Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by elisabeth, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. elisabeth

    elisabeth Active Member

    Today is a day I have fantasized about for 14 years. I took a shower and my hair did not fall out. I AM SO HAPPY – it feels almost unreal. I am going to include a lot of details in this post because as I scoured the internet since 1999, I needed other people’s stories to provide as much info as possible so I could somehow figure out what the hell was wrong with me…so I apologize in advance for possibly boring you to sleep!

    I noticed around age 29 that my head of curls and waves was shedding….getting worse every year….i always had regrowth but it always shed so much that I went from all one length to what looked like lots of layers which ended up just being pieces everywhere & looked awful – it seemed to fall out at around 3 inches so I looked like one of those troll dolls…because I had curls I was able to hide it better than if I had straight hair…I got pregnant with baby #2 at age 30 & the shedding completely stopped around month 4 and I had tons of long thick gorgeous hair again…all fell out around 6 months post partum…got pregnant at age 36 & my hair was even more gorgeous than my last pregnancy….prayed to G-d that it would stay in but around month 5 post partum the shedding began….had our 4th & final baby 8 months ago at age 42 and I couldn’t wait for my beautiful hair but it never happen this time, it shed throughout the entire pregnancy. For the last 10 years I have never worn my hair down, I always had cute little tiny clips in it so I could disguise the thinning…every single morning before I stood up I put a clip in it otherwise once I stood I would feel the hair hitting my arms and I just refused to begin my new day feeling that awful so in went the clip.

    Over the past 14 years I went to many different doctors (dermatologists ,internists & holistic), pleading with each of them to please find out what was wrong with me. They tested my thyroid, my hormones, my iron, anemia, my everything…all came up fine. No smoking gun. Some of these doctors put me on all kinds of treatments: ROGAINE, VITAMINS, NIOXIN, PROGESTERONE CREAM, TESTOSTERONE CREAM…on my own, out of sheer desperation I decided to try PROPECIA & about 7 years ago I ordered dog shedding pills; I told my best friend who then screamed that I was not a canine so I cancelled. I was so desperate I would have tried anything, even if it was harmful.

    I don’t want to think about all the money I spent on doctors visits, hormonal testing ($750) and all the medications because it has to be around $8,000. I don’t want to think about all the tears I shed because that would fill up an ocean. I am a very happy and otherwise blessed person…this was the one thing that was just killing me emotionally. My best friends felt awful for me & tried so hard to help me but nothing could console me; I just want my hair to stop falling out. I was determined to never give up, every day almost I googled “excessive hair shedding” & just re-read the same stuff over & over again for a really long time. But when I became pregnant this last time I became really disappointed..and even more determined. When I was 6 weeks post partum I went to an excellent and brilliant doctor who my best friend uses. He practices Oriental medicine & uses a different approach than other doctors; he doesn’t want to treat the problem but find out the cause, then fix that. He ordered a full blood work up like all the other doctors do but this time he added something no other doctor ever did and that was my ferritin levels & my iron saturation. My iron came back totally normal, as it always had BUT my iron saturation was 14% and my ferritin level was a 34. There it was, MY SMOKING GUN.

    I ran home & googled “low ferritin levels” and there it was; the single most common reason for losing hair is a ferritin level below 70. Why the hell this never came up before when I searched I don’t know but whatever….nothing was going to get me down now because I found out what is wrong with me so now I can fix it. I did ask the Dr why I have low ferritin & he said it’s not important why or how, let’s just get my iron stores up. I eat red meat at least 3x a week so it was pretty shocking that my iron is low but for some reason my body wasn’t able to store it. I started on 325mg of FERROUS SULPHATE 2X A DAY…after 1 month my blood was tested & my ferritin level went to 41. Did I notice any hair improvement? A tiny bit – maybe instead of losing 1,000 hairs a day it went down to 950! Then I decided to search for a better way, a faster way, to raise my levels & thank the lord for the internet because I found out that the best iron with the greatest level of absorption is FERROUS FUMARATE…so I started myself on 325mg twice a day AND with each pill I take 500mg of L-Lysine & take it with a big glass of orange juice – if I have to take it with water then I add 500mg of vitamin C….then I waited, but not for long because within 2 weeks my dream came true. The shedding really slowed down….but I thought it was my imagination /maybe I was going insane because I was at my breaking point with my damn hair….i saw my best friend who said, “holy shit your hair looks so thick on top, I think its working”! she asked me to take it down from the clip but I wouldn’t. Not yet. Another week passed and it wasn’t just a dream or wishful thinking but I could tell my curls were longer & when I showered it wasn’t ALL over my body. It’s been about 5 weeks since I began taking my ferrous fumarate cocktail and I am wearing my hair down. I can hardly believe it. I just took a shower and hardly anything came out. A lady at Target came up & asked me if I permed my hair or if my curls were all natural, and I had such pretty hair….TOTAL SHOCK!! I COULDN’T EVEN THANK HER BECAUSE I WAS SPEECHLESS. I haven’t had a compliment on my hair in about 14 years….14 LONG years!
    So this is my story with a very happy ending. All it took was a simple blood test followed by 4 weeks of supplements and the nightmare has ended. Every 30 days I will get my blood tested to make sure I don’t go into iron overload but my goal is to get my ferritin levels over 100 and keep them at about 120sih. If I had read a post like this 10 years ago I would have avoided a decade of hair despair. And if your ferritin levels are fine, keep searching for your smoking gun because it is out there. :)
    Ponygirl and Lieve like this.
  2. megan99

