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Hi Osteoblast - Basically April 2006 my ferretin was 8 and then i took iron tablets which began to constipate me, then i move to a liquid iron and had no side effects, but progress was very slow as a lot of this over the counter stuff isn't strong enough dosage-wise.

In Feb '07 i saw a Trichologist and he got me onto a much stronger supplement, then i got IBS symptoms from it, then he got me taking organic iron tablets with it to settle my stomach and this worked. In March my ferretin was 29 and in May it was 26. It really killed to get that result showing that i was going backwards rather than forwards.

Due to the slow progress and the initial iron supplement he had me on giving me side effects he suggested that iron injections would work much faster, especially as i need my levels up much higher to stop my hair shedding. Also my thyroid is a tiny bit out and he feels it's all due to low iron levels for so many years.

As my haemoglobin and my b12 are good i got the go ahead for the injections. I wasn't aware that certain key things in your blood test had to be at the right levels before they would do the injections and they generally do the injections for people who are having difficult absorbing iron.

After creating this thread yesterday the muscle at the injection area (at my backside) became a bit stiff and sore. When i went to bed last night i heated up one of those wheat bag thingies in my microwave and laid it across my hip and derrier and today i hardly feel a thing. Maybe this has only happened as it was a first injection, i'm not sure. Will see what happens on monday when i get my next one.
I Claire, i notice you are in NSW too. I'm also worried about summer in a few months time as that is when most of my shedding occurs. Is your shedding all over or just in one area? Mine is all over and quite uniform.

My Trichologist didn't want me taking anything to stop my hair from shedding due to the fact that apparently while you are using these products it keeps your hair from falling out, but once you stop using them the hairs which should have fallen out do fall out. A gp i used to see once told me to get rogaine and when i went to the chemist the lady there just laughed saying that rogaine wasnt for people like me and that i'd be wasting my money and i would be better off finding the source of my hair shedding. Well the gp who advised me on the rogaine knew all along that my iron levels where out and that my immune system wasnt very good, but he just kept telling me very year that my blood test was fine. This makes me so mad b/c i could have done something 6yrs ago and averted all this hair shedding. I simply feel i'm in a much deeper hole now than i would have been 6yrs ago!!

As far as i know, you need zinc (among other things) to help boost iron levels, BUT, if you take zinc supplements when you take your iron supplements the zinc can stop your body absorbing the iron. My zinc, B12 and haemoglobin are all ok, it's just my ferretin. Also the fact that my iron has been so low for so long it has already started affecting my thyroid and moving me towards hypothyroidism. I don't have it yet as such, but my Trichologist has given me new targets he wants me to reach so that i dont end up with full blown hypothyroidism in the future.

I am really happy with my Trichologist. He has given me so much info regarding foods and vitamins and which things help with boosting iron and which things can hinder. He is also very knowledgable in how iron affects our entire system and which bodily organs/functions can stop working effectively if our iron is too low. He also works in conjunction with a couple of other doctors who specialise in particular fields and a professor at Sydney University whose field it is to discover why some people can't absorb iron no matter what. He hasn't sold me any thing which i felt he was selling me just to make money out of me. He feels my iron levels are the root of all my problems and simply put me on a strong iron powder, which had a few other things in it, plus complex amino acid pills to help better absorb vitamins and minerals in my diet, of which one is lysine as it helps increase the blood levels of ferretin.

Unfortunately for me, my iron still wasn't going up the way it ought to have and we have now moved to trying iron injections. He has had me do a very thorough blood test too and he has an extremely good knowledge of correct levels, which the pathology people simply over look and he has set new/correct targets for my thyroid, vitamin D and my SHBG hormone test is also a fair bit out (i'm having problems correcting my monthly cycles too). Dont know whether the iron has affected my hormones or whether that is a seperate issue at this stage.

As for extra hair on arms/face etc. I have not noticed any changes. I know certain drugs/pharmaceutical meds can have a side effect of extra hair growth in areas you do not want it, eg: my mum began growing extra hair on her previously hairless arms after going onto a calcium supplement.

