’s still too low, she want’s me above 70. But I totally notice an improvement. I am definitely not as tired, my mood has improved and I’m sure my hair is improving. The derm said she could see new growth. I’m so psyched!
My hair is far from where I’d like it to be, but it’s only been a couple months and it’s getting better. I hope this helps!

Kirsten August 1, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Hi everyone. I have just come across this. And I NEVER thought there’d be this many womaen experiencing thi sparticular distressing problem. I am 18, the youngest I think… and I’ve just been diagnosed with having iron deficiency anaemia and have been prescribed 200mg Ferrous Sulphate which I’ve to take one a day. My hair was rapidly thinning and I couldn’t take it. It was horrifying not knowing what the cause was, I am much more hopeful now after reading a lot of success stories on the internet. This may not be a BIG improvement (plus, I haven’t been on them for very long at all) but for the last few days there has been such a difference in the amount of hair that sheds. =] I don’t know exactly how low my iron levels are, but I’m just going to keep taking them and wait. Also, I was wondering if any of you think that 18 is too young to be having iron defiency problems? (Heavy periods are mainly the reason for my iron levels plummeting)Good luck to everyone!

Kirsten August 1, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Hi everyone. I have just come across this. And I NEVER thought there’d be this many women experiencing this particular and distressing problem. I am 18, the youngest I think… and I’ve just been diagnosed with having iron deficiency anaemia and have been prescribed 200mg Ferrous Sulphate which I’ve to take one a day. My hair was rapidly thinning and I couldn’t take it. It was horrifying not knowing what the cause was, I am much more hopeful now after reading a lot of success stories on the internet. This may not be a BIG improvement (plus, I haven’t been on them for very long at all) but for the last few days there has been such a difference in the amount of hair that sheds. =] I don’t know exactly how low my iron levels are, but I’m just going to keep taking them and wait. Also, I was wondering if any of you think that 18 is too young to be having iron defiency problems? (Heavy periods are mainly the reason for my iron levels plummeting)Good luck to everyone!

Tara August 2, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Hello everyone. I am 39, and I have slowly been losing hair for about 4 years now. I briefly went back on the pill after my second son was born. I tried two different kinds for a short time and then quit them completely. This is the only thing that I know of that could have contributed to it at that time. My Mom has very thin hair, but it did not get really thin until after a round of chemo. I do have other balding on both sides of my family as well.

Within the last month, my hair has started shedding at an alarming rate! My hair was never that great to begin with- very fine, but a lot of it. I can’t imagine what it is like for those of you who had beautiful hair to be going through this! Anyway, I went to my regular doctor over a year ago. He checked my thyroid, said it was fine and that he didn’t see any problem. I was a huge diet coke drinker, and for a time I thought it was due to aspartame poisoning. I completely cut out all sugar substitutes, but that has been 5 months ago and no results.

I am going to a dermatologist on Thursday, and I hope to get more tests run. There are two things that I think might be a factor in this recent shedding, and I wanted to know if anyone else has had any similar problems. One is that I started taking Adderall recently. I know that amphetimines can cause hair loss, but would it happen immediately after I started taking it? I take 20mg per day. I love the Adderall- it helps with depression, I am so much more motivated, I get so much more done at work, and I just feel better about myself and am happier to be around. I am so hoping that it is not causing this massive shedding. Anyone else had this problem? My other thought is that I have Candida, with is caused by excessive yeast in the body. I have had problems with yeast infections the last few years, and I have been treated for one within this last month. I know that Systematic Candida can cause hair loss, as well as Iron deficiancies, but how do you know for sure??? This is driving me crazy. And the worst part is, as my hair is literally falling out by the day, my husband thinks that I am just obsessing! He thinks that either my stressing out about it, or my wearing a ball cap several days a week, is causing it to fall out.

I have decided that if it continues at this rate, I am going to get a wig or some kind of hair system before it gets completely noticeable. It is just too depressing to look in the mirror and to see it falling out all over the place. I am using the Men’s 5% Rogaine and taking multi-vitamins. I would love some feedback from anyone who has decided to do the hair thing. I live in Wichita, KS and I know that I will probably have to go elsewhere to find a good place. Does anyone know of any in Kansas City, Tulsa or Oklahoma City? I would really appreciate any advice. I have looked at the Cyberhair and Reprieve websites, but is so hard to tell much about them just through the computer.

Sorry for rambling!! I read this website all the time, but until this last month of major shedding, I thought I had it under control. Denial is my middle name!!!

Tara

Jan August 4, 2008 at 7:54 am

DD – When I read your comments, I felt like I was reading about myself. I am 41 also and it does get depressing when you are loosing your hair. I know there are things much worse, but, for right now, this is bad enough. You really have to be your own advocate when trying to get a diagnosis. I kept seeing doctors until I had the right one. I was told your bloodwork looks great! But I knew something was wrong because you just don’t loose your hair unless something in your body is not working right. I started at a ferritin level of 14. After 2 months it went to 30. I go in on Wed for another test. I am taking 50 mg 3x a day too. I think the shedding has improved, but, there has been no regrowth yet. (This has me a little worried) My doctor said it should grow back when the levels are high enough. It has been 5 months now. I have read that it takes 2-3 months to stop shedding (over 40 ferritin level) and 5-6 months to see growth (with a ferritin level of 70) I’m glad some of you have seen improvement in less shedding. Here’s hoping all of us will end up with a nice head of hair!

DD August 4, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Jan- It does make things a bit better to talk with someone who can relate, right? Hey, that’s great that your levels are going up quickly, I guess some people don’t respond that well. I am hopeful your regrowth will begin soon. Is your hair fragile and breaking off like mine? That’s the worst part cuz I am spending so much time styling it just so it looks halfway decent to be seen in public, I’m sure I’m ripping out too much in the process. Also, do you notice that you have more energy now on the iron? I definitely do and I don’t feel that depressed, although still the hair loss thing depresses me. But I was on Lexapro, cymbalta and wellbutrin recently, not anymore. I think that may contributed to some loss. I get my levels rechecked in 6 weeks…Hopefully it’s 50 or better. Good luck

Meghan August 5, 2008 at 7:58 am

Mine has been breaking off. I think more is breaking off than actually pulling out. When I put my hair in a ponytail I have a halo of “fuzz” shall we call it sticking up all over. This sucks! Then I have to wear a ball cap to cover the mess, so I dont need to slick it all down with hairspray. =(

Diane K. August 12, 2008 at 6:55 am

I am 46. I have been experiencing excessive hair loss since I was 32. It would come & go for a few months at a time while I lived in TX. Since moving back north, my hair loss is now seasonal. The hair loss starts by May and slows down in Nov-Dec. At first I went to my doctor, then a dermatologist – no one could ever help me. My thyroid has been tested every year, every test possible and they always say it’s normal. My hair grows back in as soon as it falls out, and it has a bulb on it. So I always have a lot of short hair in many lengths.

I was sent to an Internal Medicine Specialist (oncologist) because my doc found that my platelets were a little higher than the norm range, and they felt it needed to be watched. The specialist immediately checked my Ferritin – it was 15 – though I am not yet anemic. I have been on prescription Ferrous Sulfate 325mg 1-2 daily for over a year and a half, one time my Ferritin was up to 35 but has gone back down to 26. I have done my own research and started taking Floradix with Herbs a couple weeks ago – I feel a little better but will know more in a few weeks when I get another Ferritin/Platelet test.

I feel I have poor digestive absorption – I am also somewhat low in Vit D. I just did a Foot Bath Detox & Iridology done by someone I know – both tests pointed to a stressed liver – which can cause poor nutrient absorption. As some of you other ladies, I am taking responsibility for my own health, researching and trying alternative natural products.

I will write again and report after my next follow-up test & results. Hopefully the Floradix Iron will have better results. I am also going to do a Liver Cleanse in the next couple of weeks.

Meghan August 13, 2008 at 12:30 pm

My mother had a friend w/ iron deficiency. She was taking iron 3x a day, and her levels werent coming up quick enough. She heard a rumor about “Blackstrap Molasses” helping with iron deficiency… she tried it, and it worked!!! Even though I have been on iron for a few weeks now, I have still been tired all the time. I found some blackstrap molasses at the local health food store. I take 1 tablespoon every evening. I have definitely seen an improvement in the way i feel!! I am still taking the iron, but since adding the molasses I no longer feel tired. Too soon to tell if its helping with the hair growth. Just based on how I feel right now, I think all of you should try it. I also found a few websites talking about its usefulness. Some also give ideas of what to mix it with to make it taste good. The taste is something you will have to get over.I have tried several ways, but it still tastes like CRAP!! Someone said they mixed it with soy milk and it tasted like chai tea. I have NO IDEA where THEY get THEIR chai tea, but i definitely dont want to be going to that place!!! ANyway, just choke it down & drink a bunch of water with it & the flavor rinses right out. Try it!! I am impressed!!

Diane K. August 14, 2008 at 4:03 am

Thanks for the suggestion Meghan. I’ll see where I can find some Blackstrap Molasses.

d August 15, 2008 at 7:07 am

I keep reading these stories and I was wondering if anyone is taking iron 65mg 3x day. What are your results? That is what was suggested by my derm 2 months ago. I don’t know if I am just being optimistic, but I can already see new growth and very little shedding, at least not like it had been. I had a ferritin level of 10 and a month later it was 25. I get tested in a month again. It seems to be working! I still cry most days when I wash and try to style my hair, but I have to be positive. I’ll report back on any more improvement. Let me know if it’s working for anyone else too!

Tracy August 15, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Hi,
This is the first time I have found this site despite lots of time researching ‘hair loss’ in the past.
I am 42 and was diagnosed as having an underactive thyroid approx 2 years ago. One of the first signs was my that my hair changed dramatically and I put on a lot of weight. Once I started taking thyroxine I was told that the condition of my hair would improve. 8 months ago after lots of tests it was falling out like others on here have described, at the root so my own doctor who is fantastic sent me to a dermatologist. After further tests she found that I had a ferritin level of 12. She felt that this was the reason for my hair loss so prescribed 3 x 65mg a day and promptly discharged me saying it would get better in 4-6 months. In the last two months it has got worse and despite two visits to the doctors nothing has been done. My latest visit yesterday was a complete waste of time where the doctor I saw asked my at least 10 times about my menstrual cycle as she felt it was due to the menopause despite NO symptoms or history of early menopause running in my family. She also wanted to prescribe anti-depressants as she thought it may be stress, even though I told her it was currently the summer holidays and I now have 6 weeks off! I also suffer from acute mouth ulcers twice a year and when I asked her if there is anyone else she can refer me to e.g. an immunologist to see why my body is not storing iron etc she dismissed this and gave me a prescription for nizoral….
I was very fortunate that before this happened I had very thick, long naturally curly hair which often prompted nice comments. I have now tried for my own mental health to put a positive spin on things and told my husband that I once had beautiful hair and now I have normal hair as I feel I won’t get anywhere with our NHS at present

Diane K. August 18, 2008 at 11:58 am

Hi Tracy,

Don’t bother with the Nizoral, it won’t help. Nizoral treats dandruff & fungus issues of the scalp – the hai loss is internal. I was given Nizoral when I first started losing hair by an MD – I lost more hair.

Chances are it’s your thyroid or a vitamin/iron deficiency. The best thing your derm did was check your ferritin. Many women on this site say their thyroid meds caused more hair loss. If you have a thyroid issue – research coconut oil – it can help normalize your thyroid. Try reading “The Coconut Oil Miracle” by Bruce Fife. It’s helped a lot of people.

Good Luck.

Tracy August 18, 2008 at 1:03 pm

Thank Diane, I’ll look that up, I’v never heard of coconut oil before. I wasn’t going to use the nizoral for exactly the reason you said. My son has had this many times for a dry scalp but she was so useless that by the time she gave me the prescription I’d loss the will to live and argue.
I also forgot that it could be my thyroid medication, I’ve heard that before so again I’ll look that up. Just washed ny hair and the hair loss tonight was unbelievable, thanks for you help I’ll try anything at the moment!!

Tracy

Jan August 18, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Hi again,

I was also prescribed 50 mg of iron 3x a day and in 6 months my ferritin went from 14 to 74.(It does take time.) I am a little stressed that I have no growth yet, but, I have read that it needs to stay over 70 for at least 3 months to see a significant decrease in the shedding rate and for hair in the growing (anagen) phase to be restored to normal ratio. I hope I can report some good news to all of you in a few months -that taking the iron supplements really does work.

Take care

Diane K. August 19, 2008 at 3:47 am

I’m glad the prescribed iron is working for you Jan, but I was on 325mg 1-2 times a day, for a year and a half and it barely raised my ferritin. I’ve pretty much determined my body is not absorbing nutrients. So I have started on a liquid iron and blackstrap molasses (as a nice lady suggested on this site) – these are more complete, natural forms of iron that should absorb easier. I go back for another test in a few weeks – I’ll know more then.

I hope you continue to see progress!

Jane September 4, 2008 at 10:00 am

Glad I found this site – I am 38 and have had very thick hair my whole life. Used to complain about it – as a teenager, they hated me when I got a perm, as 3 girls would need to work on me. I’d say my hair started changing over last 5 years or so. First, the texture – courser, a weird wave, frizzier- especially the top layer. And then noticed more shedding. I always used to shed a lot, but it would come and go in waves. Then it got to the point of constant shedding. About 9 months ago or so, I pulled my hair in a ponytail and noticed I could see significant scalp on my part – never could see scalp before. People told me I was crazy. In the meantime, continued shedding and it happens so suddenly, when you all of a sudden realize you have lost half the thickness of your hair. When I put it in a ponytail, I have to wrap it 3 times and it stills falls out, when before I could barely wrap it twice. So depressing!
Went to dermatologist and got bloodwork which showed ferriten level of 10, so he sent results back to me and told me to do iron supp and see primary. I also went to see my primary, who didn’t think the iron had much to do with it, but that it was likely natural aging progression, maybe hormones(if so, she didn’t recommend doing anything hormone-wise, as said the risks outweigh benefits)
Anyway, I am hoping it is the iron, and am now taking the slow release tablets for last week and a half. I will keep you posted to see if any improvement.
PS: I too notice the hairs have the little white bulbs – I saw a previous post on that being significant? I presumed that was just the follicle and that all hair that falls out would have that. Any insight on that one by anyone?

Punky September 6, 2008 at 10:45 pm

Hi Ladies,

I could almost copy Jane’s story word for word – I’m 38 and noticed thinning hair about 2 years ago. I had very very thick and long hair my whole life. I dismissed my initial hair loss as a result of getting a foil, and the stylist went to answer a phone call, so the solution stayed on a little too long. It was mostly on one side near the part, and was breaking off initially. After about 6 months, I went to my regular Dr. and she did some blood work. She said everything was pretty normal, my iron was a little low, and she suggested I could take iron supplements, and also go and visit a dermatologist. This was in 2006. I was in denial, and finally a year later, in 2007, after I had tried lots of vitamin supplements for hair,prenatal vitamins, etc……. went to a dermatolgist. She tested my ferritin level and it was about 20. She prescribed Chromagen Forte – which is an iron supplement with something else in it to help with digesting it . I’m coming up on a year now, gone back and forth with the Chromagen, and another similar product. The first 3 months, my ferritin actually decreased so she doubled up my dose. The second 3 months it rose a little, and at my last check in, 3 months ago, it was finally holding above 75. I am still experiencing hair loss, so next time, she is going to have them test something called the SED rate, which can cause the Ferritin to read inaccurately. Most people tell me I am crazy and they can’t see what I am seeing, but I can totally relate to the ponytail story and sadly, am noticing a lot of scalp up on top.

Does anyone else drink lots of coffee and tea ? I do, and have done some research, and found that coffee, tea, chocolate, all contain tannins which interefere with iron absorption. I am trying to cut back on coffee and tea, which for me is the equivalent of quitting smoking. I will say my coffee and tea intake was very excessive. I have been trying to cut back for about 6 weeks, so really nothing to report yet on that front – just curious if anyone else has found similar information.

Recently, I came accross some results my regular doctor mailed to me in 2005, long before I ever worried about hair loss, and low and behold, she did notate, ” Slightly low ferritin, however not anemic, recommend slow FE – one tablet 3 times daily” ….. I never paid a bit of attention to that – wish I did now.

Additionally, I had been turned away 2 times back in 2005 when I tried to donate blood, and they said I was anemic those days – the pieces are all coming together now. I hope this ferritin thing is the solution for us ladies :-) I think I’ll try the molasses – never heard of that before.
My dermatologist, did say to be careful about iron – too much and it could do something to your liver, so I am a little worried about overdoing it.

I went to a supposed “hair loss specialist” dermatologist, just to get a second opinion on the ferritin thing – he actually was just within months of retiring I later found out. He suggested Rogaine for men (not women) every other day until I saw the results I wanted. I was skeptical about this, so I did ask my current dermatologist – she said yes, it would be okay to try the one for men – every other day. I wanted to use this as a last resort, but I did break down about a month ago and started it. I hate to have to use it, but if it works, I think it’s worth a try. I was hoping this ferritin thing would be the ticket, but I am getting impatient so ready to try something new.

I’ve read that clams are very high in iron content, so I try to eat them sometimes. Additionally a friend read that the supplement, Fo-Ti is good for hair – has anyone ever heard that ? I take it, but with everything else I’m doing, it’s hard to determine what is helping and what is not.

I do count my blessings that my hair loss is not health related, I do not have cancer, so I don’t want to complain, I pray for all you ladies experiencing hair loss, especially related to cancer – God Bless you all.

Thank you all for sharing your stories and information – it really helps :-)

Punky September 6, 2008 at 10:56 pm

P.S. …. I forgot to mention something else – I suffer from migraine headaches, usually around my period. In my research I found that low iron stores has been connected to migraine headaches – I think iron storage has a lot of effects on our health – who knew ??????

Tracy September 7, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Hi Jan and everyone else,

Thanks for the comment Jan, I have been on ferritin or 9 months now but no improvement yet, and like most of the last postings everyone things I’m crazy as I too have always had thick curly hair. Most of my friends and family think I am imagining it as I still have hair and they think it is all in my mind, it was only when a friend of mine came away with me for the weekend and I washed my hair. When I went to comb it she saw the sheet of hair that came away with the comb and she understood. One of the things I really don’t like and it’s only a small thing, is when I have bare skin and I feel hair falling down my back or on my arm . But as you said punky we are not losing our hair through some terrible illness like cancer unlike a relative of the friend who saw my hair come out. Her grandson’s mother has cancer and she is only 17, she has just started chemo and is losing her hair fast so we all have to thank god we are not in that situation

Jane September 7, 2008 at 6:29 pm

Punky,

I had wondered about the coffee too- weather it could have anything to do with it. I can say that over the last several years, I drink WAY too much coffee – I would say an excessive amount – and not enough water. Not sure it has anything to do with it… but I have wondered. Keep saying i need to cut back.

admin September 7, 2008 at 6:47 pm

Hi All, Just to chime in… I know how hard it is when we finally tell someone we are losing are hair and no one listens. Hello.. I mean come on, we know! It is so frustrating. Any woman could show me a picture of herself with the craziest amount of thick hair and if you said she was losing it, I’d believe it. We see the comb, the loss of density, the massive amounts of hair falling out in the shower, in our hands, and on our clothing. For years I think I *fooled* lots of people, they never knew I had hair loss. It progressively has gotten much thinner, but I *think* with an awesome blow dryer, some thickening shampoo and spray and the right lighting, that I could still slide by :)

Coffee.. I LOVE coffee, I don’t drink much of it, but it is a daily morning ritual for me. It is one of my small pleasures, to wake up and drink some freshly brewed coffee in my PJ’s! I believe it does deplete us of certain nutrients so it is important to make sure we eat properly and supplement accordingly.

Hair loss sucks. What other way is there to put it. It’s changed me in a lot of ways, some positive, some negative. But what I do try to remind myself of and be thankful for is that I am for the most part I am pretty darn healthy and if this is the worst things that ever happens to me then I was pretty lucky.

Take Care,
~Y

d September 10, 2008 at 11:53 am

Hi, Does anyone know if you damage your hair through highlighting (bleaching) and your hair burns off or falls out, will it grow back? Or is there that chance that you’ve lost that hair forever? Thanks.

admin September 11, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Hi D –

I *think* that as long as you don’t have a chemical burn to the scalp you should be fine. I don’t die my hair for obvious reasons (hair loss) but I did have a friend who went to the salon to get made platinum blonde, and the stylist like forgot about her or something and left the dye/bleach on too long and her hair started just falling out like spaghetti all over the floor. It all grew back and she still has some of thickest hair I’ve seen.

All The Best,
~Y

B September 27, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Tara,

I live in KCMO and have telogen effluvium.

I have had all sorts of blood work done and my doctor can’t figure out why a healthy 25 year old women is losing her hair.

I have also been taking 30 mg of Adderall a day.

Have you gone off of your Adderall? Did it change any shed rate?

Please email me because I’d love to talk to you.

Thanks!!

Ella October 2, 2008 at 1:29 am

Hello all,

I hope this info can help some of you, altho I’m yet to find out myself whether it is 100% accurate. I am 27 years old and about 3 months ago noticed that I was shedding a massive volume of my already skinny locks! I was very distraught, so much so that I saved up my pennies to go and see a specialist trichologist in London (I am from the UK). The hair on the crown and sides of my head is the sparsest. Anyway, the specialist said that it looked like iron deficiency, because the hair loss was fairly diffuse. The serrum ferritin levels are the crucial ones to have tested. This is a protein which stores your bodies supply of iron and these are the resources which your hairs use to grow. Its possible to have perfectly normal levels of IRON, with depleted ferritin levels. My level was measured at 42, which was well within the labs NORMAL range, but the trichologist tells me that anything below 50 can be problematic for hair growth, and optimum growth takes place between 100-120. It takes a while to raise these, and it has to be done safely but you can take a pretty high dose. He has prescribed me a supplement called FLORISENE (its called NUTRIHAIR in the states). This also contains vitamin C which helps the absorption of iron and a protein called Lysine which is ESSENTIAL for the absorption of iron. Iron alone (according to him!) will not be absorbed very efficiently without these components. I should add that I do not work for this company! I know how terryifying it feels to loose your hair, and anyone who exploits vulnerable people like us with plugs for phoney products is just wicked.
Im sorry if any of this is repetitive. I just thought it might be worth adding, because it is staright from the horses mouth. Altho I cant yet be sure whether the horse was right! On these tablets the ferritin levels should go up by about 10 points a month, until a trigger point is reached, when hair should stop shedding and volume will then bulk up and return to its former glory. I have been taking the tablets for 2 and a half months and the shedding has slowed down quite a bit. I also feel less tired and dont have black circles under my eyes anymore. i am cautiously very excited. Something needs to happen because my hair is so whispy, it looks ridiculous! The manufacturers claim that you will need to wait 6-9 months to see a visible difference in the volume of hair, because of the length of the growth cycle. lets hope they are right! you have to be very patient with this process. I think the crucial thing that i wanted to say is that whether your hair loss is down to genetics, thyroid, nutrition, hormones (maybe a combination of several) , it is professionally considered that FERRITIN levels should be up above a 100 to give your hair the best chances of recovery. It may turn out that I have got genetic hair loss and will need to start on another program of treatment, but the trichologist is convinced that having lots of iron stores will still give the best support to the MINOXIDIL. Without iron, our poor old hairs wont stand a chance. So get going on the steaks girls!!!!
Sorry for this very long post. When you have found something that you think might help, you just want to share it with the other lost souls. I will post back again in another few months (or contact me) to let you know whether there has been any progress. But so far, some good.
Chins up and KEEP SMILING (I do try! altho there have been many tantrums too!)

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Diane K. October 2, 2008 at 9:33 am

Hi Ella,

Thanks for the great input. I have been battling hair loss for 14 years, having test after test and everything is “normal”. In looking for a possible reason for my high platelets, my internal medicine specialist checked my ferritin. At that time it was 15. So for about 18 months I’ve taken prescription iron (ferrous sulfate). My ferritin went up a little but it was a struggle. A couple months ago I did a little research and switched to a liquid iron – Floradix. Had my ferritin checked a couple weeks ago – I’m up to 40. Still not great but I’ve made progress. The Floradix also has Vit C and some B Vitamins.

I am considering trying the NutriHair you recommended – I have no problem giving it 6-9 months to work since I’ve been dealing with this so long.

Thanks again for the info – best wishes to you!

Diane K. October 2, 2008 at 9:52 am

Again to Ella,

I forgot to ask, do people have any problems with NutriHair upsetting their stomach or having constipation? Thanks.

Cindi October 2, 2008 at 5:42 pm

I am so glad to have found this site! I too had lots and lots of thick curly hair until a couple of years ago. I am 44 years old and have had SLE (Lupus) since I was 20. Three years ago, my 13 year old daughter died from Aplastic Anemia. I’ve not been able to determine if my hair loss is from stress, depression, or Lupus, but it is real. And like some of you have expressed, others tell you “we don’t see it.” It drives me CRAZY. I see all that hair coming out, and it is embarassing to have it falling all over your clothes and in your chair when you get up. I was very excited to read about the iron. I’ve not taken lots of iron before because, frankly, I have enough trouble with constipation as it is now. But I also have the dark circles under my eyes that were mentioned, so I’ll take the iron and deal with the constipation. I’ve been using men’s Rogaine for a couple of weeks now … of course nothing to report there. The website for Rogaine said it could take up to 18 weeks to see any improvement. I’ll keep checking back to see if there’s any other news. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. :-)

Dorthy October 4, 2008 at 8:57 pm

Hi Ella,

I am also taking Florisene. I ordered it online and it was shipped from UK. Can you please tell me the dose that you are taking each day?

I have been taking it on and off with many other vitamins/supplements from Europe but not sure if anything is helping. (I actually noticed more hair loss once I went back to school). Today and washed my hair and spent the entire day crying.

Pls let me know if you are taking the recommended dose.

Hope to hear from you.

Nadine October 5, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Hi guys,
I am 18 and since January, I have lost more than half my hair. I used to have very envied hair, without seeming vain, but I LOVED my hair and this is just destroying me. Also, as you can imagine, appearances mean everything when you’re around my age so that really doesn’t help. After months of being incredibly worried and hesitant to go to the doctors, I went in late July and my doctor did a blood test and found that I have iron deficiency anaemia. I have been on 200mg Ferrous Sulphate for just over 2 months now (I know it’s not that long) and I have seen a difference in the shedding, it has slowed down but I’m still very very doubtful. I’ve been taking upto 3 daily (not sure what is the normal dosage amount), I was ordered to take only 1 a day but I can’t stand this. I really, really, really, really CANNOT! If anyone knows how long it takes for there to be a noticable change in the hair, PLEASE let me know. I don’t know how low my ferritin levels are, but I’m assuming they’re pretty low. Seriously.

I hope the rest of you are seeing improvements.
This is truly heartbreaking, but if anyone knows of the duration of time you need to be on ferrous sulphate before you see any improvement, please state this as there is not enough information on the internet. *sigh!!!!!!!!!!!!*

Diane K. October 6, 2008 at 11:49 am

To Cindy, Nadine, Dorthy

You all should have your doctor check your Ferritin levels checked. I have very low ferritin but I am not anemic – there is a difference. I have started to make progress, my Ferritin was up to 40 a couple weeks ago. – I started at 15. But I am also taking the initiative, I asked my specialist to have my Ferritin checked every 3 months so I could better monitor my progress. If I do not continue to improve, I will try another type of iron supplement. Right now the Floradix is working for me but will it get me up to 70-100, I don’t know. Everyone is different, you have to find what works for you and how quickly it will work. I plan to add Lysine to my iron supplementation, the Nutrihair says Lysine aids with iron absorption. Good Luck and keep sharing!!

Tara October 7, 2008 at 11:32 am

B,
I have not been on the site lately, so I just now saw your comment! I no longer take the Adderall everyday, but I do take it on days when I really need to focus. My hair has been slowly falling out for about 3 years, but I definitely noticed a difference when I started the Adderall. I would think that my body would get used to it and the shedding would level off, but it got so depressing that I just decided to quit taking it everyday. It seeams to have decreased the shedding on most days. Lately, I have just tried not to obsess over it. That is why I have not been on this site. I love to read the stories and realize that I am not alone, but it is also depressing to see that no one has much success.
How long have you been taking the Adderall? Did your hairloss start before or after you started it? If it started after, I would definitely think about stopping the Adderall. That could have been a trigger for you. Do you have hairloss in your family?
Hang in there.
Tara

mish October 13, 2008 at 4:52 pm

I went in for a routine physical back in July and had a CBC drawn. My doctor called me on a Saturday very alarmed and told me that my hemoglobin was 6.2. She told me that I should not be able to walk around. I felt the same way I always did. (tired, but still able to make it through the day. She sent me to a gynocologist and a hemotologist/oncologist. The gyno found 2 polyps in my uterus that were causing excessive menstrual bleeding. I had an ablation where they remove the lining of the uterus. I have only had 2 days in the last 2 months of light spotting as my only menstruation. YAY! The hemotologist/oncologist started me on intravenous ferritin. I was taking it once a week. Now my hemoglobin is normal at 12.4. But my ferritin is only up to 25. He says it will take at least 6 months to get my iron stores up to normal. I am now taking the ferritin IV once a month. He wants me to go on oral iron, but I am afraid of the side effects to my digestive system. I asked him about my hair growing back in and he said he didn’t see why it wouldn’t. He doesn’t think the follicles are dead. I am greatly relieved to hear that. I havn’t had to clear my hair out of the shower drain in weeks!

A note on uterine ablation. If you want to have children, it isn’t advised. I am 41 and no longer have plans for children.

Ella October 15, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Hello again,

sorry for the delay. I have been trying not to obsess about hair loss on the internet for a few weeks! but it always comes back to the same :)
I am taking 3 tablets of florisene a day, which is the recommended dose. I up this to four tablets when I have my period.
I am also told not to take the tablets with tea/coffee/milk as these inhibit the absorption of iron. Also not to take them alongside supplements with high levels of zinc, as zinc competes with iron for aborption. take your zinc tablets at a different time of day perhaps, if you want to take zinc. This could all be complete rubbish, although I hope not as I am counting on it!
At the moment my hair shed can still be quite heavy. However, I am definitely noticing lots of new hairs coming through. They are pretty whispy, but you still wont hear me complaining. I am grateful for what I can get basically!!!!
I really hope I can come back to you all with a success story, altho its hard to believe that my answer will be that simple.

This is such a bloody pain in the bum. I agree that the worse part is the feeling of no control. If I could just understand the problem, I could fix it or maybe at least accept it and find a way to make myself feel and look a bit better. But the constant worry and constant grief over the falling hairs (which we cant do anything about) is so tiring and unproductive. I wish the scientists would just get on the case. Its not like we wouldnt pay them well!!!

I have my fingers crossed for all of you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Tish October 21, 2008 at 4:58 am

I just found this site today and am so happy to have some support! I never was aware that there was anything I could do to help myself with this problem. After reading so many posts on various aspects of hair loss, I’m convinced that I do need to see a doctor again about this problem. I was told about 20 years ago that nothing could be done for me. My hair loss is so severe that I’m asked about my chemo all the time. I’m not on chemo! What blood tests should be done besides having the ferritin checked? BTW, my mother has lots of thick, curly hair at age 81. My dad has fine, limp hair, but it’s a full head of hair at 80. My dad’s parents both had full heads of hair when they passed away, and my mom’s mother had beautiful hair at 86. Her dad had a little thinning on top and a slightly receded hair line when he passed at 76. I’m 51 and always had ‘baby’ hair–fine, limp, and sparse. It has gotten much worse since I was 30, but then my nutrition has always been crappy and almost non-existant since losing custody of my son 10 years ago. I haven’t seen posts from anyone my age yet on this site. Do you think there might still be hope for an old woman after all this time? It would be so nice not to have people stare anymore. It would be even nicer to feel I might still have a chance at some male companionship again before I die. Bless you one and all for sharing your stories.

Diane K. October 22, 2008 at 10:47 am

Hey Tish,

I am 46 and have experienced significant hair loss since I was 32. Not as bad as yours but still its been a lot. Don’t give up, from everything I’ve learned, hair loss is usually either low ferritin or a thyroid issue – I believe I have some of both. My ferritin was 15 at one time, which is below the norm range. Have both checked and start from there. I am finally making progress after researching iron supplements. I am currently using Floradix Liquid Iron (1x/day) then also using Enzymatic Therapy Ultimate Iron (1x/day) and a Lysine supplement with each dose to aid absorption. My doc is testing me again in 3 months to check my progrees so I’ll know if I’m on the right track. I take the supplements on an empty stomach, especially not with caffeine or dairy. My ferritin was up to 40 about a month ago – will update my status the next time I am tested. Good Luck:-)

Michelle October 22, 2008 at 11:17 am

Hi, I just found this site today and I am very happy I did. I have had excessive hair loss for the past 5 years. It all started after I had my son. I was 27 then and I thought it had to do with breastfeeding and read it is normal for excessive hair loss after pregnancy. However, the hair loss continued and seemed to get worse. It seems like when I am stressed it will just fall right out on the spot. Like at work for instance if I get really stressed I know I can expect to feel some strands fall onto my arms almost immediately. I believe my hairs have the white bulb around the ends too. I asked my Doctor last year to test my iron reserves as my hemoglobin was normal and in the 12 range, but I had heard low stores could cause this to happen, but my primary care physican blew me off and I had alot of other stressful things to worry about at the time as my daughter had just undergone cancer treatment at age 15! So I waited another year and hear I am. I found out that my Ferritin levels are at 7. The doctor asked me to go on iron pills at 325 mgs 2x a day. I am also on Spironolactone for this reason and because I have very high testosterone levels and excessive hair growth in my chin area, and recently a severe acne break out. Yeah, I know yuck. Anyhow, I hope to rectify this as I used to have beautiful thick hair and now it is very thin and not quite balding but I want to prevent that if I can. Hopefully this will help. I will be sure NOT to take the iron supplements within 2 hours of drinking coffee or dairy. I will keep others posted of my success. I do notice right before my period I lose the most hair. Does anyone else notice this?

Natalie October 23, 2008 at 9:11 am

Thank you all for your posts! I am 25 and have been complaining to doctors about my hair loss for about a year with no results. I finally had my ferritin tested by my dermatologist and it was a 5! I was told to go back to my primary doctor for treatment, but neither my regular doctor nor the other 2 that I went to for second opinions, were concerned about the low ferritin (since they said that I am not anemic). Clearly they are wrong! Now it looks like I need to find a doctor who actually knows about the ferritin/hair loss connection and knows how to treat it. Can anyone here recommend a doctor in the Boston area? Thank you!

mish October 24, 2008 at 5:34 am

Natalie,

Try to get yourself referred to a hematologist. They seem to be much more in tune to the lab values and what they mean. My hematologist is also an oncologist and has a clinic in his office for chemotherapy. He gives me the ferritin by IV. It took about an hour the first few times I got it because they gave me benadryl IV first in case of an allergic reaction. I don’t take the benadryl anymore, and now it only takes a half hour to infuse. I don’t get the side effects that taking iron orally causes. He says it takes at least 6 months to replenish the ferritin stores. Symptoms of anemia are fatigue, rapid heart beat, light headedness, ice chewing, and in my case a lack of appetite. I lost 20 pounds and I’m sure the lack of adequate nutrition contributed to my anemia. The actual cause for me was heavy mestrual periods.

I hope this helps you.

Diane K. October 24, 2008 at 7:01 am

Hey Natalie – I agree with Mish-go to a hematologist. My doc that checked my Ferritin is also an internal medicine specialist (hematology/oncologist). He started me on the Ferrous iron at 325mg, first once a daya, then twice. It helped but not enough. My last visit with him, I had started taking the liquid iron and he was happy with my results – he doesn’t poo-poo anything I discuss with him. Good luck!

Nicola October 24, 2008 at 11:48 am

I am so so so glad to have found this site. I just got the guts to go to the doctors this week about my hair loss and she checked my Ferritin levels and said they were low and that I have to start taking 300mg a day iron supplement. Fingers crossed it works. She seems really caring and understands how difficult this is for me. I’m going back next week for more tests. My hair used to be my favourite thing about my appearance – now I don’t know what I have left :-( I’m 27 and have been a vegetarian for 17 years but this is the first time my Ferritin levels have been low (and I have been checked in the past). It’s nice to know I’m not alone out there – I’m actually surprised how many of us there are!

Lisa October 25, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Hi, Everyone,
I just found this website yesterday (Friday), and plan on calling my Dr. regarding my iron level. However, in the meantime, I’ve tried several solutions, including hair transplants. It didn’t work out the best for me. After a few hit-and misses, I used a product called “Toppik”. I have NO intention of staying on this product, as I expect to increase my iron levels, as soon as possible, but in the meantime, this product is a life-saver. I’m a Flight Attendant at USAirways, and obviously out in the public. I would call in sick before being seen without using this product. As a temporary cover-up until whatever method you use works, I would highly recommend it.
I have no affiliation with Toppik, but I do know what it’s like to be in the public eye, where you are expected to be good-looking. Even if you just order a month’s worth, please do so. You will temporarily feel so much better about yourself until your vitamin regemin kicks in.
Best of Luck to everyone out there. Lisa

NILSA October 27, 2008 at 9:20 am

I have been reading about hair loss for a while and like many of you, discovered the iron deficiency to be a key factor. A year ago I tried to donate blood and was told I could not. I was told I only had blood for one person, ME.
26 years ago I had my thyroid removed and I have been taking synthroid since then. Now I have had to supplement my calcium since my parathyroid stop working and my body is not absorbing the calcium I take. My dilema is the calcium I am taking with the iron supplement. Calcium is one of the supplements you should noy mix with iron. But what can I do? Without taking calcium, I will become stiff and numb. Any advise?
I began taking iron without the advise of my doctor. Next month I will my bi-yearly check-up and will have the doctor test my iron level.
I am also taking Biotin which is good for hair skin and nails.

Angela October 28, 2008 at 5:59 am

Hi Nilsa,
Here are a few links to medical studies on iron and calcium supplimentation:
http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/82/1/98
http://dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov/factsheets/iron.asp
http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007(00)00482-2/abstract

Do you know for sure that your iron is low? Iron does not leave the body very easily, and if it is over abundant in the body, it will be stored causing very toxic effects on the different body systems. It is important to have your doctor check your iron levels to be able to target the appropriate amount of iron that your body may need.
There are also synergistic minerals that can help iron work more efficently, and knowing which other minerals should be taken with your iron or even calcium can further be useful in how your body absorbs and utilizes iron and calcium.

Angela October 28, 2008 at 6:03 am

Hi,
The last link I gave in the above comment should be copied and pasted into your browser because the full link was not underlined.

Diane K. October 29, 2008 at 4:51 am

Hi Nilsa,

Angela has some good info. I am starting to make good progrss increasing my Ferritin. I just take my iron supplements about an hour before meals on an empty stomach. And then I take my calcium & other supplements after I eat a meal. After reading Ella’s post on 10-2, I did more research and started to add a Lysine supplement with my iron. Both of my iron supplements already come with Vit C and Vit B’s, so I believe I’m giving the iron the best chance possible to absorb. Also avoid coffee & tea at mealtime as well as when you take your iron.

Beth November 2, 2008 at 11:27 am

Hi Natalie—

I’m 29 and have been dealing with the same exact situation as you are since I was 23, with iron and hair loss; going back and forth between dermatologist and primary physicians. I am searching for a doctor/derm in the boston area (I live in Belmont) who specializes in hair loss or is at least experienced in it. I have gone to a derm RN at Harvard Vanguard in Cambridge. He is the first one to EVER test my iron levels (rather than just more anemia). I am going back to see him next week (I first saw him last January). I will keep you posted on what he says about iron and hair loss, what tests her recommends to confirm if the hair loss is due to low ferritin vs. FPB. Please keep me posted if you have any luck finding a good ‘hair doctor’. :)
BETH

Nadine November 5, 2008 at 5:07 pm

To Diane K

Thanks for being specific in who you were responding to.
I have been having regular follow-up blood tests done to see any results in my iron levels, I will find out the most recent results on Friday 7th November. I have been taking two or three 200mg ferrous sulphate tablets each day since the beginning of August, and it’s now November. The last time I was at the doctors (last week), I did bring up the subject of serum ferritin and asked what mine was at and she said mine was “at the low end” and basically told me that iron supplements would be enough to treat my iron deficiency anaemia.

I have seen a big change in the amount of hair shedding. I’m not having to unblock the shower drain three times a day, or finding hairs all over my bed every moring, or handfulls of hair in my hands everytime I run my fingers through my hair, but what’s getting to me is that I don’t actually know for sure just how long it’ll take to return to normal – or at least until there’s some volume and density. I feel that maybe I put off going to the doctors for so long in the first place, that it’s going to take a long time for there to be any notceable improvements. This might sound like it’s a minor case of hair loss, but I can assure it’s definitely not! My hair is a little longer than shoulder length and so if anyone sees me when my hair is down (which would be a very rare sight as all I can bear to do with it is tie it up now…), it really is noticeable that I’ve lost more than half my hair. *sobs*
And what’s worse is that whenever I try to search for anything related to this on the internet, nothing totally informative ever comes up. Also, one last thing is that WILL HAIR ACTUALLY RETURN AND REGROW???? I’m finding it difficult to believe that it does, regardless of what websites say.

Sorry I sound like a lunatic! Haha! But yeah, you’ll understand just how frustrating this experience is!
I hope you’re seeing the improvements I so long to see! Good luck! :)

Diane K. November 10, 2008 at 7:43 am

Hi Nadine,

I’m wishing you the best at your doctor’s visit. A word of advice – make your doctor give you specifics on your test results – get a number-the low end is a vague answer. I even ask for a copy of some results because being in the “normal” range isn’t always good enough for optimal health if you are on the low end, or the high end of the norm. Ask as many questions as you need. You are your own best doctor.

I believe you will get re-growth when your ferritin is high enough – but every person is different in their needs. From my research your ferritin may have to reach 70-100 for optimal results. Think good thoughts, visualize a full head of hair and put your health first!!!

Nadine November 10, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Hi Diane,

Thanks for the quick answer :) Well, I went to the doctors and I told her that I’d been taking three iron tablets daily and she told me NOT to take as many as three as too much can be even more dangerous than too little iron, and can also cause hair loss (which I’m sure you already know) :( It seems like a lose-lose situation at times. So I’m now taking two, one in the moring and one at night with a glass of orange juice and a vitamin C supplement.
I’m also being treated for anorexia, but I’m not being hospitalised or anything that extreme, so that has undoubtedly contributed to my iron deficiency. Three years of bad eating habits, and very low intake of food in general isn’t the greatest of combinations for gorgeous hair. But when my weight was at its lowest, my hair was the best it’s ever been and that, I just don’t understand at all.
My doctor told me I wasn’t anaemic anymore but I still must take the iron twice a day.
Another very worrying thing that I read on one of the countless websites I’ve visited about hair loss, was that ‘hair may never return to its previous density’ !!!!!!! I can’t believe I read that! I WAS beginning to feel optimistic about it all until I came across that. :(

I’m going back to the doctor in 2 weeks ( I’m not sure if she’ll do another blood test as she knows that I’m no longer anaemic and my iron levels are increasing ), so I’ll ask her about my ferritin levels AGAIN. Previous and current readings. She doesn’t give me a straight answer. I wish I did know what my levels were at so I’d have a better understanding of where my iron & ferritin levels are on the range of normal. I’d LOVE it if I were to go back and she said they were at 70! I can dream.
Asking for a copy of results is a good idea :) I might do that actually.
I just don’t know what else I can possibly do, other than continue to take iron, not drinking tea and/or coffee (that is killing me!), and wait.
But seriously, reading that part about hair not returning to it’s original state is DEVASTATING!