    megan99 New Member

    Thanks for coming back to share your story.

    I am very happy for you. Thanks for spreading the word to help others.

    I am very curious if after 14 years of loss you had hair miniaturization? Supposedly with iron-related hair loss you won't experience the thinning of the actual hair strands. Did your strands become thinner and thinner or when you had regrowth was it always of normal thickness?

    Also, was there anything about your diet that would make sense to you know that you were iron deficient? Do you eat meat, etc...

    Thank you!!
  3. elisabeth

    elisabeth Active Member

    Hi Megan, I know my hair was falling out at the root because all the bulbs were always attached and YES it was absolutely thinner and miniaturized. My diet is very typical and normal and changed little throughout the years. I have always eaten red meat and for whatever reason I couldn't absorb it properly. The only odd thing about my hair problem is this: our first baby was born normal birth weight...5 years later the excessive shedding began, got pregnant & the hair was staying in & beautiful our baby was only 4.9 pounds ( full term) and nobody could figure out why he looked like a crack baby! 6 years late same exact thing with the same size baby. Then this last baby my hair never stopped shedding and I went into preeclampsia and delivered him 6 weeks early he was only 3 pounds. There MUST MUST MUST be a connection to my iron problem/ hair/ tiny babies. If I had been on my ferritin cocktail years ago maybe my children would have been normal weight and not looked as if they were starving the whole time?! I breasted around the clock and within 2 months they were the fattest happiest babies but I will always wonder if this simple blood test could have prevented having SGA (small for gestational age) babies. Was my iron so low it couldn't get to my hair nor my growing babies? I wish I knew.

    I didn't have many of the low iron signs, my nails are strong and long and I thought I had energy. But since taking the iron I really have energy!! But my fingernails feel a little brittle for the first time but that I can live with! I'll pull them all out if I can keep my hair :)

    Please ask me any questions if you think my story can be of any help. Oh yeah, I want to add that I always "knew" my hair problem was hormonal because I never had regular periods for the longest Time and after I had my one child my left ovary was removed...and one expensive quack doctor I went to agreed it was hormonal and even though my progesterone and testosterone tested in normal range she put me on both. It was never hormone related.
  4. rose3408

    rose3408 New Member

    Hello Elisabeth

    Congrats on your success! I'm so happy for you. Don't fret about spending $8,000, I've been shedding for over 10 yrs, lost over 50% of my hair and spent around 12,000. Yes, you read correctly $12k! That is how desperate we become. I had so many tests done including a scalp biospy which included stitches. I reached my low about 6 mo before my sons wedding and I knew my ex would be there with the new Mrs. I ordered these magic oils from Riquette International. PLEASE, don't anyone go this route. She charged me over $200 for hair test results in which I mailed her some of my hair and her assistant told me the results via phone. When I asked for results in paper she got really upset. Dummy me continued, and I'm sure you all can relate how we will do anything save and grow hair. She then told me she knew exactly what I need to do and what was wrong, and I must religiously apply the oils she would send me. They cost me around $400 for a month's supply. What was I thinking! Needles to say, they did nothing. That is when I decided I had enough and stopped the searching on the internet.

