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What Is Iron Deficiency Hair Loss and How To Deal With It?

What Is Iron Deficiency Hair Loss?

Iron Deficiency Anemia occurs when a person does not have sufficient amount of iron in the body. Iron is extremely vital as it helps red blood cells carry oxygen to various parts of the body. The symptoms of iron deficiency can range from mild to severe. In severe cases, a person can experience symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue. However, some people have also complained of hair loss. Researchers are not sure as to why some people with hair loss have low iron levels in the body.[1,2,3]

What is known, however, is that iron is extremely important for enzymes that promote cell growth. Research also suggests that low levels of iron can decrease the ability of the hair follicles to grow new cells thereby causing hair loss. The common symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include brittle nails, fatigue, tachycardia, shortness of breath, and pale skin.[1,2, 3]

What Is Iron Deficiency Hair Loss?

Majority of the studies related to hair loss due to iron deficiency have focused on female hair loss. This is medically termed as androgenetic alopecia. This is by far the most common form of hair loss seen in females. This condition causes thinning of hair in the middle of the scalp and along the hairline in the forehead. Researchers state that there is not enough evidence to definitively say that iron deficiency causes hair loss in both males and females.[1 2,3]

Some studies did reveal that people with hair loss had low levels of iron but there was very little in the way of evidence that iron was the cause of the hair loss. What researchers do agree upon is that iron deficiency hair loss is related loss of hair that do not cause any scarring of the hair follicles. This finding leads them to believe that hair follicles are not severely damaged in iron deficiency Hair Loss and the chances of hair regrowth is quite high.[1,2,3]

How To Deal With Iron Deficiency Hair Loss?

While treatment of iron deficiency anemia is pretty straightforward with iron supplementation, iron injections, and dietary modifications, hair loss due to low iron levels need to be dealt with separately. Some of the treatments that are given to people experiencing Iron Deficiency Hair Loss include.[3]

Medications: Minoxidil is the most preferred medication for treatment of hair loss. It is available as a topical solution and researchers believe that this medication promotes hair growth by allowing the hair follicles to be in the growth phase for a longer period of time. Finasteride is also a medication that is often used to treat iron Deficiency Hair Loss. It does so by increasing the enzymes that promote hair growth.[3]

Surgery: Hair transplantation is the most common and preferred procedure to treat hair loss. This is done when other modes of treatment are deemed ineffective. The success rate of hair transplantation is quite high, which is the cause for its immense popularity among people with complaints of hair loss. Additionally, research is still ongoing for finding new and novel techniques to promote hair growth.[3]

PRP treatment is one such technique which is gaining popularity. The procedure involves separating platelets from the blood and injecting in the area of the scalp to promote hair growth. Researchers are of the opinion that platelets have growth factors which help in stimulation of hair growth.[3]

A study assessing the effects of plasma on hair growth in females stated that the participants noted much thicker and denser hairs six months after taking PRP injections. Despite this, more studies need to be done to prove the effectiveness of PRP injections in hair loss.[3]

Additionally, researchers also state that there is no concrete evidence that taking iron supplements for iron deficiency helps in regrowth of hairs. However, treating iron deficiency anemia definitely helps a person lead a better quality of life and prevent the person from any undue complications. The hair loss is something that can be spoken about with a hair specialist to determine the best course of action.[3]

In conclusion, research is still ongoing to establish a concrete link between iron deficiency and hair loss. There have been cases where people with hair loss have been found to have low levels of iron but there is no evidence to suggest that iron deficiency was the actual cause of it. The primary reason for it is that hair loss can be caused due to a variety of reasons which includes even genetic makeup so pinpointing a single cause without concrete evidence would not be correct.[1,2,3]

However, researchers agree that iron deficiency does play a role in hair loss. Both iron deficiency and hair loss should be dealt with separately. The person should contact with a physician about the best options available for treating hair loss while taking treatment for iron deficiency anemia.[1,2,3]


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 8, 2022

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