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Iron Profile

Discussion in 'The Undiagnosed' started by Lizziemac, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. Lizziemac

    Lizziemac Member

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    I've been suffering from thinning hair for several years now. I've tried everything, minoxidil 2% and 3.5%, supplements, Nioxin, Nizoral, healthy eating, scalp massage - everything I can think of. Two years ago I consulted my GP who said and I quote "you don't look to me like someone who has thyroid problems, but it would be negligent of me not to check". He did blood tests but nothing showed up.

    Now I've consulted another GP in the same practice. He also did blood tests and today he has phoned to say that I should make a further appointment with him as he has found something wrong with my iron profile.

    My question is, what do you think are the chances that any treatment for iron deficiency is likely to improve the thickness of my hair? I don't want to get my hopes up.

    Lizzie
     
  2. Hiya,

    I think this depends on what type of hair loss you have and I wouldn’t get your hopes up too soon.

    Iron deficiency is highly debated in association with hair loss but doctors and derms often test it immediately when hair loss is mentioned. A lot of women on here do not believe it will do anything to help hair and that is fair enough. I do, because I think I am having some regrowth with iron supplementation, but I think that to get this success you need to fall into a specific bracket in terms of how your hair loss has progressed.

    One thing is clear - a lot of women have low iron and in many it does not affect their hair at all.
    A lot of women with hair loss have low iron, and in many cases, the low iron is not the cause of the hair loss, but simply makes a bad situation worse.

    hair loss caused from low iron can result in either a slow diffuse thinning over many years (if you have chronically depleted iron stores), or can cause quite a quick TE shed, again resulting in diffuse thinning. It is said that iron deficiency hair loss can mimic Androgenetic Alopecia, but my understanding is that if your hair loss is concentrated on the very top of your head with a widening part, then iron probably isn’t the culprit.

    I am quite convinced that low iron (along with a couple of other things) is the reason behind my hair loss, and you can see my pics in a thread I posted yesterday called pics of TE loss.

    Is this what your hair loss looks like? Do you have a high shed? These things are supposedly quite typical….if so – maybe iron is a contributing factor.

    I hope this helps,
    Kit
     
  3. Sara

    Sara Guest

    What a thorough and comprehensive answer, Kitkat! What level was your ferritin when your hair first started falling? Also what iron supplement do you take?
     
  4. angieangie

    angieangie Guest

    You would have to have your iron checked. If you don't have low iron and you go through the same treatment as someone who does, I highly doubt it would make any difference. From your avatar picture, it looks like typical Androgenetic Alopecia. You said you have tried Rogaine. How long did you use it for? A lot of women use it for a few months, freak out about the beginning shed and then stop using it because they aren't patient enough to get regrowth (which can take up to a year). I think for iron to actually cause hair loss it has to be pretty low. Kitkat and I both had a ferritin level of 9, which is extremely low (some people are hospitalized if it get's below six). If it is just low normal, then it is less likely to cause hair loss. Also, with ferritin hair loss, there is usually another factor causing the hair loss, such as stress, illness, bad eating habits... and so on. For example, I had an eating disorder, so the whole stress on my body from disordered eating (I was bulimic, so I can't say "starvation") cause my hair to shed. But your hair loss looks like Androgenetic Alopecia since the part ws affected. In Androgenetic Alopecia the part is affected, and in TE the part stays in tact, but the thinning is over the ears and the nape.
     
  5. Nikoletta

    Nikoletta Guest

    Hey Lizzie,
    Your pic is too small to tell,
    Would you post a bigger one so we have more of an idea??
    Are you thinning everywhere or just on top?

    Have you done all tests for hormones?
     
  6. Thanks Sara!
    As Angie said my ferritin was at 9, and my actual haemoglobin levels were on the low side but not enough to be classified as fully anaemic. I started off taking 200mg ferrous sulphate a day, then about 2 months ago I upped it to 400mg per day. The doctor said 200mg was better on my stomach but it depended how quickly I wanted to see results! And I wanted them fast!! Amazingly my stomach seems to be getting used to the iron but I still have off days. I’m looking forward to getting my levels checked soon to see how things are going!
     