    One day I decided to get copies of all my tests and when I looked at my ferritin at one occasion the result was 12. Yet, all the doctors told me my results were fine. There were times my TSH for thyroid was 4.3 and anything above 2 is considered abnormal, and yet all the Dr's told me the results are fine. Grrrrrr. All they did was hand me a bottle of Rogaine and told me to go home and stopped thinking about my hair. Double Grrrrr!

    Today, I still haven't been able to stop the shedding. I'm thinking I should try taking iron. I heard it tends to make you constipated which concerns me.

    I would also like to ask anyone this site if they have a thyroid issue and what you take, if anything, and if it stopped the shedding. I would really like to go the natural route given I am such a health nut and stay clear of any Rx.
  5. elisabeth

    elisabeth Active Member

    Hey Rose!

    Our ferritin levels must be at least 70 for hair to not fall out. When I started on my ferrous sulphate my ferritin level went from 34 to 41 in about 30 days and no change really occurred so I switched to ferrous fumarate and in 30 days my hair loss stopped. I'm getting my blood work done this week but I bet I'm near at or above 70. Yours is so low you must speak with an internist but my guess is once your levels are where mine now are your shedding will stop. I think the only reason my hair didn't have bald spots was the fact that I have always had red meat so many times a week. Had I not had a healthy balanced diet and gone vegan, I'd have been Kojak!!

    I have taken some control over my hair loss by switching the iron I take and also getting my own blood test for ferritin/iron levels by ordering it from www.labsmd.com. I pay $60, go to my nearest lab & within 12-24 hours I get my results online. I don't need to depend on my doctor for things I can control. Of course you need to bring your dr a copy of your results so they are aware but I just don't think it's necessary to rely on them for small things like monitoring your iron. Get those levels up and you may also see the problem resolved once and for all:)
    Ponygirl likes this.
  6. rose3408

    rose3408 New Member

    Hello Elisabeth - again

    Happy Sunday! The sun is shining w/beautiful clear blue skies; albeit chilly and I'm starting my day with a wonderful and refreshing walk to get my mind of this, if only for a little. I also feel so much better after taking you.

    Have you heard of the iron supplement, "Chelated Iron 27 mg" by Bluebonnet? It's Ferrous Bisglycinate Chelate. I read on "Stop the Thyroid Madness" site (in the event I have thyroid issues) it's the most desired form of iron to take with best results. I purchased a bottle. It's a once a day supplement and does not constipate or upset tummy. I also read it was strongly recommended on another hair loss site to take Inosital/Choline capsules as well s Biotin, Folic Acid and Co-Enzyme 10.

    I stayed up to almost 3AM last night (I know, I know, sleep is important) but my mind is racing and couldn't sleep, I came across some VERY interesting information regarding anemia and iron. I printed up a chart from the site which explains explains the results of iron/ferritin tests and what it all means. A great chart! It explains the results and if you have Iron Deficiency, Hemochromatosis, Anemia, etc. I WAS BLOWN AWAY BY THIS CHART and the absolute ignorance of all those Doctors!

    Many of my tests for the last 10 years always show low ferritin but high TIBC (total iron binding capacity) and low saturation which according to the chart shows "Iron Deficiency." Seriously? How on earth did the numerous Dr's miss and ignore this? Two years ago when I went to see yet another new MD I asked if I could possibly have an iron deficiency and requested an Rx for iron. She prescribed Ferrous Sulfate which upset my stomach so I stopped taking it because I also wasn't sure if I had an iron problem.

    In addition I told them all I am freezing all the time and my hands and feet are like ice which are all tell tale signs of iron deficiency and/or thyroid.

    I would really like to communicate further w/you. Does this site allow for private messaging?
  7. elisabeth

    elisabeth Active Member

    Cold hands!

    I have had no issues with the iron fumarate I'm taking now, no constipation just total success. What is interesting is my hands n feet get so cold. I live in Florida and as soon as I walk from the heat into a cold restaraunt or movie theater my fingertips turn blue. I have had this issue for about 15 years now its called Raynauds and I don't think it's related to my iron issues but if it suddenly goes away ill let you all know.

    Have a happy hairy day!!
  8. rose3408

    rose3408 New Member

    cold hand & feet = thyroid

    Hi Elisabeth: Lucky you living in Florida! I live in Wisconsin and have always wanted to move to warmer climate.

    When doing much reading last night on the "Stop the Thyroid Madness" which you should read on the web, it states cold hands and feet (mine turn blue too) are a sign of thyroid issues which is also a sign of an iron deficiency; don't know which came first -- iron or thyroid issue leading to the cold hands/feet.

