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rose3408 11-27-2008 02:16 PM

Hair loss for 7 years - Ferritin, Thyroid? Please help!
Newbie here! First and foremost, I am so grateful for this forum. I feel like you are my new best friends!

At the onset of peri-menopause and ****{stress}}} 7 years ago I began to lose massive amounts of hair. To date I have lost about 60% of my hair. You can well imangine the amount of tests I have had in the last 7 yrs! And what I have come to learn is that Doctors are idiots! They don't even look at your test results. I'm tired of crying myself to sleep and need to take action before I look like those Smilies faces! We need to be our own advocates.

After looking at all my test results, I have discovered my ferritin is very low and TIBC high. Not too sure how to interpret my thyroid tests.

Below are my test results, and I would so greatly appreciate your input, because not one Doctor will help me, and tell me to go by Rogaine or a nice wig.

I look so forward to your reply!

Iron Level 70 (49-151
Ferritin 12 (was 26.2 in June 2008)
Transferrin BL 371 (188-341)
Free T4 1.26 (0.93 - 1.70)
Free T3 2.9 (2.3 - 4.2)
T3 1.10 (0.8 - 2.0)
T3, Reverse 0.29 (0.19 - 0.46)
T3 Total 1.10 (0.8 2.0)
TSH 4.31 went down to 0.86 in September?
DHEA -S113 (15 - 170)
TIBC 464 (250 - 400)
UIBC 286 (112-346
%Sat 13 (15-50)
Thryoglobulin Antibody - 4.6 (0.0 - 14.4)
Thyroid Peroxidase Ab - <0.3 (0.0 - 3.9)

ZRT Laboratory - Hormone Evaluation (saliva)
Morning 4.7 (3-8)
Noon 3.3 (2-4)
Evening 0.7 (1-2)
Night 1.6 (0.5 - 1.5)

Audrey-B 12-07-2008 10:28 PM

Re: Hair loss for 7 years - Ferritin, Thyroid? Please help!
Hi Rose - i can well understand how you feel as it took me 8 years to finally be told by a doctor "you have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis". I had hair shedding for 8 years, low iron and my ferretin came down to an 8, very low Vit D and iodine.

The thing is i visited a dermatologist, GP's, Endo and all to no avail. I tried chemical free shampoo's, supplementing with zinc, biotin and silica, also to no avail.

I knew it had to be something internal, you don't shed hair and end up with messed up menstrual cycles out of the blue.

The thing which really makes me see red is that back in 2000 i was and Endo. He tested my thyroid antibodies which were very high and my TSH. Due to my TSH being considered "normal" i was told my thyroid was fine. As i knew ZERO about thyroids or anything else i trusted my doctors. My then husband kept telling me i was losing hair as i was now over 30 and as women age they lose hair. I simply couldn't believe this. I then did nothing for a few years, lurked on the healthboards in hope of finding some little bit of information to help me in my quest.

One day on this hair board a lady mentioned low ferretin leading to abnormal hair shedding. I didn't get my ferretin tested as i thought eating a healthy diet, eating red meat i'd not be low in iron. Later when i did get tested it was down to 8. No wonder i had been tired.

I then searched for a Trichologist (hair/scalp specialist). With my new found knowledge i phoned up a few, asked them some trick questions about thyroid issues, what tests they believed should be performed and did they interpret tests by "within range" or did a person have to be at a certain figure for better thyroid health etc etc. I found myself a fantastic Trichologist and he helped up my ferretin and discovered other things i was low in. He also told me my TSH was high, my T3 and T4 low and then he discovered i had high thyroid antibodies. He then packed me off to a friend of his who i'm now seeing for my thyroid and my hair is shedding closer to normal i'd say and on the whole i feel better.

Now for your results. Well as you already know your ferretin is very low. Are you supplementing with iron daily? Have you visited the Anemia section of the boards? If not, please do, it is a great spot to start and loads of great help on anything and everything to do with iron. I found everybody so helpful and a font of knowledge. Did you also know that long term low ferretin levels can throw your thyroid out? So the higher your ferretin the better for your thyroid.

Your thyroid tests i can't help you with as i don't understand the lab ranges. I would post your results over on the thryoid board and see what they say. Different countries use different lab ranges. Not sure why the whole world doesn't use one simple range for everything. They do it for iron, why not for other things!!

