Are My Ferritin and Iron Levels Causing Diffuse Hair Loss?'

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Question: In 2015 I started taking iron supplements (2x 305 mg ferrous fumarate) after hearing that my ferritin was relatively low and could be the cause of my diffuse hairloss (head). I got sick and started losing hair from all over the body. My Hb is still above reference values but my dermatologist says it’s not possible that this could be the cause of my hairloss.

Iron TabletsAnswer: Hi, Peter. I agree with what you say your dermatologist advised, in that it is highly unlikely that taking the iron supplements as outlined could have made you sick to the extent that it caused hair loss from your body.

The most common reason for losing hair from the body as well as the head is an autoimmune disorder called Alopecia Universalis, though this also causes complete baldness of the scalp. If you have diffuse hair loss - which causes thinning hair all over the whole head - then this is very different to alopecia universalis which does not cause thinning but instead presents as sudden hair fall, leaving behind smooth bald patches until the head is totally bald. It also affects body hair, including eyebrows and eyelashes, whereas diffuse hair loss is restricted to the head only, so it is unlikely to be the case that you have both of these conditions.

Diffuse thinning is also known as Chronic Telogen Effluvium, which is often found in people with iron level struggles. It can last until these issues are under control and being properly managed, but usually will remain for a minimum of six months. There is Chronic Telogen Effluvium Treatment available that may speed up scalp hair growth in tandem with your health management.

Whilst we do not treat body hair loss issues, I would suggest that your illness may have been due to something else or that there may be a further factor involved. However, there is not enough information here for us to be able to provide you with a confirmed diagnosis of your hair loss condition. If you would like further, personalised details, including a diagnosis and treatment recommendations, I would suggest having a consultation in person at one of Belgravia's Central or City of London clinics. If this is not practical, an online consultation may be easier for you.

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