    What is also important is we need to be starting our day every morning with "protein." I'm trying to find a great vegan, gluten-free protein drink. I heard if we do have thyroid issues we need to stay away from gluten. I tend to stay away from red meat because I learned many years ago in following the Eat Right for Your Blood Type by Dr. D'Adamo (a man ahead of his time) if you are blood time "A" which I am, we don't digest the red meat and also don't digest many things due to lack of the needed acids in our system. I just learned gluten contributes to those problems in blocking absorption.

    Let's have a great Sunday! :)
  9. rose3408

    rose3408 New Member

    Hello Elisabeth

    I read your first post again and we are like twins and our stories are so incredibly similar. I also started searching the internet in 1999 when my hair loss began. When I read your comment about all the Dr's you saw and many tests done in all those years it amazes me because I went through the exact same thing. As a matter of fact, the very first Dr. I saw in 2000 regarding my shedding was a very well known Derm at a Hospital and she was even mentioned in a magazine as the "best of the best" in Derms which is why I chose her. My ferritin at that time was 12 and she said it was just tine. Fast forward 6 years later and an Endo I saw ran tests and said everything was fine even though my TIBC was high, saturation and ferritin low, and my TSH for thyroid was 4.3 (normal being 0.26 - 3.0) DON'T YOU JUST WANT TO SMACK THEM! They don't even take the time to read the test results.

    I meant to ask you if you need a Rx for the iron you take. If so, I am calling my Dr tomorrow! I think what we should add to our regime is a digestive enzyme to break down carbs, proteins and fat so we absorb our nutrients. What are your thoughts?

    I bet, like me, you are Blood Type "A" Which means we don't have the appropriate enzymes.

    You truly made my day in reading your email. Let's keep communicating
  10. laceygirl

    laceygirl Member

    Hi Elisabeth,

    I just went out and purchased Ferrous Fumerate, L-Lysine and Vitamin C tabs. You totally inspired me! Can I ask...have you had your ferritin tested since you started your cocktail? Just curious how high it is now that your hair loss has stopped.

    I've been haphazardly taking ferrous sulphate for the past 2 months and my ferritin levels have actually decreased from 34 to 25...? I am hoping this new combo you suggested will help with my non-stop shedding and raise my ferritin levels.

    Thanks again!
  11. rose3408

    rose3408 New Member

    Hi Lacy:

    I've come across the very same information on the internet regarding hair and iron, and the inability to increase your iron even with supplements. The same reason always comes up -- if you adrenals and/or thyroid are taxed you are unable to increase your ferritin OR. . . and this is a big OR. . . if your system does not tolerate gluten regardles off what a celiac test may show, you will not absorb the nutrients, including the supplement. I hope this info helps.

    I have decied to go gluten-free about two weeks ago to see what happens.

    This is all so confusing and frustrating isn't it? I had to stop taking the iron chelated supplements I purchased because it was causing constipation. Elisabeth says she has no problems with the iron she takes so I will try and switch.
  12. laceygirl

    laceygirl Member

    Hello Rose:

    It is very frustrating! I honestly thought my ferritin would go up but it seems to stay the same regardless of whether or not I take my iron pills. I just don't get it. You should try the same type of iron (fumerate) and we can see if it helps either one of us. I will try anything at this point.

    JEANNERN1 New Member

    Hey, this is awesome! I am so excited for you! You must be so relieved to discover your hair loss cause! And, as you have so eloquently disclosed, so easy to remedy. I am glad you brought up the point of the different types of iron supplements. YOU GO
    GIRL! Please keep us posted :)
  14. Preet

    Preet New Member


    I am not sure where to start as I am weary of jinxing myself :confused:but firstly I would like to say how refreshing it is to hear REAL stories (well they sound real anyway).

    My Story
    I am a 29 indian woman, I don't have any children and I have a hectic job. I am married and have been suffering from thinning hair since I was at school. It started when I was in secondary school and just got thinner and thinner. I have not had bald patches but during university I noticed you could see my scalp and my ponytail was...well let's just say my plat probably as thick as my pinky finger. I'm saying was...it still is! My story is far from successful...not yet anyway.
    My hair density is really low, I find it difficult to style my hair and some days really feel depressed about the whole situation, I find it difficult to look in the mirror.

