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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 :)
Hi Claire - Yes i see Tony Pearce too. He really new his stuff so that is why i selected him over any other Trichologist. I even phoned the Trichologists Association and the lady on the phone wasn't helpful. Tony gave me the Complex Amino Acid tablets plus an iron powder which had a few other things in it too. My ferretin went up a bit, but should have gone up more. I'm still taking the Amino Acid tablets as they contain Lysine which benefits people with low iron, but have stopped taking the iron powdered supplement as i'm on the injections. My next blood test should show good ferretin levels hopefully, but i'm scared of my ferretin levels dropping again after ceasing the injections.

I think you should find out your ferretin level first. If you are low in zinc i wouldn't advise giving it up. If you haven't already, you should probably have a thorough blood test and show it to Tony Pearce. He can then advise you on your levels and how best to take your supplements. If you are on an iron and a zinc supplement, simply dont take them together, take them a few hours apart so they wont affect one another and your body can still absorb them.

If Tony Pearce has suggested iron injections has he seen blood test results? If so, your ferretin levels must be on the tests as i dont think he would suggest injections without seeing any type of results. As for your gp, if he/she wont do the injections did they say why they wouldn't do it? If they didn't give you a reason why, i would find another gp. I dont waste time with doctors who wont do the right thing by me as i have wasted too many years trying to fix this problem. I have only recently begun seeing the gp who i see now and after checking certain things on my results he agreed to do the injections automatically and he is only in a medical centre and doesnt have his own practice.

The worst thing you can do is stress and count your hairs each day. For now all you can do is use the treatments you have been given, get answers out of your doctor or find a new one, try and keep calm and perhaps you can visit the hair section of the Healthboards to see whether others have found anything which has helped them. There are an amazing amount of people on here who are losing hair for a variety of reasons, but we can't give up hope.
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 Claire - Most of your results are actually better than mine, so you are fortunate there. The thing you have to remember is that unfortunately no medication will work over night eg: even once your ferretin levels get to the correct amount, it still takes on average anywhere from 3 to 6 months (even 12 months for some) to develop a proper growth cycle for their hair and that is if the ferretin levels stay elevated.

I'm not a doctor, but from what i've been told each time i've had my blood test was not to look at the actual "iron" level as that changes throughout the day according to what you have eaten. The one to keep an eye on is the ferretin. The highest i got to was 29 for ferretin, then dropped to 26, obviously what i was taking wasn't right for me, but it has worked for others. If you have gotten from 26 to 43 just on the iron supplements then that is great. I wish i could have done that. I got my 4th iron injection last night and it hurt all night. Don't know why it hurts when he does it in my right bottom cheek but not the left one!! If Tony has suggested the injections i would find a different gp to administer it, unless your gp has actual reasons for not wanting to do it. I would ask your gp what the reasons are.

Your zinc appears to be good now, mine is 13 and he said that was fine and yours is 13.2 so that's a big improvement for you.

My TSH is 3.46 and he wants me at 0.2 and i have done some research on the net where i also found the 0.2 figure mentioned as being a good figure to be at if possible. I don't know how to get my TSH down, but Tony believes once the ferretin sorts itself out that in time the Thyroid issue resolves itself. He feels that long term low ferretin leads to the Thyroid levels becoming anything from mildly to severly out of balance. I hope he is right as i dont want to go from an iron problem being fixed and find out i've got a never ending Thyroid issue.

The only other thing i noticed in your list of results was your testosterone which is 0.7 and the pathology range is 0.7 - 2.8 so you are at the bottom of the range. Now i'm not sure if that figure changes according to what stage of your monthly cycle you are in or not. You would need to speak to your dr or Tony on that issue. I got 0.9 in my result and Tony didnt say anything whereas on any of the other things where he felt i was too low or too high he set new targets for me to reach.

The only other thing with me was my hormone test. The SHBG came in at 16 and considering the time of my monthly cycle i should come up between 48 - 185. Tony would like to see me reach 80 - 110. I've done research on this also on the net and it's not something you can easily fix apparently. Maybe this is why my monthly cycles have been all over the place for years and why i couldn't fall pregnant. I used to have normal monthly cycles until dr's began giving me fertility drugs and it messed everything up. I wish i'd not taken any of the medication given to me. I'm currently on daily drops given to me by a naturopath and this has helped so much, but every time they try to take me off them i go back to square one. The only other treatment is going on birth control, but some people have had hair loss with that,plus i've had other side effects from it when i have gone on it. Who knows, maybe once my iron is corrected everything might fall into place as the time frame for everything going of course is roughly the same as it all started happening in 2000-2001.

Just keep doing what you are doing and if you arent sure of anything you can always consult Tony as he seems quite easy going and helpful. You must also remember that getting things corrected takes time and it all works differently for all of us as we are all individuals and our bodys react to things differently from one another. Don't focus too strongly at this stage on a 100% recovery in a short space of time. Focus instead on a 25% or a 50% recovery.
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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