So long as you don't give up, learn as much as you can, doctor shop if necessary (no need to be stuck with some inept no hoper doctor) and you will make it. So many of us have been where you are now. Actually there is a thread on the thyroid board about how long it's taken people to finally get diagnosed/medicated. It's so sad doctors don't look at symptoms, only at lab ranges, and they don't even know 'optimum' levels, just the standard comment "you are within range". Makes me so mad.

You take care and please don't give up. Don't overly stress either as that is so bad. I learnt that recently. I went through a short period of immense stress and my ferretin plumetted and my TSH rose, my T4 and T3 fell again. Now i'm working my way back up.
So research and learn, keep a little exercise book with informative notes about things you learn (and might not remember), lists of symptoms you might feel, things you can ask future doctors, keep all your test results in a folder in date order, find out new things to be tested for eg: B12, iodine, vitamin D, make lists and eliminate things. Believe me it sometimes becomes like a part time job delving into all of this stuff. I'm sure we could all graduate with a medical degree at the end of it :)

Your take care and wishing you all the very best :)

rose3408 12-08-2008 10:02 PM

Re: Hair loss for 7 years - Ferritin, Thyroid? Please help!
Hi Audrey!

Thank you for replying to my post. You're right, it's so very frustrating when all the Doctors just hand you a bottle of Rogaine, or tell you, "they have very nice wigs today."

I am sooooooooooo desperately trying to find a Trich. or any Doctor who will listen and help me. Do you mind if I ask you the name of the Trichonologist you saw, and the name of the other Doctor you were referred to?

I am willing to jump on a plane if need be.

Thank you!


Audrey-B 12-09-2008 02:45 PM

Re: Hair loss for 7 years - Ferritin, Thyroid? Please help!
Hi Rose - i can identify with the "rogaine". My initial doctor who was totally clueless in so many areas, only i never knew it at the time and i was too trusting, told me to go buy a bottle of rogaine. Fortunately when i got to the chemist, the lady laughed in my face and said "no dear, this isn't for you, you're wasting your money, better you go and find out the real reason for your hair shedding". Happily i went back to her a few years later and thanked her for saving me money and making me go search for answers.

I live in Australia so it would be quite a long plane trip :) a nice holiday though :) However, His name is Anthony Pearce and his title is a Trichologist.

If you are looking for good thyroid doctors in the USA you ought to post on the Thyroid section of the Healthboard and you will get loads more information and help. If you need low iron/anemia help then the Anemia section is fantastic.

I started off on the hair board and then branched out to various other parts of the board.

If you have not had the FULL thyroid test eg: TSH, T3, T4 and Thyroid Antibodies, you need to find a doctor who will do the lot.

You also need to have things like B12, Vitamin D, Gluten Intolerance, Urine Iodine test and full hormone panel eg: Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA's and Cortisol level checked out too, best is a saliva test. Most doctors will do a blood test, but if you can fine a doctor who can order a saliva test that is best. Sometimes doctors in natural therapies can even organise that (some do here in Australia), ones like naturopaths, homeopaths, trichologists.

I've recently pushed and pushed for my dad to have a whole bunch of stuff done which is doctor didn't feel was necessary. it took 3 different blood tests to get the whole lot done. It was like pulling teeth, but i persevered and his doctor backed down. Fortunately for him i was so insistent, it works out his thyroid is overactive, he has very low Vit D and B12 too. He has blood pressure and elevated cholesterol which is common a common symptom too. You need adquate Vit D to absorb calcium and his calcium is below low.

So you see, it's not just one thing you need to look at, but a whole range of things, but if you can get all the tests done, or the more important ones done and you can start supplementing things you are low in, then you can focus on the harder things like finding a good doctor as you go. main thing is to keep making improvements and eventually you will have struck everything off your list.

rose3408 12-10-2008 09:55 AM

Re: Hair loss for 7 years - Ferritin, Thyroid? Please help!
Hi Audrey:

You have been so incredibly helpful! You're right my iron is definately low at 12. Can I ask you what the Doctor gave you to increase your iron? Do you have the actual product name? How long did he say you need to take it?

Also, do you mind if I ask you what your test results were for TSH, T3, T4 and antibodies? Or maybe they're already posted on this site.