Thank you for putting up with my long posts. Tell me about your situation :)

Diane K. November 11, 2008 at 5:11 am

Hi Nadine,

I am 46, started losing hair when I was 32 for no apparent reason. I would lose large amounts for a few months, then it would stop for a few months, then start losing again. This same pattern over and over, but my hair grows back in as I’m losing it. But I never have a full head of hair because I lose it faster than it grows. I was upset the first year, went to many Derm visits of no use. Just quit going. Since moving north, my hair loss starts every May and stops in Nov or Dec. How weird is that? The only reason i found out about my low ferritin, my hematologist checked it because my platelets are a little high. He says sometimes low ferritin can cause people to have higher platelet count. He and I have agreed to just check my ferritin every 3 months until it reaches a more optimal number.

A lot of women’s hair thickness change sometimes during their lives, just concentrate on having a head of hair not how thick it is. I bought a book that has helped me look at food & natural health differently – you might could get it from the library if you don’t want to buy it. It’s “The Truth About Beauty” by Kat James. She tells how eating the right foods can turn your health around, and how you can look the best you were meant to be. Then she has a Resource Guide at the back of the book to help you find products.

Try drinking red tea “Rooibos” it’s actual an herbal tea but it’s very good. Herbal teas do not interfere with iron absorbtion because they have no tannins or very little. You can drink tea or coffee between meals too.

Good Luck – give it a few months to really work. Take care.

Nadine November 11, 2008 at 9:09 am

Hey Diane,

Thanks for the great suggestions, like the book and the red tea. I appreciate it :) Also thank you for saying “give it a few months to really work”, as yes, I CAN be a over impatient…!

So your hair starts falling out in May so let’s say Spring-time and it stops falling out in Winter. Are you on any forn of iron at the moment? I can’t imagine having this problem for 14 years. Maybe it’s a kind of “seasonal shed” that you have Diane. Because I’m sure that I’ve read that from somewhere. That and low ferritin. How long have you had low ferritin consecutively?
Thanks for sharing your story and I do hope you reach that optimal ferritin number!!

Good Luck to you too and take care. I will think positively! So should you :)

Jan November 14, 2008 at 6:02 pm

I had had so thick that my friends called me Elvis. I’m now post menopausal and also a Graves disease survivor and hypothyroid. I have increased my thyroid and changed from Synthroid to Armour Thyroid. I NEVER THOUGHT OF IRON deficiency. The elephant in the room was always thyroid.

I have hair loss all over and it’s been going on for about 6 months. I’ll try the iron supplementation and maybe that will help with the cold and fatigue.

Also went through a severe stress 2 years ago and I wonder how much that might have to do with the hair loss.

Thanks for all the input. You all helped sooo much.

Dora November 15, 2008 at 6:22 am

Hello,

I’m 53 and have experienced the hair curse ever since I turned 14 and began menstruating. Before that I had hair so thick and long that everyone wanted to braid it and “play” with it. I could have grown it long enough to jump rope with it, but hormonal fluctuations put a quick end to that. I can’t even begin to describe the terrible anguish this caused, as peers began to notice and talk about it within earshot. It thinned, became finer and, periodically, I would experience bouts of telogen effluvium, particularly in the spring and fall, seasons of transition. In any case, the reasons seem to be genetically based, as my maternal grandmother and mother each lost their hair eventually.

(My periods, btw, were invariably heavy and extremely painful, another gift inherited from the maternal line. I’m sure that I was anemic, which may have precipitated the heavy shedding.)

During my only pregnancy, 16 years ago, my hair returned to its former glory—temporarily. Three months after my daughter was born, I experienced the usual aggressive shed, only more so, and my hair returned to its thin-but-acceptable state. Pre-menopause and a major stress incident about eight years ago caused more progressive damage (diffuse thinning, more pronounced at the sides, crown and temples; some areas simply stopped growing after only a few inches) and menopause put the cap on it.

A few years ago, I began taking Hair Genesis, which helped somewhat. The real benefit has been that the chin hairs I had begun to sprout in mass stopped growing almost entirely. (This is because the saw palmetto in the formula blocks DHT, which is known to promote hirsutism.) I also tried scores of shampoos, but never found one that released me from “the curse.”
I refuse to use monixidil, because it is a drug. I use naturopathic remedies only.

Natural progesterone has been another life-saver. Very easy to use, it counteracts the menopausal woman’s tendency toward estrogen dominance, which can cause breast cysts, hot flashes and thinning hair. I use ProgesterAll, which can be puchased through John Lee, MD’s Web site, but there are many other good products available.

I might also add that I take kelp, either by tablet or in food, which is a known source of iodine, essential to thyroid and hair health. Some researchers believe we are all deficient in iodine because agricultural soil in the US has been stripped of minerals, but the subject is controversial. In any case, I don’t take kelp every day, but try to keep it in my diet as much as possible.

I also take primrose oil and flax seed oil; both are great for skin and also for alleviating menopausal symptoms.

Finally, I never dye my hair. Instead, I use Lustrous Henna, which is a natural product that you can purchase only on the Web. It is extremely gentle and won’t pull on fragile hair the way most henna-based preparations will during the rinse.

This year, a close relative died and the ensuing stress resulted in another major shed, leaving my hair even thinner at the temples, crown and sides. A bummer, because it had been filling in a bit.

So in September, I invested in a laser comb and also began using Nioxin shampoo, along with the other measures described above. The result has been very encouraging. The shedding has been reduced by 2/3, and while it’s too soon to say whether it is growing in or growing fuller, my hair looks healthier. It was an expensive investment for which I feel a bit guilty, but I also feel it was worth it. I have been obsessed with my hair loss for so many years. If this new masure works, and I can focus on more important things, it will be the cure to what I believe is akin to a severe psychological illness: what I call Rapunzel-envy.

Like many of you, hair loss has eaten up far too much of my time, attention and funds. Its has caused severe anguish, depression and withdrawal from the company of friends, absenting me from pursuits that deserve far more of my time. It’s a “secret obsession” that quietly strips away confidence and poisons the psyche with envy. I really hate it and have resolved to shave my head and buy a wig if the new methods don’t work. But I hope they will, and will update you.

Thanks so much for listening. I hope this will help someone.

Julia November 23, 2008 at 8:24 pm

Iron is hard for the body to absorb. For those who are on supplements but not getting results, this liquid supplement is known for being easily absorbed: http://www.florahealth.com/flora/home/Canada/Products/R4771.htm
A lot of people swear by it. It’s expensive, so probably only worth it if you have tried normal supplements and not gotten your iron problem to resolve.

Sophia December 9, 2008 at 1:34 am

Hi girls,
I’ve read most of the comments here…very helpful/insightful. I can relate to the distress of losing hair or having ‘strange’ hair as mine is. Hair dressers have told me they have never seen hair like mine. Basically, after my 2nd child at about 32 (I’m now 46), my normally fine but fullish hair slowly started to change. First the underneath bangs near the temple would only grow about an inch maximum (wierd!), then I would say after a few years it became more noticeable that my hair along the top and sides (along the part area) would only grow about 2 inches then fall out (this makes any hairstyle look weird) and I truly started to look bad. I should mention that I had a C-section and lost lots of blood at the time of my 2nd child (and no more children afterward). Anyhow, we’re all looking for solutions and I must say that I did an experiment worth sharing. I used Rogaine 5% for about a year or more and I did experience a significant improvement. Basically, the short hairs along the top and bangs ended up growing longer and blending in with the rest of my hair. My hair did look better and the improvement was worthwhile. I would say I used the Rogaine once or twice a day, almost daily for the first few months, then slowly tapered down to just once or twice a week. Here’s the important part…now that I have completely stopped using the Rogaine for about a year, my hair is now back to the same odd condition it was before the Rogaine! Conclusion of my experiment? It does seem the Rogaine worked (helped quite a bit). It just takes a long time (it seemed like 4 – 6 months for noticeable results, then longer for more significant results). Then it seems like it took about a year of non-use for my hair to revert back to it’s previous condition. Anyhow, I will have my iron checked as well and stop highlighting. Also, I intend to resume the Rogaine 5% maybe once every other day to see if my hair comes back again. Also, I splurged on a HairMax Laser Comb and will use that with the Rogaine for several months to see what happens. If my hair comes back again, I will try to post here with results. Also, I should note, I have never really noticed large handfuls of hair coming out but more it’s the hair not growing beyond an inch or two all along the part on top from front to back, and the bangs. Seems 99% of the hair that falls out is short with the bulb, while the rest is about shoulder length, I rarely see the long ones falling out…(again strange!). I hope this helps…take care all and best wishes.

Nadine December 10, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Hello ladies,
I have been another blood test on Friday and I’ll be sure to post to let you know how it went. As you can all imagine, I’m really desperately hoping that my ferritin levels have increased!!!!!

If you read my posts you’ll know that I have been taking 200mg Ferrous Sulphate twice daily (sometimes three times) with Vitamin C supplements and orange juice since 1st August and I *AM* seeing regrowth. I have a lot of hairs all over my head that are significantly shorter in length to the rest of my (remaining) hair. Also, I have very long “baby hair” around my hair line. I am now actually beginning to think that these hairs are in fact new hair and not just “baby hair”. I just hope that this IS new hair.

I’m waiting until it’s been 6 months though. The end of January.
Please let me know if any of you have seen any improvements in your hair’s regrowth. I am only 18 and it’s devastating.

I wish you all the best and stay positive!!

Helen December 18, 2008 at 12:36 pm

I’m flabergasted by the amount of women who are experiencing exactly the same thing as me… I experienced a first massive shedding after a bad breakup about 7 years ago. It slowly came back within the next 3 years, but never as it had been. Then last year, I started shedding again noticeably, and a large bald spot has since appeared in the back of my head. My Mother has the same sort of androgenetic alopecia pattern baldness, but hers started in her 60’s and I’m not even 40 yet… Right now I am using a proprietary treatment created by a local naturopath. She seems very thorough in her methodology, she even had my hair analysed before giving me anything. She also suggests taking Greens+, a multivitamin and bee pollen in the morning. I also take Omega 3-6-9 supplements, as well as Vitamin E. After reading the other posts I bought some Floradix. I have a doctor’s appointment in February. I’ve decided to try all available treatments for one year and then if I still don’t see results, I am strongly considering a surgical micrograft.

My questions are:

1) Is it really really bad to color your hair? I started doing this (slightly lighter and brighter shade) and it does help notice the bald spot “slightly” less… it also enhances the color and shine a lot, my natural color being a boring mousy brown with a lot of white hairs. So it pumps up my self esteem a bit.

2) Has anybody tried a supplement called Provillus? Its a DHT blocker and also contains Saw Palmetto, Biotin, Zinc. Magnesium, etc. I bought bottles for 3 months and have decided to try it for at leats 6 months, but was wondering if anyone has had any experience with it.

3) I read somewhere that its a good idea to actually stimulate the scalp, as it helps get blood to it and so, can foster hair growth/health. Anybody have advice on this? I try to finish washing my hair with a good shot of cold water to get the blood circulatying, but that’s all I’ve tried… I’m scared of “massaging away” my hair. ;-)

4) Has anybody had micrografts… my dermatologist says its the only permanent solution, but I’m scared to spend so much money and see that expensive hair fall out as well. I’ve found a very good surgeon in my city and he comes highly recommended, but I want to hear other stories before I decide I still have 8 months to go for my full year of “everything else” I can do.

As for the psychological aspect…. I relate to everything everyone here has so generously shared. I NEVER thought it would happoen to me this young… I saw my om’s hair thin out, but she was way into her 60’s and so, I thought I still had decades of good hair left. Its really last summer when I saw a picture of me and my glaring bald spot in a picture that I started feeling extremely crappy inside, obsessed with covering my hair, etc etc. I spent months of obsessing over it every single day… until I decided to do something about it and to apply some Cognitive Behavioral therapy techniques. It helps a lot and I highly recommend it to every single one of you. Of course it doesn’t help to grow hair or make hair envy go away (Dora, I love the “Rapunzel Complex” term!), but it does help to feel better, feel less depressed, and since depression and obsesion can’t be good to regrow hair, it does help in some way.

One technique that I find works very well is the “Triple Column Technique”, where you list in the first column your negative thoughts about yourself, the things you “say” to yopurself in your head (we all know what those sentences are…). In the second you “name” this thought. There are several categories of distorted thoughts: labelling, mind reading, fortune telling.. etc. This helps to pin point exactly what is “true” and what is “false”, and exactly what it is you are doing to yourself. And finally in the third column, you replace your initial negative thoughts with rational ones. For example in my case:
1) I will never have a boyfriend, as all men find me repulsive becasue of my bald spot
2) fortune telling
3) not all men in the world will find me attractive, but there will be at least one man one day who will love me for who I am and not becasue of the way my hair looks.

I find it helped a lot when I went through the (long) list of things I thought about myself, and it helps at least once a week when I start obsessing again, and I read through my columns. It calms me and makes me feel normal.

I hope this is helpful.

Beth December 19, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Nadine–

I posted a few months ago about iron…and I am SO glad to hear that you see regrowth, it gives me hope. I have been on iron for 2 months now and my ferritin has gone from less than 10 to 67! YESSS…I haven’t seen any serious changes yet, but I do notice baby hairs on my hair line and top of head. I have been shedding lots of shorter, finer hairs too, which I am hoping will make way for stronger, thicker babies :)
It is important to remember that as hair starts to regrow, it comes in as fine vellus hair, and with each growth cycle, the hair should grow in thicker and thicker. This is why it takes so long to notice the improvements from any treatment (rogaine, iron, whatever…). Be patient and stay positive, stress can alter hormones, which can negatively affect hair. PLEASE us posted with the iron and hair situation, as I am still undecided if the chronic low iron levels have been slowly wreaking havoc on my hair….good luck!

Nadine December 19, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Hi Beth

It’s amazing how much your ferritin levels have increased THAT much in only 2 months! I don’t know exactly how low mine actually was in the beginning, but my doctor assures me that my levels have definitely increased, which I am super happy about!:)
Also, I didn’t know that when hair is first regrowing, that it comes through as vellus hair and grow in thicker. That is seriously good news! Thanks for that.

As you’ll know, I’ve been on iron for about 5 months now and I am religiously taking it everyday with any source of vitamin C I have (mainly orange juice & vit C supplements) and I cannot wait until I reach that 6 month mark.
You say that you have these “baby hairs” all over your head, so do I, they sort of ‘sprout’ all over the place. It does seem to me that you too, are seeing regrowth!!!:)
Yeah I’ve been shedding those fine hairs too. You see when you say that the shedding of the fine hairs makes way for thicker hair, is that what it means? That the vellus hairs are only “temporary”?
The top of my hair is the thickest part right now, and when it gets down to my shoulders it’s SO not thick, obviously haha!
But my shedding rate has definitely returned to normal-ish I would say.

I will stay positive!:) You too Beth!
Look forward to your response! :)

Beth December 20, 2008 at 9:29 am

Nadine, hi again :)

I actually started eating meat in May, so I have been working on getting my ferritin levels up since then, but it wasn’t happening fast enough so I started the iron supps 2 months ago. I am taking them with l-lysine (another pill) that helps with the iron. I am also taking a multi-vitamin.

In terms of the vellus hairs…from what I have read and from what my dermatologist told me, when hair regrows it comes in pretty fine and gets thicker with each cycle. It makes sense too, that the hair is going to be weaker until our bodies our healthy enough (with more iron) to produce stronger hair. Of course, losing the small hairs is characteristic of AGA and the miniaturization process. I’m pretty stubborn and refuse to believe that’s what is going on with me simply because it’s not in the family. I would be surprised if it does turn out to be AGA (of course I will deal with it in whatever way I can if that’s what’s presented to me). But, I have done a LOT of research on low iron and hair loss, and my derm supports the connection…so. Patience, patience. BTW, if you want me to send you some links to good articles I’d be happy to.

My hair is thin all over, but recently it has gotten even thinner at the base of my head. It is thin on the sides too. No one else can really see it, it’s totally diffuse. Booo!

Be in touch xxx

Bees December 20, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Dear Beth

Please let me know what iron supplements you are on. I have been battling to get my ferritin level up, have been on 325 mg ferros sulphate for 6 weeks and my level jumped up only 2 points.

Please let me know.

Bees

Beth December 20, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Hi Bees–

My doctor prescribed me a form of iron called ‘chromagen’. It is pretty heavy duty stuff. It has vitamin C and B12 in it to aid absorption. As I wrote before, I take it with L-Lysine (one of the many amino acids), which helps with transporting and absorbing iron.

Does your doctor think that low levels of iron are a cause of hair loss/thinning?? I’m wondering because I keep getting mixed messages from my various doctors..
-BETH

Bees December 20, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Dear Beth

I also get mixed reports about the ferritin level being a cause of hairloss/thinning, I just think we all need to try and do everything we can to help our situation, which is really not easy to go thru. I have been on iron supplements for 6 weeks with no increase and have also been eating much more red meat and spinach etc, really quite concerned, have an appointment with a haematologish in 3 weeks time to discuss the abosorbtion issue. How much chromagen are you taking 70 mg iron how many times a day. I think I might have to increase my iron intake, but so scared of the constipation issue.

Bees

Beth December 21, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Bees~
I’m not sure what the dosage the pill comes in, but I take one a day. It’s prescription, so it must be strong. I just wish I knew for sure the cause of the thinning then I could start the appropriate treatment. I did have a scalp biopsy done a month ago, it came back as TE. But the thinning has been going on for years, which concerns me. TE is also a sign of early AGA…the not-knowing is what I am trying to cope with right now. You know…

In terms of absorption, one thing to ask your doctor about is celiac disease or sprue (an intolerance to gluten). This is a common cause of iron malabsorption.

In terms of the constipation and iron, I was concerned about it too. It wasn’t very comfortable for the first 2 weeks, but my body adjusted. I also started to take a probiotic and drank aloe juice (aids digestion and general absorption). Those both helped.

Please keep me posted :)

-BETH

Natalie December 22, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Hello all,

I posted in October (see above), recevied many suggestions and wanted to send along a quick update in case it is useful to anyone. Shortly after posting I started taking Floradix Iron + Herbs as many recommended. I didn’t have any negative side effects and about a month later my ferritin went from 5 to 7. It also seems that my hair is thicker and I am losing less (although that could be my imagination). My hair styalist also said that she saw many new little hairs on the top of my head.

Just last week I went to a hematologist and was very impressed. Two hematologists spent almost 40 minutes with me asking me many questions and examining. They were really focused on not just treating the low ferritin but on finding the cause of the low ferritin. The only thing that seems to make sense as a cause is heavy periods. They told me to take 325 mg ferrous sulfate 3 times a day and see if there is improvement in 3 months. If not, they recemmended that I go to a GYN to go on something that will reduce or temporarily stop periods for a while until I can get the farritin back up.

I will post in a few months with any update. In the meantime, thank you for your support!

Nadine December 24, 2008 at 9:48 am

Hi Beth,

It’s good that you’re eating meat again, as that will be a much better way of getting iron into your body (as you’ll know – haha). I have heard of l-lysine and I actually should get that but I don’t know where I can actually buy it (that probably sounds like a stupid question), probably in a herbal store or something.
I do take a lot of vitamion C, just purely in the hope that it increases iron absorption as much as it can. Although I have read that too much vitamin C can then begin to deplete itself from the body, which is undesired for people like us!
I will describe my vellus hairs… They are all over my head (I think and hope!) but mostly they are more noticeable on the front of my head at the hairline. They are very fine and quite soft and make my fringe part kink at the top (I have a jaw-length fringe – so it’s grown out), and if I collect all of those hairs together, it looks like a very fine, weirdly cut fringe haha! And I think to myself ‘no normal fring part is like this’ and so that makes me more certain that they are new hairs. I just HOPE that they do get much thicker and longer so they contribute to the volume of the rest of my hair.

I don’t think your hair loss is due to anything hereditary if you say that hair loss doesn’t run in your family. It doesn’t run in mine either.
I first began to notice rapid hair shedding in February of this year, but thought nothing of it really (as my hair has always came out a lot in the shower) but then I’d begin to see a massive loss in volume and I was like ‘OK this definitely is NOT right’. Now it is really so sparse and I hate it!
I did buy these clip-in human hair extensions (when I first thought of that idea I wasn’t totally convinced) that match my hair colour perfectly, and you can’t notice that it’s fake. Which I am SO happy about.

Anyway, sorry for all of that information on my situation.

I hope your hair does begin to thicken, which I think it will as your taking iron and taking l-lysine with it. :)
Thank you for responding, and tell me how about your situation.

x x x Keep thinking positively!

Beth December 24, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Hi Nadine–

I have also been a big shedder, but had pretty thick course/curly hair to begin with, which is a good thing. I’ve lost 50-60% of my original volume over the years, but most acutely in the last year or so. I think that the iron def. just took it’s toll on me, it has been a long time since I’ve been deficient I think.
But most recently, within the last couple of months, is when I’ve noticed the vellus hairs, never before!!! I cant tell if they are all over my head…i see them on the top and at my front hair line. The frustrating thing is that I don’t think they are getting bigger, they fall out, and I’ve never lost vellus hairs before. One of two things is happening: I have slow regrowth and the hairs will grow in thicker with each growth cycle; or, they are miniaturizing. The thing is, it has happened so fast! Really taken a sudden turn fr the worse. I mean, the gradual thinning has been going on for a few years, but hardly even noticeable to me or anyone else, but I know it has happened. But all the sudden these tiny hairs–that’s new. Most recently, I have lost a lot of hair at the nape of my neck, which is SO freaking weird!! The whole thing is weird and annoying, and I just WISH I new what the cause was so I could treat it exactly the right way. But I know improving iron levels and eating a more balanced diet (with more protein) can only help…sorry for the rant. Truly trying stay positive and not obsess. You know!
So, you can by L-lysine ) or a general amino acid complex at whole foods or trader joe’s, maybe even a CVS in the vit section. It’s a pretty common supplement.
Please keep me posted, I think we are in pretty similar situations. Have you talked to a derm? Any other tips or info you can share?
I’m thinking happy thoughts for you :)
BETH

Beth December 24, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Nadine–I forgot to ask about the clip-on extensions…what brand? where do you get them? I’d love a few (I don’t need too many, just something to add some oomph!). Thanks xxx

Nadine December 26, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Hey Beth

Well firstly, the hair extensions I have are from a hair salon supplies store (I’m from the UK and I get the feeling you’re from the US…?) and they are very VERY good. Like, they just instantly make me look and feel SO much better – it’s unbelievable! Plus the fact that they are real human hair, that means I can style them with ghd’s and stuff. :)
But I think you’ll definitely find some either over the internet or just ask a hairdresser.

Well, I know that my hair loss is caused by iron deficiency anaemia. My iron and ferittin levels were so low and that is why my hair began shedding uncontrollably. But I DO really think these vellus hairs are new hairs as they are growing longer.
I don’t see a dermatologist at the moment, just my GP, but she *has* asked me whether I’d like to see one and I’m thinking about it as I’d love someone to be able to REALLY tell me if my hair will totally grow back again. I mean, I do think that it will and that it will just take it’s time, with respect to hair growth and how long that actually takes.
But if your hair IS due to the same reason as me, I suggest taking your iron on an empty stomach with vitamin C, l-lysine (which you are already doing) and DON’T take it with milk, any caffine drinks such as tea/coffee, bread and other things that would inhibit the absorption. I’d give it at least an hour and a half before and after having milk, tea/coffee etc.
Have you been prescribed iron supplements by your GP? As it can be really harmful if you’re taking iron without being ordered to. Also, too much iron can also cause hair loss and can be toxic. Which really isn’t what you want.

The ferittin levels have to be upto 40 for hair loss to stop or slow down significantly, and 70+ for hair to resume growing again.
Obviously the length in the new growing hair won’t be long enough YET to contribute to the existing volume. But Beth I am PRAYING, really, really praying that my hair just keeps on growing and growing!!!

Another thing is, once the cause for iron deficiency hair loss is treated, more hairs are in the anagen phase (which means more hairs will be growing at the same time – different to a normal person’s hair growth) and much less ahirs will be in the telogen phase (the shedding phase), so that can only be a good thing!

But please don’t take iron UNLESS you’ve benn prescribed it. It can be really harmful.

Hope I’ve informed you well! :) Be in touch!

~Nadine x x x

Beth December 26, 2008 at 10:36 pm

Thanks for all the info Nadine :)

I live in Boston ( I did live in Bristol for a year, a few years back though…heheh) I have looked online for extensions but just don’t know quite what to look for, so any tips would be great.

I have been prescribed iron by my GP because my ferritin levels were so low (not anaemic but way too low…). It makes sense after being a vegetarian and athlete for 15 years. I’m taking the supplements just the way you described. ANd it had worked :) My iron levels have gone up, for the last month they’ve been around 60-70 (from less than 10), but the shedding hasn’t stopped. From what I’ve read the levels need to be stable for 3 months for the shedding to stop, and then the regrowth starts. You’re right, it’s a loooong process and I have to be patient. I have so many tiny hairs on the top of my head, some are stronger, some are small…but there are so many of them. My hair loss has been totally diffuse…I did have a scalp biopsy done (did I already mention that?) and it came out to be TE…

Yes, please be in touch. You are so positive and that’s awesome and we all need that :)
xxx

Nadine December 28, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Hey Beth :)

I’m glad that you have actually been prescribed the iron, that’s good. AND it’s also good that your ferritin levels have shot up – quite literally!
Maybe the shedding will slow down when you’ve been at 70 for, like you said, 3 months. I’m praying for you Beth!

Yes the extensions… Hmm, I think that you WILL find them somewhere. They’re pretty mainstream now. Try searching for ‘clip in human hair extensions’ and see what comes up.
Sorry I can’t be of anymore help than that, but if you live near a salon or a salon shop of somesort I’m sure you’ll find them.
I have three, but I only really use two. One in a darker blonde and the other two in a highlighted colour for my specific hair colour, which I have also noticed (along with the shedding) that my colour has changed slightly, it’s very weird and I hate it!!! Has yours changed? The texture of my hair has changed too, I have hair that’s just naturally straight with slight kinks and now it seems a lot more difficult to style… Like it’s a lot finer (obviously!) but it just feels weird and it is jst NOT how it once was… SO depressing.

About your scalp biopsy – TE is the type of hair loss that we are are both experiencing due to this iron deficiency. But it DOES grow back. If someone has TE without iron deficiency, it grows back on it’s own, but because we have the iron deficiency, we need the iron to help it regrow. *sigh*
I haven’t actually had any iron tablets for a week now, because of the Christmas period and my surgery hasbeen closed. This is the most I’ve gone without iron. I’ll be getting it tomorrow though. :)

Anyway, stay in touch as it’s good that both of us are going through the same thing.
x x x

Beth December 28, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Nadine, I will search around for the clip-on extensions and see what i can find.

My hair has changed in similar ways that you’ve described…it has gotten finer all over my head (up until 4 years ago i had really curly, course hair. it was never TOO thick, but thicker than the average girl’s hair). over the years, as i’ve gotten more iron deficient to the point of iron *depletion*, my hair has gotten thinner, softer and lighter in color. the loss and change in texture has been completely diffuse, although on the sides of my head it has gotten the finest.

i am really hoping that this all improves as the iron goes up. it’s just so hard to be sure that this is all due to iron deficiency and not AGA or FPHL, as they can be confused with each other…you know the deal. the thing is, the derm who performed the scalp biopsy believes this is TE b/c of iron depletion; but i saw a hair restoration surgeon (i’m not at that point yet, but wanted another opinion from someone who deals specifically with hair loss). he said it is FPHL, but that was by merely looking through my hair for 30 seconds. so, i’m not taking that too seriously. pheew. only time will tell, and in the meantime i will certainly keep in touch. happy new year, nadine :)

Nadine December 30, 2008 at 9:22 am

Hi again Beth :)

I’m sure that you’ll find those hair extensions, you’ll see what I mean by them being so camouflagued by your own hair.

YES! My hair has gone exactly like that too! All soft and fine and just weird. Yeah my hair was a little bit thicker than average too.
It’s so depressing.

I haven’t seen your hair but it seems as if your hair loss is definitely due to iron deficiency, and the thing to remember is that this type of hair loss is the most easily treated of all hair loss types. So that’s what I just think of and you should keep this in mind too :)

Be in touch Beth. Happy New Year to you!! Let’s hope this year brings us both headfulls of thick hair!
x x x

Beth December 30, 2008 at 1:33 pm

Nadine, I am hoping!!!! that with the iron my hair loss stops. Why is it so hard to have faith? I guess it’s because it has been a long and on-going thing that could take a long time to recover. I am also thinking my situation is partly due to hormones (because i’ve gotten more peach-fuzz on my face over the last 2 years, as the hair thinning has become more apparent to me). And although the hair loss/thinning has definitely been diffuse, I think that the top and sides are the worst, possibly to the point of ‘developing a pattern’. But i over-analyze it SO much, i could have also lost some perspective..but through it all, I know that increasing the iron will only help, so that’s a positive!!

I signed up for the network if you are there, search for me (Bethyboo)!! Happy 2009

Nadine January 2, 2009 at 10:17 am

Beth, just to put your mind at ease slightly, I really really think that I *am* growing new hair. And I’ve been on the iron for ALMOST 6 months now. The end of January and i’ll be at the 6 month mark, and apparently that’s when you begion to see a “noticeable” difference.

I am also praying!! If you think your hair loss may be partly due to your hormones, I’d suggest going to your doctor just so you can KNOW rather than guessing.

I know what you mean by over-analyzing and losing perspective!! I really CANNOT remember what is normal shedding and what’s not; what is normal hair density and what’s not.

Increasing your iron will DEFINITELY help. I never used to be so positive, but now that I have seen this growth, and it’s getting longer, I have hope.

Which network? THIS one? I haven’t signed up yet.
Have positivity Beth! Hair takes a while to grow, but I’m sure you’ll see more coming of those vellus hairs.
Happy 2009 to you too :)
x x x

Beth January 2, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Nadine…I’m so glad that you’re positive, I go through periods being able to be positive but it’s been a rough few days for some reason. I think its because i went to a restaurant and i could see my scalp shining through my hair in the bathroom. It was awful :( Since then, I’ve realized that my hair is still thinning; have been on the iron for just over 2 months so I know it’s too early to tell if it’s working or not and I keep losing those tiny little hairs that I get so excited about. That makes me thing that its AGA…I know that just between now and the summertime my hair has thinned significantly. So upsetting!

I have gotten my hormones tested and they are all ‘normal’, but when a woman has AGA most times her hormone levels will be normal, it’s more a predisposition to how her body reacts to normal levels of testosterone (I’ve done way too much reading up on this!!!!). It’s basically a waiting game for now to see if the iron makes a significant improvement. Did you feel like your hair kept thinning in the early months of iron supplementation? Again, thanks for all your correspondence, the positive talk really helps.

Yes, I am signed up with THIS network, it’s a nice place to hear about other ladies’ experiences. Let me know if you register :)

Hope 2009 is treating you well so far :)

Bees January 4, 2009 at 12:49 pm

I have been on Ferro sulphate 65 mg once a day and my ferritin level is not go up, now I have been told to take 65 mg feosol 3 x a day. My stomach is killing me and I am so bloated all the time, Every morning I wake up, I run to the bathroom, but I am so bloated I look like I am pregnant, not sure if I can carry on with this, I feel terrible all day, also have a lot of burping.

Does anyone feel like me

Nadine January 4, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Hi Beth
Thanks to you also, for keeping in touch :)
I do not think your hair loss is AGA, it doesn’t run in your family so why would it just arget you if it *was* to be AGA?
I’m sorry that you’ve been feeling a bit down recently :( Please don’t worry though, you will see a significant decrease in the falling hair. And yes, my hair loss remained the way it was before I began the supplementation. But I can tell you now though, that my hair loss has definitely slowed down a whole WHOLE lot – it’s quite unbelieveable!
I was exactly like you, I didn’t have any hope whatsoever in the first few months of starting the iron, but now that I’m coming upto 6 months, ithas made a big difference. Like, yes it is still thin, but I KNOW that my hair is acting somewhat “normally” again. And it feels as if there’s so much more hair at the roots, because there *is* more hair there. I don’t want it (the vellus hair) to start falling out though, as I’ve read that can happen.
I hope what I’m saying can help lift your spirits, as yes, this is a terrible thing for a woman to experience.

I will inform you of when I register. I’ve not actually thought of it before.

I hope this year is treating you well too Beth! :)

Kari January 7, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Beth-

Do you have a link or a source of information re: “when a woman has AGA most times her hormone levels will be normal, it’s more a predisposition to how her body reacts to normal levels of testosterone”??

I have been losing my hair for a while now – not lots at a time, but just slow thinning of the hair. I feel VERY strongly that it’s a hormonal imbalance, but like you, my hormones all test “normal” as well as my thyroid. I am overweight (and started noticing hair loss when I started gaining weight) and I have a feeling there’s something “different” happening in my body than in a “normal” person’s body. Anyway, I’d be curious if you have any sources.

The Derm seems to think I have TE, but also pretty much said that it was a fancy way of saying “We don’t have a good explanation for your hair loss but need to give it a name anyway.” He is running a test on my ferritin levels which I’ll hopefully have back early next week.

After reading this thread I have my fingers crossed that that’s my problem. I also wonder if it might be the reason I’m SO COLD all the time and am always tired. A solution to ALL of these problems would be SO GREAT.

Thanks you all for sharing your stories – I hope to be able to share some information re: my diagnosis and treatment soon too.

-Kari

Julia January 8, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Bees, look into a liquid supplement called Floradix. It’s less constipating and it actually works.

BETh January 10, 2009 at 9:19 am

Hi Kari-I don’t have a specific link, but a good place to look around is keratin.com. there is a ton of info about all hair loss issues, and a specific section devoted to hormones. from what i’ve read over and over, a woman who is predisposed to hair loss has the predisposition to react a certain way to DHT (which comes from androgens in testosterone). Everone has DHT in the hair follicles, but people who have the gene to be affected by it will lose hair. Does that make sense?

In terms of being cold all the time, I am too. I’ve been iron deficient for a long time which has wreaked havoc on my body—I’m really concerned that it altered my hormones and that i may have the hair thinning gene (although my parents and grandparents all have plenty of hair. although i can see that my younger sister has thinning hair, which makes it entirely possible for me to have that same tendency i guess. but we’ve always had very different hair and bodies….it seems to be kind of a crap shoot to me).

Good luck, and do a little bit of research on keratin.com
-BETH

Sandy January 11, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Wow…I can’t believeeeeeeeee that there are other people out there experiencing this! Well…I can…but had no idea it was this prevalant. I have been struggling with hair loss mainly around my temples and hairline for about 2 years now…I am 48. It all started about the same time my hormones started going crazy so it took a long time to figure out what was going on. About 3-4 months before I started noticing the hairloss, my periods had gotten SO heavy that I could almost not leave the house for a day or two (having another one of those now)…even with double protection! I requested my ferritin level checked after A LOT of researching online. By the way….not one of my doctors even suggested it…even though I went to both my gynecologist/hormone specialist and my dermatologist. Of course, the results came back with a ferritin level of 10. I started on iron supplements and I got the number increased to 33 after approximately 4 months. Then, I got distracted, and thought maybe the hairloss was caused by something else (thyroid – which turned out not to be the case), and didn’t take my iron everyday and really let up on my nutrition. Anyway…I had my ferritin level checked again and sure enough it is back down to 13…Ugh! Anyway….I am back on daily iron supplements (Slow FE) and just went and bought some of the liquid iron (Floradix)….so we shall see. I have also upped my Vitamin C a lot and got some Lysine. I am also a non-red meat eater…so am wondering if I may need to incorporate red meat every now and then into my diet. I do have an appointment with a new dermatologist that is suppose to specialize in women’s hair loss next month…so maybe she can tell me something. I am also considering going to a hematologist. I feel like since I started taking my iron daily with the Vitamin C, I have definitely noticed myself feeling better. Of course, I have also changed what I eat (lots of fresh fish, broccoli, spinach, oranges, etc.)…so it is probably a combo.

Anyway…this whole hairloss thing is SO awful and SO stressful. I am SO glad I found this site!! I am feeling somewhat hopeful now!

Thank you for sharing all of your stories!!!

Sandy January 11, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Oh…I forgot one question! Has anyone had any skin reactions to low ferritin/iron levels? Some days I wake up with really itchy skin and when I scratch it, it welts up and gets even more itchy (this can be on my arms, torso, legs, etc). It really happens when I am working out. Other days this doesn’t happen at all. I am just wondering if there is a connection between the skin and hair issue. Thanks!

Kari January 13, 2009 at 6:17 pm

So…bad news that might actually be good news…?

My Dermatologist called me tonight and my ferritin level was at 14. He said 15 was the lowest “normal” but he wants to see me up at 40. I’ve been “prescribed” ferrous gluconate (1 pill/day) and I go back in 3 months to have my levels retested.

He had also checked all my hormones and my thyroid again and they were all normal. I am being cautiously optimistic, but this could be the news I’ve been wanting to hear as it seems low iron is probably easier to fix and manage than a hormone or thyroid problem would be.

I will definitely keep everyone updated on my progress.

Jessica January 14, 2009 at 11:08 am

wow, I never saw this website before. It’s so wonderful to hear all your stories. I had a baby in 2007 and since I have had major hair loss. Prior to my pregnancy I was a vegetarian for 2 years. I have eliminated any possible hair loss causes, like blow drying or any chemicals what so ever. In Dec of 2008 I went to a renowned specialist that was from University of Washington. She was amazing. I am now taking Repliva. I had a ferritin level 12. I go back in a month to see if I am absorbing the iron. I asked her what else can I do to help, she said nothing besides eat red meat every second of your waking day. Basically take Iron. I eat red meat whenever I get the chance now. She said my scalp looks great, its just no new hair growth. I need to look for white bulbs on the ends of my hair when they fall out. Before it would be colorless & really thin. Now I see white bulbs and tiny little soft fine hairs growing at the temples. I am so excited about it. I would really recommend taking Repliva along with working out. The first few weeks its harsh on your stomach but your body gets used to it and gives you more energy. She said my scalp was healthy, nothing to do with skin condition or thyroid. I shaved my head in Aug 2007 and been wearing wigs since. I’ve had one hair cut since and its probably now 4 inches long. I am going to go see her and then get hair extensions. She said it will take about 6 months to see noticeable difference but I am already seeing baby hairs. I am sick and tired of being insecure about my hair, I am going to do something about it. Reading your messages really helps!!

Jessica January 14, 2009 at 11:12 am

Nancy: To answer your question, yes. I noticed a big difference. I have little tiny bumps everywhere on my arms & legs. It’s like my hair follicle grows out of my skin, then back in. Since taking Repliva, my skin is more soft instead of bumpy. I asked the dermotologist if they were related, she said no. I thought originally my hair couldnt come out of my skin and it was trapped LOL.
She said 70% of the population have what I have and you can’t get rid of it, just exfoliate and have gyloclic peels done. My skin is never itchy though, but I do have dry skin so I use burts bees foot oil as lotion and it works wonders because it really makes it beautiful.

Renee January 14, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Sophia,

My hair is exactly as you have described yours. I am 45 and last May I started to have massive shedding but I had no idea anything was wrong until I started to notice how thin my hair was getting and I started to notice all along my part from almost the front but especially the back 1-2 inch long hairs! It was weird and those are the hairs that seem to continue to fall out I was diagnosed by my derm with low iron stores started at 19 in October and got up to 62 a few weeks ago but tested again 2 days ago and it is back down to 49 I’m taking Repliva and Biotin and Omega 3’s. I bought l-lysine but haven’t started it yet. I tried using Rogaine both 2% and 5% but have massive dandruf now. I’m eating tones of red meat when I can I’ve stopped working out for fear of losing more iron. Any how is your hair in the part area does it go totally bald. I have bald lines that look like parts one on each side of my part in the back. My hair has always been fine but use to have lots of it. But I’ve been cutting it shorter and shorter to keep up with the thin ends. I’m sure I have Aga as my mom and grandma thinned to the scalp but not til around 60years old.

Julie January 14, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Jessica!!

Please tell me the name of the world renowned Doc that you went to see!
I am in Seattle and would love to go see her as well.

thanks,

Julie

Jessica January 14, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Hi Julie

Sure, her name is Dr. Claire L. Haycox.

565 Eureka Way
Sequim, WA 98382
(360) 582-0808

If you google her you can find alot of information about her practice. Type Dr. Haycox

She knew right away what was wrong with me, she looked at my nails, my skin, my eyelashes, and my leg hair. I told her I was not taking any birth control pills, and I am a non smoker. We discussed the past year in detail. I also came to find out that donating blood is a HUGE NO NO. I am a O-POS & I had given blood about 4 x last year, and probably 2-4 for 07 & 06. She said that I am not able to produce enough iron for myself, let alone to help anyone else out. I have not donated since.
I also found out that there are special diets per blood type that is healthy for you. Since I am O-POS I am supposed to be a “meat eater”, wish I would have known that EARLIER! ahaha. You may want to look into your blood type diet.
I am also on MIRENA IUD since giving birth, and have not had any period since. If I do, then its one day IF at all. She said that is not normal, its because I do not have enough iron to produce any blood. It was a lot of information to take at once but well worth it. The first month after Repliva I noticed bleeding so I was instantly happy. She tested my thyroid too, and it was perfect. I have that tested every year though.

I hope I helped a little. I am really excited about my extension consultation, I hope it will work for me. I am just tired of waiting.

Are you using anything to help? It was good to read from other ladies, a lot of them said Vitamin C taken with Iron helps, I will start that ASAP.

Kari January 15, 2009 at 7:07 am

Jessica-

Did the doc say WHY you were supposed to be looking for white bulbs on the ends of your hairs? I have them, but I just assumed it wasn’t a good thing. I’d like to know what they are and why they are a good thing.

Is Repliva just an iron supplement? I too have donated blood (only twice in the past year though) and I suppose I’ll have to stop that :( I really wanted to get up to a gallon!

I take my iron pill with a little glass of OJ in the morning and I might pick up some L-lycine as well. I want to get some iron in me and grow some hair!!

Jessica January 15, 2009 at 8:32 am

Kari,
My 4th dermatologist told me that the white bulbs mean that a new hair will grow in it’s place when fallen out. Back then mine were completely colorless & extremely thin, you couldnt see the end of the hair when you held the hair fingertip to fingertip.
I’ve been to sooo many doctors, naturopaths, dermatologists. I’ve been told “it’s genetic” because my mom’s aunt is bald and thin hair runs on the women side of my family. I’ve been told ‘too much testosterone’, or ‘alopecia’, or ‘it’s your birth control’. Every thing you think, it’s been said, from hair dye to smoking to my diet to stress relation to scalp inflamation from chemicals to allergic reactions. I refused to give up. I’ve tried everything, minoxidil, nioxin, stopped every thing that would give my hair a reason to stop growing. I changed my diet, stopped smoking, got off birth control. I used baby shampoo for a year and have been using wide tooth combs, organic shampoos, stopped putting my hair in ponytails because it ‘just might be stressing it’, tried braiding my hair, etc… nothing worked until now. Repliva is giving me hope, and my new doctor’s faith that I will walk down the aisle with a full head of hair. It is an iron supplement prescription. You can find more info here : http://www.repliva.com/

Hope that helps you!! Yes I would stop donating blood, that was a huge factor she said because you are depleting your iron instantly.

