How I Discovered My Iron was Low and I had Low Ferritin Levels My Hair was Falling Out!
I was freaking out I didn't know what to do!
You know the old saying momma knows best. Well in my case she did. My mom used to always tell me to take a daily vitamin supplement with iron. She would nag and nag me all the time. I blew her off and didn't listen. Well, let me tell you, I sure wish I listened to her. Years later as an adult female in my 30's I started noticing something, I would shower and handfuls of hair would fall out. Try brushing your hair and see it all over the sink. Well this is what happened to me. I noticed a lot of hair getting tangled in my fingers when I would shower. Then I noticed the sink would be full of hair after I stood by it and brushed. I didn't even what to brush my hair anymore. Forget wearing black my hair would be all over my shirt.
How I found out I had Iron Deficiency and Low Ferritin Levels
I freaked out called the doctor, his answer was its stress. Well if its stress now I am more stressed out because my hair is falling out.
The doctor ordered blood work to be sure. Well good thing too, here my iron was low, very low the ferritin levels were low. So he started me on iron supplements a few times a day. After a few months I went back to be checked and my levels didn't increase, so then we tried shots, I think that was once a week for a while. That didn't work either so I was sent to a specialist.
The specialist sent me to have bone marrow aspiration. A bone marrow aspiration removes only the marrow. These tests are often done to find the reason for many blood disorders. The doctor wanted to be sure the blood work was accurate before taking the next step. He said blood work isn't always accurate and it would not be safe to give me too much iron. The test came back and confirmed my ferritin levels were low. The next step was to get iron giving to me intravenously. I ended up getting treatments once a week for 6 months. This worked and finally, my levels came up and I did notice my hair wasn't falling out anymore. I had energy! Yippee!!
I wanted to write this lens because I don't think a lot of people know that your hair falling out is a symptom of iron Deficiency and low ferritin levels. It took so long to find out what my problem was and how to treat it. I thought if someone else is having these symptoms they can tell their doctor to check their ferritin levels. I hope my experience can help someone.
Common Symptoms of Low Ferritin Levels
Symptoms of low ferritin levels include fatigue, dizziness, weakness and headaches. Loss of energy, brittle nails, pale color of the eyes, loss of libido and irritability. In case, you have an urge to eat non-food items (pico) or pacophagia (compulsive eating of ice), it might be linked to low ferritin levels. If these symptoms have been persisting for sometime, you must get a complete blood test done. In case, a routine blood test reveals a dip in the person's hemoglobin and the hemocrit, and smaller red blood cells, doctors might then ask you to get the ferritin test along with the other iron tests. An early phase of iron deficiency anemia can be detected by the low ferritin count. So, it becomes even more important to detect low ferritin levels, to stop the mild iron deficiency anemia from worsening.
Most articles I read on low iron do not include hair loss. I think this is why so many people are walking around with low iron and don't even know it.
I had the fatigue and, dizziness, weakness and didn't think nothing of it. I have four children and was busy all the time so I chalked up the tiredness to that. Once I was diagnosed it all made sense then. I remember thinking oh that is why I feel like collapsing and my arms sometimes feel to heavy to lift and when I stand quickly I get dizzy.
What is Ferritin
Ferritin is found in the cells of the body that binds iron and holds it in a storage form until the body is ready to use it. Although it plays an important role of its own within the cell, it's most important clinical use is as a means to measure how much iron is stored in the body.
Here are some links to other websites explaining what ferritin is
If you want to read more about ferritin and what it does click on the link below it might help answer any questions you may have.
- What is Ferritin
Helpful info on ferritin
- Iron in the body
Iron use and storage in the body
- All about Ferritin and how to get your levels tested
Defines and explains how to get your levels tested
What I struggle with now?
Ok, its been a while since I had to get the iron treatments. Call me paranoid but as soon as I notice more hair than usual falling out again I freak out and think oh no, my iron is getting low again. So what I struggle with now is, I am afraid to take too many iron supplements,because that is not good for you, but yet I don't want my levels to drop to the point of needing treatments. I can't run to the doctor every month for blood work, so I am always trying to decide if I need iron pills or not.
Below are some books on Iron Deficiency
Help Its Happening Again!
Its took a good two years between trying to find out the problem and then trying pills then shots then finally the IV transfusions. I had to keep getting checked by the specialist. After my levels stayed up I didn't have to go back to the specialist anymore. I was good for a year or two after but now I am slowly seeing it start again. I take iron supplements and I have called and my Doctor and had my levels checked he says their good.
So now what's the problem. I am stumped, If its not my Iron now what? I wonder how I could have my hair falling out again, feel tired, granted not as bad as before but still tired and my iron levels are fine. I was wondering if maybe they are falling slowly but not low enough yet to get treated? Is there another cause?
I have found that doctors don't take it serious when you go to them saying your hair is falling out. Its seems they want to blame stress all the time. I haven't yet pushed the issue with the doctor but I think I will need to soon. I do remember him telling me that the levels had to be a certain number I don't remember the number but they had to be so low in order for him to send me for more treatments. So basically I have to feel like crap and be going bald in order to get help.
Here are some website I found very helpful
Books on Iron Deficiency and Low Iron Levels
Do you know why its falling out? Was it low iron levels? Did you find out it was some other reason? I would love to hear your story maybe it will help me. Feel free to post below!