Anemia and hair loss: causes and solutions

re anemia and hair loss related each other? The truth is that anemia -or anaemia- is a very common but not always well diagnosed disorder, which ends up affecting our health and manifests itself through symptoms in various tissues of the body, including skin or nails, but also hair.

There are many people asking about hair transplant cost in Turkey because of having hair loss problems, who at the same time suffer or have suffered from anaemia, so they usually wonder if both problems are related. That is why in this article we are going to give a final answer to common questions such as what are the causes of anemia, what symptoms does it have, if there is a link between anemia and hair loss, and what treatments are available.

What is anemia? What causes it?

Anemia occurs when -for various reasons- haemoglobin levels in the blood become reduced; haemoglobin is a protein composed of iron whose function is to transport oxygen through the red blood cells from lungs to tissues; then, the same haemoglobin makes the reverse way, transporting carbon dioxide that is formed after consuming oxygen from tissues to lungs, before being expelled.

What happens if haemoglobin levels drop? Well, then anemia occurs. Most common symptoms of anemiaare pale skin, continuous tiredness, and weakness in tissues such as nails; it can also cause dizziness and headaches, arrhythmias, and breath difficulty (we breathe air but we still feel a lack of it, since oxygen cannot get transported to tissues).

The most common type of anemia is iron deficiency anemia, caused by a decrease in the level of iron in our body. Keep in mind that haemoglobin contains 70% of the iron in our body, so it is easy to understand that if we do not have enough iron, this important protein will lose its effectiveness.

Some diseases, an unbalanced diet, pregnancy, or blood loss caused by wounds or menstruation, can be a cause of anemia. The question is: is there a relationship between iron deficiency anemia and hair loss? Let’s see it below.

Can anemia cause hair loss?

Does anemia cause hair loss? Certainly there can be a link between anaemia and hair loss; of course hair shedding is not always caused by iron deficiency, but one of the symptoms of anemia can be hair loss, since hair becomes weak and can start to fall out; this fall usually occurs in random areas of the scalp, where thinner hair will appear, while the rest of hair will have a dull and dry look.

If the problem persists and a proper treatment is not carried out, it can degenerate into a severe hair loss; the reason is that when haemoglobin levels drop -normally due to low iron levels- the amount of oxygen reaching hair bulbs decreases. This oxygen is necessary for bulb proper functioning: therefore as a consequence, hair ends up losing strength, and finally dies and falls out.

So, answering the question: Will anemia cause hair loss? In severe cases it might, especially if anemia is caused by iron deficiency; however, other types of anemia such as pernicious anemia rarely includes among its symptoms hair loss.

Will hair loss from anemia grow back?

If hair loss or other symptoms make us suspect that we are experiencing an anemia, you should pay a visit to your doctor, who after a blood test will determine your level of hemoglobin and iron in blood. If tests conclude that you have anaemia due to iron deficiency, doctor usually will prescribe iron supplements. Hair normally should regrow once the iron deficiency is over; however, hair can take several months to grow back again, and hair loss recovery after anemia is not guaranteed.

One way to avoid this is prevent an iron deficiency in our body through consuming foods rich in iron, such as red meat, liver, eggs, legumes, spinach, and so on. Our recommendation is to combine this food intake with other foods rich in vitamin C -citrus, kiwis, peppers, broccoli…- since this vitamin helps to increase iron absorption by our body.

If we have had a severe hair loss due to anemia, there are treatments to stop hair loss and strengthen existing hair, such as minoxidil or platelet-rich plasma (PRP); however, normally these treatments won’t get hair to grow back again. Therefore, when hair loss regrowth after anemia is not possible or damages to hair are simply too great, a hair transplant could be necessary.

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