Julie January 15, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Thanks much Jessica – I will check her out.
I’m just at the beginning of the quest to find out what is causing my hair loss but I think it is looking like the androgen type from PCOS…

Thanks again,

Julie

Kari January 15, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Jessica-

Thanks for the info! I’m taking a generic type iron pill now, but if that doesn’t work I’ll ask my doc about Repliva. A lot of my hairs too are really thin and light compared to others (I’m blond anyway though). I’ve noticed losing quite a few smaller “baby” looking hairs and was really concerned about miniaturization, but then I read some where that if there’s not enough iron to grow a “real” hair, then a “semi” hair grows instead – which are small and light.

Your information has given me more hope than I had – thank you!!

Jessica January 16, 2009 at 10:48 am

Kari,

I would ask about repliva, it could help. I dont really try to pick apart which hairs are light or thin. At this point I am just happy to have any type of hair period so I don’t dwell on it at all. I have read where some girls actually count their hairs that they shed or check out the scalp every day looking for new ones. I am trying to focus on the positive, and manifest good things and not think about the negativity that is happening. I think if I was to focus on what is happening too much I would hit rock bottom with awareness and get even more depressed than I am already.
I am glad I gave you some hope. I have tried everything, even calling psychics & seeing mediums as opposed to many doctors and natural medicine. They all say that it is something to do with a metal in my skin. It is strange that they all said this, and that the doctors cant find it but I will.
I read somewhere about copper deficiency, I am going to look into that as well.

I won’t give up. You shouldn’t either. I want to find out the problem before it’s way too late. I’m only 27!!!! When/If I get my extensions, I am seriously going to treat the hair as priceless gold.

Renee January 17, 2009 at 3:58 am

Jessica, Hi I just wanted you to know that I too have started Repliva. My gyne said it’s the best. I started in October at 19 ferritin level got to 62 but last reading was 49 a week ago. I have heavy cycles so I think it will be slow for me to get to that 70 my derm told me to get to. I think I’ve been suffering from this for 4-5 years. I was wondering do you have any sections of only 2 inch long hairs. I only discovered I did after the big shedding that started last May it revealed a lot of short hairs underneath. Seems to be more on my left side. I did have a lot of white bulbs when I first started realizing something bad was happening to my hair but I don’t see too many of those now. One big thing though is that the shedding has decreased dramatically (but has not yet stopped) I’ve read people with genetic hair loss the shedding is seasonal May thru November. So I’m not sure if I’ve slowed down due to the season or the increase in iron. I actually started smoking again from STRESS after not smoking for many years. My Derm feels confident it is low iron but he did not do a biopsy to confirm anything. He tells me to just give it time. I too take with OJ in the morning on an empty stomach. Also take Biotin to see if that will help because I’ve read alot of people say it helps. I cant stand the rogaine I’ve stopped using though my derm told me to use it to get a jump start on regrowin. It seems to cause more shedding. Did you experience that too? I love reading everyones comments it really helps to understand whats happening.

Wanda January 17, 2009 at 7:31 pm

I have gained so much info from reading all the posts!! I am 58 and have not had a period since 2002. I had long, very thick, naturally curly hair until about 6 months ago. The first time I really noticed my hair was “thinner” was in May of 2008. I made a comment to my hairdresser and she just laughed at me(which I guess was a good thing that she did not notice anything). I had a horribly stressful previous 6 months due to my job and one of my pets getting sick. In early April of 2008, I started having really wierd “hot flushes”(all over my body) – a bit different from the ones I had prior to menopause. I also started to experience tingling/itching in my hands and feet, which still drives me crazy esp. when I work out, get “frustrated” or anxious, and sometimes when I shower. It seems to me that the hot flushes, tingling, etc have gone hand in hand with the hair loss. I had an upper and lower eyelid lift in June of 2008. I really never got concerned until late July when I begin to notice a LOT of hair coming out after I washed my hair and combed it out. I still had gobs of hair . . . it seemed to get better, but when I went back to work in August(school teacher) and my mother had surgery(with complications), it seemed to get worse again. Finally in late October of 2008, I went to see a dermatologist PA(she looked like she was 12 years old). She looked through my hair and told me to do a hair count for 2 weeks and then call back. I was counting 200 hairs per day and I got so distressed that I stopped!! The month of November was pretty bad. I went to see another derm who did a scalp biopsy. No fungus or infection, some minaturization, but they would not rule out a telogen effluvium. Some days, I have such wierd sensations/itching in my scalp that I think I could go psycho!!! When I work out and sweat, it seems the hair loss increases. It is all so wierd to me. I am going to see an endo. I just hope she will do the necessary tests so I can finally know what is going on. I have had all the blood tests, etc. My iron last May was 59 on a 42 – 145 scale and ferritin was 50 on a 10 -291 scale. My % saturation was 17 which was low. No one has seemed too concerned about this, but I am thinking why should all of this be lower now than when I was having periods? I am tired of getting the “brush off” from doctors, so I hope the endo I am going to see will be more concerned??? Sorry to have gone on and on, but I know all of you understand. My mother still at age 81 has plenty of hair. My two sisters have plenty of hair and my 2 grandmothers had plenty of hair when they passed away, so it is difficult for me to believe this is genetic, esp with the other symptoms. My dad did have thinning hair, but would not the heredity factor come from your mom? And how cruel out of all the women, I would be the selected one!!
I would appreciate any advice, suggestions, etc from anyone. This is all so very stressful. I can see my scalp in so many places and almost get sick to my stomach. I feel that I spend so much time every morning just trying to “hide” the areas where my scalp is visible. Sometimes, I leave for work crying. Please advise. Thanks!!

renee January 18, 2009 at 9:29 am

Wanda, I know exactly what you are talking about. I am 45 and as I previously posted I started to notice major shedding last may and I acutally ignored it until I started to realize how terribly thin my hair was getting. Finaly saw the derm in September and he just said TE what has my stress been but my stress was over summer my mom also was hospitalized complications etc but my hair shedding started before that. I went online myself and had realized to check the ferritin level and brought the results to the derm and he verified my hair loss was from Low Ferritin one lab said 19 and had repeated at another it was 24. Either way that is way too low for hair growth. I started a huge excerise routine (running) 3 miles daily and I had the same itchy sweaty terrible feeling on my scalp for the last several years. Sometimes I thought I had dermatitis or something on my scalp. I started Iron supplements (Repliva) in October and it has been slow to come up. Its was 49 last check but got to 62 before that and it fell again. I have stopped working out because the muscles use myoglobin with is same/similar to hemoglobin which depletes iron stores. Also not to mention the hot feelings at night and the cold hands and feet. I’m doing better with getting the iron up hair loss has not stopped but down from the 200-400 I was shedding. Now around 90-118 a day after a shower and a blowdry. Also my fatigue is way better and I also suffer with IBS (irritable bowels) That has improved 100%. I however believe I have genetic hair loss as my underlying cause because my hair has stopped growing longer and thinning out for years and my mom AND grandma had very little hair but not til after 60. My sister 2 years older still has plenty of hair. All I know is getting ferritin levels to over 100 steadily is what is needed for optimum hair regrowth. 70 is suppose to be when it stops falling. I have read all kinds of dermatology studies online as well as WebMD to obtain as much info as possible. I too cry all the time. But keeping positive is healthier for our hair which is what I keep telling myself. Hang in there! I’ve read it takes a long while with this iron. I’m hoping for better hair in 1-2 years. I can be patient as long as I know I won’t go bald before then.

Kari January 18, 2009 at 6:37 pm

Renee –

What you said : “I can be patient as long as I know I won’t go bald before then.” really struck me. I’m having a down day today, I feel I can see nothing but scalp on my head. I started my iron supplements last week and have been trying to up dietary iron as well and I’m having a hard time being patient! My Derm wants to see me in 3 months to recheck my levels, but I want them done sooner just so I can KNOW that I am, in fact, absorbing SOMETHING.

I think too, I want to hurry up and see a difference so I can KNOW that the iron is my problem. I’m still convinced that it’s hormones (even though they’re all normal), but its hard to put all my faith in it being iron.

But you’re right – I won’t go bald in the 3 months before I get checked again. I need to remember that.

renee January 19, 2009 at 9:51 am

Kari- How ’bout it! Knowing for sure makes a person relax doesn’t it. But this iron thing hasn’t yet convinced me that that is all there is to this. However, I’ve spent hours reading online trying only stay on reliable Websites and even the Hair Transplant Specialist I’ve read into said that a lot of women come in seeking treatment only to find out that they had a thyroid problem or an Iron problem which they all say is easliy treated. But easy is was it has not been for me! I have my levels checked frequently because I work for an OB/Gyne and it is easy access for me. Because I have heavy cycles which is most likely what got me here in the first place it is an uphill battle raising the levels. I also believe I have experinced “Subtle” hair loss over many years before this, but wasn’t til last May when the bottom dropped and hair started gushing from my head. Even then, I paid little attention to it, til the little bald spots and smaller size patches of hair started showing up and I could feel the wind on my scalp! Yikes! I have also read low iron stores can cause hair loss very subtley over time, which is how I think this all started. My hormones are normal also and so is my thyroid. My Derm keeps saying “Where is your stress level” but I keep telling him it was FINE until this. Anyway there has to be something to this iron or these studies would not have these numbers to reach to stop the shedding and start the regrowing, and a hair transplant specialist certainly wouldn’t send patients away if they thought it wasn’t a real treament helper know what I mean. Anyway Hang in there!!! I’ll be hanging with you!! (LOL)

Wanda January 19, 2009 at 5:55 pm

It does get rather frustrating ladies, no matter what your age. I just look at my 81 year old mother who has plenty of hair and think this is NOT AGA!! Anyway, yesterday I went out and purchased the Floradix and Blackstrap molasses!! Even though no doctor has told me to supplement my iron; I have a long way to go just to get half way to the middle of low and high!! So, I decided to do it on my own. And needless to say, it takes weeks/months to get that level up. When my mom had her back surgery in September, she ended up having complications, but thank God is fine now. They found out her iron was low and after 3 months of supplements, it was still low!! So, I now know it will take awhile to get that iron/ferritin level up. All of the doctors(GP, GYN, and Derm) all looked at my hemoglobin. Since that was in normal range, they didn’t concern themselves with the lower iron and ferritin levels. Why not? It makes me think of osteoporosis. My calcium levels have been almost constant for years, but two years ago I found out I was borderline osteo!! So, not being a doctor, but a science person, my thinking is that your body is going to pull whatever it needs to maintain the “main” things for balance. So, why would your body not pull the iron/ferritin from wherever to maintain?? Somewhere in all of my many researches, I recall that hair contains ferritin – so if your body needs it, then it is going to take it from the places that are the “least” important to it? Unfortunately, that means hair!! I believe with ALL OF MY HEART that there is an answer to every health issue. I just cannot believe that all of a sudden your hair starts falling out due to heredity. Having said this, I also believe that drug companies know there are many cures for almost everything, but being the billion dollar industry that it is, they do not want the general public to know. Maybe it is the chemicals/pesticides in our food?? Who knows, but being 58 years old, I never noticed hair loss like I do today!! It seems everywhere I go, my attention now is on women’s hair. Maybe I just never noticed before, but I think there is something to all of this. Perhaps, that should give a lot of us consolation . . . that no one else notices our hair loss as much as we do . . .
Sending good vibes to all!!

Jessica January 20, 2009 at 10:44 am

Renee,

It’s hard to say about the 2 inch hairs, because I shaved my head in August of 07 so my hair is about 3-5 inches and I had one haircut since and she layered it, sorry. My shedding has stopped. I used the nioxin & neutrogena shampoo’s. I use one in the morning & one at night. I have to wash my hair frequently because I wear a wig during the day and my head doesn’t get to breathe. My hair is thin at top, right & crown I wash & blow dry and no noticeable shedding since Repliva.
I went for my hair extension consultation, I hope to get them done in 3 weeks. She said I should get that hair spray camo crap men use for coverage at the scalp though. I was not happy to hear that. I can’t do that. Anyways I will take before & after photos soon so if any of you want to try it out you can view it. It will only work on hair that is not shedding dramatically.

Becca. January 22, 2009 at 6:47 am

I’m 16, nearly 17, and recently my hair has started to fall out A LOT! I used to have thick hair, and now it’s very thin. I was hoping it would stop, but it didn’t so last week i finally went and got a blood test and now I’m waiting for my results, which will come in few days.

I’m so worried I’m going to lose all my hair, because if this keeps happening for a few months…

i can’t wear my hair down because it just looks so thin, and when i wear it up the ponytail looks really thin also, but it’s the only way i can style it. Also at the sides I’m starting to see a bit of my scalp, but if i just brush hair over it it can cover it up.

Just a question, if it is my Iron levels, how long will it take to grow back when i start taking Iron pills? Or for it to at least stop shedding. Because as i said up there, if this goes on for a few more months… and my School ball is in a few months, and my hair is already going to look sucky for that.

I used to hate having thick hair, haha now i know how crazy that was. I had no clue hair loss was such a big issue like this, and of course i never expected anything like this at my age. And i agree with what someone said up there, I’m constantly just looking at other peoples hair. ugggh. And i’m sure all this stress isn’t helping the hair loss at all. When i told my doctor she was like “Are you stressing? That could be the cause?” The only thing I’m stressing about is losing my hair!

Kari January 22, 2009 at 8:21 am

I love that question “How is your stress level?” I’m sure EVERYONE of us has answered “Fine until this!!”

I have a couple questions that have been running through my mind. I’m not sure anyone will be able to answer them, but just putting them out there might help – like I’ve said over and over again, I’m just still not convinced it’s (only) my iron levels.

1. Why doesn’t it affect any other hair on my body?

2. Is the low iron causing my hair to FALL OUT or just to not GROW BACK in?

3. If it’s just causing it to NOT grow back in, then why is my other hair still growing (in length?) aka If there’s not enough iron to “grow” hair, why is my hair still growing?

4. And if it’s just causing it to NOT grow, then what’s making it FALL OUT?? I am definitely shedding more than I EVER have – there’s got to be a reason for it.

5. I notice it mostly just on the top of my head, not the sides. This to me reads like AGA/MPB. Does iron only affect those areas of hair? If so, why? If it should be affecting ALL of my hair, then I should have a pretty clear answer that it’s NOT just my iron levels.

6. Is there any correlation between low iron and increased sensitivity to DHT? (even if free T levels are ‘normal’?)

I guess it is possible that I have thinning on the sides but that its just not as noticable, but even most of the hairs I find are longer, and because of the way my hair it cut means they’re coming from the tip.

Any insight to my questions. I kind of want to call my derm to see if he will answer them.

Julie January 27, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Ladies,

Hi, i haven’t exactly been contributing to the site, but I decided to take on these doctors and research what else is out there that could link us to hair loss. I got a different job and thankfully have great insurance, which i’ve had the misfortune of missing out on with my previous company. After about 11 years, i’m back in the saddle doing blood tests and so on…I figured out a lot about myself and my illness.

I started analyzing everything I was doing and everything entering (and leaving, sorry!) my body! I noticed other symptoms started to occur, symptoms most people find normal, however later determined to be one of about 300 symptoms of Celiac’s. I searched the site and noticed that Beth mentioned it earlier in this stream so I’m not sure whom else decided to research that but I’ve been reading and can explain a little. It’s definitely something to consider, EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE NO SYMPTOMS! Its sneaky and such an inconclusive diagnosis that most doctors COMPLETELY miss it. I read in several books that it takes about 11 years for the symptoms to occur in some people – That’s exactly how long i’ve been suffering from hair loss.

There’s a whole Celiac Profile of blood work that needs checking, as well as endoscopy, colonoscopy and biopsy. All worth taking. If you aren’t sure what a gluten allergy is or what it does to you, check out that book, Gluten Free for Dummies. Its a great resource for beginner’s.

Basically, gluten is a wheat protein that the small intestine does not particularly like. Your small intestine grabs the yummy food you had after its been broken down in your stomach. It has these hair/finger like structures called “villi” that vacuum the nutrients, water and vitamins from your food and get’s rid of the rest. It then passes the good stuff through your bloodstream, travelling throughout your body to make you feel…good! Gluten stagnates the process, it breaks down those poor little villi and prevents them from absorbing the nutrients from your food that eventually don’t get delivered to your hair or other parts of your body for that matter. How’s your mood? Diarrhea? Constipation? Bloating? Fatigue? Dizziness? Muscle weakness? THYROID ISSUES?
Anything with GLUTEN IS NOT GOOD FOR YOUR BODY. We must eat the way the universe has provided for us…natural, vegetables, fruits, meats, poultry, fish and non-wheat products.

If you’re like me, you will run to your refrigerator and your cupboards and notice everything must get dumped in the garbage…anything that contains, “modified food starches, wheat, barley, oats, bulghur…even made on equipment shared with wheat…etc…”

So, give your doctor a call after you’ve read a few things about Celiac’s and Gluten Intolerance/Gluten Allergy. You might find out like I did the hard way, that the allergy really affects your hair…your life!

Even though some doctors may not diagnose you with Celiac’s, understand that this research is fairly new and most commonly misdiagnosed. Following the diet however, is not bad for you (its also tax deductible if diagnosed) its one of the healthiest diets, there are no drugs involved and your body is absorbing every nutrient possible. Give it a shot…
You have nothing to lose, but a strand to save.

Beth January 28, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Hi ladies, its me again :)

First, I want to second what Julie said above about celiac disease. Pay attention to your bodies and note if other changes have occurred (like digestion, skin changes, mood, energy levels, etc). My hair loss has been accompanied by other bothersome symptoms that I truly believe are linked with something going on in my body. Hair truly is a reflection of our insides. My health has been not so good for the past 2 years. I am now learning how to recover from adrenal fatigue (which has caused hormone imbalance); iron deficiency, and food sensitivities. The thing I want to point out, is that most doctors really can only detect allergies!!! and don’t pay close enough attention to food intolerance or food sensitivities. There is a huge difference between these, but intolerance and sensitivities can do a lot of damage to your bodies as well. So even if a gastro doctor says you don’t have celiac disease (a gluten allergy) it is STILL a possibility that you have a gluten SENSITIVITY. Something to keep in mind and read about.

Also, I wanted to write with some POSITIVE news. Finally. Over the past week, my hair shedding has dramatically!!!! reduced. I mean, like—over night it has slowed down. I have been on iron supps for exactly 3 months, been working on fixing my weak adrenals, eating more protein, and doing acupuncture. And stopped rogaine 2 weeks ago. I was using it for 3 months and it really made my hair thinner. I know that shedding is to be expected at first, but after 3 months the shedding didn’t stop and i noticed the thinness of my hair got WORSE. So, the truth is, I think all of the above things are helping me. I have also accepted this is happening, despite still being bummed out about it, a kind of weight has been lifted off my shoulders simply by being able to think, “yep, this is happening, but i’m doing the best and healthiest things i can do to make it better. and that’s it”. don’t get me wrong, i’m not “OK” with it, really. but it’s not a choice if it’s happening or not, but it’s a choice how i think about it.

I’d love to hear if any other iron-supplementers are seeing positive results as their iron stores get better??
Hoping everyone is well
xxx BETH

Jana January 28, 2009 at 2:53 pm

does anyone know of any good derms/hair loss doctors/ or even endos who have helped in the pittsburgh area? I want to see Dr. Remond but I currently do not have the money or vaca time to get up to NY… please if anyone knows of any docs let me know!!!

Renee January 29, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Beth, Hi just wanted to chime in. I’ve been supplementing with Repliva since October and I too am starting to see a dramatic slow down. Went from shedding 200-400 a day to around 65 now. The first slow down came with a ferritin in the 40’s a month ago, and this week my ferritin is 66. I’m hopeful as I reach 70 and above it will stop. Also had my followup with my derm and found out when I first saw him 5 years ago I complained of hairloss and asked what my lab showed back then and the nurse advise my ferritin was 8!!! I knew something bad was happening to my hair for a long time but no one explained that ferritin was why my hair was shedding. Back then I just thought what’s wrong with a little low iron. UGGHHH! I wish I could turn back time! However, I’m moving forward with this and hopefully my hair will regrow. Derm said get ferritin over 100. I’ll post back as time goes on.

Beth January 29, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Renee, that is great news! I also wish I could go back 5 years. I have been a vegetarian for the majority of my life, and have been running avidly for the last 6 years. Doctors only tested me for anemia, never iron deficiency and so my body has slowly been suffering from a decline in iron. In turn, I developed adrenal fatigue (confirmed by a naturopath). All of this has led to some funky hormonal imbalance. I am working on fixing all of these issues…and I have been feeling really positive. Thanks for posting Renee, and please let me know how it continues to go :)

lois February 3, 2009 at 8:15 am

What about hair loss in a post-menopausal woman? Could it be low iron?

Jessica February 4, 2009 at 7:54 am

morning ladies.
I will be seeing my dermatologist tomorrow to get my 2nd levels checked and see if i am absorbing any iron. I got the hair extensions. They are a ton of work. It really helps with the coverage, and I feel much better not having to wear a wig all the time. So far I like it. Well see what happens. I will keep you posted :)

Elise February 5, 2009 at 1:46 am

I have had hair loss for about 2 1/2 years. At this point, I would say almost 50% of my hair is gone. Before this, I would lose hair and then it would be followed by a period of hair regrowth. Although my hair never returned to normal levels, the loss went up and down. In the past few months, it has gotten really bad. Honestly, I cry about it everyday. As women, our hair is attached to how we look and see ourselves. I have always had long, beautiful hair and it is simply gone. I have struggled with my weight and my skin, but my hair was the one thing I could always depend on looking good and poof! It’s gone.

I have been to a doctor and she thinks it is stress related, although no blood work was done. She advised me to increase my protein to 75 grams per day, take a multivitamin, and take 5000 mg of biotin. This was about 1 1/2 years ago.

I thought I was staying on top of my hair loss (I did see a difference with the biotin). I thought as long as it didn’t get worse, that it would heal over time when my stress went down. But, it has now gotten really bad. Add that to my stress and I’m a complete basket case.

I do get about 50-75 grams of protein a day. I eat protein bars for snacks. I take two mulitvitamins per day, plus the biotin and other vitamins (i.e., cod liver oil, fish oil, flax seed – although I usually rotate these extra vitamins, my stomach can only handle so much).

I have read a lot on the blog here and I am going to get an iron supplement today.

Someone mentioned how their hair loss is occurring (the pattern) and I too find it interesting. When I first started noticing the hair loss, it was only at the base of my head, by my neck. For almost 5-6 months I thought I was crazy. I asked my family, “Does it look like I have less hair?” I never noticed any extra shedding. Then it moved to my front, by my forehead. This I could see for sure. When I went to my doctor, before it was really bad, she almost pooh-poohed it. She had seen a lot worse she said.

Now I have hair loss all over, but not in patches, pretty equally, although some spots are thinner. I do notice now that some days I can pull handfuls out of my hair just by running my hand through it. This never happened in the beginning of my hair loss. But, it is now really bad.

It is very emotionally painful. I don’t even know how to style it anymore. I stopped getting highlights for fear that it would hurt the remaining hair that I have.

I am going to a different doctor and getting blood tests. When I talked to my old doctor about my hair loss and my stress (I was tearing up, very upset), she said, “Well, I can’t fix your life for you.” I said, “I don’t need you to fix my life, but I need help with my hair.” It was awful, she was awful. And I hate talking about my hair loss, it makes me emotional, it is a very hard subject.

I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. I know my post was long, but I am just simply stunned by my hair loss. If anyone would care to offer any advice, I would really appreciate that.

What type of shampoo or hair products do you use? Is the hair loss pattern different if it is stress related or medical? In all honesty, can people really get their hair back? I’m so scared. I cannot handle this. I am so upset.

P.S.
I have not always been such a wimp. The things that I have endured have been so awful that my old doctor didn’t even think a blood test was needed to say it was stress related. When you add hair loss to everything else I have been through, it is just too much.

Elise February 5, 2009 at 2:18 am

My post above should have said 5000 mcg of biotin, not 5000 mg.

Kari February 5, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Elise – what kind of Dr. were you seeing? YOu might want to find a Derm. who specializes in hair loss and start there.

Have you had ANY blood tests done? I would ask for ferritin levels to be tested for sure. Do you have any other symptoms like wonky periods, foggy brain, fatigue, hair on your face, etc? If you have other symptoms like that you might also want to have your hormone levels tested. (I spent a LOT of money seeing and Endo only to find out there’s nothing wrong with me other than low iron stores!)

I know how awful it feels to be dismissed. And what you said about battling with skin and weight problems but always being able to count on great hair- that was me for sure! My Endo kept saying to me “It sounds like you want to lose weight.” and I said “I can handle being fat, but I CAN NOT handle being fat and bald.”

Keep looking for answers and keep looking for a Dr. that will take you seriously and treat you with some respect!

Elise February 5, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Hi Kari,

Thanks for responding to my post. I’m from a family where everyone has tons of hair, tons. And losing mine has been very isolating. I also think it is hard for friends to relate if they have never experienced it before.

The doctor I saw was a dermatologist, but she doesn’t specialize in hair loss. She was just my regular dermatologist, although I have not gone back to her since that horrible appointment. I am a healthy (or so I think) 30 year old with no other symptyms. I have no chidlren, so it is not pregnancy, etc. I do think my hair loss is stress related, but I want my hair back. I am looking for a different doctor and will have the blood work done to make sure it is not something else.

From this site’s suggestions, I’m going to try the iron supplements and adding more red meat to my diet. I do eat a lot of chicken.

What are ferritin levels that you mentioned? Are they the levels of iron in my body? When you say “hair on my face”, are you talking 2 or 3 stray hairs that you can pull once in awhile? Is that a symptom? Or are you talking a lot of hair on my face? I have a hair or two on my face every now and then that I pull, but that is it.

The only advice I could give people would be try the vitamin biotin. I saw a difference after I started taking it. I really think I would be a lot worse now if I stopped it. But, in the last several months my hair loss has gotten really bad and I need more help. I take 5000 mcg a day of biotin. I am going to break it up into 2 pills of 2500 mcg twice daily to see if that helps at all. It also makes your nails grow. I never had long nails before unless I had fake ones put on, but with the biotin, they grow like crazy and are very strong.

I just can’t believe I am still fighting this after two (almost three) years and it is getting worse, day by day.

Have people on this site had all their hair grow back? Does it happen? I also read on here that some medicine for thyriod made their hair loss worse. I was stunned. I thought fixing a thyroid problem brought the hair back. Also, what does it mean if the hair falling out has a white bulb at the end? Is it good or bad? I’m going to check my hair closely.

I’ll take any advice anyone would like to share.

Kari February 6, 2009 at 11:58 am

Elise-

Ferritin is a protein (I believe) in your blood that stores iron and is the best way to measure your iron levels. I’d suggest having them tested before taking too many iron sups. as too much iron can be harmful – just in case.

I too come from a family with TONS of hair. But, I’m also the only blond in the family so I’m afraid I’d inherited some kind of bald/blond recessive gene! Hopefully not :)

I think we probably all have those few stray hairs on our face, but if it were more I’d be concerned. When my endo asked me about hair I was like “Well, I don’t really know what’s ‘normal’ – most people that do have extra facial hair remove it so there’s really no way to know!

Good luck with a new Dr. though!

Phyllis February 6, 2009 at 12:06 pm

My dermatologist is putting me on Plaquenil 200gm. for frontal fibrosing alopecia. Has anyone else gone on this? How successful? Experience of the noted side affects? Thanks

Lauren B February 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Jessica: How did you deal with Repliva’s side effects, namely serious nausea and stomach irritation? I took ONE pill this morning (empty stomach) and thought I was going to hurl. Called the Dr. and the nurse called me back :/ to say I should stop taking it altogether. So: that’s 20$ down the drain and now I have nothing to treat my anemia and hairloss? I’d like to stay on Repliva and wonder how you dealt with the 2 weeks of feeling badly.

Bees February 6, 2009 at 3:26 pm

I understand your pain. There are some days that I think I need an anti-depressant to get me thru the pain of loosing hair, but I know that anti-depressants are big causes of hairloss on their own. Has anyone turned to antidepressants to help them relax and not stress and focus on their hair loss. I am desperate, no one who has not lost hair knows how it feels.

Wanda February 6, 2009 at 7:02 pm

For Elise – it seems that a lot of us on this site had tons of hair and then “wham”!! I have only experienced hair loss since last May, 2008 . . . and it has been rapid since October. My hair used to be so thick that I would never have worn a hat in winter(could not find one to fit over my hair). Now, my head is freezing!! I am so thankful that I have naturally curly hair, because I think it helps conceal the thinness. I have probably lost 50 – 75% of my hair in the last 9 months . . . very frightening. I have had some other wierd physical symptoms, so I think my problem is definitely related to something medical such as some type of deficiency. I have an appt with an Endo this Wednesday, so I am interested in seeing what she says. If I get the “blow-off”, I will probably have to be escorted out by “security”, because I am so tired of being blown off!! If this doesn’t work, I am going to go see Dr. Geoffrey Redmond in NYC. Fortunately for me, I have a son that lives in NYC(I live in NC)!! Dr. Redmond seems to be one of the very few doctors who specializes in women’s hair loss. I am ready to take anything(meds) if it will help stop the hairloss. I am not worried about side effects because what side effect could be worse than losing your hair?!! In the meantime, one thing that does help is Toppik. I recently purchased it from Sally’s Beauty Salon Supply and it does help cover your scalp. I was using brown eyeshadow to cover the “spots’, but Toppik is truly amazing. You sprinkle it in your hair and it filters down to your scalp and you see no “white” scalp at all. I hate to wash my hair . . . that is the only time I see hairfall. I never have hair on my pillow or on my clothes. It is always when I wash my hair. Maybe, it is because my hair is so curly that it “catches” the loose hairs . . . who knows? But having said all of this, please know that WE ALL do feel your pain. Some days I feel like someone slapped me really hard in the face. Hair loss is the last thing I ever expected to happen to me. Maybe I am being punished for being so vain about my hair . . . I always got so many compliments on my hair . . . seems so cruel to me. I try now not to think about it so much and I do not “count” hairs lost anymore. I know the loss has decreased over the last several months, but at this point I do not want to lose ANY MORE HAIR . . . not ever one!! Unfortunately, my hairdresser told me that “normal” people lose 50 – 100 hairs per day. That is depressing at this state. Best wishes to you. Oh by the way, I started taking Floradix, which is an iron supplement, a few weeks ago, and I have definitely noticed a decrease in the number of hairs coming out after shampooing. I really do think there is something to this iron thing!! I also switched to Jason organic shampoo/conditioner. The best one(trust me I have tried all of their different ones) is the Tall Grass shampoo & conditioner. It is a protein shampoo . . . very soothing.

Elise February 7, 2009 at 3:52 am

I can’t tell everyone how much I have enjoyed reading the posts. I really needed the supportive words. My family does not understand how hard this is. And friends are shocked and stunned. I think they don’t know what to say. The situation that is causing the stress involves my whole family (parents and siblings). My sister said to me about my hair loss, and I will never forget her words, “We are all under stress. You just have a physical symptom of it.” Her hair is so thick she actually gets it thinned on top so she can wear the style she likes.

Wanda – I’m going to look into Jason’s. Thanks! I have always had sensitive skin, but with the hair loss, my scalp is even worse. I’m down to using J&J children’s shampoo because it is so mild. Good luck with the doctor on Wed! I’ll be thinking about you and sending good thoughts!

Bees – Yes, I have thought about antidepressents, anything to calm down. But, I haven’t taken any. My motto is “Be kind to yourself.” Although, easier said than done. I notice when I am not so upset, I do see more regrowth. But the situation is the situation, I can’t control the stress. It’s bad, really bad. I take more baths, light a few candles, and read a mindless, trashy magazine (People, Us, etc.) to relax. I do yoga, that does help also. But, honestly nothing truly works.

Kari – Your sentence…“I can handle being fat, but I CAN NOT handle being fat and bald.” … really made me laugh. My thoughts exactly. I think a lot of women view their hair as the holy grail of beauty. I certainly felt that way.

Have a good weekend everyone!!

Elise February 7, 2009 at 4:26 am

Also, what does it mean if the hair falling out has the white bulb? Even if it is bad, please tell me.

Tania February 7, 2009 at 1:34 pm

I am very happy that I found this website, great information. I have iud and I bleed for more than a week every single month. I have had iud for the past 4 years, sometimes I get so tired and so pale that people keep asking me if I am ok. My doctor checked me on anemia and the results turned out to be normal. They talked me out of checking on iron, I have no idea why? I am going to see another doctor next week and check my ferritin level and B12, some websites say that B12 causes anemia as well. Does anybody have a yellow circle around their mouth? I was taking pictures of me with no make up and I noticed that I have yellowish circle around my moth, I googled it online and it might be a sign of anemia. Also my face skin gets so pale during my period and I look very sick and not healthy.
In regards to my hair loss, I checked my thyroid and I am taking multivitamins and it keeps growing and falling out, so hopefully I found a reason why it falls out for the past 4 years.
PS Also I noticed that when I take protein shake with spirulina ( from wholefoods) somehow my hair gets better and thicker. May be because the shake contains bunch of vitamins, proteins and herbs, but I do not want to take it every day for the rest of my life. Also I use free SLS shampoo, I tried Regence organic line and Avalon Organics (it is cheaper), they are good but I also use a deep conditioner every time i wash my hair and coconut oil once or twice a week. So my hair looks healthy ( not split ends or breakage) but I have so little of it and it keeps falling out!

Kari February 8, 2009 at 11:27 am

Elise-

I’m not sure anyone really knows about the white bulb – some people say that it’s a good thing and means the hair will grow back. I’ve also heard that it means it’s a “telogen” hair, but ALL hairs will be telogen hairs at some point and fall out so…I’m not sure.

I have noticed that mine used to have a big white bulb and now those are getting fewer and fewer. I’m hoping that white bulb hairs are those that were PREMATURELY pushed into the telogen phase (telogen effluvium hairs) and that it means I’ll start losing soon. Hopefully, but it’s just a theory.

erica redmon February 8, 2009 at 7:28 pm

I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 21. I had to be on the pill since age 13. Decided to get off before 2nd child and got pregnant on my own 2 months after. First child conception was helped with the use of clomid. while taking pill my hair was long and thicker in back, but not real thick in front. Knew it would someday be a problem of major thinning, but not at this early of an age!(32) I really need to get some help, but I don’t know where to start. I live in Illinois- Rockford vicinity and I really would like anything done, but surgery! My mother and sister have thinning also-all of which is right in front. How do I decide what products will work or not via: internet? please let me know any info you have on where to get help. Thanks!!

erica redmon February 8, 2009 at 7:30 pm

I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 21. I had to be on the pill since age 13. Decided to get off before 2nd child and got pregnant on my own 2 months after. First child conception was helped with the use of clomid. while taking pill my hair was long and thicker in back, but not real thick in front. Knew it would someday be a problem of major thinning, but not at this early of an age!(32) I really need to get some help, but I don’t know where to start. I live in Illinois- Rockford vicinity and I really would like anything done, but surgery! My mother and sister have thinning also-all of which is right in front. How do I decide what products will work or not via: internet? please let me know any info you have . Thanks!!

Elise February 16, 2009 at 5:26 am

Tania- Do you use straight coconut oil for your hair? Can you buy it at the store like olive oil? I have used warm olive oil on my ends, but have never tried coconut oil.

FYI for anyone interested in news about what I hope is helping… I have upped my protein, making sure I get in at least 75 grams a day (up from 50-75 grams) and more red meat. I think I have less hair falling out in the last week. Although, it could just be faking me out, time will tell. I do think the protein is really important. And the red meat seems to help more than chicken or turkey. Maybe the iron in it?

I have been losing weight (not related to the hair loss), so I get very lean roasts and either cook them with red wine or olive oil and salt and pepper. It is simple, but tastes good. The whole house smells heavenly when I cook with the red wine. I don’t drink much, but I find the red wine adds flavor and is healthy.

Erica – All I could suggest is taking mulitvitamins (I take two a day), up your protein a lot, and add biotin 5000 mcg. The biotin, at least for a while, allowed me to regrow some hair and maintain without getting worse. Biotin is water soluble, so you can take it for extended periods of time without hurting yourself. I checked with my pharmacist about biotin because I was concerned about the high dosage over long periods. She said it was fine. I have also added an iron supplement after reading this site. But, research the dosage because it can hurt your body (I think the liver). Maybe your mom and your sister could try stuff together and see what works. That type of support would be nice to have – good luck.

Tania February 17, 2009 at 12:13 pm

When a doctor suspects an iron deficiency, the first thing s/he will do is measure
the blood level of a protein called FERRITIN. Ferritin concentration indicates how
much iron is stored in the body. Chronic infection, inflammation or certain
diseases causing tissue and organ damage can produce a false reading. In the
absence of one of these conditions, if ferritin is low, a doctor will usually assume
iron deficiency and begin treatment. This holds true even if there is no obvious
sign of anaemia.
The normal range for ferritin is usually between 30 and 300 mg/dL in men and ,
but it is recommended that for everyone with a ferritin less than 60 mg/dL, they
should be given iron treatment. The goal of treatment is to raise ferritin levels to
a value between 70 and 90 mg/dL and this is usually achieved with oral iron
treatment. Raising ferritin levels to this range may be needed for patients with
hypothyroidism to have an optimal response to thyroid hormone treatment.
Ferrous Sulphate (325 mg orally, available over the counter) is usually the
recommended treatment. Doctors usually recommend one pill a day for a ferritin
level between 50 and 60 mg/dL, two pills a day for a ferritin between 30 and 50
mg/dL and three pills a day for a ferritin less than 30 mg/dL.
Patients not responding to iron sulfate may be prescribed IV iron treatment
(requiring a hospital visit). All iron products should be taken at least 4 hours after
thyroid medication. After taking iron for 3 months, a ferrritin level should be rechecked
and the dosage adjusted accordingly. Common side effects of iron
treatment include constipation and black stools. Patients should increase the fiber
and fluids in their diets to avoid constipation. Patients may need a stool softener
such as colace, also available over the counter
A three-month course of therapy for the treatment of iron deficiency is
recommended. Some authorities, however, advise patients to continue iron
supplementation for six to twelve months. Whichever approach your doctor
chooses, it is important that you add more iron in the form of iron-rich foods to
your diet and that your doctor treats any correctable cause of blood loss. Patients
with ongoing blood loss that cannot be corrected may need, in addition to eating
a more iron-rich diet, to continue taking low-dose iron supplements indefinitely.

Tania February 17, 2009 at 12:16 pm

You can buy coconut oil in any wholefood store, you need to warm it up before you use it. I put a plastic bag on and warm up my towel in a microwave for 1 min (warmth makes it absorb better) and hold it from 1 hour to 2 hours. I put oil all over my hair and scalp, it is the best treatment I’ve ever used.

Tania February 18, 2009 at 9:08 am
Tania February 20, 2009 at 10:25 am

Please check ou this website. If you have low ferritin you might have slow thyriod. My naturepath doctor told me that I have a slow thyroid and my ferritin is 15.
http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/ferritin/

Natalie March 2, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I finally found (hopefully) the cause of my low ferritin and I want to send an update in case it is useful for others. I have posted on this site a few other times. Basically I am 25, have noticed heavy hair loss over last 4 years, very healthy other than very low ferritin (5). Occasionally (maybe 3-4 times over last 4-5 years) I had noticeable blood in my urine and was treated for UTI. Three weeks ago it happened again but this time I went to a different doctor who ordered an ultrasound. Turns out I have had a benign bladder tumor growing in me and causing internal (usually unnoticeable) bleeding. The doctors are quite confident that this very rare tumor is the cause of the low ferritin and hopefully the hair loss. After a few surgeries it is out and the blood loss has stopped.
Just wanted to put this example out there in case anyone else has any similar symptoms and to make the point that the low ferritin could be a gentle warning of a more serious problem that needs to get checked out.

Kari March 4, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Natalie-

That’s my worst fear! I’m not sure what kind of stuff would show up on blood tests, but other than ferritin they all seem to be normal. If my levels haven’t gone up in these 3 months of taking iron sups I’m going to start looking into reasons why – I’ve read that tumors LOVE iron. Scary stuff. I’m glad you’re doing ok!!

sarah skding March 6, 2009 at 2:56 am

hi , any one with alopecia areata ? my mum and brother both have alopecia universalis and my aunt has alopecia totalis , i have had my hairloss for 12 years now and am strungling to keep it at bay. when i was pregnant with both my children it grew back and did’nt start again until 1-2 yrs later ? strange ah ? sounds hormonal ?

mish March 6, 2009 at 3:32 am

I posted here 8 months ago. I too had tumors, but in my uterus. I have been taking ferritin intravenous since July. Yesterday was (hopefully) my last. I see the Hematologist in a month and will get a blood drawl. My shower drain is no longer blocked with my falling hair. The top of my head is still visible, but my beautician says there are tiny hairs showing.

Jess March 6, 2009 at 10:15 am

You ladies are so brave and resiliant. I hope for the best for you. To the woman who just went ahead and shaved it off and started wearing a wig: good for you. That’s pretty tough. I’ve thought about it, because my thinner, limp hair is DRIVING ME CRAZY.
To an above question: the little bulbs at the end of hair are keratin. My derm. tells me that this means that the hair follicle is still alive, and the big white bulbs can be a sign that it is falling out early. She keeps saying “this is good news! Your hair is going to grow back in!” My hair is thinning at this point, and I keep getting the “you look the same” comments from friends and family, but I know my hair is thinner. There are thin areas on the sides and top. Basically everywhere but the base of the head. I may be extra sensitive, but now I notice my hair EVERYWHERE. It’s a neurotic obsession that needs to be controlled I think. This excessive worrying and thinking about hair all the time can’t help things.
When I went for the initial visit the derm immediately put me on biotin and l-lysine. So far my hair shedding has slowed down…maybe…and my nails look amazing! I can’t keep up with their growth.
After a blood test she found that my stored iron was quite low and my zinc was low. This was confusing to me, as I’m not anorexic and I take a multivitamin. But perhaps being a woman of “childbearing age” who last fall started running pretty hard and lifting weights brought this on. Also, I went through a period of pretty heavy stress last fall. They now have me on prescription strength vitamins as well as Slow Iron, along with biotin and lysine. They also recommended rogaine for men, and assured me that the warnings against women using it are only because in clinical trials, 7% of women reported increased facial hair growth. If I grow some peach fuzz on my face, just stop using it. It could also cause birth defects, but I’m not trying to get pregnant. I am still quite worried about using it, mainly because rogaine reports that a two-week period of “increased shedding” is “normal.” Now, I don’t want to lose any more hair than necessary. I understand that these hairs would fall out anyway, but this just makes me a bit nervous. So here’s the question: have any of you ladies tried men’s rogaine, have you had good results, and did you start shedding a lot?

sarah skding March 7, 2009 at 7:08 am

i used to use regaine extra strength and it worked really well for a time . i did not notice extra shedding or any other symtoms for that matter .
my best treatment to date was pregnancy , that sorted things out good and proper , but the hair loss returned 1-2 years later ( with both my children ) . i have alopecia areata which is autoimmune however that does’nt explain why i did’nt have aa during pregnancy and postpregnancy ???????? i am convinced my hormones do play a part in this . any one else experienced anything like me ?