Have you had your thyroid thoroughy checked out? Sometimes the hair loss can be thyroid related. My thyroid was viewed as being fine by pathology as i fell within the "range", but my levels are heading towards hypothyroidism. Even if your blood test shows you are ok, if your levels are a bit out you can have side effects from this. This is why it's important to have a good doctor who doesnt simply pass off your blood test results as being ok just b/c your results fall in the pathology "range". For some things this might be ok, but there are a number of things on blood tests that need to be above or below a certain figure and not just fall within the "range".

With my blood test he checked my liver function, magnesium, iron levels, folate, B12, full thyroid function test, hormones (SHBG, FAI, testosterone), zinc, vitamin D and copper.

As my Trichologist said, there are no super quick fixes for most people with low iron stores and that it can take a while to correct. For some reason in the last couple of months i have seen more baby hairs sprouting out all over the place and when i tie my hair back the baby hairs stick out and it looks as though i've had an electric shock!! I dont know whether this is simply the new growth that grows in over the winter months or whether it's due to the stuff i've been taking. Time will tell i guess.

I hope i've answered some of your questions.

Best of luck and keep us posted how you get on :)
Thanks for all of that info. I to oam scared of the summer as I am afraid all the growth will be taken away by the heat!

My iron is low and zinc is low but not low enough for the doc to allow iron injections I have tried: accupuncture, chinese herbs, natropath, iron, zinc supplements, trichologist- menoxidol and am taking aldactone. I have aquired female allopecia- (baldness) I just want to be normal again! I am only 27 and I get depressed about it- people without this condition don't realise how stressful it is to not have hair- it makes such a difference. I had very thick hair as a child and now it is so thin. I hate standing in the sunlight. Recently it got very bad and it fell out heaps- the main area seems to be the top and front of my hair so if I wear it up I can hide it to a degree but then it falls out more becuase it has been tied up.

If you have any suggestions please let me know. I am in Evans HD NSW but go to Sydney regularly.

Thanks for the support.
Hi Claire - I don't know what any of us would have done before the internet and boards like these. It really does help to be able to read what others have to say and what their experiences have been.

If you don't mind me asking, when they tested your iron levels last, what was your result for ferretin? The trichologist i have seen said that even alopecia can be brought on much earlier in life than it would normally occur (if you were to be predisposed to it eg: genetically) if your ferretin levels are low or have been low over a long period of time.

From reading other people's posts it appears that some doctors don't have an understanding how iron levels can relate in some people to more hair shedding than is normal. I know that there are other factors which can contribute to hair loss too, but if those other factors are pretty much ruled out and you know your iron is very low then it's worth building up your levels and keeping them there to see what will happen. Most doctors who understand will usually say that you should get your ferretin up to 70 and keep it there for 3 - 6 months, while other doctors will have a patient with a ferretin level in the 20's and will say that all is fine.

As for the iron injections, reading the pamphlet which comes with the injections it states that the injections can't be given to people with a number of conditions eg: low b12. Your doctor is possibly right in not going ahead with the injections which if administered incorrectly can have very bad side effects. On the other hand there are doctors who think injections are extreme and don't think it's necessary, when in fact they could be of benefit.

The only advice i can give is not to quit. I can honestly say that the only doctor who was of benefit to me and had what i felt to be a high degree of understand was the Trichologist. I went to a dermatologist, which was a waste of time. Later i found out that not ALL dermatologists are qualified in the hair loss department, only a small number of them are. Going to the Trichologist was a last ditch effort as i felt i had exhausted all my other avenues. I found the one i go to over the net. I did lots of research, phoned a few of them, asked questions and at the end he seemed most genuinely interested and knowledgeable, but then he does also have a medical background and isn't just one of those people who did a short term course and are in it for the money. Well that's my personal view on how he appears to me anyway. He works at Glebe and at Sutherland. He is at Glebe 2 days per week. I don't think we can give phone numbers on here, but if you look him up on the net it gives his contact number. Often you have to leave a message and he phones you back. If you are really worried it might be worth phoning and explaining your situation and he can tell you what he may or may not be able to do for you. I can't give any guarantees as your situation is a little different to mine.

