Iron deficiency hair loss is a condition you can prevent and treat with the right remedies and practices. Read the information below to find out more.
In this article:
- Why Does Iron Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?
- What Does Iron Deficiency Hair Loss Look Like?
- Is Iron Deficiency Hair Loss Reversible?
- How Can You Prevent Iron Deficiency Hair Loss?
- How Does One Treat Iron Deficiency Hair Loss?
- When Can You Expect Your Hair to Recover from Iron Deficiency Hair Loss?
Iron Deficiency and Hair Loss: Here’s What You Need to Know
Why Does Iron Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?
Iron deficiency anemia may cause hair loss as it deprives the body of the oxygen and nutrients it needs to make hemoglobin.
What is hemoglobin? Hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cells that carries oxygen. The absence of it translates to hair lacking air to breathe.
What Does Iron Deficiency Hair Loss Look Like?
Iron deficiency hair loss can advance like pattern hair loss you’ll see in men and women. Due to the lack of iron in men and women with anemia, their hair falls off and looks similar to the bald spots one gets through the genetic cases of pattern baldness.
People who encounter iron deficiency hair loss may see more hair on their combs or blocking the shower drain when they take a bath. If the iron anemia remains untreated, the patient may see bald spots develop on their pates.
Is Iron Deficiency Hair Loss Reversible?
Yes, iron deficiency anemia hair loss can be temporary and therefore reversible. You will need to go to your physician and ask him to check your iron levels.
Your doctor will ask the lab to do a ferritin level blood test to check your iron levels. The test gets its name from ferritin, a protein in the blood which aids the red blood cell to keep iron.
Once the test determines you have low blood iron supplies, the doctor will prescribe iron supplements. Just watch out for an upset stomach as this may be a side effect of excess iron.
It’s best you speak to your doctor about iron supplementation because an overdose of iron can cause unwanted complications. Low iron stores also suggest an underlying medical condition that may be affecting your organs so a doctor’s visit becomes a must to root out any potential causes.
How Can You Prevent Iron Deficiency Hair Loss?
You may prevent hair loss from iron deficiency by following these tips:
1. Increase Your Vitamin C Intake
Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron better. Supplement your usual diet by taking a vitamin C pill or adding more citrus fruits or peppers to your daily meals.
2. Eat More Nutritious Food
Since the problem here is hair loss caused by lack of iron, eating iron-rich foods may resolve this concern. This means you should eat meat or eggs or seafood to augment your food.
3. Avoid Traumatizing Your Hair
Pulling your hair hard or using very tight knots and pulling up your hair into a bun can tug at the roots. This can cause hair loss since it will traumatize your scalp.
4. Use Hats Outdoors
The sun can damage your scalp. Mitigate the effect of the sun’s UV rays by wearing hats.
5. Go Easy on the Grooming
Some grooming behaviors can cause hair loss especially if the pressure traumatizes your hair. You will need to stop pulling and tugging at your hair using combs or aggressively drying it with towels.
6. Avoid Chemical Treatments
Certain chemicals in shampoo, hair products, or salon treatments can dry your hair and cause hair loss. Minimize your use of these products.
7. Switch Off the Heat
Blow dryers and hot oil treatments can dry your pate and also damage the roots of your hair. You should pack less heat when treating your hair to protect your hair from this kind of damage.
How Does One Treat Iron Deficiency Hair Loss?
Aside from iron supplementation, patients can pursue other iron deficiency hair loss treatments like the following:
Finasteride is also known as Propecia in the market. It works by blocking a specific hormone called DHT that removes testosterone, the hormone responsible for hair growth and other manly features, from the body.
The presence of more testosterone equals more hair. Finasteride comes as a pill that you need to ingest.
This medication can hasten the growth of your hair for 16 weeks, and then it slows down thereafter.
In case, your hair loss becomes a permanent condition, you can approach a dermatologist and ask about hair replacement surgery. These kinds of surgery will involve taking hair from other parts of your body or your scalp and transplant it on the bald spots.
4. Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment or PRP
The platelets in your blood carry substances called growth factors that enable the cells in your body to heal, grow, and repair themselves. This is the wisdom behind the platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP).
Lab technicians will put a sample of your blood and use a special machine that will separate the platelets from the rest of the red blood cells. Doctors will take the platelet-rich vial and inject it into your scalp.
By medical logic, the platelets will help the cells in your scalp to regenerate your hair.
When Can You Expect Your Hair to Recover from Iron Deficiency Hair Loss?
Doctors are divided on how iron supplementation helps patients recover from iron deficiency hair loss. Some doctors believe iron supplementation can boost hair regeneration but studies still need to confirm this hypothesis.
For a definite answer on the length of time to recover your hair, your best bet would be to use something like Minoxidil which will give you a 4-month window of brisk hair growth.
The earlier you realize you have iron deficiency hair loss and not genetic male pattern baldness, the faster you’ll recover your hair. We hope the information in this article helps you regain your mane as soon as possible.
Have you ever encountered iron deficiency hair loss? What was your course of treatment? Share your experience in the comments section below.