Rose March 11, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Hello everyone,

I understand very well how everyone on this site is feeling. I had long, lusterous hair growing up and especially in high school I was always complimented on the style and thickness. I started losing hair towards the end of gr. 13 and beginning of University. I found that with all the stress of school and working, my hair seemed to fall out more and more. Being one who everyone went to, to do their hair styles for special occassions , dates or photos and I love styling hair, I found that my passion got lost with the loss of my hair. I feel like screaming. I could do so many beautiful styles but everyone now sees me with the same hair style year in and year out. Only now the part seems to be moving further and further to the side. I feel at times I am creating a comb over. I dread going into the wind, direct sunlight and even under pot lights for fear of seeing through the thin hair. I have always been told that I had low iron but no doctor ever did anything about it stating that it was always normal. Well let me tell you 4 is not normal!!!! I had to have a nasty fall down a flight of stairs to shake me into finding out where my iron level was at. The dermotologist literally jumped up from his chair and told me that no wonder I had hair loss, my iron level was non existant only to have my family doctor brush it off as you’re a female and you menstrate that is the reason for your iron level but that I should not be concerned. That is when I switched doctors and I had my first iron injection yesterday. Keep my fingers crossed that this will work to help increase my iron level and have my hair come back.

Elaine March 16, 2009 at 3:56 pm

It seems we all got lucky when we found this site. Thanks, thanks, thanks. I now feel normal. Well not normal, but, you know, normal. Have always had long hair and swore up and down to anyone who listened that when I got older I would keep it long and not cut it off as “all” women over 50 seem to. (I am now over 50 ) I have been losing it for numerous years now with the largest noticable loss being in the last few months. Plugged shower drains, friends asking me to tie it up prior to visiting because they have to vacuum when I leave. Large clumps falling down back, on bathroom floor, in vacuum brushes. Have had very low blood test results for approximately 10 years with iron supplement only advise every time now that I look back on it.!!!! Have recently had another test with same results – take iron supplements. Ferritin level = 3 ug/L. Iron level = 3 umol/L. Iron saturation = 0.04. Hemoglobin 84 g/l. Mean Corpuscular Volume = 57 fL. According to all tests reviewed above, these levels seem very low. GP requested urgent gastrological tests: colonoscopy = ok; stomach scope = ok; now going for small intestine exam tomorrow. (everything since Feb 2/09). Started iron supplement Feb 23/09: 70 mg iron. Last time took supplement with no other tests required for 18 months before levels reached “ok” level. GP stated that when all these tests done with “no” concerns, we will then start with internist. Sounds hopeful that someone is finally doing something now.

Tania March 16, 2009 at 6:28 pm

I would really want to hear from people who raised their iron and see the difference, how they feel and if they see any hair loss changes. How you raised your ferritin level? please share your positive experiences!

Jeanette March 17, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Hi. I’m currently taking two tablets of iron( 65mg) and L-Lysine ( 500 mg) a day. One tablet in the morning and one at night. It’s been less than a month. Before I was taking one iron tablet a day. I talked to a friend with the same problem-hair loss. She went to her doctor and he has her taking 3 tablets a day. I’m thinking of doing that. about 2 months ago my ferritin level was 15. I’m thinking about getting it checked in another month. My hair doesn’t seem to be falling out as much-not like before. The iron doesn’t bother me either. Hope that helps.

Jeanette March 17, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Hi. I’m currently taking two tablets of iron( 65mg) and L-Lysine ( 500 mg) a day. One tablet in the morning and one at night. It’s been less than a month. Before I was taking one iron tablet a day. I talked to a friend with the same problem-hair loss. She went to her doctor and he has her taking 3 tablets a day. I’m thinking of doing that. about 2 months ago my ferritin level was 15. I’m thinking about getting it checked in another month. My hair doesn’t seem to be falling out as much-not like before. The iron doesn’t bother me either. Hope that helps.

Elaine March 18, 2009 at 12:18 pm

I also need to know if anyone has had a significant amount of hair regrowth once levels are increased. Checked that this comment site started Oct 2007, so someone must have some answers. Could the original ladies let us know or if they no longer comment here, could the editors contact them through their email sites and let us know. Am very excited to know if there is good news out there.

Elaine March 18, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Beth
It’s now been 2 more months. Are things still getting better. Would love to know.

Elise March 18, 2009 at 2:07 pm

I have increased red meat in my diet, buying the leanest cuts. This has made a difference in my hair. I read on this site that red meat helps your body absorb iron better. Has anyone else tried it too?

Tania March 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I want to share my results, I started taking iron 65 mg starting the beginning of February and after that I was taking 3 pills a day with lysine up until now. I eliminated caffeine, I take iron in the morning after I eat so I have no stomach problems and I take my calcium at night. Also it turned out I have a slow thyroid, TSH is 3.5, the count changed in the past few years, everything that is 3 and higher is considered to be a hypothyroid. So if I were you, I would check your count, because my previous doctor told me that my thyroid is fine. So I am taking kelp and amino acids to speed up my thyroid and I do see the change. Shedding decreased, I can see lots of new hairs. I am going to a new doctor next week and I am going to check my feritin level. Also I want to check my gluten and Candida level. I read that if you have a slow thyroid you might have a very active Candida. At last, I am planning to do a body detox.

beth March 20, 2009 at 12:47 pm

i TOO have been taking iron supps to get my levels up. i am on my 5th month or the iron. less shedding, not sure about the regrowth. it has come to be that i also have thyroid issues, which is sometimes related to low iron levels. how the body is interconnected!!! i do believe that a decline in my overall health is to blame for the hair thinning, but i am getting on track. trying to remember that all of these are symptoms of a bigger issue, probably the thyroid (which of course is influenced by what we eat and drink, sleep, exercise, etc). be mindful of all that’s going on in your body to track down the reason for the hair loss!

Rose March 22, 2009 at 11:18 am

REPLIVA — How is everyone dealing with the abcense of their iron supplement, Repliva? It was recalled by the Company! I can no longer get it at any pharmacy.

Did anyone find an alternate iron supplement?

Elaine March 26, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Beth, thanks for answering. Seems no one is finding much help with anything yet. Two years, wow. Does this mean the Doctors are not being thorough, we are not following through, or do we just give up. I know that I am finding that even with all the articles I have located to date – health issues, university hospital write-ups, and survey’s done by notable/intelligent professionals – the specialists/GP’s I have been too over the years will not believe that iron, ferritin levels have anything to do with hair loss. They all look at me and say “Your hair looks fine to me”. Mind you, they have all been, to date, male. I have even taken bags of one showers worth of hair in, pictures of my braids two months ago compared to actual braids of today. They just ignore me. I am starting to feel that all I have heard is true in the regards to respecting woman and our ailments. I have not been one to go to doctors, etc. Maybe once every three years (and they give me ….. for that). I would think they would respect this. No, it seems to make it worse. Now I really don’t know what I’m talking about. Girls – you must stick with this, make them believe you and help you to do something about this.

patsy March 28, 2009 at 4:01 am

hi, i have the same problem and i am pleased i found this site also. I started to loose my hair a year ago and didnt panic but after a while i was also getting very tired and i decided to see the doctor and he told me that i had a thyroid problem and i have been on medication foe about 9 months but still my hair was falling so i decided to see a hair specialist and told me to check my ferritin and it was at 27 ,far to low for hair so she gave me florisene for 3 months bur when i told my doctor , he told me that it’s not enough level of iron and it will take ages to catch up. i will always be grateful to her as my own doctor failed to check it.i am on now on iron tablets twice a day at 22omg each. thank you for all your comments because i have realised that you need to take vitaminc and l-lysine with it witch are the ingredients in florisene. it’s only been a month so i cant give you some results but i will keep you posted.. I was a very outgoing person and happy now i am depressed and dont want to go out at all especially socialising but i am also a very positive person and i will fight this good luck everyone…………(Sorry about spelling mistakes as i am not english)

Ann March 28, 2009 at 8:26 am

Hi everyone,
I’ve also have had hair loss for about 6 years. Previously I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and had 6 months of ABVD chemotherapy. Afterwards my hair grew back, kinda thinner, but after about 6 months it started shedding and hasn’t stopped since (6 years later). I went to see several doctors, but none of them were able to help me. Just recently I went to see a dermatologist who looked at my blood test results from 2 years prior and he noticed that my ferritin was at 8. He said that he was pretty sure that this was what was causing my hair loss. I’ve been taking different kinds of iron for a little over a month and my recent blood test showed that my iron went up from 31 to 92, but my ferritin which was at 15 was still 15. Needless to say I am very disappointed about this. I had thought that my ferritin would have increased by now. I went to a hematologist and he suggested an iron infusion. I’m waiting to see if my insurance will cover it. My periods are very heavy and he told me to see a gynecologist to see if that can be reversed by taking birth control or something else. He also said that my iron deficiency won’t be fixed until my period flow is decreased so I think it’s gonna take a while for me to concur this thing.

I was wondering if anyone on this site has had any improvements in their hair loss by taking iron. I’ve read several of these posts, but don’t see people writing about hair loss being resolved. I have read that hair loss caused by iron deficiency can take a long time to correct and that it could take 3 months after you hit 70 nl of ferritin.

Thanks,
Ann

beth March 29, 2009 at 9:23 am

i wanted to update since being on iron and armour for hypothyroid (which can occur together. but just because you have one does not mean you have the other)

so. i’ve been on iron supps for about 5 months now, with i think, a decrease in shedding. it’s so hard to tell and i refuse to torture myself with counting each hair.

i have been taking armour (natural thyroid) for a week. an amazing thing since starting is that the tingly feeling in my scalp is pretty much GONE. see, thyroid stuff can cause a weak anti-inflammatory response in the body…things get inflamed and puffy. i am wondering if that was the cause of the tingling. my derm said that the tingly feeling is associated with TE–i have a feeling that my hypothyroid state and tired adrenals have made my follicles go into a dormant phase (as well as mess up my sex hormones). optimal health involves having balanced hormones , when one of the 3 major glands is thrown off (adrenal, thyroid, sex hormones), chances are the other 2 are effected in some way. i think that ive cracked the code for me.
so overall, i think correcting the iron and thyroid situation will work well for me.your body needs balance. and remember that when trying to restore balance by using meds or supplements, you have to be careful not to overdo it and cause other systems to get thrown off balance. it is such a delicate thing…

patsy March 29, 2009 at 10:30 am

Hi beth, could you explain to me what is armour and where do you get it? .I ‘am taking levothyroxine at 75mcg and i would like to replace it by something more natural .what medicine did you take before for your thyroid and what is the reason for your change. Thank you

Kannie March 29, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Gosh ive just read all you lots stories. I have had severe hair loss on top and sides of my head that has gradually developed over 2 years. My doctor is certain that it is due to iron deficiency when they found out my ferritin levels were 6 .. really bad .. 2 years ago but at the time although my hair was falling out I was able to hide it. I cant hide it anymore its too thin and sparse, my scalp is very very visible. I am 22 and it started whne i was 19/20. I am so sorry we are all going through this and it hurts so much that unless another woman is going through this problem who know how it feels many look at you as if your not one because of your hair. I have always felt though out my hair loss that nobody understands the pain and depression it brings. I have cried and cried for 2 years silently and pretending it does not get to me. I am so sick of pretending to be confident, I am so sick of not being able to go out and cut my hair like some other women without being so terrified the hairdresser will look at my hair in horror. I have been on and off iron tabs for 2 years. Its made no diffrence but I am back on them and birth control due to heavy periods. I hope for all of us. xx

sarah skding March 30, 2009 at 12:08 pm

HI , I NEED HELP !!!! I HAD MY BLOODTEST RESULTS TODAY , BUT DON’T UNDERSTAND THEM ? MY THYROID T4 LEVEL IS 7.8 PMOL/L ( IS THAT OK OR LOWISH ) MY FERRITIN HAS GONE UP TO 53 UG/L
IF ANYONE CAN HELP , THAT WOULD BE GREAT

patsy April 1, 2009 at 1:47 am

Hi did anyone tried nourkrin?

Kim April 2, 2009 at 4:45 am

If someone could help me out with this. I had some blood work resutls back yesterday and my Iron was 4.16??? I called the dermotlogist because I was sure there had to be an error since the normal range is 60-180 and he just said it was low and he was going to prescribe some iron 350mlg. And told me not to worry and have it checked again in 3 months. Is there any specific iron supplement I should look for? I guess this must be part the reason of my hairloss. Im still waiting for more lab results.

patsy April 2, 2009 at 5:09 am

Hi kim, are you talking about your ferritin level? dont forget to take some vit c and some l.lysine as it is important for absorption of the iron and lots of read meat, good luck.

Kim April 2, 2009 at 5:22 am

Well on the lab work papper it says Iron and beside the 4.16 and it says low beside. Im not sure. What would be the difference?. I haft to tell my derm. what to do LOL!!! or else he will not have done the test I ask him. I am taking Vitamine C and L Lysine. I learned this on this site :)
Thanks

Zoey April 6, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Hi there. I have had hairloss now for over eight years. Over the last few months it has been coming out by the handful, daily. I believed at the time it was connected to my use of the Loestrin bcp and have recently started taking Yasmin, which I had to fight for as it is a more expensive brand (supposedly kinder to the hair) than the Loestrin which costs about £3.00 per box! I went to see a trichologist (I am in the UK) and he informed me that I had female pattern baldness (this was without a blood test) and I started to use Minoxidil 2%. I noticed after a few months a few wispy patches and upped it to Minoxidil 5% which is very greasy but I only put it on at night so it doesn’t affect me too much. I believe it has made a little difference and am going to continue with it. Anyway, I managed to convince my GP to test my serum ferritin level (in the past he had only tested my haemoglobin level) and the results came back yesterday at 4.1, which were below the ranges of a pre-menopausal woman. He told me that this was normal! My haemoglobin level was 13. I had read on here previously that ferritin levels needed to be at over 70 to maintain hairgrowth and over 100 to encourage hair to regrow. I have now started on iron tablets to try and boost my ferritin levels but am wondering if anyone has had any success with Florisene as I am considering starting on that. Any comments/suggestions would be really appreciated.

I used Nourkrin for eighteen months and it did absolutely nothing for my hair but I am hoping that if I can increase my ferritin level it might sort my hair out. I am still quite shocked at how low my level was and how the doctor wasn’t interested in it – obviously because he is a man!

I am so pleased I found this site. Thanks to all the wonderful people out there who share their stories I found out about getting my ferritin level checked and hopefully I can do something about it.

I’ll keep you posted.

Ann April 7, 2009 at 10:16 am

Please read, this may be very helpful to many of you,

For the longest time I didn’t understand why my ferritin was so low. I chocked it up to heavy periods (which doesn’t help), but that didn’t explain why my daughter’s ferritin was so low also, especially since her periods are so light. I suspected for some time that I had a candida yeast overgrowth and it was confirmed by a test I took. I didn’t connect the candida and the low ferritin levels until just recently when I searched on-line and saw that the candida feeds on ferritin and iron and often causes low ferritin levels. Since candida is something that can be passed on to others I believe that I got candida, possibly from my dog, and then gave it to my daughter. It has to be the common denominator in our low ferritin equation. Chances are, many of you that don’t understand why you have low ferritin levels also have candida yeast overgrowth. If this is the case, your ferritin levels will never go up permanently and you should take action to get the yeast under control. There are steps to get rid of candida and it involves a very strict diet which you can find on the internet, and antifungals. It’s very difficult to get rid of and can take several months. If you’re losing your hair most likely you have had candida for a very long time in which case it’ll take a very long time to get rid of it.

I’m getting my iron infusion on Thursday of this week and I’ll keep everyone posted.

Ann

Bonnie April 7, 2009 at 5:34 pm

I know alot of women with great hair and lower iron levels than 100. Actually, that was me. When I was young always had lower iron levels and still had great hair. It wasn’t until I developed female pattern hairloss later in life did I see my hair really thinning. Don’t get me wrong, low iron levels can certainly make you shed but it will not cause permanent hair loss, balding, or a wider part. I have research the ferritn level thing a lot and indications are that your scalp density will stay relatively the same but you will notice distal thinning in the ends or lower pony tail density as your hair is shedding more it never really reaches its longest length.

If you have FPB then is the dominant contributing factor to your thinning is genetic and hormonal. As such it is most likely your end organ androgens that will be impacting you hair making the scalp follicles miniaturized. Thus, growing finer and finer hairs until some hairs don’t grow at all. I think you will find that the 2% Minoxidil and the Yasmin, which is an anti androgen b/c pill, and getting you iron levels up to normal levels should help a lot. I had a massive shed for a couple of months when I stared minoxidil and anti-androgens but I also recovered almost all my hair a year later. Cheers, Bonnie

Zoey April 7, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Hi Bonnie
Thank you for that! It gives me a lot of encouragement. I actually think I must have had low ferritin levels for years as I have been reading up on it and apparently it takes a very long time to get that low. I know there is not an overnight solution but I hope that with time it will improve. I have always been on the low side when I have had my haemoglobin levels tested and I suffer from very heavy periods, they are so bad that for two days I cannot go out of the house! This was another reason that I went back on the bcp and forced my doctor to give me Yasmin! I do believe though that I have FPB also as my hair is very thin on the top (miniturization?) and at my temples, I also have quite a wide hair part but over the last couple of months my hair is coming out in handfuls. I lose loads in the shower and when I brush my hair. I am also “leaving” my hair everywhere around the house. But i also think that perhaps my ferritin level might be a contributing factor. My ponytail is also so much smaller than it was just a month ago. I am very distressed by it all and find it quite hard at times to think of anything else.
What Minoxidil did you use and which anti-androgens if you don’t mind me asking? Are you still using the Minoxidil? If not, have you noticed any shedding from stopping? Did you have low ferritin levels as well and if so, did you take iron supplements? Sorry for all the questions but I feel very hopeful from your post that you recovered almost all your hair. Well done, I am really pleased to hear of a success story. Thanks again.

Zoey x

Tania April 8, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Patsy, I have a question, you are taking 220mg iron, not 325 mg ferrous sulfate? Cause I have iron and it shows 50 mg, I was taking 4 pills, can I take 8 pills which would make 400 mg? My ferritin level is 20, it went up only 5 point for the past month when I was taking 3 pills 65 mg ferrous sulfate or 325 mg, they are equal. Also smb mentioned about hypothyroidism and sexual hormones. How do you check your sexual hormones and what you need to take to stabilize them?
Thanks.

Linda April 8, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Hi everyone. I was reading Bonnie’s comments on using Yasmin. Is Yasmin similar to Diane 35?? Becos i started having hair loss when i tried going off Diane 35. Each time i tried my hair falls out so much so i had to go back on it.
I went on diane 35 about 18 months ago to control my acne, but going off it has caused severe hair loss. My hair is at least 25% thinner than before i started taking diane 35 but going off it scares me even more. I feel like i am stuck.

patsy April 9, 2009 at 2:52 am

Hi tania,i’am taking at the moment 220mg twice a day of ferrous fumarate, I could take 3 but stopped at 2 for now. I dont know if it’s too good to take so many pills to reach 400mg. Who gave you that dosage?. Dont worry about your result as it can take a few months to raise your ferritin level. You need to do a sex hormones test to answer your other question, ask your doctor (if he is caring) to do one.Hope this can help and keep in touch.

Colleen April 17, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Hi everyone…. Great info here. I am 48 & always had beautiful long hair. I have been anemic & borderline anemic for the past several years. My most recent bout of hair loss/thinning is still going strong. I can see a difference in my crown & vertex, and it’s really stressing me out. I am being treated by a hematologist, and have been getting iron infusion therapy weekly. My ferritin levels a month ago were 5…. YES, only FIVE! No wonder the hair is falling out! I can’t take oral iron, as I have IBS. My hematologist will remeasure the iron level after a few more treatments. I sure hope this works, my hair has been shedding like crazy since January so I hope the worst is over.

Although I have been having some hair loss the past few years, this recent shed is really bothersome & I find myself stressing over it, which I am sure does not help. I’ve been to just about every doctor to figure out what’s causing it. Most of the male doctors want to laugh, they don’t really understand how terrible this is for a woman. Most of the doctors think it’s a hormonal issue. My endocrinologist is also retesting my thyroid, as I’m borderline hypothyroid….which can be ANOTHER reason for the hair loss.

Started early menopause at age 45 4 years ago, and lost quite a bit at that time. After I went on bioidentical hormones, most of it did come back, so I’m hoping and praying to get my hair back. We’ve been having a difficult time balancing the hormones, as I had right ovary removed. My dr also had prescribed testosterone cream, which my body cannot tolerate because of acne, and the hair loss. My body is SUPERsensitive to it, and I can’t seem to keep enough estrogen in my system to help sustain my hair. Needless to say, I have stopped any testosterone. My skin has cleared up nicely, and I’m hoping that the hair will grow back in quickly, now that my body is getting more estrogen and iron.

I hope everyone finds the answer to their hair loss problems. It’s just amazing all the different things that have an effect on the hair. And I know I have to be patient, but that is not one of my virtues LOL. I just want my hair back!
Hugs….

Ash April 24, 2009 at 8:56 am

Hi, I noticed my hair coming out more than usual in Nov. 08, in Dec.08 I found out my ferritin level was 16, so near the end of December I started taking iron supps. At the end of March I had my blood retested and my ferritin had gone up to 51. I think that the rate of shedding has decreased, although it is still not 100% normal. My main concern now is the lack of regrowth and the fact that I seem to be shedding/losing many shorter hairs. My hair is past my shoulders, but I am losing lots of hairs that are under 3 inches long. I am wondering what any of you think this could mean? I am trying to get a follow up dermatologist appointment, as this short hair loss was not a concern when I saw her in January (she said it must be the iron then). I am only 18 years old btw Thanks

Angi S May 1, 2009 at 8:44 am

Wow….this has opened my eyes! Last month, my ferritin levels were FIVE!!!!
My doctor gave me NuIron but it doesn’t help much. The highest my ferritin
has ever been is 11, so the doctor told me he didn’t really worry about it!!!

I really hate doctors…they don’t take into mind that hair loss for women is a lot different than it is for men. For example, it is fashionable right now for men with thinning hair to shave their head. Let Britney do it and you get a one way ticket to the crazy house. Bad example…but I’ve had doctor’s tell me…”Well, it’s not that big a deal, I’m half bald myself.” Does he not understand that for a woman losing your hair is probably as traumatic as losing a breast. The cancer adds additional stress…but at least it explains the hair loss…and they never have to worry about a breast prosthesis or implant coming off and flying across the parking lot at Wal-Mart on a windy day…LOL

Judy May 16, 2009 at 10:53 am

Hi everybody!
So happy to find this website!! I lost a lot of hair since I was 20(I’m 29), at the time my derm prescribed some shampoo that just dried out my hair horribly and then he just told me to try minoxidil, which I did, but hair started to grow on my face!!( had to do hair laser removal)

My grandmother (mother’s side) was so bald that she wore a a wig!! My mother is not bald but her hair is super fine with little density. My dad, brother and sisters have big dense hair. I have very dense curly hair, one of the reasons that doctors and friends think is not a serious problem. I chemically straighten my hair in my teenage years, which I think triggered my hair loss. I also was under extreme stress during architecture school, loosing more hair on the finals.

It ‘s been 5 years that I wear my hair naturally, I lost hair on top and hair density is half of what it used to be and my part is almost half inch thick and it shines!! In February I went to another derm which actually checked my blood and was told that my ferritin was at 13, which she said ‘on the low side’ and recommended me to take 325mg daily with food and minoxidil 2%. I have been doing that since march, but I had no idea that iron was so difficult to absorb. I think that I even took some with coffee!! I am going to start to take the iron pills( 65mg=325mg ferrous sulfate) with fresh orange juice, vitamin C 1000mg(should I go lower?) and I’ll get the l-lysene soon. I was thinking of stopping the minoxidil, because I had the shedding controlled and now it has started to fall again!! I’ll do this till I get a chance to check my blood, hopefully in september. (I lost my job and health insurance.)
What do you girls think? Thank you for reading!!!

Judy May 16, 2009 at 2:39 pm

I forgot to add that I also have the following symptoms:
-unusual shortness of breath during exercise (discovered in my swimming
-class and when I try to jog)
-cold hands and feet (all the time!)
-brittle nails

Tania May 19, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Judy, you should check you thyroid. Kelp is very good for hair and thyroid.
Also I found out if you take zink you should take copper 2 mg, if you are short or over it will cause a hair loss.

Judy May 22, 2009 at 8:45 am

Thank you Tania!
When I had my bloodwork done, they also check the hormones and the doc said it was fine. I’ll try to get a copy of the results. How can I know if I’m low on copper and zinc?

almostlosthope June 5, 2009 at 7:19 am

I am a 53 year old female and I have been struggling with hair loss issues almost my entire adult life. Where to begin?

1) when I was 16, my mother convinced a doctor to put me on synthroid even though my thyroid levels were in the normal range (although a little on the low side). I think that my mother was alarmed that her once skinny daughter had put weight on after puberty. (although I was 5′ 7″ inches and 130 lbs, not exactly huge) Within a few years, I had lost a great deal of my once thick chestnut hair. I went to doctor after doctor. Some said that it was the synthroid, but that my hair would grow back. Well, it never did. I was on the synthroid until I was about 32 and a new doctor told me that I shouldn’t be on it. Well, I waited for my hair to return but it did not.

2) when I was in my mid-thrities, I was diagnosed with excessive prolactin, a hormone that is secreted by the pituitary. I was put on parlodel and then dostinex. These meds increased my migraines and I just stopped taking them about two years ago. Since then, my prolactin levels have been normal. Come to find out, dostinex is associated with hair loss. When I stopped taking dostonex, my hair got a little better.

3) About six months ago, a new internist took a long look at me and ordered vitamin D and iron tests. Turns out I was very very low in Vitamin D and borderline anemic. Doctors have been telling me that I was borderline anemic all my ife but they never seemd worried about it and didn’t even suggest iron supplements that I can recall. Well, this new internist put me on prescription stength Vitamin D and has me talking Vitron C for iron. My iron levels are slowing rising and my Vitamin D levels are now normal. And you know what — my hair seems better. It is definitely a little thicker.

I wonder if too many years have passed for my hair to really come back?

Anyone else seeing positive results with Vitron C and/or Vitamin D?

Liv June 16, 2009 at 2:15 am

Just wanted to share the short version of my story… the happy ending really.

I have had two rounds of hair loss and was diagnosed with chronic telogen effluvium. I had been through a period of sickness and stress first time round and just put the first time down to this and maybe medication that I had consumed through that time. I lost enough to have a fringe for the first time in my life when it eventually grew back.( although it didnt last long because a year later it started falling out again.)
2nd time round I was told that I had very low levels of Iron (13) and generally lacking in nutrients prob because of the lack of nutrition while I wasnt well. I started on swisse vitamins for women 1/day and Ferr0-grad c which has 325mg ferrous sulfate and vit c 562.4mg 1/day.
3 months on and my hair has stopped falling out, and plenty of grey hairs are sprouting(they werent that grey b4 im only 29) but hey its hair and im ecstatic.
So whilst my case wasn’t as severe as many people on here it was still debilitating, and there is hope that it can grow back, I firmly believe it was the ferrous sulfate and vit c that gave me my hair back, Still have to have more tests to see the exact iron levels now but I know for sure it has risen and finally Im not thinking about my hair 24/7 and having nightmares constantly.
Good luck to everyone dealing with this… hopefully my story will help someone.

Kim June 17, 2009 at 2:32 am

Thanks you Liv,
I really needed to hear an inspirational and hopeful story like that. Thanks for sharing :) God bless!

almostlosthope June 17, 2009 at 8:52 am

Hey, Liv — That is wonderful news. Please keep us posted!

Renee June 17, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Hi Everyone – I just joined, after stalking the site for 3 years while I’ve battled hair loss with very little sympathy from friends and family – as I’m sure most of you have heard in the past, “your hair looks fine to me!” UGH – if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that! Anyway, I still haven’t completely figured out what’s happening to me but luckily my regimen seems to be working. In a nutshell – for the past 3 years I have had 4 distinct episodes of MASSIVE shedding. 4 episodes may not sound like alot but each shed lasts 6 months – so out of the last 36 months, I have shed for 24 of them. I went through the testing, tried the usual – but I did discover that my ferriten level was 3 (THREE). Not sure why – have been on birth control for years and so my menstrual cycle isnt particularly heavy -I’m a big read meat eater and my hemoglobin and hematocrit are normal. I started the iron with Vit C – havent rechecked my ferriten in a while but I know the highest I got it to was 38. Hair still falls out. I guess my point is, take the iron with Vit C for better absorption – but for me – it wasn’t the big flashing neon sign for why my hair was falling out – maybe just a small factor, if that. As I said, even after going from 3-38, I still (and am currently in) had a massive shed.

patsy June 18, 2009 at 7:25 am

hi, i want to share my results with you all, i just cameback from the doctor to find out my ferritin level, it was at 27 two months ago and now it is at 6o . I was so sure he was going to say 3o or 35, i was so happy now i must wait to see any difference within the 2 months , i know you must wait until you stay at a certain level for a while, we will see. I hope this news will bring some hope for some of you with the same problem, will keep you in touch with my progress.

Kim June 18, 2009 at 8:39 am

That’s great! I had mines at 4.16 and two months after I got it checked again not thinking it would have gone up that much but Thank You Lord!! it had gone up to 56. Still have ways to go but I also hope this gives hope to some of you who struggle with low ferritin level. :)

patsy June 19, 2009 at 11:33 am

that’s great results, do you see any difference yet?

pamiam June 20, 2009 at 11:08 am

Ladies I would like to say it’s bittersweet to know we are not alone. I have been dealing with hairloss and health issues for 6 years. I have tried it all. It has been nothing but a vicious cycle. Here I am today with a painful scalp and my hair is falling out worse than ever. I am so tired of being tired. I have hypothyroidism. I have been on Synthroid, Armour, Armour plus T4, you name it. Recent labs showed my levels were still low along with my iron being 17. (I asked to have it checked). But I had been on it previously and went off at drs. advice. Anyway, I am told this KIND of hairloss is not thyroid, changing your dose will cause a shed, keeping it low low will cause a shed..My head is spinning. After six years of oh this is it…here I still am. No answers…I simply don’t know what to do. I am beyond depressed at this point. I cant’ even wear my hair down, I cant’ comb it, I am just at a loss at how it could still be shedding like this. Don’t know what else to do.

Hopeless in Ky….

Kim June 21, 2009 at 7:04 am

Patsy,
Not yet but it’s still on the low side. I want to get it checked again at the end of next month (June). Lord willing it will get better as it reaches it’s normal level.

Ashley June 23, 2009 at 4:07 pm

So glad to see this forum. My hair was in DIRE straits earlier this year (not just falling out but also generally felt like broom straw! I even accused my hairdresser of changing coloring formulas.) and I was extremely fatigued. I chalked it up to training for a 1/2 marathon (walking, not running), but it turned out at my checkup that my iron stores were down to 20. I’m not sure how you ladies with single digits were even surviving….I felt like C__p! Couldn’t get a good breath, always winded. So I started with EZFE 200 mg from my doctor (GP) every other day (I have chronic constipation, so that was my main concern). Turns out it actually makes my bowels work better, not slower. Then I had a notion that chromagen might be less upsetting to my stomach (felt like esophagus burn), so I’m now taking Chromagen every other day. Between April 25 and June 11, my serum ferritin went from 20 to 31 and my hematocrit from 31.5 to 40.1. I attribute this to the EZFE, as I did not start Chromagen til a couple days before the June 11 test. Red blood cell count still low at 3.79 but Hgb is 13.7, which is normal. My cells are macrocytic (too big) so my MCV is 106 and MCH is 36.1. Of course, now my liver enzymes AST and ALT are slightly elevated now, so there’s that….(doc isn’t terribly concerned but said drink zero alcohol and take zero NSAIDs for a month and test again). My question is, which iron supplements have produced the biggest results with ferritin stores? I’m curious now about Floradix. What are the pluses and minuses of EZFE versus Chromagen? Neither seems to be one of the three “usual” ferrous salts. oh – and the hair. It’s much better. I know it’s only “new” healthy at the roots, but even the shaft seems less brittle (Pantene Restoratives conditioning treatment is a wonder!). Any0ne else see an overall improvement in hair quality once their iron started to climb? Just to round out the picture, I also have a B12 absorption issue for which I take injections (though schilling test for pernicious anemia was negative), GERD (for which I take Nexium), and hypothyroidism, for which I take 25 mcg of unithroid. B12 and Thyroid levels have been fine, and an upper GI scope turned up no source of bleeding that would explain the low iron stores. I had an endometrial ablation in October 2008 to stop heavy periods (it did!), but no one took my blood levels at that time, so iron may have started plummeting prior to ablation.

Goodness – more than you wanted to know, I’m sure! Thanks for listening.

Ashley

Lien June 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Hi,

I just came upon this website today. I’ve swithced jobs and insurances now so I can’t check my bloodwork I had done anymore last year.
I do however, remember there being a discrepancy in my iron test. Not in the iron level, but in the storage or something. My doctor said it was nothing to worry about. I did someresearch at that time but couldn’t find anything and have kind of given up a bit in the mean time. Until I read this about iron today.
I guess I take in iron but don’t store it? Are there any solution to this? Someone said, take lysine with iron supplement?

Anything would help! Because if this is the reason, I should have been doing this 4 years ago.

Thanks so much for your help! I’m so sick of being scared to comb my hair!

Lien

patsy June 26, 2009 at 3:30 am

best thing is to take iron with lysine and vitamin c , whats your ferritin level at the moment?(iron storage level).

Lien June 28, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Hi Patsy,

I don’t know my exact levels right now. I had all this bloodwork done last year to see if there was anything to pinpoint the hairloss to. Everything came up normal except the iron storage level. I was with a different health care company now and can’t access my online records anymore. Maybe I can have it tested again now.

Thanks for your help!

patsy June 29, 2009 at 12:35 am

Iwould do it as soon as possible, it needs to be at 7o for hair, do you get tired more than usually? My ferritin is at 6o now but not sure if thats the cause of my hair loss but i am going to wait 3 more months to see any difference if not i believe to be my dosage of levothyroxine. my tsh is normal, it is now ay 5 but i am sure it should be less . Does anyone know or have the same problem? . under working thyroid can cause hair loss too i would check that also . Good luck

Carolina June 29, 2009 at 11:22 am

my ferritin level is 6. i feel sooooo tired all the time and of course, the hair. i’ve got rhuemotid arthritis and i think the reason i can’t store up iron is my shots, Enbrel? it’s possible, but not sure yet. i hope to get an iron infusion.
has any tried the infusions yet?

Julie June 30, 2009 at 12:07 pm

I, too, am dealing with serious hair loss. Mine started as a patch in the back of my head — about the size of three quarters — and then some serious thinning on the crown, resulting in a few patches there, too. My regular doc attributes it to iron, since my first test showed a ferritin level of .9. After a month of supplementation, it went up to 21. The dermatologist, however, calls it alopecia areata. She gave me numerous cortisone injections into the scalp, which really aren’t doing anything. I’m choosing to side with the GP and am not really ready to believe an alopecia diagnosis quite yet. (With iron that low, it has to be a contributing factor!) I’m currently taking 325 mg. of ferrous sulfate 3xday. I’m also hypothyroid, so I’ve met with my endocrinologist who adjusted my thyroid meds. Please note everyone, that if you take both thyroid meds and iron THEY SHOULD BE TAKEN AT LEAST 4-5 HOURS APART!!

Here’s my promise: On every webpage or message board out there, I see lots of us who are dealing with this problem, but very few who’ve reported back to say: “I had that problem and raising my ferritin level solved it!” I swear that if this gets better, I will provide posts on every single hair board out there about a success story. We need something to believe in! I’m hoping that many people who’ve recovered from this have simply gone on their merry way and not posted anymore, which would account for the reason that there are few success stories. I guess that the only people who visit these boards are people who’re suffering with it at the moment.

To everyone: Good luck… and I PROMISE I’ll report back if I have success with raising ferritin.

Kelly July 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Hello to all,

I just wanted to say I can relate to you all…my hair loss is due to stress, low iron, and, at least in my case — low copper too. Minerals work together, and copper helps release iron from the body’s stores, so one can take all the iron supplements, but if you aren’t getting enough copper, then it won’t do much good.

On the flip side, too much copper isn’t good either.

And finally, low iron is strongly connected with hypothyroidism. So those who have been diagnosed as hypo, may just be not getting enough iron.

???

Kelly

Lien July 10, 2009 at 8:40 am

I’m confused now. I have low iron stores so before someone said to take lysine and vitamin c with iron supplements. Now I should take copper too?
How do I find out if I have enough copper and how do you get it? Never heard of that.

thanks!

BB July 10, 2009 at 8:39 pm

I am interested in the Copper info too. I understand that Copper and Zinc go hand in hand.

Kelly July 16, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Hi Lien and BB,

That’s the thing. Mineral, vitamins, proteins, fats, etc., all work together in a balance. Sometimes iron is the only missing ingredient, but most often it’s a combination.

Yes, lysine and vitamin c can help increase iron absorption, but too much vitamin C can lower copper levels…so it’s all a balance. There is a blood test for copper levels…ask you doc to check for ceruloplasmin levels…that should tell you if you need more.

Another thing to try is just google various words (like copper, lysine, proline, vitamin a, lactoferrin, etc) and “hair loss” or “anemia”, and you’ll find out a lot more on how to increase iron levels and/or improve anemic or semi-anemic conditions connected to hair loss.

For example, here’s a study that showed that vitamin A helped increase iron levels and improve anemia by 97%, compared to just iron alone:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7901636

Best regards,

Kelly

Kelly July 16, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Also, yes, zinc works with copper, but if your copper levels are very low, then taking too much zinc may lower them further. A google search will turn up more info…

Tracey July 16, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Hi all, I 1st noticed my hair falling out after the birth of my 1st child at the age of 24, I was told not to worry about it but, by the time of my 3rd, aged 30, I could not cope. I was referred to a dermatologist who put me on a solution of Regain. I used this product for over 3yrs, my cycle seemed that I shed my hair around every 9 months but would see the regrowth of finer hair shortly after wards. I have learned to live with this until about 2 weeks ago. I turned 45yrs in June. Back in March, I collapsed and was covered with a itchy rash. The hospital ran blood tests, I had iron deficiency anaemia, Hb was 8, Ferritin 3, B12 was normal, 197. Red cell folate normal, 225. They gave me 1 iron infusion with vitamin B shots (5 shots in all every other day). I was given folic acid and strong vitamin B tablets and was told that I would need a vitamin B injection every 3 months. I took the folic acid and vitamin B tablets faithfully every day. I no longer craved a bag of ice a day, my hair seemed to be thicker and I wasn’t as tired as I had been. I was due my jab on the 27th June. I was called back to the hospital on the 27th May where the consultant took some bloods and said I no longer needed the folic acid or vitamin B tablets or injections and I should not of been discharged on them! My bloods are now all normal, though they have not given me the numbers as they did on admission, my thyroid is normal too. My hair is now falling out at such a rate, I begged my GP to give me what I was on or tell me what to buy from over the counter but he woulden’t and has referred me to a Dermatologist. I should be seen hopefully in 3 weeks.

Tracey July 21, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Hi all, had my bloods taken again because my ferritin level was not requested on my last test, my hb was 12.7, which I’m happy about. I also have to have a Endscopy, that will happen sometime in September. I will get my full blood count on Mon 27th July. I have been told, half a glass of cold draught Guinness with blackcurrant is full of iron goodness and can be a quick boost.

Alina.B July 24, 2009 at 2:19 pm

I have recently been to the derm and my primary doc to see about my hair loss. About a month ago I noticed I could see me scalp a little in the front of my hair. This made me sick to my stomach. I had noticed lots of shedding the last few months but didnt think too much about it until then. I am 35 now and the shedding has been for about 6 months ( I think). I had a baby in Oct 2007, miscarriage July 2008, and another one in May 2009. This last one was so devastating to me and I bled pretty regularly for over a month. My ferretin is 17 as of last weeks labs. I have begun iron supplements but am so discouraged it takes soooo long to see results. I hope this depression i am feeling doesn’t get worse. I am seeing a therapist Monday to deal with everything. I am somewhat hopeful, but really sad mostly. I don’t want my gloom to affect my child. Thanks to all you wonderful ladies that post. It keeps me hopeful…

patsy July 25, 2009 at 1:41 am

I’ve noticed that for a week now my hair stopped falling out, i dont want to get too exited but 1 month ago my ferritin went up from 27 to 60 in 8 weeks and i am hoping that was the reason of my hair loss. I have also read that your level must be up to 70 for my medication ( levothyroxine)to work properly.I dont know what is my level now but i am going back in september. I really hope that is it this time as my hair became very thin and found myself very drepressed. I will be so happy to offer you all some hope as i know how difficult and lonely it is.. See you soon with some other great news ………..

Tracey Barry July 31, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Hi Ladies, I have had a pretty bad week, received a call to come in to the doctors as they had received a letter from the hospital, was going anyway to get latest blood count. The letter the doc received said my bloods were all normal and that the Iron is working, WHAT IRON? So now I am on ferrous sulphate tablets, 200mg 3 times a day for a month, I have to come off them for 7 clear days for the endscopy. My results for my ferritin is 6. I phoned the hospital to see what my results were for the test I had back in May, they didn’t do my ferritin level, so now I’ll never know if the iron infusion and all the other stuff they gave me made it go higher or if it has dropped to 6 since my medication was stopped. Then I received another call, this time from the dermatologist, the doc there has decided she doesn’t need to see me and will be writing to my GP ( I have been taken off the waiting list). I’ve to check every other day to see if my GP has received the letter but have been warned it could take weeks. Mean while my shedding hasn’t stopped or slowed down, though it’s still early days. I started to count the hairs in my brush over the last few days, I’m losing between 500 to 600 hairs a day, this is including the hairs in the shower and on my pillow. My next blood test will be in September. God bless you all xxx

BB August 12, 2009 at 9:20 am

Hi Ladies,
I learned my Ferritin was low in 1999, was 4 then and has remained there despite taking Ferrious Sulfate. This has caused hair loss evenly through out my head, thnner in the bangs. For the last 6 months I have been taking Andrew Lessmans Iron Plus, only 1 a day. It is a very low dose but I feel NO side effects and my ferritin is finaly increasing. Currently 15. This did not happen with other product I have tried. Something I am noticing is my hair in growing in darker. Before it appear light. I am going to up my dose to two daily. I have to be careful because on my iron results it is only my iron stores (Ferritin) that is low. You can purchase it on HSN.com has perfect rating or on his site.

I have also been taking Andrew’s B-Complex vitamins because the ingredients are good to take with iron.