As for your zinc and iron, they are both important, but i wouldn't be taking a zinc supplement at the same time as you take an iron supplement as the zinc can cancel out some of your iron absorbtion. Best to take them a number of hours apart.

If i think of anything else i will post it on here. I know it's hard not to stress, but stress wont be doing any good. Your best bet is to keep up with the research and find out what can/t be done and then work with that. All the best :)
Hi FLFLOWERGIRL - The complex amino acide tablets contain lysine and i think the other ingredient is glutamine. I think the tablets were 50mg (they have changed the labels on the new bottles and as they are only repeats i dont get the same info on these new bottles as i did on my original bottle which i stupidly threw out!!) Lysine is good for people with anemia or low iron, but glutamine is the primary fuel for the growth of immune cells, especially intestinal lining cells. You might think this doesnt have much to do with low iron levels, but a lot of us with this have a lowered immune system. Anyway, i take one of these tablets 20 minutes prior to breakfast and prior to my dinner on an empty stomach.

Ferretin of 9 is still very low. It took my a year to get from 8 to 29 using over the counter iron supplements and then the supplements from my Trichologist, but then i went back to 26 and couldn't move up any further so after checking that certain other things on my blood test were in order he ok'd the iron injections which he said are much faster than taking the supplement which didn't seem to work for me as it did for others. He wants my ferretin over 70 and hopefully up to 125.

The trichologist did say that long term anemia or very low ferretin levels can bring on alopecia much sooner than you are supposed to get it (if you are predisposed to getting it that is), but then it can cause other things like your thyroid to get out of line too, which can also cause hair loss.

At the end of the day i'm only focusing on getting my iron levels up as there doesnt seem to be anything else to treat. After i've finished my injections if i start dropping again then they will look into why this is happening.
Hi FLFLOWERGIRL - The injections i get are called FerretinH, but i'd say no matter what the brand name it's all iron at the end of the day. Last week was my 4th injection and the first week that i noticed i actually felt better than i used to feel. Normally by the time i got myself ready for work and got to work i would feel so worn out, not just tired, but last week when i would get to work my eyes didn't feel like they were burning and i didnt feel exhausted. Tomorrow is my 5th and last injection so i wonder what i'll feel like by the end of this week!!

You are fortunate you have a good dr, when you read a lot of people's posts there are a lot of have bad drs who simply dont understand or dont want to understand. I guess as hair fall out can be due to a number of reasons i can understand that some dr's wont simply run with an idea a patient heard on the net, but i dont like how some dr's simply pass it off as a triviality. That's why it's always good to do a lot of research yourself and not to solely rely on a dr or who knows where you could end up. I did have a good laugh at the term "Cyberchondriacs" which you mentioned :)

Hi Claire - You mentioned ridges on your nails etc, one of my friends isn't losing any hair but she has extremely badly thin and ridged fingers nails, but mine surprisingly are fine, which Tony Pearce found strange. I guess low iron levels affect everybody differently, but i have no idea why. In my friend's case her diet isn't very good as she can't be bothered cooking just for herself and a lot of the time she will simply eat cheese and crackers or an egg. Eating the same thing every day isn't good as our bodies need variety so that our metabolism stays in peak condition and so that our bodies can obtain a range of vitamins and minerals. It's best to include a little bit of everything in your diet and not stick to the same old foods day in and day out. Fresh beetroot is good for your iron levels and i use it fresh when i juice some fruit and veg to drink or i shred it and use it in salads.

Are you taking any supplements for your iron or have your stopped?

Have you read any of the info on Hair section of the Heathboards? There are a lot of people there who are having general hair loss problems as well as Alopecia.

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