Female with iron deficiency, is it risky use minoxidil?

I went to the dermatologist to check my hair as it started to lack volume lately. She prescribed me a minox 5% lotion and a blood test. I have no history of hair loss and I suspect it to be caused by anemia! Is it safe to stop using the lotion when my iron level increases? What shall I do?

Doctor Answers 2

Anemia and Hair Loss

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Checking for low iron is part of a hair loss evaluation-- especially in females.  Minoxidil is usually part of an overall treatment plan.  If anemia is found to be the entire cause of your hair loss then you may be able to sop it once regrowth starts and the deficiency is corrected.  If the hair loss is not from anemia or found to have multifactorial causes then Minoxidil may be recommended long term.  Even if transplant is needed down the road, starting Minoxidil now can be helpful.  Good luck!

Kansas City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Hair loss - many causes

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If your dermatologist prescribed minoxidil she probably suspects you have genetic hair loss. Genetic hair loss can be diagnosed by your physician observing the phenomenon of hair follicle "miniaturization" - or the process by which hair follicles get thinner and thinner over time. 

Many women have genetic hair loss without a good family history. Theterm female   pattern hair loss is better. 

If you have genetic hair loss, and start minoxidil you need to continue long term. If you get a benefit (which 20 to 30 % do) you will lose all the benefit if you stop. 

You may ALSO have iron deficiency. 30 percent of women under 35 yearsof age   have iron deficiency. So it i quite common to diagnose genetic hair loss and iron deficiency. The treatment for iron deficiency is to increase iron with iron pills or iron rich foods - not minoxidil. 

All in all check with your dermatologist for specific advice. The decision to start minoxidil is usually a "long term" decision not a short term one. 

Jeff Donovan, MD, PhD
Vancouver Dermatologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.