Just wanted to share.

jenny August 14, 2009 at 6:11 am

hello,
read some of your stories would like to contribute mine.
I always had very thick, wavy, lustrous, envied hair. Until ~30 where I developed benign thyroid nodules, they seem to run in my family. I also had a tendency for the opposite of what is described here by most, I was a bit hyperthyroid. I do not believe hair manipulation,i.e. dying, perming etc influences the hair so much as to start losing it in large volumes, what I believe is that if people have some genetic predisposition, stress can trigger the hair loss. Of course, other causes can bring about hair loss, but I know in my case it was stress. Although the thyroid problem was in my genes, the stress made it manifest itself, otherwise it might have started later or might have never manifested. Anyway, I noticed I was losing my hair, as things happened I first went to a dermatologist and then to a endocrinologist for my thyroid, because my family endocrinologist whom I wanted to go to was away for some time, so I waited. The dermatologist couldn’t find anything wrong with my hair as such, but as I was so insisting on the volume I was losing she put me on minoxidil. And I would like to say here that minoxidil is the only hair treatment for women that clinical trials have been run on and which gave some effective results, so I do not believe that things like Noukrin do anything. I think that had my dermatologist known about the thyroid problem (which wasn’t yet diagnosed) he would immediately say it’s because of this. To cut a long story short, I was tested, and although my thyroid values were inside the normal range, the problem was evident, and I did have benign nodules. The doctor put me on levothyroxine. This is not prescribed in the UK, where they just watch the nodules, however I’m a foreigner and was tested at my own country where it is common to prescribe levothyroxine because of the high percentage of women with thyroid problems. Of course, giving levothyroxine to someone with hyperthyroid tendency causes other problems, e.g. palpitations, but the difference to the hair was more than obvious. I regained back most of it, I also experimented for some time not using Regaine but only taking thyroxine and I can say it is the thyroxine that helped the hair. However, I was not feeling well taking thyroxine, reduced it and haven’t been taking it for a long period of time. My hair is not falling out, when it does it is CONSIDERABLY less than the amount of shedding when it initially occured. Because I’m off the thyroxine – I have opted for monitoring the nodules regularly- I feel I have to continue doing something for my hair, as a maintenance, so I do use Regaine, but not everyday as recommended and not using the whole daily dosage. My hair is great, I have not got every last hair I shed back, but it regrew and it is thick and in good condition, so ~80% of the shedded hair has come back and if I’m missing 20% that’s ok. I want to point out that after testing in my own country, I returned to the UK where I worked and repeated the tests only to see what the doctors here would say. I don’t think it’s country-specific, I think it has to do with the particular doctor, but would like to add what this doctor said only to share it with you and show how stupid doctors can be sometimes, when they don’t listen to the patient (I’m saying this being a scientist myself and coming from a family of doctors). He said: “I understand you have lost a lot of hair but it doesn’t show, moreover your thyroid is a long way away from your hair follicles so the thyroid can’t be the cause of the problem.” Well, the thyroid, maybe unbalanced because of high stress levels, was indeed the cause of the problem, and I hypothesize that because it “rested” a bit with me taking the thyroxine and because my stress levels also fell, this is why it seems stable now even without continuation of the medication and that’s why my hair has also stabilised, i.e. I don’t lose more than a low to moderate amount when washing and brushing, it is now within normal levels and not the large volumes I was losing initially. I don’t know whether the doctor thought I was stupid, whether he thought he’s more intelligent than his patients just because he’s a doctor, or whether he just didn’t want to be bothered, but I made it clear that his answer was far from satisfactory.
I wanted to share the above as my story, because having problems other than hypothyroidism can cause hair loss, and wanted to cover those other people who can’t identify with most of the above stories. I wouldn’t recommend to anyone taking medicine without it being prescribed by the doctor, and I’m not saying that taking thyroxine will solve hair loss problems. It seemed to do so in my case, and it might not work for another person with the same problem, simply because each organism is different. Regarding Regaine, I don’t know if it helps regrow the hair to an optimal degree (since I was using it irregularly whilst taking medication), but now that I’m using it alone I’m sure it helps at least to maintain the hair and make it stronger. If underlying conditions are causing the hair loss it is these that have to be treated first for the hair to regrow. But I also think that Regaine is a very effective additional weapon the sooner one starts using it, if possible one should start immediately when shedding starts. I say this because even if Regaine does not address the real cause, i.e. if the problem is not genetic/inherited hair loss, Regaine is still very good in supporting and helping the hair, also improving hair condition and thickness. Regarding what most of you have described, I agree that diet can help and maintaining high ferritin stores is essential, however both when I was younger and had optimal hair and when the hair started re-growing I can’t say I had high levels of ferritin. But this just serves as an example of how each body works differently. What I’m sure about however is that stress is a highly contributing factor, sometimes initiating health conditions which consequently have an effect on our hair or other “organs” in our body.

All the best

jenny August 14, 2009 at 6:36 am

A note: just to make clear, I have not any financial or other interests in the products mentioned in my story, it’s just what I happened to use.

Another point: this scientific paper on Florisene is from 2002, and I thought some of you might find it useful, found it during one of my searches:
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/120096710/HTMLSTART

CAB August 18, 2009 at 9:49 am

Hi everyone,

My story is a little different because it’s not about me, but my 5 year old daughter. She began losing her hair (200-300 a day) back at the start of June). I’ve been to both my family doctor and a dermatologist. She was diagnosed with Telogen Effluvium and we were told to wait and it should improve by Sept. Well, now in mid-August I have yet to see any real improvements and have paid out of pocket to get the opinion of a trichologist. the trichologist suggested that her hair loss could be due to her ferritin levels (27). So now it’s back to my family doctor to try to convince him to give her iron supplements, but my family doctor is not fond of doing anything about anything, EVER!

I just wanted to share our story…. for her sake I hope that if it is TE it will resolve on its own. But from what I’m reading it could very well be her ferritin levels

missmyhair09 September 3, 2009 at 11:11 am

i don’t want to alarm anyone but my ferritin levels have been -1 to 4 since 2002 with no hair loss. now at a ferritin level of 4 i started losing in Nov ’08. so i’m not sure low iron stores is my culprit anyway. if my hair loss is due to low iron well no one told me to take the iron or your hair will fall out! :o( idk maybe mine is hormones but those came back normal. i’m at a loss

Samie September 17, 2009 at 7:09 am

I found out last week that my ferritin level is 6. As you can imagine, I am suffering pretty bad hair loss. Right now, my doc has me taking prenatals and 45mg of Slow FE, but after reading all of your stories, I am worried that it might not be enough …
How long can it take before my hair loss slows down?

patsy September 19, 2009 at 2:52 am

Hi Samie, mine went up fast (from 27 to 60 in 2 month) but I am taking 400mg a day with vtC and lysine and I noticed a difference on my hair loss. I ‘ve just have a blood test and I will get my result next week.good luck, it does work.

Aer September 23, 2009 at 9:27 am

I have a question re how to understand one’s ferriten test results. Perhaps this has been already answered here, but can’t find the answer. My gyn’s office just called to tell me my lab results. They gave me 3 different numbers re my ferriten — 278, 104, and 37. (Plus I got a separate reading for my hemoglobin.)

I didn’t catch what the first two numbers were labeled, but the “37” was my iron saturation. Does that number (iron saturation) refer to the “iron stores” discussed above? If not, what part of one’s ferriten labs do tell you your “iron stores”? I had the basic ferriten blood work done as usual — so now am very confused which of any of these numbers to look at. Especially as the nurse kept saying my levels were fine. I need to know, as, if the “37” really refers to my iron stores — than I would think that my irons stores are actually low re preventing hair loss/growing hair.

Any information much appreciated!
Best,
Aer

Mac September 26, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Hello,

My level was zero. My doctor told me I was the lowest she had seen and put me on an iron regimen. I am still very low and she thinks she will put me in the hospital to give me an iron infusion because it does not seem to help. I am losing my hair and feel tired all the time. Has anyone ever experience this and how long until you felt better?

patsy September 29, 2009 at 5:26 am

Hi everyone this my last results. 2 months ago my ferritin was at 6o and now is at 130, I am very pleased with the progress but my doctor wants me to reach the 300. I can said that it makes a big difference to my hair loss and now I am waiting for the regrow. My tsh is too high (5.6) but I dont want to raise my dose in case my hair will start to fall. Will keep you posted with my progress. There is hope so be strong and patient.

Tatyana October 1, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Patsy, what is your regime for taking iron?
Also I have an observation to share. I think when we take iron we need to watch out for zinc and if we take zinc on top of that, to watch out for copper.
I still can’t find balance between iron and zinc, how much i can take zinc and how often a week? I am sure that high dosage of iron depletes iron and causes hair loss and splitting nails.
Let me know your thoughts.

Tatyana October 1, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Patsy, I just saw your posting, are you taking 400 mg elemental iron or the other type? for example 350 equals between 50 -60 elemental iron in different brands. I just want to confirm to see if I am taking enough.

patsy October 2, 2009 at 6:12 am

Hi Tatyana, I was taking 420mg of ferrous fumarate(fersamal) but I am down to 220mg now. I also take lysine 500mg,zinc 15mg, vitamin c and EPO 1000MG. What is your ferritin level at the moment? and have you got any condition like under working thyroid?. My hair texture is changing now and I know i need to raise my medicine but my hair loss is much better and I dont want to risk it. Hope this is helpful to you .

Samie October 15, 2009 at 6:24 am

Patsy,
THANK YOU so much for taking the time to read my comment and for answering my question. I saw my doctor yesterday and got another blood test done. My ferritin level went from 6 to 20, in four weeks. Even though I’m still very low – any progress is welcome. My hair is still falling out, since the ferritin level must be around 90 for the re-growth. All I need to do now is continue my regime of Iron (28mg in the morning, 45 mg slow release in the early afternoon and 65mg at bedtime) and be patient.
I have also noticed that besides wanting to sleep at all times and being constantly tired … I am also freezing all the time. When the ferritin levels are low, it can also affect the immune system, so don’t be surprised if you are having hard time fighting off a cold, an infection or any other disease. Also, it takes months to get this condition under control, so patience is crucial.
Good luck to all of us ladies.

Julie October 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm

I haven’t visited any of these hair loss sites in about a month, mostly because my situation improved and I don’t feel a need for it anymore. This past spring and summer, however, I spent countless hours scouring any hair loss site and/or message board looking for help. I often found myself a bit depressed and frustrated, because it felt that everyone was in the same boat as me and trying all sorts of things to improve the situation. I searched for positive stories from women who’d lost their hair and had it grow back, all in an effort to find a success story that would give me hope. I found nothing. I wondered at the time if there were no success stories because once women had their situations improve, they no longer visited these sites and just moved on with their lives. I promised myself that if my hair grew back and things got better, that I would write so I could give other women something to look forward to. I know each situation is different and my results might not be the same for you, but for some it could be. Don’t give up.
Six years ago in 2003, I had a patch of alopecia areata on the side of my head. It was about the size of two quarters. One month later, my underactive thyroid was diagnosed, I went on Synthroid, and the hair grew back.
In April, 2009, my hairdresser discovered a large bald patch on the back of my head. It was about the size of two or three quarters — totally bald and shiny. Thankfully, I had long hair that covered this patch, but it was still alarming. Prior to this, I had noticed a dramatic increase in my hair shedding. A few weeks after the first patch was detected, spots on the top of my head developed. These were smaller — about a dime size — but still bald. Simultaneously, I was losing tons of hair, so much that I counted it when I combed it. Some days I counted 400 hairs. The crown of my scalp was getting so, so thin. I had to “work my part” to try to cover it, but it really wasn’t enough.
The day after my hairdresser discovered my bald patch, I went to my general practitioner. He immediately ran blood tests. My thyroid results were fine, but my iron levels were really, really low. My ferritin level was at .9 — point nine, not nine. This doctor definitely thought the hair loss was the result of low iron. Two weeks later, I saw a dermatologist who dismissed any connection to iron and said it’s classic alopecia areata. Although I trusted her, I had a hard time thinking the iron wasn’t connected.
I immediately started taking iron supplements, and took this very seriously. Last month, my ferritin was tested and went up to 68! It was very slow at first, but eventually it shot up. Here’s what I did:

1) I took ferrous sulfate 325 mg. 2x per day, and ferrous gluconate 1x per day. I always took it on an empty stomach. Twenty minutes before taking it, I took Lysine and Vitamin C. This way my body was ready to receive the iron. I made sure to wait at least a half hour before eating anything so food wouldn’t interfere with the absorption.
2) I took my thyroid medication right away upon waking. Then I waited at least five hours before taking my first dose of iron so it wouldn’t contradict it. (So I’d take thyroid meds around 6 am; my first dose of iron around 12; my second around 3; and my fourth around bedtime.)
3) I did have coffee in the morning, but I avoided coffee, cola, and all teas (including herbal) during the rest of the day. The tannins in these drinks can interfere with iron, and I didn’t want that to happen.
4) I took biotin, which is supposed to aid in hair growth.
5) I prayed.

Although my hair isn’t quite as thick as it was in my younger days, it’s so much better than it was in the spring. My patches have filled in, and the thinness on the crown is noticeably better. In fact, when I look in the mirror I see little “shoots” of hair sticking out. I figure this is new growth.
Hair loss is very frustrating, discouraging, and even scary. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit how much it consumed me. I just want all of you to know that there is hope!!!

Also — in March I had other symptoms, mostly digestive, that made me realize I might have a gluten sensitivity. On March 1, I started a gluten free diet, which is hard but worth it considering how I feel. My doctor thinks that the intestinal issues resulting from gluten in my diet stopped me from absorbing my iron. I haven’t eaten any gluten since then, and I wonder if this is why my iron levels were finally able to increase.
Good luck and good health to all of you. Hang in there!

patsy October 17, 2009 at 4:47 am

Julie.Thank you for all your positive comments and for keeping in touch with us, we need it. As you all know my ferritin is now at 130.(it was at 27 5 months ago) and my hair is not falling as bad .but my tsh is going up 5.6,and i start to notice that the texture of my hair is changing(coarse). The doctor wanted to raise my medicine from 75 mcg to 100 mcg but i am so worried to take it in case my hair starts to fall as before. Or the reason my hair hasnt stopped shedding completly is maybe because 75 mcg is not enough for me and I should try 100 mcg. could somebody advice me on that matter. thank you

Tatyana November 4, 2009 at 9:40 pm

I want to give a little update. I started taking natural sources raw thyroid ( you can it up on iher.com or amazon or just google it), it has been just 4 days and my temp went up! weird. My tsh is 2.75 – 2.96, but all the signs of hypothyroidism. The temp has been 96 for a long time and now it is 97.8, which is good. I have been sleeping for 9-10 hours a day and still feeling tired, now I sleep less hours. My hair is still falling out, but I did not eat much during August and i lost weight, I want to stay skinny. I think lack of protein caused my hair loss, I aim for 50-60 mg of protein daily now.

Tatyana November 5, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I just found out that my ferritin did not go up for the past 6 months! it went up up to 5 within 3 months but I switched to ferrous fumarate which is better absorbable. Question, I was taking zinc for the past 3 months around 30 mg could it affect my iron and bring it down? Is it better to take iron 3 times a day instead of taking 3 pills all at once?

Judy November 7, 2009 at 10:32 am

Hi everyone, for those of you that are having trouble getting your iron levels up, and this has been mentioned on this site before, one of the most common, but undiagnosed reasons for iron deficiency is celiac sprue disease. Try to stop eating gluten and see how much more rapidly your ferritin levels will go up. Also you’ll feel so much better. Best of health to everyone.

Aer November 9, 2009 at 7:48 am

I posted a question about understanding ferritin levels back in September — and am still wondering if anyone can help me. My gyn tested my iron/ferritin levels because of my hair loss. The results broke down my levels into 4 different numbers including 3 for different aspects of ferritin and 1 for hemoglobin levels. They were not able to tell me which of the various numbers corresponded to the “ferritin/iron stores” you all are referring to.

My only number that seemed low was for my iron saturation, which was 37. The other two numbers were 278 and 104, but forget which aspects of ferritin they refer to.

I was clearly given the same blood tests as everyone else, so can someone help me figure out which of these numbers I should be looking at re my iron stores? Is it the saturation level (37)? If so, then according the information of this site, I’m somewhat low. Both my gyn and dermatologist said my iron was fine, but didn’t seem to know anything about the issue of not being able to grow hair back below a certain level (70?) — and losing hair below (40?)? The dermatologist didn’t know anything about any studies in this regard and was very dismissive.

I’d appreciate any help in interpreting my results, especially as the post above re celiac may be relevant for me as well. (A few years ago I had an equivocal celiac tests results: blood/labs were very positive for celiac, but the biopsy was negative.)

Thanks!
aer

Tatyana November 9, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Aer, why don’t you look at the range test results and eliminate the ones that the range is off ( for example 30-50), I might be wrong but ferritin level range is sometimes 20-150/200 and 30 -200. Also get a copy of the test from the lab it shows the name of the test and the result.

Male: 12-300 ng/mL
Female: 12-150 ng/mL
Note: ng/ml = nanograms per milliliter
The lower the ferritin level, even within the “normal” range, the more likely it is that the patient does not have enough iron.

Judy November 11, 2009 at 10:43 am

I have bees taking a iron supplement from my doctor for the past 7 months. My Ferritin was 30 with normal range being between 30-250. My doctor told me to aim for a level of 100 or more. The first 5 months my level did not increase at all it actually went down a bit. Once I started taking L-lysyne with the iron along with vitamin C which I had taken from the beginning it went from 30 to 70 in 6 weeks. I am waiting a hoping it will be up close to 100 next visit. Research I have done says it takes 2 months after getting levels up to stop shedding and another 406 months for regrowth to be noticeable so this is a long process taking well over a year but I am hopeful. The hair is healthier for sure but still thin. I am also taking provollis and many other supplements.

Judy November 11, 2009 at 10:44 am

Oops I meant 4-6 months not 406 months :)

elle November 23, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Hello. I am 26 years old. I have had long, thick, wavy hair for years. My hair always got compliments, and I admit that I was proud of my mane. I never did anything to it–I never blow-dried it or used styling products. Just twisted it up in hair sticks and let it air-dry.

I was really sick in September. Had back-to-back kidney infections and so I was on very strong antibiotics for a few weeks. Then, in early October, I went to pull my hair back, and, looking in the mirror, I gasped out loud…I could see my scalp in several places. It seemed to happen overnight, although I can’t recall large clumps falling out in the shower. At the same time, I found out from a blood test (which I had taken before my hair loss) that my iron level was at 10, EXTREMELY low. My doctor recommended Floradix, so I began taking that. I also started eating red meat for the first time in 3 years.

I began researching exhaustively what I should and shouldn’t eat for iron absorption. I analyzed my diet: one potential problem was green tea–I drank several cups a day (who knew? it’s always being touted for its health benefits). I also eat lots of whole grains, and I’ve read that the phytic acid in them interferes with iron absorption. I now have an exhaustive list of “don’ts” when I take my iron (oxalate-, tannin-, & calcium-rich foods, as well as eggs). I’m so confused as to how far apart I should space everything…because the foods that are high in oxalates are good for you! (Vegetables, fruits, nuts).

Here I am, six weeks later, religiously taking iron & VitC, in addition to B12, B complex, folate, and brewer’s yeast. My hair is still falling out. I have seen no new growth. I’m also engaged and I can’t look at wedding websites without the ever-present “What IF?” hanging over me–what if my hair keeps falling out? What if it doesn’t grow back? What if everyone can tell? Will I be wearing a wig on my wedding day? I feel so vain for being so upset, but losing my hair has been, truthfully, emotionally devastating. I try not to cry. Some days I won’t look in the mirror. But when I comb out my hair in the shower, the clump that I find knocks the wind out of me every time. I dread looking at my comb, to be honest. A few days will pass where I’ll try to be positive, and then I’ll just break down and sob.
I don’t want to leave my house. I worry if people on the subway standing behind me can see the bald spots. I worry when the wind blows my carefully parted hair–can someone see what I’m trying to hide? I feel helpless. My doctor said I have to wait 3 months before checking my iron levels again. Well, as of now, about 60% of my hair is gone. I don’t know what will be left in another few months. What am I supposed to do in the meantime? What should I do differently? What if something else is wrong? Should I work with a nutritionist? Why isn’t this a bigger deal to doctors?
I feel…just so…devastated. Horrified. Ugly. Humiliated. Helpless.

Please tell me that there is hope.

Tatyana November 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Elle, there is a hope, I am sure that antibiotics you were taking killed good and bad stuff and in your body and flashed out lots of minerals from your body. I read that antibiotics may cause hair loss, also you had a kidney infection, I bet you are lacking some vitamins and minerals. You should start taking probiotic, eat plain yogurt and take a good supplement. From what I know, antibiotics kill good bacteria and cause bad digestion and absorption. I also started taking protein shake that has vitamins, minerals and some herbs to balance out my food intake in case I don’t eat enough nutrients during the day ( and I am positive, I am lacking some).
Find out may be there is a supplement/herb for a kidney support, you should ask your doctor if you can take it.

sanders December 7, 2009 at 9:36 am

Polycystic ovary disease, PCOS, GO AND CHECK THE SYMPTOMS OF THIS COMPARED TO YOUR SYMPTOMS. IT TOOK ME FOREVER B4 A DOCTOR FINALLY DIAGNOIS ME. YOUR LOW IRON MAY ONLY BE A SYMPTOM AS WELL & NOT THE ROOT CAUSE OF HAIR LOSS.

carey December 8, 2009 at 11:19 am

I have been loosing my hair slowly for about 10 months. I had surgery in march09 and Nov.09 both left me loosing a lot of blood. After the first surgery I noticed hair loss and spoke with two doctors. The conclusion was my throid was low just a tad. So I took synthroid and hated it so I just stopped. My hair seemed to get better so I let the worry go. A few months before my Nov. surgery I decided to stop eatting meat. I felt fine! So I went into surgery in Nov. and the very next day my hair began to fall out BAD! Through many docs.and tests the results are my throid is little low but my ferritin is 9. I have since of coarse started eatting meat again I eat if for every meal. My Derm. told me he wanted me taking 1000 mg of iron and I am trying. On top of eatting I eat lots of veggies and a table spoon of black strap mollasses a day (yuck)! I use Rogain for women and I do think it helps a little. I just ordered Aminexil and a product called Glutathione which is a master antioxidant. I have been trying to avoid the Spironolactone that was perscribed but I broke down yesterday and started. I also picked up my perscription for Yaz. I want to take the Yaz active pills back to back with no break for a period so that I don’t loose any blood. Aside from the doctors testing my ferritin I’m the one who has come to them with every idea and they just comply for which I’m not sure is a good or bad thing. All this may seem like a lot but I am a hairstylist and have been for 13 years my world revolves around hair. I know I should wait to see if one thing works before I start another but I just can’t! I’m so sad I don’t want to leave the house anymore and I still have hair. From what I have read is sounds like a vicious cycle and that is so scary. I know that I am doing everything within my power to slow this process. I have labs to go check my levels when ever I want. I am going to give it 4 more weeks and then I’m going to have mt ferritin checked and my kidneys.(because of the spironolactone) This web site has helped me so much. I come and read something new everyday. I hope to be able to let you guys know that something worked and soon. I won’t go down without a fight.

Mia December 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Hi,

I am a 23 year old girl who has been suffering hair loss a while. I first noticed it at age 19 – I was a freshman in college, under tremendous stress that landed me in the hospital for a few days. I had what most considered gorgeous hair, quite thick and shiny. I would receive compliments on it often. Ever since the age of 13, i’ve had a small bald spot at my hairline. I was always conscious of it growing up and as a result, never tied my hair back in a ponytail when out. During my freshman year, I noticed that my hair felt thinner and thinner when I wrapped my hand around it. It worried me a great deal but I didn’t do anything about it. Over the next three years in college, I didn’t notice any more thinning, although my hair never grew back to the thickness it was before college. I was upset at how thin it had become, but was happy that it didn’t seem to be getting any thinner. A year and a half ago, I graduated college and started working a 100+ hour/week job…very high stress…and started ordering in food to the office every day. The stress was unmanagable, and was compounded by the fact that I had started noticing my hair thinning rapidly and was getting less than 5 hours of sleep a night. Over the course of a year, my hair thinned to the point where a lot of my scalp was seen. When my hair is wet, my scalp looks even worse. I’m not sure if i’m shedding excessively (I do notice a lot comes out in the shower and throughout the day but i’m not sure if that’s just because i’m looking for it and paying active attention to it). It really is DEVASTATING. My father started balding in his 40’s but all the women in my family have thick hair which has just naturally thinned as they got into their 50’s and 60’s. No woman in my immediate family has androgenic alopecia. I got a blood test done recently and had a ferritin level of 9 which is low. I was put on Slow Fe and was also told to take L-lysine. What worries me the MOST is that when I examine hairs that fall out, I notice that the “thickness” or diameter of the hair near the root is visibly thinner than the diameter halfway down the shaft or near the ends (my hair is about 12 inches long). This is worrying me EXCESSIVELY because I was told that hair should be fairly uniform throughout. I’ve seen multiple dermatologists / hair specialists some of whom have told me it’s due to stress/low iron and others who have said androgenetic alopecia. What i am wondering is:

1) Has any one else on this forum noticed the diameter of their hair getting thinner towards the root? Is that definitely due to androgenetic alopecia?

2) Can stress / poor nutrition / very low ferritin cause the type of hair loss I am describing?

Like many other women here, I am devastated by this and am constantly in tears. It’s hard for me to imagine actually being able to do any of the things I wanted to in life, such as have a successful career, get married, and have children. I recently quit my job due to the immense stress of working on wall street and now have a much more relaxed job that allows me to get enough sleep. I’ve also started making an effort to cook nutritious food and not eat meals in the office.

I would sincerely appreciate responses to my post, especially in regards to the two questions I have posted. I’m trying to stay positive…

s December 12, 2009 at 5:19 am

I want to thank all of you for your stories and advice concerning hair loss. I started to notice my hair loss when I was 17. I am now 31. I actually was anemic in high school and was prescribed iron pills but I was a teen who really did not take anything seriously, so I stopped taking them. Big mistake. My hair has gradually fallen out over the years, all over my head, it is brittle and frizzy and really really thin. I am running out of ways to style my hair. I spend a long time in the mirror trying to figure out what to do with it, eventually I give up and put it in a pony tail and lots of hair spray. Uugh!

I also have problems with dry scalp especially toward the back of the scalp. I don’t know if that is contributing to my hair loss. I have never been to a professional to discuss my hair loss, because it is an embarrassing subject for me. I also was not aware of iron playing a major role in hair loss.

I am going to purchase 325mg of ferrous sulfate, vit c, and lysine, today, and I will report back if I see results.

Does anyone know how many mg of lysine and vit c a person should take with 325 mg of Iron?

elle January 14, 2010 at 10:10 am

Tatyana, thank you so much for your encouraging message. You are right about the antibiotics–they really wreak havoc. I have heard different things about corn silk tea and daffodil tea both aiding kidney function, but I’ve had a hard time finding corn silk. Probiotics are a great idea.

Update–I got my ferritin tested recently, and the level has increased from 10 to 45!! (timespan: about 16 weeks). My B12 is now 1475 (does that sound dangerous?!).

Mia-
I also had several other tests done for hormones and the hair pull test–everything was normal. So I narrowed it down to the iron levels. But don’t rule out those possibilities. And yes, from what I’ve been told, low iron absolutely impacts hair loss. So does stress. Good for you in switching jobs.

If anyone is curious about my iron-taking regimen, I was taking the liquid supplement Floradix for awhile, but it was a little too costly. I found a great vegetable-based iron supplement called MegaFood (it’s a pill form). You can find it at Whole Foods or other natural stores. I also take that with a chewable vitamin C supplement (not time-released–you want it all at once), a vitamin B complex, and a Vit B12. I try to buy supplements that are more readily absorbed–those that dissolve in your mouth or are chewable. It’s really important to space your iron out from coffee and tea!
I wait at least two hours after my 1 cup of coffee to take all my medicine. I also eat breakfast with my coffee, but basically don’t eat for two hours before taking the pills, or 2 hours after.
The list of foods that interfere with iron absorption is too long for me, so to be on the safe side, I just take everything on an empty stomach. (If you choose to eat with your iron, remember than anything with loads of CALCIUM or FIBER can be detrimental. Foods that are high in phytic acid and oxalic acid can also interfere.)
Later on in the day, I also take a supplement called Maxi-Hair (again, found at Whole Foods) that has lots of minerals for hair, as well as horsetail and silica. It also has zinc, which is important for those taking iron supplements (the two should not be taken together).

I hope this all helps. I have not noticed any new hair growth, and my hair loss seems unchanged, but I am encouraged by my iron stores…I’m hanging in there until my ferritin gets to 70+.

Sam January 18, 2010 at 5:23 am

Hi,

I have started having hair loss. I am 43 Female living in the UK. I also have Coeliac Disease which was diagnosed in 2005. I put my hair loss down this but 4 years on I feel it has gradually got thinner. I did go to my GP and although he said my iron levels were low he said they were acceptable when I pushed him more for my reserves he said they were at 13, when I asked him what was normally he said anything between 13 and 300. I had to push him for the tables but he put me on a course of 210mg to be taken 3 times a day. Is there anything else I should be asking for or can be doing?

Kind regards

Sam

patsy January 20, 2010 at 1:46 am

Hi Sam, I also live in england and like you my ferritin level was at 27 and believe me yours is far too low. It took me a few months to go to 27 to 125, but 70 is enough for hair It could be the cause of your shedding. Mine was an under active thyroid and I can now report that my hair loss after 18 months of hell stopped after I reached a ths of 0.8. The best advice that I can give you is to do your own research and demand any test you think will help you and dont wait for your doctor to help you as they do not care about hairloss.To help you to absorb iron you need to take Lysine(500mg) and vitamin C. I wish you good luck

Sam January 20, 2010 at 7:46 am

Hi Patsy,

Thank you so much for this info. I have never heard of Lysine, I will try anything as the whole thing is just so upsetting. Thanks again.

Sam x

patsy January 20, 2010 at 8:14 am

You can get it from your local health shop, I found one combined with zinc wich is also good for hair loss. Let me know how you get on

Victoria January 28, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Hello all,

After readings the comments I decided to share my success story and encourage you to not loose hope in your fight for hair. I’m 27 years old, healthy female. I started shedding massive amounts of hair in August 2009. I would loose about 200-300 hair a day and my ponytail was thinning fast. I decided to go for a shorter haircut. It wasn’t the first time I had ferritin related hair loss. I had an exactly similar experience about 4 years ago, but then stopped taking iron supplements for the last 2 years and the problem came back. At least I knew where to start. So I went to check my ferritin levels and mine was at 27. Mid September I started taking ferrous sulfate 65mg 2x a day. Heavy hair shedding continued for another 2 months. Beginning of a third month after starting the treatment I felt a slight improvement. I was loosing about 150 hairs daily. Beginning of January (that is, four months later) I was feeling yet more improvement and I was loosing almost insignificant amount of hair (something like 20-30 a day). For the first time I felt I’m not afraid to wash and comb my hair anymore. This is when I did my my second ferritin test and it came up at 53. Two weeks later I’m still improving. I see some hair growth and most importantly the small hair is not falling out anymore. I hope that when I reach 70 I will have more regrowth.
I wanted to share a few tips with you. First you have avoid tea and coffee because tannins found in these drings inhibit iron absorption. You have to avoid milk and all milk products such as cheese or cream. Do not take these products together with your iron supplements and space them at least 2 hours apart. I’ve seen that other people have also mentioned calcium, magnesium supplements as inhibiting iron absorption.
For those who have sensitive stomachs, consider heme iron in form of natural beef extract. I’m taking Energizing Iron in form of beef liver extract as well as ferrous sulfate.

I wish you all the best and I hope that you will get your hair back. Just don’t give up!

Lori February 8, 2010 at 10:35 am

Victoria, thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s nice to hear uplifting ones. So many of the posts are all in the beginning stages of diagnosis and very few show longer term results. It would be wonderful to hear back from everyone to know how they are doing now.

As for me, I too suffer from low ferritin (18) and I started SlowFE (sensitive stomach – hope this works!) 2 weeks ago and Rogaine Foam 5% a month ago. My shedding is horrible and depressing, but I am hanging in there and hoping that everything will be reversible with time.

Quick question – is it recommended to avoid tea and coffee altogether or just within the 2 hour timeframe of taking the iron?

Thanks and good luck to everyone!

Tatyana February 9, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Hi, I just wanted to share my observation. As soon as I start taking iron, my hair falls out even more than before I used to take it and I get dandruff. I could not put all things together and I realized that I do not take enough of zinc, as soon as I started taking 30 mg of zinc daily, plus all my vitamins and iron and vitamin D at night, my hair loss drastically improved, my dandruff almost is gone. I never any dandruff before so I think that high dose of iron was depleting zinc. Just a food of thought, please take a look at prenatal vitamins they balance zinc is 15 and iron is 30, 2:1. It is not a good idea to balance all the iron we take with zinc but 30 sounds very reasonable and safe. For hypothyroid people out there, please take vitamin D, it does work, I feel so much better and I feel warm now all the time! Also I eat 3 kernels of Brazil nut to cover selenium, it is very vital for thyroid and HAIR LOSS too! So I think the balance of iron, zinc, vitamin D and selenium helped. Also do not forget about copper when you take zinc, I have it in my multivitamins so I do not worry about it.

Victoria February 14, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Hi Lori!

I really hope that your hair shedding will stop very soon and everything will go back to the good hair times ! My opinion is that you will START seeing improvement when your ferritin reaches 40-50. Which means, it may take up to 3 months for you to reach 40 and to feel a difference because you are starting at a low 18… I suggest that during this time you try to forget about the shedding, take your iron (and maybe vitamins) regularly and just wait it out and see what happens. That’s what I have done. After that the hair shedding should decrease gradually and eventually (and hopefully) it will stop falling and star growing back.

Concerning tea and coffee, I think it should be enough if you consume them 2 hours before or after taking iron supplements. I didn’t cut off these drinks entirely, although I reduced their quantities and sometimes I replace them with a herbal tea (for the peace of mind).

I wish you all the best and I hope your story will also be about success!

Pilar March 4, 2010 at 8:25 am

Hello everyone!

I too, have been suffering from low ferrin hair loss. In November of 2009 I noticed I was shedding more that normal amounts of hair – I thought maybe it was due to coloring my hair a few weeks prior. Well on November 27 I went and saw my doctor and had some blood work done. She tested my TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Thyroid Antibodies, all hormones, an ANA test, liver and kidney function and of course a CBC. Everything came out normal expect my CBC and ferritin. My RBC was low, hemoglobin was an 8 and my ferritin showed up as <5! My doctor said she wasn’t positive, but thought that maybe the anemia was causing the hair loss. She prescribed Ferrex 28 (150 mg elemental iron, B12, Folic Acid and Vitamin C). On December 21, 2009, I decided to see a hematologist in hopes that he would have a better idea of what was happening. Again, blood work was done and my all my levels had slightly improved – but still anemic. My ferritin 3 weeks after starting supplements was up to 15. The hematologist also didn’t seem too sure if the anemia or low ferritin was the cause of the rapid shedding. I told him about ALL the articles and forums that I saw online that connected hair loss with low iron stores. He did seem interested in hearing what I had to say, but also suggested I see a dermatologist. During this visit he told me about IV Iron infusions and how they would be a quicker way to raise my ferritin levels. But suggested I stay on the supplements for another month to see how my levels rise.

End of January I went for another blood test. I was still shedding tons of hair but had also noticed a lot of little hairs growing in along my hair line and a few along my part. But these little hairs were also shedding. My results came back and my RBC and Hemoglobin were getting closer to normal levels and ferritin was a 28.

A week ago I had my blood tested again (the doctor wants to check my levels once a month). This time around my hemoglobin and RBC were norma and ferritin up to 35. The shedding is still about the same but I don’t feel as tired and cold all the time. Along with the shedding I have also experienced RLS, extreme fatigue, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, itchy and dry scalp (I’ve always had an oily scalp, but I don’t think the winter cold and indoor heat is helping) and heart palpitations.

It’s been a little over 3 months since I’ve been taking 150 mg of elemental iron with L-lysine and the shedding still continues. I know it’ll probably take a little longer for me since I did start with a ferritin that was less than 5. I am happy to say that even though the EXTREME shedding continues, I have a lot of little hairs popping up everywhere. I’m just scared that if the shedding continues at this rate, the new hairs won’t be able to keep up with the amount that’s lost. When the shedding first began it seemed like it was mostly in the front and now it’s more the sides and back. I think that’s why the little hairs I’m seeing seem to be in the front and top since those were the first hairs to shed. Has anyone else seen this happen to them?

This whole experience has been so hard and depressing. I’ve always had a lot of thick hair, ALL MY LIFE! It’s also hard since my fiance is a hair stylist at a high end salon in NYC. Luckily, he’s been giving me trims to make my hair look a lot better. When this this started, I had long thick hair past my bra strap. It was nicely layered and I always got compliments. A lot of my friends and family tell me that they can’t notice, but I notice.

Victoria — Thank you for story! It’s very inspiring and postive :) I see that you were also losing the small hairs before your levels got to 53 – during this time did you also notice that the rest of your hair was also growing? Even though I’ve been shedding large amounts of hair, the rest of my hair continues to grow.

I’ve also started to eat more red meat. Before this happened I was eating red meat once a week, now I’m eating it 3-4 times a week. I’ve also started taking Andrew Lessman’s Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails supplements (this has Biotin, Sulfur, Silica and a lot of other B vitamins) and omega 3.

I’m really, really, really hoping the shedding stops soon and more beautiful hair starts growing! I have my fingers crossed, not only for myself, but for all the ladies that are also going through this.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences!

Pilar

Pilar March 4, 2010 at 8:36 am

As if my last post wasn’t long enough (sorry) — I forgot to mention that I was also Vitamin D defecient, which has also been shown to cause hair loss. My levels were at a 12 and normal levels are between 32-100. I was prescribed 50,000 units of Vitamin D, to take once a week for 8 weeks. After 8 weeks my levels were up to 42. But after finishing my prescription and only taking 2,000 units per day, my levels went back down to a 32. Today I’m going in to see my primary care to see if I can get another prescription for the Vitamin D.

Sam March 8, 2010 at 2:53 am

Hi Patsy ,

As promised an update. My F Levels have increased from 13 to 27 which my doctor said was normal but my hair loss has slowed down nothing has grown back and I quoted statements fromt his web site and he is now referring me to a specialist so wanted to thank you. I told him 27 is still not high enough to get my hair growing again.

Sam (Durham, UK)

patsy March 8, 2010 at 9:32 am

Hi Sam, pleased to hear that your hairloss slow down and you are right , it has to be 70 for your hair to grow back and if your problem is a low ferritin then it will grow back for sure. what specialist are you going to see?

Lori March 8, 2010 at 11:23 am

Hi everyone. Just wanted to give an update since it’s been exactly a month from when I last wrote in and I hope by sharing my news, I will be able to help others.

All my labs still check out normal, with the exception of ferritin. However, my ferritin level went from 18 to 50 in just 6 weeks from when I started taking iron!! I am thrilled at the jump and hope that it continues. I think I have seen a slight slow down on my shedding, but it is still happening.

As for my regimen, I have started adding red meat and more fish to my diet every week and I also try to eat other foods and snacks that have iron in them. I take Slow FE twice a day and make sure not to eat anything 2 hours before or after. My first dose I take in the mid-afternoon with a glass of orange juice and the second dose at night is proceeded 20 minutes before with a Lysin pill and a vitamin C pill. I have also cut down my caffeine to just one cup a day (I don’t even drink decaf or iced tea anymore) and I have a strict daily regimen of vitamins. I weeded out some of my vitamins that I used to take (such as zinc, folic acid, etc) to play it safe, but I take a multi vitamin which should cover those omitted. In addition to the multi, I take Primrose Oil, Fish Oil, and 10mg of Biotin. A few times a week I will add some Muralax to a glass of water because I find the iron to be pretty binding.

And to top everything off, I do the Rogaine foam twice a day and try to wash my hair only once a week. I probably could do it more, but I find the hair loss from monkeying with it to be heartbreaking.

What a regimen! My husband thinks I am going a little overboard, but I disagree and think it is worth it.

One thing that I would like to mention is that I have an extremely sensitive stomach and I was taking the Slow FE (which is supposed to be gentle on the stomach) for that reason. I purchased the generic CVS brand and had no trouble whatsoever. But when it ran out, I bought the regular Slow FE brand (which has the same amount of Ferrous Sulfate, but is composed differently) and I was only able to take it for 3 days because it gave me horrible stomach pains! When I switched back to the CVS brand, I was absolutely fine. Go figure.

So, that is the scoop.

I wish everyone the very, very best and will be back in touch with updates in the future.

Pilar March 10, 2010 at 9:02 am

Hi Lori,

That’s awesome that your ferritin has gone up so quickly – and that the shedding has slowed. I went from 18 to 35 in 7 weeks (I started at <5). I have also been eating more red meat, taking Lysine, Biotin and Fish Oil. I’m hoping all this will help and the shedding will slow down and eventually stop. Once I got in the 20’s I noticed I had some regrowth around my hairline and some on the top, but some of these hairs are falling and some continue to grow (now about 2 inches long).

Take care and please keep us posted!

Pilar

Anne March 13, 2010 at 7:28 am

I started out with a Iron level of 9 about 3 months ago and so my Dr. put me on 300mg tabs of iron (1-2 per day). At the beginning of the whole process I was losing about 200 or so hairs a day, and I noticed it more in the shower than when my hair was dry. It stressed me out to no end, as I had always had think, long hair and I thought that this stress was causing it to fall faster. After about 2 months of no change in the amount of hair I was losing, it finally started to slow drastically. Now, at 3 months of starting on iron supplements, I am only losing about 10 hairs in the shower and am not even counting the ones I lose throughout the day because it is so small I don’t notice it. I have not noticed much re-growth other than about 10 or so new hairs on my hair line, but I won’t give up hope that I will get my hair back!

Sam March 15, 2010 at 8:31 am

Hi Pasty,

Not sure what the specialist is called, the Doctor said he was someone that knew about blood and iron levels, he said he was a consultant. Once I know more I will let you know. I am armed with all my info as I have a habit of leaving without asking the right questions.

Speak soon

Sam

Pilar March 16, 2010 at 5:55 am

Hello Anne,

That is wonderful news! I’ve been on iron supplements for a little over 3 months now and I haven’t noticed a slow down in shedding just yet. :( Sometimes it even seems like it gets worst. When you say you started with an iron level of 9, do you mean ferritin? I started out with <5 and 2 weeks ago I had reached 35, but the shedding is still the same. I have noticed a few hairs along my hairline and some on top, but hairs are shedding a lot faster than what’s growing in. Do you know what your ferritin level is at now? All I want more than anything if for the shedding to slow down and stop. It’s stressing me out so much.

Wishing everyone all the best!

Pilar

Pilar March 16, 2010 at 7:06 am

Hi Patsy,

I was reading some of your previous posts and found it amazing that your were able to reach a ferritin level of 125. Do you think your hair shedding was caused my an under active thyroid or the low ferritin?

My TSH was 1.83 and Free T 3, Free 4 and antibodies were all normal. You said the shedding stopped once you reaced a TSH of 0.8 – does this mean my TSH might be too high?

Pilar

Pilar March 16, 2010 at 10:41 am

Do any of you ladies notice more shedding after your period or after blood is taken for tests? I had my period and blood taken twice during a 2 week period….so I lost precious iron. In the last 2 weeks I’ve noticed an increase in shedding.

patsy March 18, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Hi Pilar, my low ferritin level had nothing to do with my hairloss as I reached 125 for a while now and I did not noticed any difference. Yes my hairloss was getting better but bad news I started to loose them again. I think my TSH is off as I noticed my hair is coarse and felling tired, constipated. The problem is i cant keep my TSH level. But I have asked my doctors to check my sex hormones , vit D, and my T3. to answer your question, i think your TSH is fine, 1 or 2 is the level where people feel the best and without hair loss. Anyway from a ferritin of 5 to 35 in 2 weeks is great, but you need to reach 70 to see any change . good luck and keep in touch

laurenlipko March 22, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Hi,
I’ve been told I have androgenic alopecia but it’s atypical. The top of my head is mostly okay. The miniaturized hairs are on the sides of my head and i’ve lost a lot of hair around my ears. I’ve also lost hair in the pubic area.
I’ve recently started iron, for about 2 months, and I just noticed today, that I have a lot of regrowth in the pubic area. I’m hoping the same thing happens with my head and a part of me still hopes that the miniaturization was caused by iron deficiency. Has anyone experienced the same thing?
thank you so much.
Happy to have found this site.