Thanks again!


Audrey-B 12-10-2008 02:19 PM

Re: Hair loss for 7 years - Ferritin, Thyroid? Please help!
Hi Rose - When i saw the Trichologist, Anthony Pearce, he put me on a special powder that his chemist makes up specifically for him. It wasn't something you can buy at your average chemist or on the net. Basically you need something which has a high iron level and not those supplements which only contain a token amount of iron. You also need a supplement which is high in iron so as to better absorb the iron. Now that i'm seeing a new doctor for my thyroid i'm still working on my iron and i'm taking an over the counter brand called Ferro-Grad C. It has 105mg elemental iron (325mg dried ferrous sulphate) and 500mg Vit C. I've found it to be very good, doesn't constipate, doesn't cause irritable bowel. When my ferretin was at 8 and i began taking high dose supplements i ended up with irritable bowel. When starting out it's best to begin on a low dose and build it higher and higher gradually so your stomach gets used to it. What i love about the Ferro-Grad C is that it is a slow release supplement and all the information is on the net so you can look it up. I believe it's available in most countries. You can also visit the anemia board and find out what other ladies are taking.

With my TSH, it goes up and down all the time. One time it's up at 3.46 on one blood test then later it will drop. So if your doctor does a test when it's dropped, they think nothing is wrong. It's sort of like hormones, every blood test can be different depending on the time of day you do it, what state your health is in etc etc.

All hormone tests are best done earlier in the morning, that includes thyroid and anything else which relates to hormones.

My T4 was 8.6 and the range is 8.0 - 24.0pmol/L
My T3 was 4.8 and the range is 2.5 - 7.2 pmol/L

Both T4 and T3 need to be higher. From memory i think he wants my T3 at 5.5 and he wants my T4 at 11, but not 100% sure about T4, just know he wants it higher and i'm on meds for both T4 and T3 to help raise them.

For thyroid antibodies my Anti Thyroglobulin is 92 and it should be <60 IU/mL
Anti Thyroid Peroxidase is >1300 and should be <60u/L

Not sure if this will make sense as from what i've seen on the thyroid board a lot of the American labs use same TSH range as in Australia, but different lab ranges for the T3 and T4. Not so sure about the antibodies, some i've seen are similar to what we use here.

The fact is, no two people are alike, some can have a range of symptoms when their thyroid is just a bit out, while someone else might not have any symptoms until their thyroid is way out. Unfortunatly doctors often don't take symptoms into account. I think they want us to go bald before they'll take matters seriously!!

At the end of the day many things do cause hair shedding. It might not have anything to do with your thyroid, it could be other hormones or adrenal fatigue, could be long term low iron. The thing is, you need to find out what you are low in eg; iron, B12, Vit D, etc etc and start correcting those. Once they have elevated and if you are still losing hair then it has to be something else. It's a slow trip and you have to be patient and you have to work away at things one by one sometimes.

Just remember, once ferretin rises, it can take 3 - 6 months to see a change in hair growth cycle and for some it can take 12 months to notice definite changes. This is why patience is a must.

Hoping some of this info helps. Take care :)

rose3408 12-10-2008 05:26 PM

Re: Hair loss for 7 years - Ferritin, Thyroid? Please help!
Hi Audrey:

Thank you for replying to post, you're such a dear! Your information has been so extremely helpful. I am so happy you found a good Doctor. I only wish I could find one! I even posted a request on this sight but have not received any help.

I have heard of Ferragard as being a good iron supplement from Thank you.

I meant to ask you in my previous post if your hair has finally stopped falling out and is growing back? Is there hope for us gals?



Audrey-B 12-10-2008 10:38 PM

Re: Hair loss for 7 years - Ferritin, Thyroid? Please help!
Hi Rose - it's not falling out as much as it was before and this year i've seen the most new regrowth than ever before. Of course some of this will fall out, but it's a positive sign that it's at least growing back.

I have just remembered that another lady on the thyroid board once mentioned her doctor saying that if your TSH is unstable and keeps going up and down you will keep shedding hair until the TSH stabilises. I'm not sure on that theory, but it's one to keep in mind i suppose.

For now i'd focus on getting your ferretin up and raising anything else which might be low too.

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