    I hVe been living with this for over ten years and not really thought to join a forum, my husband recently joined one when he was looking for the "perfect car" and he has been banging on about how helpful everyone is, I thought I would give this a shot and so far been so inspired by all the positive and hopeful advice and stories shared.

    During my nearly 13 year downfall, I have tried numerous things, medicated shampoos, non-sulphate shampoos, oils both ready made and mixed myself. I also went to a herbal therapist who gave me special tonic, serum, shampoo and oil as well as shooting lasers in my scalp to help circulation. I spent a lot of money on treatments and travelling to and from clinics in the hope that my hair would look remotely normal. I have never had any joy...with any thing.

    I too have been to my GP for numerous blood tests to be told that my iron is "fine", I was prescribed a short course of iron tablets but these were the Galfer kind and made no difference to my hair. I gave up and just thought I was destined for baldness until I read the content of this forum!

    I have recently been using black Jamaican castor oil mixed with cactus oil and sometimes almond oil. I have suffered with eczema and always use almond oil on my skin so thought it would not do any harm. I have been doing this for about two years, applying at least 3 4 times a month and not seen any difference. My hair is curly however goes greasy within a day so I normal wear it down one day, up the next and then a wash. I sometimes straighten it but it's more than obvious that I have extremely thin hair.

    Having read about ferrous supplements last night, I was determined to tell my doctor that I wanted this checked so like a mad woman I have been calling my GP only to be told I couldn't get an appointment, the marvel of the NHS! Regardless I decided to go into a boots store and enquiry about ferrite levels. The pharmacist was more helpful in the space of half an hour than any if the doctors or specialists I have seen have ever been!!

    I have convinced myself that my body cannot absorb iron as much, I eat well, I have to as I have gall stones and I have to be really weary about what I put in my body. I eat plenty of fruit and veg, I eat spinach all the time. I don't eat red meat and due to my skin and gallbladder condition have limited dairy products. I do eat chicken and pork. If my iron was low due my diet, surely this would show on my blood test??

    Anyway, I am determined to devote myself to taking ferrous sulphate tablets for the time being in a view of finally curing this problem so I bought some from boots today, they are 200mg and I am going to start two a day from tomorrow. I was scared about the possible bowel issues but will out myself through it if it means I finally can have some normality in my hair! I did have a question though and I am not sure if anybody can answer...I had convinced myself that my hair follicles were dead and this was the reason my hair was not growing, could this still be the case??

    I am very fit, I go to the gym twice a week. I do get emotionally stressed sometimes but I don't think this could be the cause of my hair loss, I am just a bit of a worrier and perfectionist at the same time. I am really hoping that the next 6 months bring an end to my years long battle to overcome this and would welcome any advice or other stories that will keep me going!

    Thank you all so much for taking the time to post on this forum, it really has bought me some hope! :>

    JEANNERN1 New Member


    Welcome, so glad you joined. Thank you for sharing; it is encouraging to read hope in so many posts, isn't it? I need to purchase a different iron source as well. Let's journey together :)
  16. Preet

    Preet New Member

    Hi Jeannern1,

    Thank you ever so much! Took my first tablet this morning with a dissolved vitamin C tablet as I have read this can aid the absorption. Just had my second tablet with water and I am feeling good. I really hope this is what I have been missing all these years! :>

    JEANNERN1 New Member

    Hi Elisabeth,

    Did you purchase a certain brand of Iron Fumerate? Just checking, as I've been comparing and want to buy a brand that is working for others :)

    JEANNERN1 New Member

    Hey Rose3408,

    You mentioned earlier that you were looking for a good protein drink. Have you tried Garden of Life, "Raw Meal" ? It is vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and tastes great. One serving contains 34 grams of protein, 16g fiber. Just FYI :)
  19. elisabeth

    elisabeth Active Member


    Yes I think the combo of all three is what works! I have heard that ferritin must be at least 70 for shedding to stop but that's not true...I just got my blood done and my results are:
    Ferritin 59.
    Iron 47
    Iron saturation only 15%

    Doc says they are still low so I will stick with my cocktail twice daily.

    I'm guessing once I reached a ferritin level of 40 is when it really improved. And that was about two full weeks of the cocktail!

    Please tell me of your status. Happy Thanksgiving
    Ponygirl likes this.
  20. elisabeth

    elisabeth Active Member

    The brand is FERRETTS. I got from Amazon. In a red n white bottle