Pilar March 24, 2010 at 5:19 am

Hi Lauren,

Did you test your ferritin levels?

I’m still experiencing a lot of diffuse shedding all over, but now it seems to be a little more on the side above my ears. It’s been almost 4 months of iron supplements and a ferritin level from <5 to 35. I’m hoping once my ferriting gets higher the shedding will stop.

Wish you and everyone all thes best!

Pilar

Pilar March 24, 2010 at 5:22 am

If I’m not mistaken, it appears that only Victoria has had success with raising her ferritin level and stoping the hair loss (and re-growing her hair — twice). I’ve gone on other HL forums and it seems like everyone first thinks it’s ferritin related and later they find out it’s the thryoid or hormones. Is there anyone else that has seen an improvement in shedding or re-growth from just raising their ferritin levels?

lipko March 24, 2010 at 6:54 am

Hi,
Thanks for the reply.
My ferritin level was 20 and this was after months of taking an iron supplement.I had an appointment with a hair specialist yesterday. He also mentioned zinc as being extremely important. My zinc was too low as well.
I think it’s a combination with everybody. It doesn’t seem to be just one thing. I think with me, it’s iron as well as diet (I’m a vegetarian) and I could be borderline thyroid as well as having female pattern. But I think even if you have female pattern or low thyroid, low iron will just make it much worse!
The doctor did tell me that he has been seeing enormous success with avodart but that not much has been written about it.

Pilar March 24, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I just had my zinc tested and even though it was normal, it was towards the lower end of the range – I wonder if this has also been attributing to my hair loss.

My hair loss became noticable in November 2009 – so I’ve been trying to go over everything that I’ve done of have taken in the months prior to my hair loss and this is what I’ve come up with:

July 2009 – I went to the doctor because I was having kidney pain. They did ultrasounds and found I had blockage. Went to a urologist and she said everything was fine. Pain went away and I’ve been fine since then. Had a follow up ultrasound and everything appeared to be fine.

During the ultrasound they found a 5.2 cm functional ovarian cyst on my right ovary.

Blood work came back that I was severely anemic. Didn’t go back to my primary care for further care. For some stupid reason I figured taking care of the cyst was more important.

Due to all of this, I went through a lot of stress…thinking the worst.

August 2009 – I saw a GYN and she thought it would be a good idea to put me on BCP to help shrink the cyst. I had been off of BCP for over a year and a half. During this time I was also getting a lot of pain in my lower back, not the same as the kidney pain…but lower. My GYN kept telling me that it was probably the cyst causing pain.

Worried that my cyst was going to grow larger, I went online and found some chinese herb supplements that claimed to shrink ovarian cysts. I got a month’s supply and started taking them.

September 2009 – After being on YAZ for a little over a month, I decided I didn’t want to be on BCP and stopped during the middle of my second pack. Scared that it would mess up my hormones, I started taking Vitex, which is recommended for balancing hormones after going off the pill.

I went to see an acupuncturist and he told me my lower back pain wasn’t caused by the ovarian cyst, but that I had 2 herniated discs! So I had 2 herniated discs since August!!!! There were times when I couldn’t get up from bed or even walk!!!! I cried almost every other day because of the pain.

October 2009 – The beginning of Oct. I saw an Orthopedic doctor which confirmed I had 2 herniated discs after x-rays and MRI. That same week I started physical therapy. For the pain I was given Vicodin and Ibuprofen 800 mg. For the entire month of Oct. I was taking 3-4 Ibuprofens a day…after doing some research online, I come to find out that long term use of NSAIDS can cause hair loss!

November 2009 – Middle of the month I finished physical therapy and was back to normal. The beginning of November I was still taking 3 Ibuprofens a day.

Middle of the month I noticed I was shedding A LOT!!!! When I took a shower it looked like there was some kind of furry animal sitting on the drain! It freaked me out sooooo much!

November 24th I started getting really bad panic attacks (because of the HL), where I couldn’t sleep and I was crying and shaking. It was horrible! November 27th I saw my doctor…I had a blood tests and she prescribed Lexapro and Xanax. November 30th my tests showed hormones were normal , thyroid was normal…but I had a ferritin of <5! She prescribed iron supplements and sent me on my way.

December 2009 – Still losing tons of hair and at the end of December I started breaking out bad! I had HUGE cysts on my forehead, chin, jawline and even on my nose!!!! I had never broken out like this. Right before my period I would get 2-3 pimples around my jaw but that was it. I had NEVER had breakouts on my nose or forehead!!! Not even as a teenager. I come to find out that acne is a side effect of Lexapro…and another side effect…HAIR LOSS!

January 2010 – Still losing tons of hair. I decide to wean myself off of the Lexapro. I did it very slowly since I was scared of any withdrawal symptoms.

February 2010 – Still losing tons of hair. Took my last dose of Lexapro Feb. 3rd.

March 2010 – Still losing tons of hair and still breaking out. Had another blood test and my ferritin is now at 35.

I’m just so scared of this hair loss. It’s been 4 months since it all started and I’ve lost about 30-40% of my hair. It seems like there are so many things that could of caused this. Severe emotional stress, going on YAZ and then going off after 1.5 months, taking those chinese herb supplements for a month, taking Vitex for a month, physical stress from the 2 herniated discs and then 1.5 months of continuous use of NSAIDS.

I’m hoping that very soon the shedding will stop. Even though the shedding hasn’t slowed down one bit, I do have re-growth all over my head. Some of the hairs now are 2 inches long. At the beginning I was losing a lot of the little hairs…but that has drastically stopped. I rarely see the little hairs falling out. But still shedding a lot of my old hair. :(

Sorry for the long post. Hoping this might help out someone else.

Again…I wish you all the best!!!!

Pilar

kylie March 26, 2010 at 4:48 am

hi everyone i have thin hair and had my ferratin levels done they read 40% apparently to low and has to be up to 70% and over to see a change in my hair growth , i have been on fero grad tab and lycene for about a month !! does anyone know whne you start to see a difference please

kylie March 26, 2010 at 4:51 am

oh yer forgot to say it is jut thinning on the top .. and since i have been on frero grad tablets, still loosing hair but not as much i dont think but i really hate the waiting game so fustrating ; so just wondering when does the tablets start working .. i am worried ??

Victoria March 26, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I have also noticed that I’m the only one who has a success story. Maybe those who have recovered from hair loss stopped coming back to these forums. But probably for most women hair loss is more complicated that ferritin levels alone. From my experience and research hair loss has high chance to be caused by low ferritin if:
– you are a menstruating young woman
– you have had slow, gradual and diffused hair thinning over a very long period of time. (Sudden hair loss, thinning on the top of the head most likely have other causes)
– you are otherwise healthy: no hormonal imbalances or thyroid dysfunctions
– never took any prescription medication or pills.

A word of caution- when you have your ferritin tested, make sure you feel healthy, as any sign of cold, flu or inflammation in the body will artificially shoot ferritin levels up. The first time I had my ferritin tested I was sick with flu and the results showed that my serum iron was at a low 5 (normal range 6,6–26 µmol/l) , however ferritin levels were normal/high( 63). My doctor coudn’t explain the discrepancy between these numbers, but I still asked to prescribe iron supplements. Two weeks later I retested ferritin and it came back as 27 . I did an extensive research about it and found out that ferritin is very sensitive to any sign of inflammation.

Pilar March 29, 2010 at 5:36 am

Victoria — I just wanted to thank you for your success story and for continually coming back to this forum and giving us some hope!

I see that you were also losing the small hairs before your levels got to 53 – during this time did you also notice that the rest of your hair was growing? Even though I’ve been shedding large amounts of hair (diffusely), the rest of my hair continues to grow. Some of the small hairs have either fallen out or some have grown into 2-3 inch terminal hairs :)

I’m curious where you read that ferritin related hair loss is usually “slow, gradual and diffuse hair thinning over a very long period of time”? Most of the things I’ve read aren’t really clear when it comes to that. Some say sudden hair loss or nothing else regarding the speed of shedding is mentioned. I also saw that in your earlier post, you mentioned you were losing 200-300 hairs per day. Is this considered gradual and slow?

Last week I just reached a level of 40 and I’m hoping it helps with the shedding. I still haven’t noticed a decrease in shedding but still keeping my fingers crossed.

Thanks again for giving us ladies some hope!

Pilar

Sam April 30, 2010 at 1:22 am

Hi Patsy,

I have now been to see the Dr. I was referrred to the Haematology Dept. She has looked at my levels and I am going into hospital next Wednesday for a Iron Infusion. The Dr said it will be instant so hopefully I will be bouncing off the walls again and my hair will start to grow. I did ask her about having my levels at 70 and she said there was no magic number for hair growth. She said my iron levels were low probably due to my Coeliac Disease. Hope you are well.

Sam (Durham)

patsy April 30, 2010 at 9:50 am

Hi sam, your are lucky to be able to see a specialist as it can be difficult in England especially regarding hairloss. I hope you will see a result soon. Try also to massage your scalp daily , my hair specialist told me it helps a lot for hair growth. I use a conditionner with rosemary(very good for stimulating) from the health store. I went to see my Dr today and referred to a dermatologist because I think it could be genetic like androgenetic alopecia. I hope it’s not but I need to find out. Did you notice any difference on your hairloss? . I wish you all the best with your treatment and keep in touch.

mia May 27, 2010 at 11:45 am

Hi All,

Victoria – Just wondering wher eyou heard that ferritin related hair loss is a slow, gradual process? I went to go see a ‘famous hair derm” in new york who told me that iron deficiency causes rapid shedding, not gradual thinning.

I wrote a longer post about my story on this forum in december. I’m 23 and have do not have a family history of female hair loss. My dad started losing hair in his 40’s. I lost a lot of hair when i was 18, it stabilzed for 3 years, but for the last 2 years, it has been really bad.

An “expert hair doc and transplant surgeon”, after spending approx 8 minutes with me, told me I had androgenetic alopecia. My derm (who has female androgenetic alopecia herself) told me I have iron deficiency related hair loss (ferritin level of 9). She said it’s not hereditry given my age, and the fact that female hair loss doesn’t run in my family. A New York City Trichologist told me I have “Mostly telogen effluvium with a little bit of Androgenetic Alopecia.” I can’t even begin to fathom how that makes sense…

To all those who have hair loss, I have one question that every doc gives me differing answers to. When you examine a strand of hair that falls (hold it against white paper to see it more clearly) is it uniform in width all the way through the strand?????? I have black hair and when i examine a hair that falls, the end of the hair is super thick while the part near the root is much thinner. It’s become a habit for me to examine every hair that falls…it’s an awful obsession. I haven’t seen much talk about it on this site but that is the MOST stressful part of my hair loss – seeing the actual strand getting thinner. I can notice a difference in thickness even between any 3-4inch section of the strand. That seems like really rapid thinning to me!!!

I would REALLY appreciate responses to this post. Has anyone else noticed this or discussed this with their doctors?

guitarwoman May 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm

I am studying nutrition towards a degree and my last course said that after a certain amount of iron, the absorption decreases. Basically, it said that it wasn’t really worth taking very high levels. I am trying slow FE and Floridax liquid with l lysine and a vitamin C tablet every time I take the iron, which is twice a day. I am also about to start the GAPS program. My ferratin stores were 13 and I found them because I had to go to a sleep doctor due to restless legs syndrome. Low ferratin can be a cause of RLS. My research indicates that iron deficiency is typically common with gut problems, as we cannot absorb it. This is due to the terrible SAD (standard american diet) along with taking antibiotics so often that we continually nuke the good bacteria and then the yeasts and bad ones take over and we become unable to absorb nutrients.

Diane June 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Hi All,

I posted once before on 3-13-08. I’m sorry that I haven’t updated, but was thinking about hair loss today and thought I’d post again. For the last two+ years I’ve been taking 10 ml. liquid floradix iron+herbs, 1 500 mg. l-lysine tablet, and 1 vitamin C 1000 mg tablet every day with breakfast. (I am not a coffee, tea or milk drinker) About 6 months after I started this regimin, I had my iron tested and it had gone from 31 to 54. I haven’t tested again since so I don’t know where my levels are now. Anyway, this combo, plus walking 1 hour a day has been like a miracle cure for me as far as hair loss is concerned. My hair thickened, never to the point it had been, but to the point that I don’t think about it anymore. I can remember for years waking in the middle of the night to feel my hair, and crying because I knew I would be bald soon. Losing that fear has been a big relief. I am 44 this month.

I hope this helps someone.

Diane

Eva June 20, 2010 at 9:21 am

Dear all,

After reading all the posts, i want to post a few comments

@ iron Infusion: I read some many other sites that it works quicker than normal iron(Fe) pills and work. However, it does take something fom 2-10 months before people see results.

@ Rogaine: I sincerely recommend you girls STOP using Roganie as a solution or co-solution before trying all mineral/vitamins/hormonal suppliements by your doctors. Because Roganie makes your hair ADDITIVE. It works for some kind of hair loss but it means you will have to use it for the REST of your life! So it really should be the last resort.

As to my story, I was so mad that I had not been aware of my iron deficiency situation. (I hardly eat red meat, have heavy and long period (7 days, while most women should be something from 3 to 5 days?)

My hair started to fall out in an abnormal amount probably 3-4 years ago and I thought it was caused by stress. I also did not take it seriously as I had lots of hair.

Now at 30, my hair loss situation has become more serious and I start to see the skin of my hairs! I do not want to become bald and decided to take a blood test. My serum ferrintin came back 18. I start taking 100mg Ferrin sulfate 2 days ago and will keep you girls updated!

Eva (Germany)

Allison June 23, 2010 at 4:10 pm

So, I finally went to my family Doc after researching about thyroid disorders. I asked to get my T3, RT3, and T4 tested. I also asked if he would refer me to an endocrinologist. I was sure there had to be something wrong with my levels. When the results came back, my levels were fine, but my iron stores were at a 45, which he said was on the lower end of the normal range. So he recommended that I take 300 mg of Iron every day, with a glass of orange juice. I have been doing that for about a month, and along with that, have been taking B100 complex as well as 1000 mcg’s of Biotin. I have been trying to increase my meat intake which has been hard since I wasnt much of a meat eater. The shedding varies from one day to the next. I think I will wait till the beginning of the next month to get my iron stores rechecked. I will keep everyone updated as well! I hope it works and I hope whatever you are doing to take control of the situation, works as well!
CHeers

Eva July 4, 2010 at 3:06 am

Hi Allison,

Great that you keep us posted. I will try to do the same. I am glad that I still have chance to hear from you girls who go through the same problem as I do even I am not a member of this website. It comforts me :)

Good luck to all of us :)
Cheers

Vickytoria July 6, 2010 at 11:49 am

Hi Girls,

GOOD NEWS

My hair has been falling out for 10 years. I went from way too much hair that I could hardly have a ‘hair style’ to very thin hair. For 10 years the doctors kept telling me my blood results were always ‘normal’. This depressed me and as I have PCO I came to the conclusion I probably have female pattern baldness. I had my last bloods done in Feb after having a massive shed that is still going on. I prayed alot about this as I am a christian and my prayers seemed to lead me to an amazing Tricologist (who is also the Chairman of the Institute of Tricologists). She looked at my hair, scalp, partings and the blood results that I took from my doctor. I was fully expecting she would tell me that I had Female Pattern Baldnesses. So I was AMAZED when she told me that my problem was not that but that I had low Serum Ferritin levels (23). I told her that the doctors kept telling me everything was ‘normal’ with my bloods. She explained that they would because they are doctors not HAIR SPECIALISTS!!! I was told that I needed to get my Ferritin levels up2 70 for my hair to stop shedding and over 100 to get and keep regrowth. She was quite sure that my hair would return to the same thickness as 10 years ago. She said this is typical and it will grow back. She has told me to take 200mg of ferrus sulphate twice a day. It will take 4 months to stop the shedding and another 5 months to see regrowth and thickness to how it was 10 years ago. I have total faith in her (and God), she has been practicing for over 30 years and is the Chairman of the Institute of Tricology. My appointment that lastest over and hour was very reasonably priced also. I would recommend that EVERYBODY with hair loss should see a recommended tricologist. If I had known this years ago it would have saved years and years of upset. I live in the South West and would be happy to recommend this person.

If you have low Ferritin levels and you increase them to over 70 YOUR HAIR WILL GROW BACK. I’ll keep you updated with my progress.

Pilar July 12, 2010 at 5:52 am

Hi Vivkytoria!

That’s great you found a doctor that actually knows her stuff about hair loss.

Late November 2009, I started a massive shed that is still going until now. In September I went off the pill (which I think is the MAIN cause of my shedding) but I also had a ferritin level of <5! My primary care doctor said the cessation of the pill and being severely anemic could have caused the shedding but she didn’t seem too sure. It’s been 7 months that I’ve been shedding and about 2 weeks ago my ferritin levels were 91! I know that having a ferritin as low as 5 wasn’t going to help my situation in any way and I’m happy to have it a such optimal levels now. My hematologist still wants to see me above 100.

It’s funny that you mention that your doctor wants you over 100 to keep the re-growth. 1.5-2 months into the massive shed I noticed tons of re-growth all over my head. But since then I’ve been losing them. Some new hairs have stuck around and are now 2-3 inches long. :) But I wonder if I’m losing the new growth because my ferritin levels are still below 100?

Thanks for posting this information.

Take care,

Pilar

Lina July 14, 2010 at 9:26 pm

@Mia: I have a response to your question about thinner hair at top than bottom (bottom of response)

I’m 22 years old and started shedding a lot when I started college (4 years ago), but since my hair was so thick i didn’t notice a difference until 2 years ago. I was extremely stressed at the time because I wasn’t doing well in school, and trying to get into medical school. My hairloss has been gradual, but its not getting better and now you can see my scalp very easily. The past month has been particularly bad because the shedding is more upfront near my temples. Its devastating. I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything, but I guess all of you have experienced the same feeling as well. I’ve had two blood tests, seen 3 doctors, and everyone said my tests were normal and that it was probably stress related. But, most of my stress is from my hair loss, not school!

I think I’ll look into what they mean by “normal.” Maybe my ferritin level needs some work. I’m so glad that I found this site and hopefully my hair will get better. I’m so worried that my hair won’t grow back (its my biggest fear) :(

Right now I’m taking:
1. 11mg Biotin
2. 600 IU Vit. D
3. 2014mg Ca (take it at night)
4. 33 mg of Iron (ferrous gluconate)

The numbers are little weird because I’m taking a separate biotin, iron, and Ca/Vit. D tablets, plus a multivitamin which has all of these ingredients as well, so I added them up. I’ve been taking these vitamins for about 3.5 weeks; so not very long. But I have noticed a slight decrease in my hair shedding (but that could be all in my mind). Since my hair growth is so slow and my hair shedding is above normal….I feel like I’ll be bald in a year or so. Its so depressing. :(

Mia,
I have noticed that my hair strand is thinner at my scalp than towards the bottom. But it isn’t very much of a difference. What does it mean if its thinner? I’m so glad that I saw your post, because I don’t know anyone my age going through the same problem. I hope you write back. Thanks!

Marie B. July 19, 2010 at 9:01 am

Hi…I was searching for information on hair loss and thining when I came across this sight…I’ve been reading all the entries and have a few questions for you all…I’m in my 60’s and have had ‘normal’ hair most of my life. Not think, not thin, but always ‘fine’, baby fine. I colored it and conditioned it to give ‘texture’ over the years, and for the mort part this did the trick. My hair always seemed to grow in spite of everything. About 18 months ago I noticed ‘thining’ and lots of breakage. Excessive, not the normal amounts you’d expect from coloring. What was more disturbing was it didn’t seem to be ‘growing’ very much. I noticed the hair on my arms, pubic and even my eye brows, wasn’t growing. Do any of you have this as well. It’s been depressing and I certainly can relate to the not going out or spending long periods of time trying to ‘style’ it before going out. And since I still work full time, it’s a struggle some mornings, causing me to be late.

About 6 months ago my cholesterol medicine was changed to Zocor, which seemed to make things worse. So I had it changed back, but the thining and loss had really started befor that. My last blood test showed my iron and vitamin D levels were low but my PCP didn’t seem to be concerned, even though I had been complaining about the hair losing for a long time now. I can relate too to having a doctor who’s indifferent to your suffering, just doesn’t get it…it’s good to read about other that know the embarrasing nature and depression that comes along with it. You just don’t ‘feel’ good about how you ‘look’. I find myself noticing other peoples hair contantly, wishing I could just get my ‘normal’ hair back, that it would at least GROW!

From what I’ve been reading, it seems Rogaine use doesn’t seem to be even a stop-gap for most of you? The route most are leaning to is the defienceies: vitaimin, low iron, ferritin level, etc. , yes? That the consenses is to treat that and things will get better? I really need some help here, because I’m like the ones that say if it doesn’t change soon, I going to be bald. Do any of you go the wig route, thoughts? I cry alot about it and am at a loss of what to do ….I don’t feel I’m getting real concern from the doctors…

mia123 July 20, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Hi Lina,

so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. I’m in the same boat and it really is devastating. I want so badly to apply to business school this year but i’m too afraid I won’t have a career…or will be too distraught to get through school.
Unfortunately I don’t know what it means if the strands are visibly getting thinner inch by inch. Even if I compare a few inches of my hair strand, I can see a stark difference in thickness. My hair today is drastically different than what it was 7 months ago….I thought genetic hair loss was a slow process. My derm (who has female genetic hair loss) brushed off the fact that the strands are thinning and told me it’s due to my low ferritin levels and excessive stress. Do you have female hair loss in your family? Only my dad and grandfather have it…and they didn’t lose hair until a respectable middle-age.

i’m going to see two more doctors in august (one hair transplant surgeon for a diagnosis and another hair specialist dermatologist). Hopefully they can give me some answers….

Lina July 24, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Mia,
My case is similar to yours, because the women on both sides never had a hairloss problems, but have slight hairloss in their 50s-60s mainly due to hypothyroidism. My mom has thin hair, but only started losing it in the past year, and never had problems with it when she was my age. My dad was balding by his 20s. But, I really feel like my hairloss is probably from low iron stores. If I think back I started my period when I was 11, have barely taken anytype of multivitam since then, and I basically grew up vegetarian. So, stress compounded with low iron stores probably set off my hairloss. Your story seems similar because you said you have low ferritin levels and was really stressed out, so I really beleive thats our problem. I dont think its going to be a quick fix, because whatever started the hairloss took years to occur, so it may take years to fix but I really have high hopes for both of us. Just try to be low stress (which I know is really hard to do; I’m totally type A and overachiever), take the amount of iron that’s right for you, and take care of yourself.
Our body is a system, so when one things goes wrong a multiude of other problems can arise. Its our job to keep that system running smoothly. And I definitely took out more than I put back into my body, so I cant blame it for failing on me!

That’s great that your are seeking answers on your own. Both my parents are doctors and are pretty dumbfounded when it came to my hairloss at such a young age. I’m lucky that I have them, but honestly it hasn’t helped much because they aren’t specialists in this area. I’m going to the dermatlogist soon. He took a blood test but I never got the results and gave me Yaz. I took it for a month and stopped it for no reason; probably because I’m uncompliant. But, after reading the horror stores about BCP, I’ve decided never to get on them. Its just not worth it. Keep me posted on your progress. :)

Lina July 24, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Oh, and about applying to business school, I totally understand. I’m in the process of applying to medical school but hairloss has taken a toll on me mentally and physically that I’m not sure if I have anything left to give. I try to keep my hopes up high, but right when they get up its like a roller coaster and I’m down again. But, should we really let our hair (or lack thereof) affect the course of our lives? Of course not, and we both know this, but its a massive hurdle to get past. I haven’t told a single one of my friends and I just hope they haven’t noticed. I think my roommate has but is just too classy to mention it :/

Mia123 July 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Hi Lina,

Yeah I’m REALLY hoping it’s low iron + stress. I just don’t see any other explanation as to why I lost hair during a very stressful year at college, have it stablize for for the next 3 years which were low-key, and then rapidly get worse over the last two years which have been the most stressful of my life.
on a positive note, my ferritin levels have increased from 9 (last november) to 32 today. I haven’t seen that take any effect on my hair loss but i’m keeping positive. I guess the part that worries me most is that individual strands are rapidly thinning inch by inch. Do you notice that too? Or is a single strand that falls out pretty much uniform in width? I’ll let you know how my appt goes in early august and keep me posted on your derm visit! You should check if your derm specializes in female hair loss because from my experience, some derms are quick to dismiss the problem without even looking at your scalp!

I agree with you on the BCP – i’ve heard way too many bad stories (and not nearly enough success stories) to try it.

hope your derm visit is a positive one!!

Donna July 31, 2010 at 1:34 pm

I have had hair loss now for about a year. I recently went to my doctor and had lots of blood work done. My ferritin level was 4.2. I am taking and iron pill called Bifera Rx. Is there a better one I need to be taking? Any comments or suggestions would be most appreciative!! I’m getting scared at the 4.2 level.

Mia123 August 3, 2010 at 9:24 am

Hi Donna,

there’s a liquid iron solution called Floradix. It tastes awful but i’ve been told it has a much higher absorbtion rate than pills. I take an iron tablet called SlowFe in the morning and take Floradix at night. I increased my ferritin levels from 9 to 32 in about 8 months and i’m still continuing with both.
hope this is helpful!

Pilar August 3, 2010 at 10:58 am

Hi Donna:

At the beginning of December I had a ferritin level of <5. My doctor prescribed Ferrex 28 (150mg elemental iron, Folic Acid and Vitamin C for absorption) and in late June my ferritin had gone up to 91. I take my iron as soon as I wake up on an empty stomach with L-Lysine. For a few months I was also taking Andrew Lessman’s Iron supplements (these also have folic acid, vitamin C and amino acids to aid absorption) in the evening and during lunch I would take a spoonful of Black Strap Mollasses. Now I only take the Ferrex 28 in the moring with the L-Lysine. My hematologist would like to see me above 100.

Pilar

melissa August 3, 2010 at 8:53 pm

i just started taking floradix last week.. the gluten free formula.. it is super gross.. pretty much tastes like blood scented prune juice (sorry but it does). i will post when i finish the bottle to let you know how it went for me… i am taking 10 mg twice a day as i am also taking a womens health supplement that gives me an additional 8 mg. i have no idea what any of my levels are… i was just under the assumption that anything helps, right?

Tia August 5, 2010 at 9:52 am

i’v always battled with low iron, for those who cant stand meat or liver, the dark leafy greens tend to have high amounts as well as the darker beans, just last month my neice pointed out that i now have a bald spot on my head,,thing is there is hair there it just really thin & nearly translucent,i’v had “grey” hair since i was eight,but this “loss” seems to be spreading any one have any ideas on what it might be, there is no burning or itchyness and i have not noticed any above normal loss of hair, it is in an area where i have had heat rashes,but that was a while ago like 6 years. can hair lose enough color to look like i’m losing it?

Arlene Carson August 20, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I have the same symptoms as Teresa Carter, my iron level is very low, my hair loss has been about 50% the past 6 months, I had a complete hysterectomy 6 months ago, I figured that was my hair loss with the hormone pills, had a blood test done last week and my iron levels are very low, doc has called me back, will learn what she will prescribe, but I have been also having the leg cramps and the achy leg feeling which I haven’t told my doc, my legs feel from the calf down as if bugs are crawling through them, an achy feeling that doesn;t go away, I have to take sleeping pills to go to sleep also. Please reply if you have any answers, I have no idea what my levels of iron are until next week, but let me know if you have any answers.

Allison September 15, 2010 at 9:47 am

Hi Ladies,
I was just wondering how everyone is doing in terms of any results? I have an appointment next week to get my iron levels checked again. It was at 45, so hopefully it has risen. I am just starting my fourth month being on 300 mg of iron. I haven’t noticed any regrowth and my hair is continuing to thin. I am getting a little more down as the days go on but hopefully there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

Lesley September 18, 2010 at 6:38 am

I can’t believe that I didn’t find this website until now after all the searching I’ve been doing about my iron deficiency anaemia! I just had my hair cut yesterday and they put a little colour in it and it looks heaps better but thinner than ever. It’s always been fine and thin, except when I was pregnant. I never connected iron deficiency and hair loss – but I’m pleased to have found this website and will use some of the tips. Even if I can’t use what anyone else has I can certainly learn a bit more about what to do next about my condition(s).

With so many women suffering from these two conditions and them being related, I can’t believe that the medical profession hasn’t taken up the challenge and begun some real research on the connection to work out a cure. I know I’d be happy to contribute to that research in whatever way I could.

KST September 18, 2010 at 7:02 pm

After reading through this article and all of the comments I thought I’d share my “low iron” story. I have lost more than half of my hair to date… it started falling out about 4 years ago. I finally went to a dermatologist to see what was up and she was awesome! She had my ferritin checked… it was 5… extremely low! She started me on 65 mg of iron a day and then checked me again three months later. My ferritin went up to 24… very exciting! But when I was checked again 6 months later I was only at 27 (I guess 70 is the goal to reverse the hair loss). Big bummer! Meanwhile I didn’t really notice any change in my hair loss.
I recently went for my annual pap and talked to my doc about my low ferritin. She asked me to describe my periods and low & behold they were out of control heavy… I had no idea! (I thought it was normal to go through half a box of industrial sized costco tampons, along with a box of kotex each month). I am now on birth control to decrease my bleeding each month and she has me taking 3 of the 65 mg each day (I guess I’m so low that I can take as much iron as I want) and it has helped so much. I feel better, have more energy, and my hair loss has decreased. I think that I wasn’t able to “fill my tank” so to speak before with my heavy periods… I would loose all the extra iron I was taking each month. Now my periods are not as heavy and my iron is up. I am looking forward to seeing what my levels are at next month!
Just thought a success story might be nice! Just make sure and check with your own doctors before making any decisions about what to do… it definitely took both my dermatologist and my OBGYN to solve my problem.

ali September 22, 2010 at 12:43 am

Hi, 4 years ago I lost a lot of hair due to iron deficiency (19) Im now at 95 and my hair didnt grow back. My dermatologist believes I have AGA but I havent had any hair loss since so I think he is wrong.

ali September 22, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Me again! My ferritin is measured as 95 ug/l is this the same as 95 ng/ml? Im in New Zealand and it looks as though we use a different system here.

ali September 22, 2010 at 9:13 pm

By the way, I havent been taking any iron supplements lately as my periods stopped for about a year and my iron levels have risen due to this.

mariana October 7, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I have lost %75 of my hair during the last 4 years. I’m a 30 years old and a very healthy woman otherwise. I’m so frustrated with doctors as none of them was able to suggest a treatment or a cause for this. All my test results are fine, as they say. After reading and searching for months, I realized my ferritin level was never checked. Finally I received the result 2 weeks ago and it was 20. My doctor believes it is in the normal range but I don’t think so. My iron level is okay, but closer to lower side of a normal range. I decided to start taking biotin, ferrous sulphate and zinc. I found 65 mg iron tablets that had 325 ferrous sulphate. How long should I continue using them? I’m scared that I might accidentally overdose myself.
Regarding biotin, I could only find 1000mcg tablets and I’d like to take 5000 biotin. That makes a total of 5 tablets a day. How would you take it? All at once or leaving some gaps in between each take?
A very informative page, thank you all.

ali October 10, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Mariana, do you wear a wig? I found that raising my iron stopped the hair loss but didnt regrow my hair, cant find too many stories where people did manage to regrow their hair.

JaneMaire October 10, 2010 at 9:18 pm

For the past few months I have been having sudden hair loss. I don’t want to wear my one time beautiful hair down, because I feel it falling on my shoulders my back and so on. It’s starting to drive me crazy. I can’t sleep or eat. Reading all these posts, I don’t feel so alone. I am going this week to my Doctor. I will tell him to test my iron levels. Make that, insist to test!!

mariana October 11, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Hi Ali,
No I don’t wear a wig. I’ve been searching hair regrowth stories for so many years as well and I’ve become very pessimistic about finding a cure for it.

ali October 11, 2010 at 2:05 pm

mariana, so do you have enough hair to cover your head? I tend to shed in autumn and my hair gets see through around this time

Imtracyac October 18, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Hi,

I too have been struggling with hair loss, and I wanted to tell you ladies about something I found that may help you.

First, it took me a long time and much research to find out what I am about to tell you. I am still enduring the thin hair, but I believe I am making progress just by learning about what could be happening.

I discovered the low ferritin a few months ago (8!) when I saw an endocrinologist. She told me to take iron twice a day. I could not handle the iron tablets (stomach and digestive problems, and I even tried the liquid iron, but it turned my teeth black, and yes I drank it through a straw. I was so depressed. I also found out I had low Vitamin D, also a possible cause of hair loss and low B….also a cause. In addtion, I have been diagnosed with a thyroid nodule….so I have many potential things contributing.

Now, I will tell you I was a vegetarian, but have resumed eating meat. Meat is the only source of hemme iron, the type your body absorbs best. That doesn’t mean I eat red meat all day, but I eat it occasionally. Another natural iron food is black strap mollasses. I tried those but my levels still stayed low.

After researching and doing alot of learning about biochemistry, I found out that pill and liquid iron supplements are not readily absorbed by the body, because the molecules or iron are too big to get into the human cells. Taking Vitamin C (to which the iron attaches) can trick the body somewhat into letting the iron through a little better, but only a very small amount. So, you poop out most of the harsh and heavy mineral, causing bowel trouble. And your body absorbs only small quantities.

BUT…..i discovered 2 iron supplements that are so readily absorbable by the human cells that almost 100% is absorbed! This is because the molecules are micro-sized (called “angstroms” ) and slide right into the human cell immediately, bypassing the stomach and digestive system. Well, I ordered some of that and my iron shot up to 39!!! I was so excited….but then my GYN told me I didn’t need iron, that ferritin had NOTHING to do with anything and that I should stop taking it immediately since my hemoglobin levels were fine. So, I did. And my ferritin dropped t0 25. Well, I have since found a NP who is wonderful and I have resumed taking the iron.

Here are the two places to get the iron, and it doesn’t matter which one you get, trust your intuition, I think both are great:
go to the “worldhealthmall dot com” and search iron, or go to “angstromminerals dot com” and search iron.

Stay with it, it takes the body a long time to recover from low iron stores and your levels can go up and down for a time. Mine are up and down, but I believe I will get better! I know I will.

In addition, a doctor prescribed me 50,000 units of Vitamin D, but it was the D-2 not the D-3 and I told him I did not want to take such a large amount, having read about the side effects. I told him I was taking a natural liquid D-3(also from worlhealthmall) to which he replied” You should NEVER take anything that is not FDA approved and a prescription!” Needless to say I turned o my heal and left his office immediately. Well, I took my D-3 and in 6 weeks brought it up from 20 to 63. It is now normal. ;-)

I use the sublingual B-12 complex called “B total sublingual” and brought the B-12 from 140 to 795 in 3 months. The best B-12 I have ever used and so easy. I get it from a place called Pearls Coffee dot com, and that place has the best deal anywhere on the internet for a pack of 3.

Lastly, if you have hair loss I recommend reading a book by David Brownstein called “Iodine, Why you need it and Why you can’t live without it”…Your doctor will tell you your thyroid problems are NOT iodine related, but when I took an iodine loading test,(through my NP) it showed I was at 32, when I should be at 90. I am now being treated for that as well, but just started it. I believe the iron and the iodine are the keys, but I am also in menopause and losing estrogen, so all at once these things have hit!!!

I share your dismay, I have cried many tears, and I offer prayers and light to you, my sisters, and know we are all beautiful and we will survive this challenge and thrive. We will. One thing I do for my well-being is I listen to a CD every day by Louise Hay called “Self Healing”. It helps me so much and I urge you to look for this or something like it to help your peace of mind. I believe we all the power to heal ourselves through education and diligence, and I know for me I will continue to heal and grow, even in this most trying challenge.

I hope some of these things help you, Blessings and love ;-) to all~Tracy

ali October 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Ive have just started taking ferrograd that has vit c included and my iron level has gone up 36 in one month, but I dont have any periods so that probably helps!

Cila October 25, 2010 at 6:41 pm

My scalp hurt on the top of my head like a buring feeling and for the past 1 I have lost alot of Hair. I am so scared. I am going to go see my doctor asap. I know that I have low iron levels, always did my whole life. why would my hair start falling now?
Any help Please

Sam November 1, 2010 at 6:31 am

Hi Patsy,

Its been ages since I last posted and hope you are well. I was given my iron infusion directly into my blood stream it took half an hour for it to go in, I did have some side effect but very minor. I have never had my iron levels checked again but my hair has grown back and I dont feel tired anymore, my only worry is it will return but the consultant said I should be okay as it is common for people that suffer with Coeliac Disease. How are you getting on?

Sam

patsy November 8, 2010 at 2:00 am

Hi Sam, it’s nice to hear from you with such good news. Dont worry about your level, mine was at 27 and has been 130 for a long time . I wish I could report the same but it has been terrible for me. My hair started to shed more, Iwent to see a derm and saw a mild inflammation on my scalp and gave me elocon for 1 month, but no difference. I have had a ANA test and it was positive but the doctor told me it’ was nothing to worry about. Now it has sent me to depression. The doctor took pity and is going to do some research fo me. I cant look in the mirror, it’s too hard to see what i look like now. I am going to see my gp next week and hopefully with some good news.
Will keep in touch Patsy

Mo November 11, 2010 at 9:06 am

I had ferritin IV. And now I take iron heme/nonheme supplement from the drug store. I have noticed that the supplement that I have added called Sulphur Plus has helped with new hair growth. I am noticing alot. YAY

Mel November 12, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Hello all.. I’ve read many of the posts on this site, and I definitely empathize with many of the sentiments… I’ve began losing my hair around age 20- I am now 22. At first I didnt even realize I was losing hair (my mom was the one who mentioned it to me), but that was probably because I had so much hair to begin with. At this point, I’ve probably lost about 70% of my hair.. and I think about it constantly. I had my first bloodwork done a couple of months ago, and the Dr told me I was slightly iron deficient. My hematocrit was at 34.7 and my ferritin was at 22. I’ve been taking slo fe (iron supplement) for a few months, but have yet to notice any improvement… I’m also concerned because of the pattern of hair loss- I’ve lost most of the hair in the crown area (with diffuse loss elsewehere). I don’t have any “bald spots” per se, but the area is definitely VERY thin and my scalp shows through whether my hair is dry or wet. I’m curious as to the pattern of hair loss the rest of you are experiencing? Is there any hope out there…? I have so much of my life in front of me… getting a full-time job, getting married… and I don’t want to go bald before any of that happens.. :(

ali November 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Mel, my hair loss was diffuse all over with more loss around the front and temples.

Mel November 16, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Hi Ali, thanks so much for your response. I read earlier in the thread that after you got your ferritin up the hair loss stopped- how long did this take? have you experienced regrowth since?

ali November 18, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I think the hairloss stopped around 3 months but I never regained the lost hair. I am currently taking ferrograd iron with vit c and my iron is rising quite fast but as I said earlier my periods have stopped so I think that helps. I guess my hairloss was caused by low iron but has triggered aga, who knows?

ali November 18, 2010 at 2:58 pm

i was wondering can you hair fall out if your iron is low and your ferritin is normal?

Susan December 3, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Just wanted to contribute a success story. I’m 54 years old. In recent years my hair has been steadily thinning. Once thick and healthy, my hair was getting sparse at the temples and at my crown. My part was widening and my ponytail was half its onetime thickness. I was growing alarmed. My gynecologist shrugged it off. I began looking for answers on the internet. When I discovered the ferritin connection, I looked back at my most recent blood test (2008) and found my level was 14. I had been having very heavy periods for years, which I believe is why my doctor had even ordered the test. In April of 2010 I asked for another ferritin test. The result: 8. I did my research and prescribed myself a regimen that has worked wonders. Along with my multivitamin, I take biotin (600 mcg) and Lysine (500 mg). The latter helps with absorption of iron. Just before going to bed and at least two hours after having any dairy, I take liquid Floridix with iron and herbs (15-20 ml) and chase it down with a couple of swigs of orange juice (to help absorption). By July the shedding had largely stopped and I noticed a lot of new baby hair at my temples, along my hairline and sprouting from the top of my head. I had another ferritin test. It was 45. I continued the regimen and within a couple of months my hair began to look thicker and healthier. My thinning eyebrows thickened too as well as other hair in various places (nowhere unwanted). By now, I’m happy with how my hair looks, though it’s still thinner than it was when I was younger, but it’s hard to see my scalp, my part looks normal and the hair at my temples is blending in nicely with the rest of my hair. Two weeks ago I had another ferretin test: 90. I should note that my periods finally stopped in July — haven’t had one since — which is probably also helping, as the blood loss must have been contributing to the problem. Hope this helps some of you.

B. December 4, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I think this is grasping for straws. A lot of women have low iron with no hair loss. My mom had Celiac Disease and her iron levels were half what they should have been when she was diagnosed. She needed a blood transfusion they were so low. And she did not experience any kind of hair loss and still has a full head of hair at age 50.

I have also seen a lot of posts on hair loss forums where women have been told they have low iron, finally get their iron up and are still losing hair.

Just because a study finds that women with hair loss also have low iron does not necessarily mean there is a correlation.

B. December 4, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I would also like to add that I had Telogen Effluvium due to weight loss/malnutrition and my iron was slightly low. However, once I started eating again, my hair loss stopped within months and is now growing back. Interestingly, my iron is still a little low. So again, no correlation. I think low iron comes along with things like malnutrition that can cause hair loss, but in my case the low iron was not the cause.

ali December 7, 2010 at 11:44 pm

there is a difference between low iron and low ferritin, this site is talking about low ferritin levels.

Sam December 8, 2010 at 5:12 am

Hi Patsy,

Sorry to hear your news is not good news. I hope the appointment with the GP can give you some hope Sam x

Sam December 8, 2010 at 5:17 am

Hi B.

Well I had a normal iron level and low ferritin levels according to my doctor. I do have Coeliac Disease and my hair loss was a result of the ferritin level being low and was given a iron transfusion. Everyone is different and your Mum was lucky not to suffer from hair loss. Sam

Allison December 10, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Sooo, I finally went to my doctors to find out the results of my ferritin levels. I went from a 45 to 77. I have noticed more baby hairs growing in, and so has my boyfriend. I still have shedding however but the new hair is giving me a glimmer of hope. I have been taking 300 mg of iron once a day with a glass of orange juice and have been trying to eat red meat at least three times a week and other protein the other four days. It has been a big change from my diet before, I rarely ate any type of protein period. Anyhow, hope this is helpful! I’ll keep you all updated. Goodluck!

Cathy December 11, 2010 at 2:43 pm

my ferritin is now 34 after taking ferrous fumerate three times a day for three
months. It was 17. I’ve stopped dieting and am trying to eat more protein. I have noticed some tiny hairs growing near my hair line and I am really excited. My GP suggested taking spironalactone but I will see how I get on in the next month or so.

Tania December 15, 2010 at 3:02 am

Hi,

I’m currently going through my second bout in as many years of significant hair loss. The first time around my derm put it down to Female Pattern hair loss and told me to use Regaine for Women and then to reassess the situation in another 6 months (He didn’d do any blood tests.. in hindsight this should have been the first line of attack!). I did, and had an amazing result with the regaine. However, after about 6 months, I stopped using the regaine (even though I knew I’d probably lose all my newly regrown hairs), because I didn’t want to be using this for the rest of my life – I’m only 24! I was sure there was another answer…

About 6 months later (which was about 2 months ago), the hair loss recommenced. I had bloods done, my ferritin was 10. As I am a nurse, I spoke with a gastroenterologist whom I work with, and he told me that I needed to get an IV iron infusion, as the absorption with oral iron tablets are terrible, and it can take at least 6 months to even see a slight improvement in the levels. He seems to think that if my hair loss is caused by my low ferritin, then once I have had the IV iron infusion (which is very readily, and instantaneously absorbed by the body), my hair loss should stop pretty much right away, and I should begin to regrow new hairs. That said, we now need to investigate the reason for the low ferritin in the first place.

