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What causes low levels of ferritin ?

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Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 12719 Questions
I have been having low level ferritin for over 10 years, my number is 22. I eat a great diet with lots of green leafy veggies, organic fruits and veggies and eat org red meat as well as wild salmon. I am still menstrating regularly and am a active 54 year old woman--- I take B vits as well as several heathy supplements. Over the past 5 years have lost over half of my hair???? What might be causing my low ferritin? My doc has no answers.
Posted Fri, 22 Aug 2014 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Chronic blood loss.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for trusting us with your health concern.
The low levels of ferritin in your body can be due to low iron reserves in the body. This can happen due to long-term (chronic) blood loss from heavy menstrual bleeding, not enough iron in the diet, or bleeding inside the intestinal tract (from ulcers, colon polyps colon cancer, hemorrhoids or other conditions). In rare cases, too much iron may be lost through the skin (because of a disease such as psoriasis or in the urine.
A bone marrow biopsy can check the amount of iron stored in the bone marrow. This can cause the heavy hair loss like you are having. The cause of chronic blood loss needs to be detected after proper tests. To continue taking iron supplements as prescribed by your physician.
Please feel free to discuss further. I will be glad to answer the follow up queries that you have.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Rakhi Tayal.
For future query, you can directly approach me through my profile URL
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes low levels of ferritin ? 2 days later
I also have enlarged dark colored RBCs. They told me to take B12 and iron supplements-- my ferritin was 22, 2 years ago too and I was able to bring it up to 60 in a year- but, since then it currently dropped again to 22. If I had a leak in my gut could I retreive good values in a year? I am over due for a colonoscopy-- it certainly could rule that out? What about Pernicious anemia or other absorption anemias? I due have weak digestion and acid? Low IF in my stomach? How should I proceed? Do I need to see a gastro specialist? Blood specialist? Thanks for you comments!
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
consult a hematologist

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing again.
A leak in the gut could not cause the value to rise in a year. Dietary deficiency is likely. It is best to consult a hematologist for detailed investigations and a bone arrow biopsy.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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