  7. Sara

    Sara Guest

    Thanks for your response Kitkat. What brand of iron are you on? I am on Ferrograd C...
     
  8. Lizziemac

    Lizziemac Member

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    My thinning is all over my head but worst on the top. I used minoxidil for 10 ten months (2%) and a further 6 months (3.5%) with absolutely no result at all, not even the dread shed. I'm not aware of any shedding, just the normal few hairs in the shower - nothing to scare me.

    I don't know how to put up a larger photo. Can you give me instructions and I'll do so? Thanks for all your replies.

    Lizzie
     
  9. Nikoletta

    Nikoletta Guest

    Hi lizzie,
    See at the bottom it says 'choose file'
    Click there and find the picture in your computer, then cick 'add file'
    You might have to resize if it's too big...
     
  10. angieangie

    angieangie Guest

    Okay, you definetly used the rogaine long enough. If you don't have a shed in the beggining then that usually means it won't work for you. It doesn't work for everyone. Your hair loss really does sound like Androgenetic Alopecia since you said you just lose a few in the shower.
     
  11. Lizziemac

    Lizziemac Member

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    Thanks for that Nickoletta. Here goes.

    Kitkat, my part is the same or worse than yours. I'm not too sure about the sides. I've used minodidil 2% for 10 months and a further 6 months 3.5% with no result, not even the dread shed. I've never been aware of excessive shedding, just the normal few hairs in the shower when I wash my hair and a few on the hairbrush. It's thinning all over, but worst on top.

    lizzie
     

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  12. Lizziemac

    Lizziemac Member

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    This is the other side
     

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  13. Nikoletta

    Nikoletta Guest

    Hi Lizzie thansk for posting pics.

    Well now seeing your pics i would have to say it looks like Androgenetic Alopecia, especially since your just thinning not shedding.

    However it doesnt hurt to raise your iron.

    Now have you had your hormones tested?

    How is the back of your head, is it the thickest?
     
  14. Hi Lizziemac.

    Your part is much more advanced than mine...to me this looks like Androgenetic Alopecia, and sounds like it as you haven't got a high shed. I could be wrong but iron related hair loss is usually associated with a high shed. But as others have said it might not hurt to raise your iron too.

    Sara - mine isn't a brand - it's just plain ferrous sulphate tablets...
     
  15. Lizziemac

    Lizziemac Member

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    I've had my thyroid tested (normal) but not the sex hormones. And yes, the hair at the back of my head is the thickest. A bit disappointing as when the doctor said he'd found a problem I hoped it was something he could treat. Well, of course it is something he can treat, but probably not something that will help my hair. Thank you everyone for taking the trouble to reply.
     
  16. angieangie

    angieangie Guest

    To me it looks like a bit of both. The top is thin, which usually only happens in Androgenetic Alopecia. But also the sides have some thinning too, which usually doesn't happen with Androgenetic Alopecia, just TE. But iron deficiency mimics Androgenetic Alopecia sometimes and the shed is slow and looks like Androgenetic Alopecia as well, so it might be that.
     
  17. Blue Bird

    Blue Bird Guest

    The sides can thin with Androgenetic Alopecia.....or should I say "Alopecia"...cuz Androgenetic Alopecia is supposed to usually affect the top but soo many women with Androgenetic Alopecia have side thinning. I have read this.
     
  18. angieangie

    angieangie Guest

    Yeah, but hers looks very diffused all over, evenly. Androgenetic Alopecia is usually more concentrated.
     
  19. alicat

    alicat Guest

    i think so too! especially if the lady has had hair loss for a long time. my thoughts are that hair can thin anywhere, but starts on the top with Androgenetic Alopecia.
     
  20. mythreeboys

    mythreeboys Guest

    Hi Lizzie,

    I love the color of your hair its so pretty. I am also so sorry your experiencing hair loss.

    I think it may be Androgenetic Alopecia. But perhaps you would be a super responder to Spironolactone or some estrogen suppliment? You mentioned your thyroid and my doctor explained to me that when the thyroid is off it can mess up other hormones and create the symptoms of high androgens or male hormones. I wonder perhaps if spironolactone might not be a possibility for you if your not wanting to dabble in estrogen.

    Thanks for posting your photo.
     

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