I’m getting the infusion in 2 days, and am soooo hoping that this will sort out my hair loss (and my tiredness too :) )! Seeing my derm tomorrow to get his opinion on the matter.

It’s nice to see that there are so many others out there with this same problem. Feeling a little less isolated and anxious about this now. :)

Lisa December 24, 2010 at 9:08 am

For 3 years, I have mentioned to my doctors that my hair is falling out. I told them to take test to see if its anything. One doctor said its your age. She refused to do a blood test. The other doctors didnt find anything based on a standard blood test. For the last 3 years, I have been taking any and all B vitamins, Folic acid, C, amino acids, massaging, etc. However, did not see my hair stop falling out. I too had extremely thick hair. Not anymore. I finally found a dr who was willing to do any and all test. She found that I’m ANA positive, low in Vitamin D and a Ferritin level of 12. Dr. recommend me to take 325mg of Ferrous Sulfate 3 times a day. I’m also inlucuding Lycine and Vitamin C. I was referred to see a Rumertologist for the positive ANA, also will be seeing a demotologist and a Encotologist in Janauary 2011. I refuse to give up on this. Does anyone know the difference between Iron (ferrous sulfate) and Floradix (contain Ferrous glunmate)? I was told that Floradix is natural and Iron with Ferrous Sulfate is synthenic. I also read all the above comment and found very few success of hair growth. Can some definetly say by taking Iron supplements actually work to get your hair back. Does this reverse itself?

B. December 29, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Hi Ali,
I believe ferritin is the protein that aids in iron storage. So most likely, if you’re low in ferritin you’re low in iron stores. Please correct me if I’m wrong. But I am aware that you can have a normal iron level, but low iron stores. That’s exactly what I had.

Hi Sam,
You are absolutely right! Everyone is different. Perhaps for many, low ferritin does contribute to hair loss. And it can’t hurt to get iron levels up if they’re low to see what the outcome is. However, low ferritin does not always = hair loss. And for people with genetic forms of hair loss, like AGA, getting iron stores up is not going to trump genes and completely halt the hair loss.

ali January 8, 2011 at 7:07 pm

My ferritin is up to about 130 and has been over a 100 for a good few months but no sign of my hair returning. Getting my iron up did stop the hairloss but that doesnt translate into hair regrowth for me.

Tania January 10, 2011 at 4:11 am

Hi Ali,

Did you have an infusion or just taking oral supplements? My ferritin was 10, so I had an iron infusion 3 weeks ago to bump the levels quickly. I just received my post-infusion blood test results – my ferritin has jumped from 10 to 460!!!! I think my body will still need to do some work to even out whatever is going on inside. How long did it take for your hair to stop falling out after your levels came up? I’ve yet to see the hair shedding cease. Anyone else have the shedding stop with an increased ferritin?

ali January 10, 2011 at 5:58 pm

My hair loss occured in 2006 and took a few months to stop I think. I tried to get my iron up with iron pills and that also took a few months. Since then and now my levels have gone up and down, they are high now as I no longer have periods and I have gone back on iron pills but regrowth has not happened.

Liz January 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm

I have been losing my hair by the hand full since last Aug. my hair is so thin, and I just went to the doctor and my Ferritin is 5.5 …..i feel so sick and dizzy everyday. i Have a derm. appt..next week.. what should i do… i want my hair to stop falling out..and grow back to the full hair I had before.

Kelley January 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Hi girls ~

Oh my gosh I am so happy to find you all! I am 44 and noticed my hair thinning in Mar 2010 when I was diagnosed with Scalp Eczema.
I’ve seen 2 derms and neither have suggested a Serum Ferritin test, nor have I heard of this before. I am overdue for a regular Dr appt, so will request this be tested.
I also want to test my thyroid. Is there anything else I should ask them to test for??…..being it seems not all doctors even suggested the above to me…so I need to take control of this myself!

I divorced a year ago so stress may be a factor. Pre menopause could be a factor. Thyroid could be a factor. Heredity could be factor. Oh where do I begin? UGH!

I have cleared up my scalp Eczema but the hair loss continues to a point where my crown is very thin to the point of balding and my part is becoming wider. I now struggle with styling my hair to cover up the thinning area. I try not to obsess – but then find myself putting off and not doing anything about it (call is denial perhaps).

Has anyone here experienced hair loss due to scalp eczema? My father is balding (who’s isn’t right?) and my grandmother and great aunt both wore wigs. My mom had thick hair. So I don’t know if baldness runs in father or mothers side – does anyone know this?

Kelley January 28, 2011 at 7:05 pm

BTW ~ has anyone tried hair regrowth procedures?? I will seriously pay to transplant hair if this is what it takes.

Kelley January 28, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Tania – keep us posted on how your IV has worked for you. I am hopeful that your shedding will stop, and regrowth take place. Do you know if anyone can have this done, and if insurance will pay for it? If not, do you know how much it costs?
Thanks for considering all my Q’s!

natalie January 31, 2011 at 8:04 pm

I have posted on this site several times, most recently in March of 2009. After having low ferritin for years and seeing numerous doctors, abotu 2 years ago I found the probable cause of the low ferritin (tumor). Since then, I have made progress getting the ferritin, back up, but it has been slow (currently at a 30). I did want to share a few recent discoveries that have helped me.

First, is Dr. Kingsley (www.britsci.com). He is a tricologist (phd, not MD) and probably the first doctor I have seen who understands the ferritin and hair loss connection and knows how to treat it. The other practitioners who I have seen say that as long as my ferritin is in the normal range (20-400), I should not take iron, and shouldn’t get it retested. Although Dr. Kingsley is in NY, he does phone consultations, which I found to be very valuable and thorough. He recommended that I continue taking iron, B12, lysine and D and recoomended some other products as well. It is comforting to be under the care of a professional who specializes in hair and the iron connection.

Second, is the new trend of self-prescribe or direct-order blood test websites such as http://www.prelaidlabs.com (there are many others). I have been really frustrated with trying to convince my doctors to write blood draw orders to check on my ferritin. This and other similar sites allow you to select and pay for your own tests giving you more control of your healthcare. After paying for the desired tests, you go to one of many blood draw centers and then your results are emailed to you.

Hope these help!

SM February 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Hi ladies,

I wanted to say thank you for all this info on hair loss and iron. I became vegan about 4 years ago and a few months later my hair stated shedding. It was pretty bad for about 8 months, then has shed off and on ever since. I didn’t get a wider part or bald patches. My hair seemed normal at my scalp. But my once waist length hair started looking stragglier every day, and also feeling lighter and thinner. It’s still long, but about 50% thinner as it gets towards the ends.

Low ferritin, but not being vegan isn’t an option for me, so I’m starting some iron supplements (taken with vitamin C, Lysine, magnesium, b12 and a vegan multi) and will report back if it helps :).

Thank you again, it’s great to find this much info & support!

Jacqueline February 24, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I have mentioned to various doctors on numerous occasions over the past few years about my hair becoming thinner. They just commented that ‘these things happen’, or ‘it’s probably just your age’ but non of them ever suggested blood tests or anything to find out the cause. Two months ago I started to bleed very heavily (for the first time in my life – im 47) and was taken into hospital to have a coil fitted. Prior to the surgery I went to my gp and complained about shortness of breath and chronic fatigue and asked to have blood tests done just incase my iron was too low and would prevent me from getting the operation done. My serium iron level was 4, my Serium ferritin was 8 and my saturation iron binding capacity was 7. This shocked me because my haemoglobin was 9.8 (loq but not drastically low). Hopefully the operation will help the heavy blood loss, however i am now convinced that my ferritin levels have been low for a long time and this could explain the hair loss. I am going to speak with my GP next week regarding this and ask for a blood transfusion.
Have been so encouraged by all the information on this web site. Thanks to everyone who has posted.

T March 26, 2011 at 7:46 am

Hi, I just wanted to share some thoughts. I came across some information about low ferritin causing DHT, which causes a lot of hair loss and male pattern baldness on temples. Also it might cause hair growing in places where you do not want it to grow. I started taking saw palmetto (but take it far apart from iron, because they compete) and I think my hair loss is reduced, my ferritin is 44 now and i will get teh results in a few days if it went up. I used to drink a soy protein shake a few years ago and i noticed back then I had really good hair, soy block dht too, but at the same time it is bad for your thyroid… so you can also try nettle, pumpkin seeds and zinc. See if it works for you.

Puja March 28, 2011 at 7:06 am

Hiya everyone!!! I am 25 years of age and i am experiencing hair loss problem. I did my ferritin level test and found that it ws 20!! I know its very less. I am not experiencing hair falls a lot but still could find my hairline decreasing day by day. I have been on treatment for last 3years but nonne of them really helps!!! Could someone plz suggest what to do ??

kasia March 29, 2011 at 7:38 am

Hello there,
Thanks so much for all the information you ladies provide! I have been reading the forum for a while, and have learned a lot from all of you. I cried reading your stories, because they were all mine too. I’m writing because I was able to stop my hair loss recently. It’s only been a few weeks, but for me it’s huge! My hair was falling out for years! Went to see x # of doctors, no one except for one took me very seriously, I had blood work done a million times. I have been taking Yaz (birth control pill) and Spironololactone for a couple of years. Spiro did help for a little bit in the beginning, now it just helps with oiliness, but I’m slowly lowering my dose to get off it since it doesnt help with hair loss.
It all takes so much time! Finally my doctor and I were able to narrow things down to thyroid inflamation. Syndroid did not help. Finally my doctor checked my iodine levels and it turned out they were very low (iodine greatly affects the thyroid hormone, if they’re low you could be taking syndroid forever with no results). Also, I had low iron stores (40), and very low vit D.
I’ve been taking supplements for a long time with no results, until, with the help of this website, I came up with my own regimen and after a while it started working! It’s not magic, just the right combination for my needs. But also persistance.
Before I would pull out hundreds of hair a day, they would slide down my back and would drive me crazy, there was hair in the sink, on the toilet seat, tables, pillows, floor, fridge….. Embarrasing, devastating. I woke up in the mornings and first thing, would run my fingers through my hair again and again…. Making a little pile next to my bed. Now, I lose maybe 2,3, sometimes 5 a day, a few more when I wash my hair. I’m serious!!!!!

Here is what I take.

Morning before breakfast:
Vitamin C 1000 mg (with rose hips)- by country life
L-Lysine 500 mg- by Solgar
Wait 15-30 minutes
2 tablespoons of Floradix Iron and Herbs liquid
1 tablespoon of black mollases
1 tablespoon Carlson Fish oil (liquid)

3-4 h later:
Biotin 5000 mcg- by NOW
Vit D3 5000 IU- by Bluebonnet

Evening:
1 tablespoon Carslon fish oil
2 tablespoons Floradix Iron and Herbs liquid
1 tablespoon black mollases
660 mg Kelp (for iodine)- by Nature’s Way

Still take Yaz and Spiro, but lowered spiro to 50 mg/ day, and I’m planning to get off of it.

This is what works for me. I’m not trying to say that it will work for you as well, but I just wanted to tell you my story to encourage some of you. It took me 5 years to figure out what was wrong with me, and now- what helps. I feel so much better! My hair is still thin, but it’s super shiny and healthy. I’ve had regrowth for a while, but so much hair fell out that it didn’t do anything. Now it doesn’t shed anymore, so hopefully my hair will get thicker.
My love and support to all of you. Keep trying, trust your instincts and eventually things will get better!
Xo, Kasia.

kasia March 29, 2011 at 7:48 am

One more thing, I was vegetarian and the last time I had red meat was in high school (I’m 33 now). Recently I started eating a lot of seafood- clams, oysters, cod, octopus), and, organic, grass fed red meat. I still feel bad about it, but I feel like I need it for my well being. I have red meat 1-3 month.
xo.

crystal April 2, 2011 at 9:39 am

Hi ladies,
I have been battling hair loss for a couple of years now. I want to know if my type of hair loss seems like the kind you are experiencing. I’m african american and my hair texture is thick and coarse. I don’t wear braids or hairstyles that would break the hair. I have always been anemic, but iron levels are extremely low now. I am not on medicine to correct that. Ok, so my hair breaks off around the edges and keep going till its similar to a mohawk style. HOWEVER, it’s never BALD. Leaves about 1/2 in to an inch of hair–same texture (thick and coarse). Its a recurring cycle. I wore my hair braided for about 3 months last year and it helped. But when stopped, the same breakage occured. Does hair loss to anemia leave bald patches only or does my case seem to possibly be due to anemia?

Fayyy April 3, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Hi everybody. I had a blood test in Nov 2010 and didn’t go back to get my results till March 2011 partly because I had been seriously ill. I went to see my GP and she told me my ferritin level was 3 and that I’ve seriously anemic!!!!! My hair has been thinning around my temple and hairline which is really sad because it’s really noticable. I’ve noticed the thinning has increased for the last year or so..to the point where I can see my scalp. My GP has given me 210g of ferrous fumerate and I have to take it twice a day. She told me to have another blood test in 3 months time after starting my iron supplements so I’m guessing that’s around June. I’ve been taking them nearly 3 weeks now. It’s so painful because it’s has thinned so much and I’ve always had a nice hair line. It’s added to my stress and like..I can’t stop looking in the mirror just to see if had gone back any further lol. I keep showing my mother and she’s always like your hair doesn’t look any thinner and that she doesn’t notice anything..but I do..and It’s so hard! Is there anyone who has had any success with ferrous fumerate. I’ve just turned 19 and this is killing me! lol I’m loosing hope! Friedrich Nietzsche said it best when he said “Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of man”

Has anyone had any success after taking ferrous fumerate?

I’ll try and update when if I see any changes!

ali April 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I found the ferrous fumerate with vit c the best for raising my iron levels, it stopped my hair fall however, my hair did not grow back. Grrrrrr

Fayyy April 17, 2011 at 3:59 am

@ali

How much ferrous fumarate do you take? And how long after you started taking it did you find your hair loss stopped?

Thank you

ali April 17, 2011 at 4:55 pm

i think it was about 100mg took a few months to stop. my ferriton levels are still over 100 now.

Sarah April 18, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Hi everyone,
I am 28-years-old and for the past year I have noticed real thinning around my hairline/temples, huge parts of exposed scalp and a small thinning patch right on the top of my hairline above my forhead. Nothing as bad as some of the stories I have read on this page but all of you have all given me hope and inspiration and a sense of optimism. I truly believe (for me) this is down to diet and digestion (and probably stress). I became vegetarian 5 years ago and just gave up dairy. For about 2 years I’ve suffered terrible IBS and chronic constipation; the only thing which alleviates it is magnesium, enough to produce a bowel movement. After visiting a naturopath she asked about how much protein I was getting and I was amazed (stupidly) to realise that whilst I had been ommitting meat, I had totally forgotten to start increasing my other sources of protein; legumes etc. I am convinced that the lack of iron in my diet and magnesium supplements have caused an inbalance and am off to the doctors to test my iron, ferritin and B vitamin levels. I constantly feel weak, short of breath. I hope this is the answer… I know one solution is not a cure-all, but our bodies definitely need to work in symetry and when we create an imbalance we wreak havoc on it.

Dee April 19, 2011 at 7:36 am

Hi, I have been suffering from hairloss for almost 20 years. Recently I myself started looking at Ferritin levels.
It was about 30 and ofcourse doctor says it is normal, but I started taking iron pills to bring it up.
Ferritin is now 50, but my iron serum is at the high end (177).
I want to bring Ferritin up to at least 70, but I am afraid my serum iron would go way up too.
Has anyone experienced where your serum iron is normal/high, but Ferritin Serum is low about 40 or 50?

Thanks

cherie May 10, 2011 at 1:48 am

HI guys i have been suffering from hair loss since past 17 years and no matter what treatmet I had taken did not benefit me. Three years back I was detected with low ferritin 17.7 and was put on 100 mg iron with a multivitamin and 500 mg vit c. After taking it for 3 months there was a major slow down in my hair fall and I also saw new baby hair but after about a year I started severely shedding around 300 strands daily and lost about 75% of my hair. Its really thinned down now. I got my ferritin done periodically and it went up to 35 and then again came down to 26 even though I have been regularly on iron since past 3 years. The ferritin is somehow not going up adequately and also my hair fall refuses to stop inspite of doing various others things ( oiling my hair , application of onion juice etc). Cant see new hair growth either!:(

Could anyone reason as to why the ferritin is not going up and also why the hair fall has resmued after first getting haulted for a couple of months.

I am an eggitarian and eat healthy vegetarian food along with eggs.

Guys please advise as I am really so depressed.

blossom June 5, 2011 at 11:09 am

Hi all, I’m so glad I found this website. My hair has slowly thinned over many years. I think some of it has to do with being PCOS for my whole adult life. I have a bad stomach, gastritis, so I refuse to take an iron pill. What I take is black strap molasses, unsulphured, at night with 1,000 mg l-lysine. I had my iron tested, it was 38.8. My doctor’s office said that was normal, I disagree. I always had heavy periods, and figure with that and PCOS is the reason I lost my hair. I take two tablespoons of molasses before bed. I’m noticing my hair is thickening. I had been on the molasses for 3 months before my iron was tested, so it must have been in the single digits, or close! Scary that our doctors don’t realize this problem. My doctor didn’t even want to test my iron, I insisted upon it. I also take nuhair products, one is a dht (hormone that causes hair loss) blocker, and a hair regrowth herb combo, and a serum to put on my scalp. They are all natural herbs/supplements. It runs me about $40 a month, they recommend you take them for 3-4 months, but i have been taking them for about 6. I’m not quitting until I see a significant difference. My hair has always been fine, but was thick until my 30’s. Try the unsulphered molasses, see if that helps you instead of the hard to absorb supplements. It’s much cheaper too.

cherie June 16, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Thanks Blossom…will try getting hold of blackstrap mollases. The good news is that I got my ferritin checked recently and was glad to see it jump to 65. However I have not seen any new hair growth or complete stopping of hair loss. Has anyone noticed new hair growth with the ferritin level or does it need to stay high for some months before I notice any difference?

ali June 23, 2011 at 5:44 pm

my hairloss did stop but did not regrow!

cherie June 24, 2011 at 11:26 pm

hi guys my hair loss is much better after getting my ferrtin upto 65 however i see no hair growth :( My Dr. suggested me to use Minoxidil but he says I need to apply it throughout my life as the moment I stop my hair will start to fall again at the same speed.

I am feeling so sad not to see hair re-growth after getting my ferritin levels upto 65! :(

Ann June 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Hang in there, Cherie. I am glad you’ve got your Iron up! That is great news. After 17 yrs. of hair loss you have been through a lot with your hair. I sure wish you the best and some re-growth! I think it can take some time once your levels increase but I am no doctor. Be patient, take your iron and go back to your doctor to keep getting tested. Good luck!

ali June 26, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Has anyone had regrowth once their iron levels have risen?

ali June 27, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Cherie with so much hairloss are you wearing a wig? If so how is that going for your?

cherie June 27, 2011 at 11:14 pm

hello Ann,

Yes its been traumatising since past 17 years as I could never figure out why I had so much hair fall despite having a good healthy diet. I am so hoping to see new hair growth now. Fingers crossed.

Ali , I dont wear a big , i have little hair but its fluffy so hides my balness.

But this site is surely awesome and informative.

mos July 1, 2011 at 8:29 pm

hi everyone:

i had my ferritin level checked in december after months of hair loss and i had no idea what was wrong with me. My ferritin level was 17. After 6 months of taking a high dose vitamin supplement-(iron, B-12) it only went up to 34. The dermatologist said it should be 45 or higher.
My PC doctor told me the other day it should be 120. She gave me an iron supplement with vitamin C and said I should be good in 2 months by taking 1 per day.
I started today.
Anyone have a clue when you see regrowth? My hair has stopped coming out (only recently-within the last month).

I want some feedback on regrowth. Check webmd.com too they have an article about the 120 level being most appropriate for women, esp perimenopausal women (that’s me 37 yrs old, no kids and no pregnancies)

ali July 4, 2011 at 2:28 pm

my ferritin has been over 100 for a few years and no regrowth i am peri menopausel

ali July 4, 2011 at 2:32 pm

mos can u give link to hair loss article on webmd cant find it

Christina July 12, 2011 at 5:50 am

mos:

I just read your post and you sound just like me only I’m just now getting to the stage where I’m going to see a professional about my hair loss. It is so very depressing. When I was younger I had thick curly hair and these days you can see my scalp. It’s a gradual thinning all over my head and I am so embarrassed about it. The hair falls out so bad every day that I just want to cry. I too am near 37, no kids and no pregnancies. Please, let me know if you have any luck with the regrowth after taking these supplements. I’d like to know there is hope for me as well!

cherie July 16, 2011 at 1:38 am

guys i have heard that even if hair loss stops after raising the ferritin levels after 18 years of age the pores on the scalp close as a result there cant be new hair growth is that true?

cherie July 16, 2011 at 3:10 am

btw guys which brand of lysine is available in the indian markets?

ali July 17, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I found taking iron with vit c very effective in raising iron, I didnt use lysine.

Pilar July 18, 2011 at 8:16 am

I really liked Andrew Lessman’s (HSN) Iron Plus. It has Vitamin C, Folic Acid and amino acids to help with absorption. I took prescription strength iron which had the same ingredients but a lot more iron for a few months and then switched to these over the counter pills. Great stuff!

Pilar

K July 19, 2011 at 7:17 am

Hi ladies, I was reading a story on fox news yesterday and it was about a girl who won’t stop growing. She has a tumor on her brain that the doctors are unable to remove and she cannot quit growing. When she was young she said she was completely normal looking and she felt beautiful and then things started to change when she was fourteen, her forehead started to protrude and other things took on the shape of a man everything is enlarged she is now 6’4″ and her body is becoming deformed and her voice sounds like a man. She cannot get out of the bed on her on own. Her story is heartbreaking on all levels and is maddening because there are no answers and no relief in site, no choices to even feel relatively normal, she is in constant pain physically and emotionally. It does make me thankful that we do have choices to appear normal even if it is just in public, etc…. It just put some perspective on this for me. We know what normal is for our hair because we’ve experience normality so it is hard for us to accept our situation just as this girl has known normality yet she has no choices to ever feel normal. I don’t know just wanted to share my thoughts and how thankful I am to at least have a choice cosmetically. And I also want to send kuddos out to Bethany Frankel she has obvious hair thinning but she rocks it and doesn’t try to hide and still looks absolutely fabulous. She concentrates on the things she can control, weight, attitude, business, making her child’s life wonderful, enjoying life and looking for new challenges. I tell you attitude is most of it. She is so inspiring to me.

cherie July 22, 2011 at 10:34 am

hey K,
Indeed very sad to hear about the lil gurl…yes indeed we should count our blessings , this forum is just to help each other with our hair related issues. This forum is surely of great help.

Its life and both happiness and suffering is a part of it…we all suffer in some way or the other .

k July 22, 2011 at 11:10 am

Hi Cherie:
Believe me I know about how we share our burdens I have shared many of mine on here for the past year and a half, so please don’t think you feel more than me and rebut my post as it only irritates me as though you are chastising a child that doesn’t share the same pain. We are all sisters on this network. That post was only to help US look at this in a different way. I suffer everyday from this so don’t think I am taking the high road. I’m sharing something that may help some of us see our situations different even if for a day. So please don’t try to take away from what I posted as it could possibly help one reader see their situation differently, as others it may not. To each is own. Thanks.

Babs July 26, 2011 at 1:49 pm

I have alopeica areata and I wear a wig and have done so 6 out of the past 10 years. Iron low, IV infusion, iron supplements, Vit D, thyroid- I have tried it all- oregenao oil on my scalp, in my food, rogaine, spiro for 10 years- no one knows why my hair will not grow. IV infusion brought hair for a few months, only to see iron levels fall after six months. I suffered from an eating disorder for several years in my 20’s and I am convinced that low iron, low electrolytes, etc are in part responsible for my alopeica. I am saddenedl that there are SO many of us suffering in silence, looking for any remedy that might restore a small patch of hair. Why is it so difficult to find a doctor who can treat hair loss with out having to take 20 different supplements daily or to rub funkly smelly stuff on our scalps? Hair defines us as women and it seems we have all had heads of beautiful locks at one time- but we need to fight for better medication to help us. If Betheny Frankel has thining hair- it could be directly related to her diet- she appears to have an eating disorder.
I hate wearing a wig everyday and none of my colleagues know that I wear one. In fact , my dentist thinks I have the best hair he has ever seen. I am a firm believer we are strong women and our hair loss will make us stronger women.

ali July 30, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Babs, where do you buy your wigs from?

cherie August 1, 2011 at 11:20 am

hey K, I do understand your view point some people are much more worse than us and all my sympathies for the lil gurl…

by the way I have got hold of BSM and have been consuming it for the past 15 days or so but I see no change in the thickness or texture of my hair…how long does it take guys to see the benefit of BSM and what is the best way to have it ? With tea/ coffee or milk or just in a glass of warm water?

Please let me know your suggestions. Thanks for the help.

Babs August 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Hi Ali- I started out going to a wig store-generally used by cancer patients. I learned the wig stores were buying wigs on line and I have started buying all of my wigs though online vendors- wigs.com and best wig always have a 25-30% sale. I buy the mono top wig – it has the look of a part on the top your head and it really makes the wig more natural looking.
I would suggest going to a wig store to try on styles and colors. If you can, take a friend with you- for moral support-it will make you feel better. Remember, a wig can be styled and trimmed- your hair dresser can help, if they are willing. While, I want my own hair- wigs only need to be washed once a wig and you always have a great looking head of hair! Good luck!

ali August 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Thanks babs, I have bought through namebrand wigs previously they are really cheap.

Eileen August 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Please be very careful when taking iron supplements. I have Hemochromatosis which can cause Iron Overload and supplements would put me at extreme risk for liver cancer and other illness. I did not know I had HH until a relative told us to get checked (it is genetic) – it is not something that shows up in a common iron test panel. Hemochromatosis is very common – 1 in 200 people have the disease in the United States.

Jennifer B. August 12, 2011 at 7:25 pm

I stumbled on this site when researching for vitamins that would help hair growth. I am hoping what I found will change my life. I have been going to doctors (Derm, gyno, and GP) for years asking them to test my thyroid and hormone levels for a problem. No one could find anything wrong. I tried rogaine and the only hair I grew was on my face. All my doctors have said it is probably genetic. I had given in. I decided to just make the best of what I had and take vitamins to prolong the loss of my hair. My hair loss is primarily on the top of my scalp toward the front. After reading all the comments I decided why not go get my ferritin levels checked. I asked my GP to check them at my yearly appt. He said that he usually doesn’t do that test unless the regular iron test comes back with a low number. I ask him to do it anyway to satisfy my curiousity. My level came back as an 8. AN 8! My other iron numbers were in the normal range. So it looks like an iron defiency but not anemic.

When I got the news, I jumped on the internet to find what low ferritin means for people. When I saw the list of symptoms that go along with it, I had so many questions answered. I have so many of the symptoms it is crazy. The list I was reading said if you have 5 or more you probably have a iron deficiency problem. I had 12 of the symptoms. I am hoping this will be my answer to so many problems that my doctors had written off as stress. Maybe I will lose my cloudy thinking, dizziness, headaches, being cold all the time,…… the list just goes on and on! If it helps my hair too that will be a bonus!

I will be starting my iron supplements on Sunday. I have a hot date with my hubby on Saturday and don’t want to take a chance of the iron running it. I have seen people suggest things to take with the iron to help absorbtion. I will need it because I am taking acid reducing drugs for my reflux. Any suggestions on supplements to add would be appreciated. I can’t wait to see it this helps my hair and the rest of me too!

ali August 17, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I found taking the iron supplement that included vit c made absorbtion quicker

Rachel Rose August 24, 2011 at 4:28 am

Wow…this explains alot! My iron stores are at 1.8 (yes, that says One point eight). No wonder I have to sweep my hair up everyday from the bathroom floor!

JM September 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm

To Jennifer B – – – – Your symptoms are reflective of low thyroid function which could cause low ferritin levels. You need to see an physician who practices alternative medicine, because the mainstream medical field does not diagnose thyroid problems properly. I began losing my hair at age 40 and my physician told me that my thyroid function was normal. However, I had all of the symptoms you have and subsequently learned from a alternative medicine physician that I had hypothyroidism. He began treating me for it and my hair loss stopped and my hair became full again.

jo October 5, 2011 at 2:27 am

Hello all
my experiences reflect all of yours. I will be 46 nextmonth and have been losing my hair in handfuls for the last few months, even caused a blockage in the shower drain before I realised what was happening. And itchy hot pin prick feelings in my scalp too. Plus restless legs, fatigue, insomnia etc etc Crying???? seems to be my daily routine now – look in the mirror, try to cover up what scalp I can, cry, pull myself together, cry again.
I pushed for blood tests after my thyroid came back ok (I have been taking 100mcg of levothyroxine for many years) and got a ferritin level of 9. Unfortunately as I suffer from ulcerative colitis, i had a really tough time with the iron meds including bleeding. Luckily I have a fantastic UC nurse and when I ran all this past her and her team they suggested an iron infusion. The GP had to support this as it involved a fee but I finally had the iron infusion yesterday as a day patient. It was ok, as IV experiences go and I was monitored throughout for allergic reactions. I hope that this will bring my levels up and please please please give me some hair growth.
I too had loads of wavy hair, fine texture but masses of it. So humiliating this hair loss, limited understanding from hubby and friends means I feel so isolated.
Reading your posts makes me realise I’m not suffering alone.

Tina October 5, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Hey everyone, the one thing I noticed with all these comments is that NO ONE ever comments after they take the iron supplements. NO ONE has ever said that IRON has made their hair grow back. WHY?? Don’t you think that there ought to be some on here, especially some who have commented back in 2007 and 2008 who come back in 2011 to comment on here and share their success story?? If there is no success stories that means it must NOT be the iron. That seems logical to me. So because of just this deduction, I really don’t think Iron is the answer for hair loss just by observing all these many years of comments.

Just my two cents……any proof contrary is more than welcome. I too suffer from hair loss…ugh!

ali October 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Taken Iron and getting my levels up stopped my hairloss but it never grew back. Sigh!

ali October 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Tina, what is your diagnosis then?

Carmen October 10, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Hello,
I was just diagnosed w/ low iron and ferratin. I have chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia and chronic migraines..I am hoping iron will help me have some energy. But I am having great trouble finding a supplement that doesn’t cause severe heartburn. Any suggestions?
Also…my Iron-S is 39 (it says reference range is 50-170) and my % FE SATURATION is 11 (says reference range is 22-55%)
also my Ferritin-S is 16.5 but is says that isn’t low cause ref. is 8-252
just wondering if these levels sound low to any of you and if you think they could be causing some of my extreme fatigue/weakness/exhaustion?

Carmen October 10, 2011 at 7:37 pm

forgot to add that i don’t eat meat(can’t really handle it..gives me severe heartburn plus never really ate it my whole life so i don’t really like it)…i do it a lot of legumes/veg. diet

Kristin October 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm

I have been experiencing rapid hair loss over the last year, and had no clue as to why. I chopped it up to stress. But, once I started losing clumps of hair, and my hair thinned to a very concerning level, I started to panic. I talked a family member, who claimed to have experienced the same thing, and she recommened vitamin B supplements once a day.

I went out and bought the vitamin B, and took those for about a week. I had a doctor’s appointment, and went ahead and asked her about my hair loss. She took a look, and saw that I was in fact losing my hair. A lot of doctors won’t usually pay much attention to hair loss. Anyways, she sent me for a blood work up, telling me about auto ammune deases, such as lupas! I was freaking out. But, she revieced my blood work back the next day and everything was normal, except for my vitamin B, which was higher than it should be. She told me to stop taking the supplements. She reffered me to a derm.

I went and saw the derm, and he said that my hair loss seemed to fit well with severe stress, but he was going to go ahead and do another blood work up, he was going to look for the ferritin, which my regular doctor didn’t look for.

A week later, and he called said that my ferritin level was low, it was 24, when normal was 50. So that’s why I was losing my hair. He told me to go buy iron supplements at 325mg a day, and Biotin. He said I could try rogain, it could only help was his words.

I’m suppose to take those supplements for three months, then do another blood work up. But I’m a little concerned that simply taking over the counter supplements, aren’t going to be enough. I’m feeling tired, all the time as well as having the hair loss. I’m only 22 years old!

jaki November 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm

hi everybody, have been reading everybodys stories on here, my hair started to fall out around six months ago. i had really long thick hair that was my pride and joy,now its short and thin its horrible.
i went to the doctors and got sent for a load of blood tests which all came back ok.i went back again to see a different doctor and was told the same thing and that i must have had a scalp infection , after looking up on internet new there was no way i had had that,went back again after looking up about ferritin tests to be told i had a level of 24 which was normal,but low!! and could possiably be the cause of my hair loss. iv been given iron tablets to take three a day for a month which are 210mg and then to go back for another blood test to see if they are working,i also have heavy periods and terrible mood swings which dosent help so have to take the pill to try and make them settle down,im 37 and have been a vegetarian since i was 13 but have always made sure i dont go without the vitamins i need.

e;;e November 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I had success in stopping the hair loss by cutting out caffeine totally. I also became gluten free and a vegan, but that’s another story. I don’t think there will ever be a magic pill to make us better; however, I do believe that caffeine, for some, stresses out the adrenal glands and causes us to lose hair. A good site that some of you should see is called Women to Women. The doctors at the site are both wonderful women who give out a lot of free information regarding health and menopause. Yet, I also think their info would apply to anyone who is losing there hair. I can’t afford to use them, but I am sure that some of you here could and would be greatly helped. I think they are wonderful and no, I do not work for them or anything, but have learned soo much at their site. Take a look.

elle November 21, 2011 at 9:40 am

Hi, I also want to say that I’ve noticed that a lot of shampoos have SLS, soy and wheat in them. SLS or Sodium Laurel Sulfate is a natural product but many people have reactions to it and it is in most shampoos, even a lot of organic shampoos. Also, Organic means nothing in make-up and hair care products. There are no rules for organic beauty products like there are for food. Thus, even if it says it’s organic that does not mean it is safe. Since I know I have a wheat and soy allergy and a definite reaction to SLS, I have found the only product that doesn’t make my scalp burn is Dr Bronner’s Shampoo. If anyone finds any other shampoo without wheat/SLS or soy, please let me know. I think it is scary to look at shampoo labels because even in the organic ones, we really don’t know and I think that could be the cause of a lot of hair loss. I can’t believe how many women and young girls I see that have pretty thin hair now. As consumers, I think we need to stand up and fight for healthier products!!

ali November 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I think that losing hair due to low iron permanently kills the hair follicles! Which is why no one has any positive hair stories once their levels are up!

amanda November 30, 2011 at 8:16 pm

ali,

why the negative postings? maybe those that have solved their hair loss problems just choose not to view or post anymore.

jo December 5, 2011 at 9:07 am

following on from my october post….. had the IV iron, a month later my ferritin was up to 128!!!! wey hey great news! Hair loss slowed, but not stopped and no regrowth. But unfortunately last few weeks saw the fatigue, leg cramps, bruising, brain fog etc descend again. Had my bloods done and the ferritn has dropped by 55 from the 128 to 73 which is still in the general optimum range (is it optimum for me? who knows as my bloods were never checked for ferritn levels when I was healthy!) but what a huge fall in less than 5 weeks??? I have been NFA’d by GP but luckily had requested a Dermatologist appointment previously and this has come through for end of Jan 2012 – if I still have hair left to examine. Am also going to make a private appt with trichologist just to cover all options. Not cheap but my self esteem just keeps getting lower so have to do something.
Ali, thats a good question, wish there were some positive/recovery stories to give us a little hope!!

ali December 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I dont mean do be negative but there just isnt any proof of anyones hair regrowing after getting their levels up and Ive been on other boards as well. My ferritin is up around 150 and I have kept it up over 100 for a few years now with no regrowth.

Lisa December 19, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Last year 12/24/10 I posted a message regarding my hairloss. I too was very frustrated and tried everything from various vitamins and massaging. I had very thick hair. I now have half of what I used to have. I spent money on demo’s/tests to tell me something I already knew. Stored iron was low (12). Test were done such as B12, D3, FSH. All levels were normal to high. March 2011, I had an IUD inserted for excessive bleeding. I can now say (FINALLY!!!) after taking 325 – 3 times a day with Vit C has decrease hair loss from 300 a day to 25/50 hairs a day. I eat ALOT of various nuts, Total cereal, raisans, oranges, quiona, etc to improve iron. I am going to my doctor tomorrow for a physical to include iron store test and or to see what my stored levels are at. I have seen hair growth. I’m not 100% positive but will check back in two weeks and let you all know of my outcome.

Leanne December 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I’ve been shedding my hair like crazy for about 6 months now and the only thing they’ve found was I have really low ferritin levels (under 20); my thryoid and everything else was fine. I’ve been taking iron and trying to eat lots of iron for about a month now. My hair used to be so thick and now it’s extremely thin and I’m absolutely terrified that I won’t have any left in a few months. I’m also really young (under 18.) Anyway hoping for the shedding to stop and hoping for regrowth but not seeing much.

Lisa December 27, 2011 at 6:52 pm

On 12/20/2011 or above I stated I was going in to the dr to get blood work done and to see if my Ferritin levels had increase. Great news!!! My Ferritin results is actually at 124 n/ml. Prior to 6 months ago, I was steady at 42-44 ng/ml. I must say positively what had helped was that it was a combination of things that improved my iron levels. I had an UID inserted in March 2011, I also took 1000mg of Vitamin C with iron sulfate 65mg 3 times a day. Total of Vit C for the day is between 3000mg. I waited 2-3 hours after drinking coffee or caffine. I ate ALOT of nuts and raisans and Total Cereal. I had a good feeling prior that the iron was working is when i notice my hair stopped shedding and felt my hair was growing. My nails was stronger. I also take biotin and vit b12. I am so thrill that my hair stopped falling out. I too was worried that Im not going to have hair. Now I feel that is not true. My hair appears to be growing in. Keep in mind, I was searching high and low for the last 3 years in figuring out why my hair was falling out. I actually started taking iron 12/26/2010. Ferritin levels a year ago started at 12 ng/ml. It took at least 1 whole year for my hair to stop falling out. Please have patience. I know its hard because Ive been there. If anyone has any questions, please let me know.

Lisa December 28, 2011 at 9:22 am

Leanne, if you have any questions regarding what I’ve done to bring up my iron, you can email at mcls30@yahoo.com. I would be more then happy to help you out. FYI: my hair use to shed 200-300 a day. As of today, my hair sheds only 25 – 30 a day.

Barbara December 30, 2011 at 9:07 am

My sister went to a dermatologist about her hair loss and she was given APPEAREX…my sister tried it and loved it..she bought hers from the Dr and pd a lot more, but you can get it from the CVS in the nail section..I am heading there now.. I think it sells there around $15.00..you can look it up on the internet it is for nails and hair…

Ann December 31, 2011 at 6:25 am

Lisa: I’m so happy for you! Great news on taking control of your hair loss! SO happy for you! Your iron stores are really coming up. One quick question, why did you avoid caffeine when you were taking your iron? does that effect the absorption of iron? Thanks!

Lisa January 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Yes, It does affection absorption of iron. I read this in numerours articles. I’ve research this for the last year. More then 8-9 months ago, I was drinking coffee and right after that, I took all my vitamins (iron, b-complex, C, etc). I then had blood tests (every 3 months) and seen very little or no improvement. My doctor thought that 40-42 would be the highest I would ever go to.The last 6-7 months, I concentrated on drinking caffeine 2 hours later. I took 1000 mg with each iron intake. This is when my iron jump to 124.

Rhonda January 1, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Hi Lisa,
2 questions, when you say you took 1000 mg with each iron intake what are you referring to, and when you mention the IUD does that have anything to do with trying to help your hair loss, or just for birth control ?

Rhonda January 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Thank you Lisa for pointing out the issue with coffee, I drink tons of it, have been on iron supplements for awhile with slight improvement to my ferritin – I will try cutting back coffee and taking supplements a few hours later – hope it helps.

Lisa January 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Rhonda,
Sorry for not clarifying it. I took 1000mg of Vit. C with each iron (65 mg element x3 Iron Sulfate)intake. I found out by another dr that taking 3,000 per day of Vit C is a bit much. This can cause kidney stones. My kidneys were checked last week with no issues. I had the UID inserted only for heavy bleeding. My gynecologist said that the IUD will reduce my monthly bleeding which also can cause excessive hair loss every month. Each month that we bleed, we also lose iron. Especially if your a heavy bleeder. I also was told by my gynecologist and read that iron will deplete slowly as we get older therefore it can take years before you notice that iron has been depleted. It also takes just as long for your iron to go back up to the normal level. I normally drink 2 cups of cofee in the morning. Coffee and or caffeine will interfere with iron absorption. Around 10-11 am, I take 2 (Vit C -500 mg each from Costco) and iron. An hour later I each a bowl of 100 Total Cereal. This cereal contains alot of iron and other essential vitamins. When I want to snack during the day, I each this cereal again. I continue to take my iron and Vit C around 2 pm and again around 6 pm. I too was feeling hopeless and obsessed with losing my hair. I thought I would never get to this point where my hair will stop shedding. I even counted my hair almost everyday. I gave myself a total of 1 year to notice a difference on hair loss. If you have additional question, I will be more then happy to answer it. :).

Lisa January 2, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Rhonda, I’m not a doctor of any sort. I would recommend before taking iron or vitamins, please consult your doctor. Taking too much iron can be fatal. Make sure you go to your doctor to check your ferritin level(stored iron) or iron before taking it. My dr recommended for me to take iron 3 times a day because my iron was at 12. Please dont take iron 3 times a day like I have if yours is at a normal level. I will be checking my iron in 3 months to make sure it did not go down or jumped too high.

Finlay January 5, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Very interesting reading. I am interested in the low ferritin angle as I have been having very heavy periods for the past couple of years . Find this whole hair loss thing so depressing and totally unexpected! 18 months ago I was growing my hair longer and loving the look, getting loads of compliments about being a funky 40 something (am 48). Now I panic everytime I walk under a bright light and see my scalp shining through. I feel I’ve aged ten years in the last 10 months. Why did it happen all of a sudden?

I have also recently started taking Viviscal. According to the press and reviews on Amazon it can work! You need to take it for 6 months as that’s the length of the hair re-growth cycle. I’ll try anything.

Lisa January 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Finlay, I’ve never heard of Viviscal. I will look into this. I’m 49 and started noticing hair shedding at 47. I also had lots of compliments because my hair was so thick and beautiful. What I believe is working for me is having the IUD placed and taking iron for the last year. I know no (100%) doubt in my mind that my hair stop shedding. Believe me, prior to the IUD/Iron, I tried everything in the book or on the internet. Nothing worked with the exception of the IUD/Iron. I just wished previous doctors would of tested me earlier vice telling me it’s the age thing going on. I had one doctor quickly looked at my head from a far and stated, “You just getting older. Just part of life” No test were done. I could of had a handle of this years ago prior to all the hair loss. I had the IUD placed last March. Bleeding did not decrease until the 5 month as stated by the gyno dr. She said to give it time. She was right. I hardly bleed. Go to your gyno and ask about the IUD. If you bleed alot, she may recommend it.

Jen T January 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Hi everyone, I have been reading this forums for a long time now (well over a year when I noticed my hair loss). I finally decided that I should post and maybe give some hope especially for the younger girls coming to this site. I started losing my hair at age 22 (September 2010) and it was right after I had started birth control. I had been on and off BC for a couple years but everytime I would get off of BC, a few months later I wouldnt have a period. Well I believe that BC started my hairloss because after 2 weeks of being on it the shedding began. I was losing 300-400 hairs a day. And I was freaking out. I stayed on BC til I ran out of the pill pack (so just a months worth) and I have not been back on BC since. My hair continued to fall out for the next year. Hundreds of hairs a day and there was nothing I could do about it. But the weird thing about it was I had a period every month for a year after I got off BC which wasnt what ususally happened with me. I hairloss has slowed alot now. But I still went to the doctor and got some tests done. Come to find out my ferritin was a 23 (low range). Im now taking Integra (which is an iron supplement that has Vit C and Lysine, which if you done your research helps with absorption) within a month and a half my ferritin has already gone up to a 36. Its going to take a few more months to get it past 70 but I have hope. Im now losing around 50 a day, somedays 20-30. And I see little hairs growing too. So girls have hope and dont try to find the quick fixes the doctors will try to sell you on (like Rogaine), you know your own body and if you have a feeling that there is a certain cause you are probably right. I have had almost all the doctors i’ve seen (4 doctors) told me it couldnt be BC and that Ferritin has nothing to do with it. Most doctors dont deal with hairloss on a daily basis, its not their speciality so keep searching until you find someone who will really listen to what you have to say. Mine happened to be a Nurse Practioner who brought out her medical books to look up stuff about hair loss and what to test me for. So have faith and know that you can fight this! :)

Lisa January 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Hi Jen T,
Where did you purchase Integra Plus? How much is it?

Fayyy January 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Hey everybody. I posted a message about ym hair loss around easter last year. Well there has been no change since and quite frankly, I’ve lost hope. I’ve continued taking the ferrous fumerate twice a day like my doc said but I really don’t see the point. I want to try something else as this is clearly not working. I’m so tired of looking in the mirror everyday to see if new baby hairs have appeared on my hair line. What’s sad is that I think more hair on my hair line is thinning. It really does suck. Has anyone had any success with ferrous fumarate? I’m really trying to hold back the tears here :'(

Jennifer B January 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I am getting ready to go for another blood test to see if my numbers are up. I have seen a decrease in hair falling out. I also see some young short hairs that like to stand straight up. I don’t know if the iron I started taking under my doctor’s care is helping, but I am starting to feel more like myself. I am hoping my vitamin levels are getting close to normal. I am also using a hair product made by Redken. It is for thining hair and is a 3 part treatment. I am not sure if my improving hair loss is due to the iron or that. Either way…I am happy it has slowed down. I was actually able to wear my hair in a pony tail to they gym without covering it with a cap. My scalp wasnt’ shining through! I hope for continued improvement. I’ll post my results when I get them. I have my fingers crossed!

Sophie January 18, 2012 at 12:33 am

Hi everybody. I’m 14 and am starting to suffer from major hair loss, to the point where i think im going to go bald! The last couple of weeks i have been feeling weaker each day. I’m constantly tired and sleepy even though i get a decent amount of sleep. I went to the doctor and he sent me to get my blood checked. The results show that i have low iron and to be precise on the amount he sent me to another blood test. He told me that it wasn’t common or normal in children to have low iron and it was usually something found in older women. I’m quite worried because none of the comments are written from someone my age. (I havn’t read every single comment so don’t quote me on this) I’m mostly worried about loosing my hair at the age of 14! It is very scary to see my hair fall out when i brush my fingers through it! From reading the comments I see that most of you have had the hair loos problem for a long period of time. Do you have any advice on what i can do? I’ll be seeing my doctor a couple days later for the second blood test results. Thanks.

ali January 18, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Fayyy have you considered that maybe your hairloss is androgenic alopecia? Have you been to dermatologist for a proper diagnosis?

Leanne January 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Sophie I’m pretty young too…I’m 16. My hair was shedding like crazy for six months..I finally got diagnosed with low ferritin and have been taking iron and digestive supplements for 2 months. And in the last month it has still shed, though (knock on wood) it seems to be shedding less. Like, if I had as much hair as I used to have, I wouldn’t be worried. I see a few short ends but not the hundreds/thousands I lost.. but my ponytail is SO thin right now that I don’t see how I’m going to retain it, and I’m still terrified.
Just letting you know you’re not the only one this young on here. And until you get the results you can start trying to eat iron-rich foods (google them), and drink orange juice or take vit C with iron-rich stuff that isn’t meat because vitamin C helps you absorb iron.

Sophie January 22, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Leanne, hearing that i wasn’t the only young one comforted me. I’m glad that your hair is shedding less. I’m pretty terrified as well and my hair is already as half as thin as it used to be. Thanks for the advice and I already know i have low iron but tommorow ill find out the exact results as to how low. I hope you retain all your hair real soon but atleast its shedding less and that’s a start.

Koleviva January 23, 2012 at 3:32 am

Hi,

I am 31 yrs old, after reading all your post I think I am on the worst side cause my ferritin level is just 1.3 and I had hairfall since my collage days just started taking my Iron suppliments with other vitamin tablet as recomended by my dermatalogist, I hope I will help me and I can see my hair growing back.

Fayyy January 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Hi Ali. No I haven’t considered that and I have not gone to see a dermatologist. I’ve only went to see my GP but that’s about it. I’m going to see my GP again soon to tell her what’s been going on and how the ferrous fumarate tablets have not been working. But I think I may have to go to a dermatologist very soon as my hairline as changed dramatically in the last few weeks and i don’t want it getting any worse!!! I have also noticed your past comments where you’ve said that ur ferritin levels are well over 100 but ur hair hasn’t grown back. That has really worried me lol :( If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask what you’re taking at the moments and how long you’ve been taking them until ur ferritin levels reached 70. I’d also like to ask if ur hair loss is all over or whether it’s just the temples and the hair line. Please keep up updated!!!

ali January 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I took ferrograd iron pills to get my levels up and now that I am over 100 I just take vitamin iron pills 40mg daily. I lost hair all over but also my frontal hairline and one temple took a bit more of a beating. My doctor thought it was just the low iron but my derm said it was more likely androgenic alopecia. Im not too sure if my hair is still thinning but slowly so its hard to notice. Im currently only losing around 20 hairs a day but not sure if they are replacing.

Fayyy January 26, 2012 at 7:37 pm

I guess I should go see a derm to see whether i’m having the same problem. It’s great that ur hair is not shedding less than it did. I really hope we both see some new growth very soon!!!

I’ve read a lot that castor oil can promote hair growth. I’ve read and watched numerous clips where people have said how castor oil has helped them grow their hair back. I’m thinking about trying it as I have nothing left to lose!

T February 3, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I have been on this forum for about two years and I can tell that i see a lot of regrowth when my iron is over 40, i get a bunch of small hairs around my face.
Also I noticed that when i take iron i need to balance it with zinc cause the issue i experienced is when I take about 100 mg of elemental iron I start loosing long hair and i get white spots on my nails – zinc deficiency, but when i am low on iron i loose short baby hair – I am very positive that for me when my iron drops i start loosing short baby hair and when i am short on zinc i loose long hair. But again it is from my personal experience. It helps to use oils on your scalp, i am experimenting with msm cream and putting it on my scalp, i read online that it promotes hair growth – i think it is working, also i take borage oil – it helps with dht. IF you have androgenic hair loss try saw palmetto it does help but it affects iron absorption.

Susanna February 4, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I just wanted to add my experience. My hair was brittle and falling out. My ferritin was 28 on 1.16.12 I started taking chelated iron 350 with 1000 IU vitamin C once a day, and after reading these forums I added in the L-lysine and went to iron 2x a day. Three weeks later I repeated my bloodwork, and on friday 2.3.12, my ferritin was 57. My hairloss seems to be decreasing already. I am going to keep at it til my ferritin beats 70. Just wanted others to have hope that it is possible to raise your ferritin levels in a short time. I was fearing a very slow rise in my iron over many months. It may be harder to go from 57 to 75. I hope not!

Finlay February 13, 2012 at 11:05 am

Thank you Lisa for that information – convinced the past 7 years of heavy menstruation has got something to do with it. I read somewhere that the whole low ferritin issue can cause hair to grow very finely with less density generally as it’s not being “nourished” fully due to being deemed by the body to be less important than other bodily functions. Same thing with nails – mine are terrible and used to be amazing. My thinning does look worse at the front of my head – hairline and crown, but is that just because I notice it more? I have seen my GP now and am having blood tests to check all the appropriate levels re lack of iron, ferritin etc etc! My GP was really empathic about my hairloss situation and when I also mentioned that I was teary, irritable, foggy brained and feeling like an old hag generally with a total lack of mojo, he said that I might benefit from a very low dose of HRT. This has proved to totally rejuventate some women and to bring back their crowning glory. Anyone got experience of this?

Ann February 16, 2012 at 11:29 am

I got a call from my dermatologist today re: my new lab results. They tested everything since I’ve been losing my hair for 18 months, we wanted to just run the gammut! I found that my Iron stores (Ferritin levels) are EXACTLY where they were when all this started…53. This is not super low but it is low for hair growth. I’d like to get up to 100 and see what happens. They have recommended I take Iron Sulfate- 325 mg -2x a day. I will take along with a stool softener and also 1,000 mg of Vitamin C to help with absorption. I was taking Iron but not that high of a dose and only once a day.

They also said that my Estrogen was low…40 and the range is (28-230). I know estrogen plays a key role in keeping the hair on your head, for women! I’m on HRT drugs but it doesn’t seem to be high enough. May try to get that bumped as well.

Also, wanted to share an article/study that I found online that tests the relation between low iron stores in women and different types of hair loss. Here you go: (the article above by the moderator, I noticed is no longer published online).
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/dermatol/faculty/pdf/ferritinjid.pdf

Finlay February 17, 2012 at 6:13 am

Really interesting article Ann – thank you for posting this.

Just had blood test results back and ferritin level is 28 – which is considered low/borderline. I consider it way too low for me personally. All other areas are fine including iron levels in the blood etc. I think the last 7 year or so years of having heavy periods, often with a 3 week cycle, has taken its toll on my poor old iron stores! Having read all the research out there is just seems to make sense to me. Have been prescribed Ferrous fumarate – 305mg x2 a day for 3 months. My GP is a young male and is really empathic – I must be one of he lucky ones. He’s also booked me in for a wheat intolerance blood test to check if I have a problem absorbing iron in the small intestine. He thinks the iron will also help with my other “old and tired hag” symptoms. If things don’t improve when we review in 3+ months time he thinks the HRT route is an option.

Have also purchased some rosemary essential oil – have heard it’s great to stimulate hair growth.

Thanks to everyone for all the posts – you keep me going! x

Ann February 17, 2012 at 6:37 am

Finlay, sure thing. I wish there were more conclusive results from this study but what I found interesting was that women who have been clinically diagnosed with AGA (female pattern hair loss) had lower iron levels than women with TE. I have been diagnosed with AGA but it was a combination of TE…the TE kicked off the AGA, according to my doctor. Anyway, it gives a little bit of hope that the iron could help. I also talked to the nurse at my Derm. yesterday and she said she had lots of hair loss and got her Iron up and it stopped and thickened up. She said it is not back to where it was prior to hair loss, but hearing ANY success stories, gives me hope. Good luck on getting your iron stores up. You are very low. Also, I think HRT is awesome! I can’t imagine my life without it. I’m on the Vivelle Dot and Prometrium. Both are known to help with hair loss (even though that’s not why I take them, it’s a bonus!). enjoy your weekend!

Cherie February 21, 2012 at 8:19 am

hello Friends….is anyone losing hair due to dandruff ? I have stubborn dandruff and have been using Nizoral 2% since past 2-3 months but the dandruff is still not going due to which i not only have an itchy scalp but also facing hair loss.

has anyone tried Vichy anti dandruff shampoo? A review of this shampoo and your inputs on how to combat dandruff would be of great help.

Thanks.

Ann February 22, 2012 at 10:16 am

Hello! I was at my salon this weekend and they recommended their new line to help with my hair loss. It is called “Invati” and is by Aveda. I found this coupon online for a free sample kit (shampoo, conditioner and treatment serum). It is supposedly pretty awesome stuff. Not cheap though (like anything for hair loss is!) and so, a free starter kit sounded good to me. Here is the link if you are interested in printing it off and taking it to your nearest Aveda salon for the deal. Also, if anyone has tried this line and has results, please share! Thanks.

http://www.aveda.com/media/pressreleases/product_offer2.pdf

Jen T February 23, 2012 at 9:56 am

Just wanted to write a quick note. Its been since January since I’ve wrote. To Lisa, Integra Plus (Iron, Vitamin C and Lysine Supplement) is a prescription I got from my Nurse Practioner. I have insurance so it wasnt too expensive, I think around $10. My hairloss has decreased so much since taking it. I don’t worry half as much as I used to because I see new growth and the shedding is less. My trigger for TE was Birth Control, however, I believe my Low Ferritin prolonged it. If any of you have hormonal related hairloss, I just wanted to add that if you exercise daily (not talking about hours a day but a good 30-60 min walk/workout etc) it can balance your hormones out. Even if you are slightly over weight, a change in your BMI by 1-5% can balance your hormones. I believe in natural remedies and natural ways to improve your overall health. From a college student who has taken plenty of Biology, your body is so intricate and so much goes on and so many “unatural” things can effect your body in different way example: hairloss. Focus on getting healthy; mind, body and soul. Love to all.

Judy February 26, 2012 at 11:54 am

Hi Jen
I am 56 years old. I am a hairdresser in Central NY. I too have a large spot on the left side of my head and many small spots beginning to jump around. I will be heading back to my Dr. This week and hope they can run some tests to try to help this problem that started in October. I would love any info on natural treatments for this hair loss. I haven’t had my period for 2 years and I think this is a stress & menopause related issue. Thank you for having this site to help.
Thank you Judy Risavi

Finlay March 5, 2012 at 10:22 am

Hi there,

Saw a comment at the weekend about French women getting regular injections of Vit B and Vit H (Biotin?) to help with thinning hair. It costs only 6 euros and according to the article keeps the hair of post 40 ladies thick and luxurious. French women do seem to have great hair – is this their secret maybe?!

M. March 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I came across this discussion thread tonight when I was doing an internet search about iron and how long to wait to eat after taking it on an empty stomach.
I have skimmed through many of the posts here and just wanted to mention something that happened to me last week, in case it might help anyone.
Last year I was having a lot of symptoms (symptoms I’ve had my whole life, but they were all worse last year and I was in a bad way) and went to the doctor to ask what I could do, and she did some blood tests.
She said all the results were fine.
I live in a country where medical care is provided by the govt. so there isn’t a whole lot of individual attention or chance for follow-ups or referrals to specialists, unfortunately.
So I asked her for the actual numerical results of my tests (which was like pulling teeth to get the clinic to give them to me), and I read the document and learned that my serum ferritin was at 12, which was the very lowest number that the test results sheet said was “normal” – they just had 2 categories – “anemic” and “normal”, as if there isn’t a grey area of “nearly anemic and probably feeling and looking quite terrible”!
I looked this up and found that even in my country, a group of doctors had published a journal article several years ago in a top medical journal saying that the official conception in this country of what “normal” is for ferritin levels was way too low, and should be moved up to at least 20. And even then, they said that with a score of 20, a not-small percentage of people with that score will actually be physically anemic.
I printed that article out and took it to the doctor and asked her if I should be taking iron pills for my low ferritin level, and she said it would be fine to do that. She didn’t give me a prescription because it would have been more expensive than buying the same thing in the pharmacy.
That was for ferrous sulfate – which totally messed up my already very sluggish elimination system – wow, the constipation was awful. I did some research and switched to ferrochel — ferrous bisglycinate, which apparently is easier to digest, is much better absorbed, is less affected by tea / minerals, etc.
I was only taking 1 a day (small amount) because of the constipation, however.
I took a blood test 3 months later and my iron had gone up to 45, which I was really happy about.
However, the constipation was becoming a problem. It was recommended to me by a naturopath I met on a study course to take milk thistle to help with constipation, and it was amazing. I was thrilled with the laxative effects of the milk thistle, and I had read a lot about its many health-giving properties, so I thought it would be fine to take. So I was taking the iron, and then taking the milk thistle to help me with the iron side effects.
I had another ferritin blood test 3 months after that and I got the results back last week. My ferritin results were 28 — so I had LOST iron, even though I’ve been taking it religiously.
The doctor didn’t seem at all concerned (surely, there is a problem here? like a small chance that it could be internal bleeding or something equally worrisome?) and said that I should just keep taking the daily iron.
I did a lot of research online, trying to figure out what could be causing my iron to decrease even though I’m taking the supplemental iron (which had increased my ferritin nicely for the first 3 months, so it should have kept working — or at least kept the ferritin level steady).
I discovered some scientific studies and journal articles saying that milk thistle is a chelator of iron — it pulls the iron out of the body, even more than what is ingested by the body. It is apparently given to people who are suffering from iron overload. So the milk thistle that I was taking to help me tolerate the iron was actually undermining the entire thing and taking out more iron out of my body than I was putting in on a daily basis!
I’ve stopped taking the milk thistle, and I don’t know what I’m going to do about the constipation. I’ve already tried everything else to solve it, short of the kinds of very strong laxatives that are apparently difficult to stop using. (I’m naturally constipated – have been since I was a child, also there is hypothyroidism etc. etc. involved but I won’t go into it.)
Also note: I have just noticed that the very expensive, specialist, top-rated multi-vitamin/mineral which I went to quite a bit of trouble to buy a 6-month supply of from the US last month actually has a component of milk thistle in it (silymarin), so if you are trying to increase your ferritin scores, even if you aren’t taking milk thistle as a stand-alone pill, please check all your supplements just in case they contain milk thistle or components of milk thistle, which has become very popular in recent years (for good reasons – but it’s just not good for iron restoration!)

M. March 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm

By the way, I’ve seen a lot of advice on the internet saying that iron absorption is seriously hampered by phytates in grains, so people should not rely on iron-fortified breakfast cereals to provide them with absorbable iron, and also should not eat foods made with grains near to the time they take standalone iron pills.
(Also avoiding foods high in calcium, wine, cherries, grapes, chocolate, tea, eggs, walnuts, etc. etc., as you probably are aware of. Unfortunately there isn’t just one main list located somewhere, but piecing various sources together, you can learn about the many, many foods and nutrients that hinder iron absorption.)

M. March 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I noticed some people talking about blackstrap molasses – the thing is, it has calcium, zinc, and other minerals in it as well as iron, and if these minerals are taken simultaneously with iron, they really hinder the iron absorption.
The amount of iron in different brands of blackstrap molasses can vary, too, so read the labels.
It’s almost always a pretty tiny amount per tablespoonful.
I’m not saying not to take it, but the amount of iron you probably are actually absorbing from having a daily spoonful of molasses is quite tiny.
[I took blackstrap molasses (tablespoon in a cup of warm water) for an entire year a couple of years ago, because I read on the internet that it helped with heavy, painful periods. It didn’t do a thing for my periods, so I stopped taking it.]

nat March 7, 2012 at 7:16 pm

For Vickytoria
Have you noticed any hair regrowth as yet?

nat March 7, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Nadine/Beth
You guys have stop posting so was wondering if you have noticed any regrowth yet with your routine? thank you

Leanne March 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Also wondering about regrowth. My hair stopped shedding like crazy in January, but I barely see any regrowth. I’ve been taking iron & digestive supplements but haven’t gotten levels tested again yet. Anyway I’m terrified that no hair is growing back…it’s been 2 months since shedding lessened…shouldn’t there be a bunch of tiny hairs?

ali March 13, 2012 at 3:19 pm

As I have said before, I got my iron up, my hair stopped falling but never got regrowth, in fact I believe it triggered aga

Jos March 14, 2012 at 7:23 am

Wow.. I’m so glad I found this article.

Jos March 14, 2012 at 7:27 am

Hi,

I’m so excited to read about this as it has given me some hope. I’ve been anemic the last couple years which my doctor told me to take an iron pill around my period– I just bought a store brand thinking not too much about it. I’m also over 40 so my hair has been shedding and thinning too.

In the fall I started using WEN shampoo just because I felt like I should be using something better for my hair.. The lavender felt good and wouldn’t you know I had lots of new growth!!! Well, in January I was tired (taking naps too) and my hair began to shed alot so I figured it’s just my hair cycle so I need to deal with it.. Growth in the fall and then shed the rest of the time..UGH. I was watching Dr. OZ and he did mention that iron is good for your hair so I bought some iron pills on HSN.com because the reviews were excellent and I KNOW that store brand vitamins don’t always dissolve in your body the proper way. I’m not taking naps during the day anymore and I’m also hoping this will stop my shedding as well as help with some new growth. My yearly blood work is coming up soon so I will be talking about these iron levels and indeed ask if I should be taking iron on a daily basis.. These iron pills have no side effects and Vit C is also in them so I wouldn’t think they are harmful.

Also since researching iron and my hair issues.. I bumped into something else.. Has anyone heard about Castro oil and regrowing hair? Well, I’ll try just about anything– LOL.. So yes, I’ve been putting it on my scalp–only time will tell and it certainly can’t hurt.. Many have said positive things about it– most importantly being consistent.. I also bought into those hair essential vitamins– I’m skeptical about those but again my hair is important to me.. Something has to work.. I’m too young for hair NOT to grow.. I exercise and eat healthy so I don’t know what else to do to keep my hair growing.

Finlay March 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Hair growth is 6-9 months due to the stages it goes through so I think we need to keep positive and keep taking the vitamins etc!

Leanne March 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Is 6-9 mo. hair regrowth mean 6-9 months that you see short ends after the hair stops shedding? Or what?

Also: if your hair hasn’t really grown back, has it at least maintained the same thinness? Or is it getting worse?

Jos4268 March 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Yes, keeping positive is key but it’s so hard.. Ugh… I’ll keep applying castro oil and take my vitimins.. It’s all I can do….

Finlay March 18, 2012 at 11:27 am

Hi there – not sure exactly re the 6-9 months but read somewhere that’s the timescale involved to notice a real difference re new growth/thickness etc. I also read that if you’ve had low ferritin for years (think that’s me) then it can take the same amount of time to get theiron stores to the required level to trigger new hair growth. Interestingly I had a phone call from Viviscal last week (I had purchased a 3 months supply in Jan for £100) and the consultant advised me that it was okay to take this with my iron prescription and I should allow 6 months to see results. Viviscal offer a money back guarantee if no visible results within 6 months and according to them 85% of their customers get great results – even those with AGA. I have started to notice some new hair growing at my frontal hairline – some fine hairs and some real thick strong ones so am cautiously optomistic!

Fayyy March 23, 2012 at 8:05 am

Hi everyone! Ok so I comment in Jan talking about how I’ve been taking the ferrous fumarate pills that my doctor had prescribe me last year and how it hadn’t made of a difference. Well I’ve stopped taking them. Not deliberately, but I’ve been under a lot of stress with uni and stuff and didn’t go to see my doctor for more of the iron pills as they were running out. I tried to book an appointment with her 2 days after I had ran out of the iron pills, only to be told I could see her in 3 weeks time! By them I thought there was absolutely no point as my iron levels would go right back down. I’ve been reading a lot about castor oil and how it helped some people grow their edges/hairline back..and decided to try it around late February. I’d dip tip of my finger in the oil and massage it around my hairline. It’s been a nearly a month now and I CAN SEE PLENTY OF NEW REGROWTH :D I have very dark brown hair..almost looks black. Before the hairs on my temples was sparse where you could see my scalp and oh it was just horrible. Now I can tell there are new hairs coming through as my scalp isn’t showing as much and it is much darker. Sometimes it even looks as though it’s blending in with the rest of my hair and doesn’t even look like its receding lol! It’s not long enough yet as I’ve only doing it for a month, but I can see quite a difference and I have so much hope that the hair around my hairline will come back. Even my mother has noticed my my temple hair is looking darker. I use to always worry about my hair..always looking in the mirror to see if there are any changes, but now I don’t worry as much. Infact, I don’t worry at all because I KNOW soon my hairline will come back to the way it use to be. I will update if I see any changes. Love to all!

Jos4268 March 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Hi,

That is great that castro oil is helping you… Not sure if it’s doing anything for me as I’m tired of having greasy hair from it.. ha ha But yes will continue to do so.. I also read that coconut oil is good too. So maybe I will try that too..

My hair continues to shed and maybe breakage so I’m conditioning it quite often.. Still taking iron pills. I’m wondering if those hair esstional vitimins are causing all this shedding and breakage.. Maybe my iron levels have been so low for years that it will take a while before I see constant growth..

Fayyy March 25, 2012 at 6:35 am

Hi Jos4268. I totally know what you mean about the greasiness. But as I only put the castor oil on my temples it’s not that bad. My iron levels was extremely low. I commented this time last year where I was severely anemic with a ferritin level of 7!! And I too want to try coconut oil, not for hair growth but to improve the look and feeling of my hair. I have very curly thick hair and I’ve read that it’s a great moitsurizer. I’m thinking about trying biotin or sea kelp. I’ve heard they do wonders for hair growth too.. Has anyone tried them before?

Finlay March 28, 2012 at 11:56 am

Hi everyone – just found this article,

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1348097/I-lost-hair–grew-iron-rich-COCKLE-diet.html

Interesting and worth a try maybe?

Leanne March 29, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Glad to hear you see regrowth Fayyy! :) Especially cause you didn’t see any for a while…right? (or am I confusing people?) Maybe castor oil will be something to try likewise in the future. Anyway glad to hear something positive and best to all.

Finlay April 25, 2012 at 7:15 am

Castor oil seems to be working for me too! I have noticed lots of new little hairs growing around my hairline (where my luxurious fringe used to be!) since I’ve been applying the oil to this area over the past 2/3 weeks. It could also be that my ferritin levels are moving upwards with my improved diet and the ferrous fumerate tablets I’ve been taking for over 2 months now. Other areas still seem pretty thin though so it’s slow process….. Maybe it’s an “inside and outside” healing thing; the increased iron now getting into the follicles and the castor oil nurturing them from the outside?! Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Fayyy May 5, 2012 at 7:46 am

Ok so I thought I should update you guys. I’ve been using Jamaican Black Castor oil for over a month now. And I see a lot of new growth. I’m sooo happy. I reckon by august my new growth will blend in with the rest of my hair. I’m really ecstatic. One thing I’ve noticed though is that I get these little spots where I apply the JBCO. Probably because it’s so thick. The oil also has this smell. I don’t know how ot describe it, but it smells like food. Liek herbs or something lol I don’t know. But honestly, it doesn’t bother me as my hair IS GROWING BACK! I apply it every night. Pour a tiny bit into a bowl, dip my fingers in and massage it onto my temples. Not too much. I’m not sure whether it’ll work for everyone, but I really suggest you guys try it.

Finlay, I’m so happy for you :D Hopefully your fringe will grow back in no time! And you’re right, it ould be the ferrous fumarate pills that are contributing to your growth too. I use to take the fumarate pills but I stopped taken them. I shouldn’t have had but I just didn;t go back to see my GP for me. I’ve just been using the JBCO and it’s worked for me.

I will sure to be updating soon.

Mindy May 15, 2012 at 10:52 am

Hi All.
So very glad to have found this site! I, too, have been suffering from hair loss for the last 15 years. And, ironically I found out that I was given iron supplements until I was 5 years one! Currently, I have noticeably thinning hair and actually took a trip to Bosley last year. I have been so depressed for many, many years and to hear someone tell me that I have Stage One Female Pattern Baldness, was tough! My husband and I almost spent the $25K to take my “thicker” hair and the back of my hair!! HAHA! Thank goodness for a great friend who recommended that I check out the UW. Long story short, UW referred me to a Hair Loss Specialist. I saw Dr. Caldwell last week and when he walked into the examine room, he knew! I went for a blood test and just received the results an hour ago! My ferritin level was 18! So, if I would have elected to go through the procedure at Bosely, it WOULDN’T have helped! So, I’m going to begin taking the iron supplement today! I can hardly wait! I’ll keep you all posted!

Good luck to all of you, as I know first hand how horrible hair loss is! It’s a terrible feeling to go into a salon and have the stylist say “wow, you have thin hair!” I know that I will never have Jo Lo’s hair, but more will be better:) I’ll take whatever I can grow!

Gaby June 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Hello All,
I’m not sure if anyone is still active on those page but I wanted to share my story. I’m 29 mother of 2 hair issues were never a problem. Sure I would shed here and there I had thick black hair. Noticing this year early Feb my temples seemed lil bare and broken all of a sudden. I stopped and wondered what could be the cause. the only thing I could think was my switch in BC pills. So I stopped cold turkey. I didn’t have shedding right away I just kind of stared in April. I mean scary crying all the time shedding. I recently went to my reg doc he ran all the test and was concerned because my breakdown in his office over my hair. All came out fine with the exception of ferritin being 19 and flakiness on my scalp.he instructed me to take iron 65mg once a day on a empty stomach w/ juice. Also shampoo for the dandruff. I know it’s been only 2 weeks but I’m so anxious. What should I do? Be more patient ask to see a derm. I have been using the shampoo it made my head why less itchy but I still have flakes is it to soon? I have to use it for 4 weeks.One thing is I may have made it worst in the quest for trying to find shampoo that will solve the shedding. I am having a tough time crying and feeling really down. My reg doc feels it Te and also low ferritin forgot to mention that.

Feeling hopeless and down any advice would be great.

Gaby

Finlay June 26, 2012 at 7:30 am

Hi Gaby

Your ferritin is really low (like mine is) so you’ll need to take the iron for a good few months before you see any real difference – sorry it’s a longish haul this one but you will see new hair growing (as I have done!). Also worth making sure your diet is packed full of nutritional foods and iron boosting ones too. I also used castor oil around my hairline and it seemed to boost thicker growth. Hang in there. So many ladies seem to be suffering from this at the moment.

H x

Amber June 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I’m 15 and I have low blood count and hairloss. Rare but i have it. I think I have lbc because I have been doing sport 7 days a work two practices daily and I wasn’t doing what I need to get enough iron. I felt tired all the time, I couldn’t run like before , wanted to sleep, I pushed myself to exhaustion but my iron has to be raised so I have to take iron pills and eat food with a lot of iron. So no one is alone!

Leanne July 4, 2012 at 5:49 am

how long to see new hairs?

I stopped shedding like crazy in january…and i still barely see any short ends.

it is so thin near the nape of my neck and I can’t see anything growing…

any advice? x best of luck to all

Jos4268 July 28, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Hi,

I’ve been visiting this site every so often to read what others are going thru and when I put 2 and 2 together (I’m anemic) I decided to take iron pills every day. Before I would take them ‘whenever’ or a couple times doing THAT time of month.. I never realized how iron could effect my hair. I then bought some iron pills online and many have stated that the extra iron helps with their hair.

I also use castro oil and coconut oil since I’ve done a lot of research, many have claimed that it works.. I have noticed new growth but not a lot nor is it thick. I still get excited so I will continue with the iron pills AND using the oil on my scalp.. Maybe both are helping, not sure.

About a month ago I discovered Henna and other indian powders for the hair.. I’ve heard that it does ‘wonders’ for your hair.. Lots of articles and videos. Again, I figured what do I have to lose so I started using it..

Yes, it’s a very slow BUT maybe my next summer or even X-mas I’ll have really nice hair..

Take Care and keep trying ‘things’.

Sherry August 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Hi Ladies. All through my life I had times when my hair looked unhealthy, then for some reason I would come out of it and my hair would look good. The best my hair ever looked was when I was 30 and pregnant with my only child. I had fabulous, thick hair like a lion’s mane. By the time my son turned one year old my hair was much thinner. I started having terrible issues with extremely heavy periods, which I suffered with for many years. It really took a toll on my hair. I thought my sickly hair might be due to stress my heavy periods were causing me. I started wearing my hair up so it wouldn’t look so stringy. :(
Long story short….my bleeding became so heavy I almost bled to death before my doctor decided to do something about it. I had a complete Robotic Hysterectomy along with a 2 pint blood transfusion right before my surgery. I woke up from that surgery feeling better had for a very, very long time. I guess getting the blood I had been so low on did the trick. The thing is, my thyroid took a dive not long after my surgery, which I understand can happen. My family doctor put me on Levothyroxine-generic for Synthroid-50mgc. A few years later he had to raise my doseage to 70 and recently it was raised again to 88. My hair loss is at it’s very worse, to the point I bought a few wigs to wear. It was taking me forever to get my hair to look very good. It is much easier to put on a wig and not worry about wind wrecking my thin hair do. My bangs are soooo thin. :( I recently started taking Selenium and Iodine drops to improve my thyroid. I would LOVE to be off those meds. Too many women on Thyroid meds are having hair issues. Why doctors say it isn’t from the meds worries me a bit. I bought two shorter style wigs that look like my hair would look like if it was healthy. I have had several people compliment me, saying my hair looks great. They also said I should keep my hair style that way because it makes me look much younger. Sigh. They didn;t know I was wearing a wig. Since I had a Hysterectomy, and no longer bleed like crazy, should I be worried about my iron levels? I had a full blood panel not too long ago but nothing was off , according to my doctor, but my Thyroid level. I don’t know if they checked my iron or not. All I know my hair is way too thin and I have to comb my bangs to the side to hide my scalp showing. The only thing that helped my insecurity was to buy those wigs. My husband is supportive, which helps. He loves the way I look in the wigs. I would love to just get my hair back. My heart goes out to all of you. I know exactly how you are feeling.

Jan Scott September 10, 2012 at 11:24 am

Hi I have read all the entries on iron and ferritin levels. I hoping for some imput on my situation. I am 63 years old and have had periods of shedding every few years or so for 20 yrs. Lots of visits to Dermatologist & Primary care over the years. I had my thyroid, iron and general blood work done last week. My ferritin level is 50, Kaiser’s normal range is 40-199. My doctor says I am in the normal range and so don’t need additional iron supplements. But…. I noticed that in 6/2009 when I had blood work done my level was 132! My doctor sees no red flag in that drop?! I’ve read that I should be 70 to grow hair. Anyway, anyone who has researched these level… should I be conserned over that big drop? My thyroid is low normal too, as with white and red count low normal. Like everyone else trying to find a reason for the hairloss.

Vi December 1, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Hi There, just thought I would give some thoughts on what I have learned. I noticed in November 2011 that my hair was falling out and first thought it was my imagination. I am 46 and always had really nice thick long hair. Anyway, I would see it everywhere on my arms, counters, etc. I was also colder than anyone else and craving ice (called pica). I went to see a dermatologist and did a blood test and my ferritin level was 3. She told me to take iron pills, take a multivitamin and eat eggs and fish every week but other than that was no help as I had to read extensively to know how much iron, how to take it etc. I read so much I might know more than them lol. Started the iron last April now the ferritin level is 76 and just lately I have alot of new short hairs around my hairline. It really is a nightmare worrying all the time if you are going to lose all your hair and I have been to hell and back. I wrote this though to say that I really do think something in your body is off kilter and people should try to fix that problem first in the most natural way possible before messing with weird drugs, etc. I have heard that in over 90% of cases, that low iron is the cause, it can even cause the thyroid to start acting up making it seem like something else. Anyone with this problem should get their iron checked out and give it a few months to come back to normal…I think it’s working for me, atleast I hope so. Hope this helps all the people suffering, it’s devastating.

Leanne December 17, 2012 at 8:36 am

Hi everyone,
I just wanted to stop by and update…Last year was probably the worst year of my 17 year life due to the extreme hair loss I experienced. Around Sept. I went on birth control because of possible high testosterone levels and for the past few months my hair, although greatly thinned, has definitely been shedding at a normal amount and I no longer have that pit of dread in my stomach all of the time that I was going to go bald any day. If only the drs didn’t wait a year to try this sort of stuff. Don’t give up, and I wish you all the best.
-Leanne

Elisabeth December 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Hi – just wanted to share something fascinating I just read about ferritin and hair. About me – 66 yo, on Armour since Mar ’12, started losing hair diffusely about July ’12, and have lost about 30%. I like to use natural things and take nutritional supplements and Armour 15mg only. Trying to explain my hair loss brought me here and subsequently to the discovery that I am probably chronically anemic, made worse by my use of thyroid hormones. Hope I can explain the connection…

I discovered that Ferritin is found in hair follicles! Who knew? Circulating stores of ferritin will decline, as happens daily during the metabolism of the iodine in thyroid meds because this process requires iron in order to function. When this happens, the stores of ferritin in the hair follicles is called on to ensure support for more essentials cells, such as bone marrow (the birthplace of blood cells).

Loss of ferritin from the hair follicle cells now causes the hair shedding because the follicles are deprived of an important nutrient. However, as far as the body is concerned, support of growing hair is not life-sustaining; helping bone marrow produce blood cells is a life or death matter. Ergo – hair’s got to go! Anyway, it makes me feel better having a possible reason for the hairloss and I am now adding Ferritin by Cardiovascular Research (fr. Vitamin Shoppe) or Amazon to improve my iron stores.

Thanks for having this forum! I have learned incredible information from all who have shared their journey here. I hope this goes on and on until all have been helped and healed according to their needs. Many blessings to each and everyone of you!

meljh January 13, 2013 at 7:45 am

Hi,
I’m glad to find this thread. I’ve just done a detailed iron blood test to see if my severe hair loss is due to iron deficiency. All 3 doctors (1 dermatologist & 2 GPs) just diagnosed me as having alopecia areata and prescribed me steroids, but I refuse to stop there (at their diagnosis) and I’m not taking steroids.

Now I’m just praying to find a right doctor who can look at blood test results and tell me what other blood tests I should take to rule out different causes of hair loss. One blood test on iron (not ferritin) came back low below normal range, but the doctors only look at hemoglobin and said I can’t be anemia.

Annemarie January 25, 2013 at 2:31 am

hello
Im 32 and have been suffering a very slow hair loss for a couple of years, and when i looked back at photos of myself I believe this may have been going on for alot longer! I finally plucked up the courage to see a doctor, had my blood taken and low and behold my Iron level was 14!!! Ive been on very high amount of iron for 4 months and have noticed significant improvements in my hair, not only is it much thicker and lustrous (ive always had extremely fine hair, but ive actually had people comment on how nice it looked,NEVER happened before! ) but the other day i did my usual monthly check and my hair is growing back! Not all of it but some small centimetre hairs were poking through! I suspect it’ll take a while for it all to grow back, but as long as it does im happy!
I cant believe i waited this long to get it sorted, after years of worrying and wondering!

Tracey February 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Annemarie, thank you for the news of regrowth! I have been reading all of these posts looking for hope. I miss my eyebrows most of all :(

iloveeshoes February 20, 2013 at 7:25 am

I recently found out my ferritin was also low (30) so that is why my hair has been coming out like crazy. I posted on the forum thinking it was all kinds of reasons (dht, progrestone, etc.) come to find out my ferritin store was very low. I have been supplementing hard with iron for the past month and I’m seeing all kind of little baby hair sticking straight out my head. I think the depleted iron happened when I went into perimenopause 24 months ago and was bleeding excessive with huge clotting.

Finally my period has disappeared for over 6 months now but as a result of me bleeding so hard for over a year, I was still left with low iron stores. I went to so many doctors and spend so much money trying to find out why my hair was falling out and none of them were able to help me. I kept search, day and night on different hair loss internet forums and finally went to another website thyroidhelp.org and there was my answer. Iron deficiency. I never knew low iron store could cause you to lose your hair.

Now I see a crop of little hairs shooting up a ll over my head, praise God!

iloveeshoes February 20, 2013 at 7:58 am

I also want to state make sure you don’t eat or drink anything (outside of water) for 2 hours after you take your iron supplement to make sure nothing inhibits absorption. I also take black strap molasses and I try to take that an hour or 2 before I take my iron pills to be on the safe side. Taking your iron supplements before you go to bed might be a good idea.

Lamar July 17, 2013 at 12:08 pm

A recemt article in the New England Journal of Medicine addresses this issue. It basically says serum ferritin levels below 70 have been associated with hair loss in women

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMcp072110

finlay December 16, 2013 at 6:41 am

Hi everyone

Something else to try is Biotin – vit H. If you’ve also got itchy skin rashes along with your thinning hair – you may need to supplement with this little wonder vitamin. I’m taking supplements and am seeing lots of new hair growth!

Carrie February 16, 2014 at 2:06 am

After reading through this great forum, I just want to point out a few things, based on my own experiences:
1. According to my doctor, low vitamin B12 can cause both low iron and hair loss (apparently, B12 is necessary for iron absorption). So you may want to have your B12 levels checked along with your iron levels. Low B12 and/or low iron can also cause depression.
2. A year and a half ago, I had my iron checked and my score was 38. My family doctor thought that was fine, but then my psychiatrist happened to notice the score of 38 and said that he thinks women should be at a score of 50 or higher. So he gave me iron infusions (intravenous iron) — one per week for 3 weeks. I felt like Wonder Woman after those infusions… so much better. So I was a bit upset that my family doctor had mistakenly thought my score of 38 was okay, since it obviously wasn’t. Those three iron infusions kept my iron levels at a good level for over a year. They’re nice because the iron is guaranteed absorption, since it goes right into your bloodstream rather than through the stomach. It’s just a simple like IV and a 20-minute iron drip and can be done in most doctor’s offices.
3. Particularly if you’re Irish, be careful about taking any iron supplements before having your levels properly checked by a doctor, because there is a condition common among the Irish referred to as “the Celtic gene” that can cause haemochromatosis (too much iron in the blood).
I think any doctor who checks iron (or prescribes iron supplements) should also check the patient’s B12, since they seem to go hand-in-hand. A low B12 level could be what is causing the low iron.

Margie July 23, 2014 at 7:52 am

After reading all of your experiences with low ferritin I thought I’d share my experience which may help some as well. Will try to keep it short. After feeling miserable for over a year; depressed, tired, achey joints, migraines and hives along with hair loss I finally found a doctor that did a blood test of things not typically done and found that my ferritin was 8. After researching iron supplements (many cause stomach upset and constipation) I found great reviews of a liquid supplement by pur Absorb and started taking it (bought at Walgreens) but can be found on Amazon and health food stores. My iron slowly started to increase and my symptoms got much better although I still had hives. Fast forward to a few months ago and I had surgery for perforated bowel and my ferritin went up to 155 after the surgery. The doctors explained that after surgery or any trauma to your body, it will increase your ferritin levels. Aside from recovering from surgery, all my other symptoms had disappeared. People started remarking on how good my hair looked!!!! My skin was better overall, my fatigue wasn’t as bad, etc, etc. Proof that our ferritin levels should be MUCH higher than what so called normal ranges are on blood tests. So I stopped taking iron supplements and 4 months post surgery and my hair is thinning again and I’m very fatigued with migraines often. I’ve started the liquid iron again but I know how long it will take to raise it to even close to what it should be. I’m nervous about iron infusions because there is a risk of allergic reactions and really only should be done if you’re critically low. Mine was 8 in the beginning though so that might have been considered critical. Most doctors are not aware of the terrible symptoms of having low iron storage and don’t even think to test for it. They usually think that it’s depression and offer antidepressants. Try the liquid iron. It didn’t upset my stomach and didin’t cause constipation. Many reported more success with the liquid as it’s absorbed better in the body. Taking vitamin c with it is a good idea too. Hope this helps someone and also proves that ferritin needs to be much higher then we are being told for optimal health.

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