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A-ha! Low iron levels?
*updated post #12*


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#1 ~iMum~

Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:14 PM

I received a call from my GP's office this morning asking me to make a non-urgent appointment to discuss the results of blood tests done last week. Apparently it's in relation to low iron levels.

I've been complaining of heavy periods to my GP for over a year now and had an ultrasound which didn't show fibroids or anything else unusual. I use a menstrual cup, so can say with some confidence that I lose over 100ml/period (which lasts about 10 days).

I went to the doc last week because I had been experiencing tingling in my feet for a few days (this has since mostly cleared up), but have been doing some reading up on low iron/anaemia today and numbness/tingling is a known symptom. I also mentioned to her that I have been feeling light headed of late. She took my bp and it was normal for me.

Yesterday evening I felt so weak I thought my blood glucose levels would be rock bottom, so I checked them. I'm not diabetic, but just wanted to see what the reading would be. Again, the reading was normal for a non-diabetic.

Symptoms of anaemia, from the Mayo Clinic website, and that I can identify with, include:

Extreme fatigue - yep, but I had put it down to being a mum, studying, the warmer weather, and having a snoring husband
Pale skin - nope
Weakness - yep, but I thought I just needed to start doing some more exercise
Shortness of breath -yep, but I'm a smoker, so that was where my thoughts were
Headache - yep, never used to get them, now get at least two a week and almost migraines when AF comes
Dizziness or lightheadedness -yep
Cold hands and feet -yep
Irritability - yep, but I'm a cranky b**ch anyway original.gif
Inflammation or soreness of your tongue - I have been periodically having a slightly swollen tongue and whiteness covering which isn't thrush. I put it down to a virus
Brittle nails - nope
Fast heartbeat - not that I've noticed
Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch - nope
An uncomfortable tingling or crawling feeling in your legs (restless legs syndrome) - yes! Especially at night and it drives me crazy!

I'm 35 in a few weeks and had just thought I was getting old and starting to fall apart. I so hope my niggling concerns are all caused by something which has been identified and can be treated. I'm wondering, though, has anyone here had low iron/anaemia and similar symptoms, and what was your treatment? I dry retch at the thought of having a mirena put in, can't take the pill anymore, and would rather boost my iron by diet instead of tablets, if possible.

Of course, I'll know more when I get in to see the GP, but that won't be for another week or so.

Edited by whathousework?, 22 November 2012 - 01:01 PM.


#2 qak

Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:25 PM

How about pernicious anaemia - my DH has injections of Vit B12 to help with that.

#3 lynneyours

Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:42 PM

I too had VERY heavy periods - and all those same symptoms, and when tested my iron levels were 4! I took iron tablets but they only brought it up to 8 (still low) after 6 months, and taking Tranexamic Acid (Cyclokapron) to stop/reduce significantly the bleeding.
  
I then started liquid iron, which I mixed into a small glass of orange juice - and I haven't been retested, but I feel much more alive, so they must've come up into normal range.  Caffeine apparently reduces the absorption, so no coffee, tea or cola when taking it.

OP - there is a "heavy Menstrual Bleeding clinic" at the Womens in Melbourne - I did a study on heavy bleeding there recently, and the midwife mentioned it to me.  I went to my GP and asked for a referral and she'd not heard of it.  

I have yet to receive my appointment, but am hoping they can do something, as like you, I do not tolerate the pill and am not keen on a mirena.  I also get migraine's each period at the onset.
I am seriously contemplating another baby then hysterectomy as I am so sick of it.  I do not like to go out of the house for the first 3 days, as I can go through super tampon and pad in less than 10 min sometimes!

#4 PrincessPeach

Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:51 PM

A non-medicated thing is to make sure you are eating at least 125g serves of lean red meat 3 times per week.

Also if you take an iron supplement, don't take a zinc or calcium supplement at the same time - both of these inhibbit the bodies ability to absorb the iron.

Human bodies absorb iron far better from meat based sources than plant based sources.

#5 lynneyours

Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:00 PM

QUOTE (PrincessPeach @ 16/11/2012, 06:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
A non-medicated thing is to make sure you are eating at least 125g serves of lean red meat 3 times per week.

Also if you take an iron supplement, don't take a zinc or calcium supplement at the same time - both of these inhibbit the bodies ability to absorb the iron.

Human bodies absorb iron far better from meat based sources than plant based sources.


Yes, I don't eat meat other than (very) occasional chicken and fish, but apparently liver is the highest in iron.

#6 ~iMum~

Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:31 PM

QUOTE (qak @ 16/11/2012, 02:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How about pernicious anaemia - my DH has injections of Vit B12 to help with that.
I guess I'll find out soon enough original.gif


QUOTE (lynnemine @ 16/11/2012, 03:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I too had VERY heavy periods - and all those same symptoms, and when tested my iron levels were 4! I took iron tablets but they only brought it up to 8 (still low) after 6 months, and taking Tranexamic Acid (Cyclokapron) to stop/reduce significantly the bleeding.

OP - there is a "heavy Menstrual Bleeding clinic" at the Womens in Melbourne - I did a study on heavy bleeding there recently, and the midwife mentioned it to me.  I went to my GP and asked for a referral and she'd not heard of it.  

I have yet to receive my appointment, but am hoping they can do something, as like you, I do not tolerate the pill and am not keen on a mirena.  I also get migraine's each period at the onset.
I am seriously contemplating another baby then hysterectomy as I am so sick of it.  I do not like to go out of the house for the first 3 days, as I can go through super tampon and pad in less than 10 min sometimes!
I'm nowhere near Melbourne sad.gif, but good luck with your appointment lynnemine, I hope you get some answers and relief.

#7 mondayschild

Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:43 PM

Please go to the doctor and do not delay.

I had extremely heavy periods with clotting that became ridiculous over the course of a year or so. Basically on the toilet every twenty minutes with clots etc. using a giant pad and a tampon It was running my life. I had also become a sleeping zombie - anywhere, anytime I could sleep. My husband called me Rip Van Winkle. I finally went to the doctors when I lost almost 750 mls in one day including a cup of clots (I measured this using the known capacity of a pad and tampon etc TMI). My iron was almost off the bottom of the scale, critically low. I have been taking iron tablets for just over a month and it is helping; it is only in the last week or so I have started feeling a bit normal again. The doctor also put me on the pill with no sugar break to ensure I do not get another period until my body has time to recover. Basically if I get a period I will be in hospital for a transfusion. I have had ALL of the symptoms you list including the swollen tongue which is the most bizarre thing and I decided I must have been imaging it but I wasn't.

I went for an ultrasound and there is a mass that needs internal investigation that is probably causing the bleeding which I have an appointment for shortly. Depending on what it is it will be removed or anything up to and including a hysterectomy. To be honest I don't care what they do just make it stop!

So don't delay. I also blamed it on being old, fat and having had two miscarriages. I was wrong.

#8 *Lib*

Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:46 PM

I've had the same symptoms less the heavy periods.

I have been diagnosied with Hoshimotos disease (which I think is a thyroid thing)

I've had 3 B12 injections and take iron daily, and am on thyroid meds. My palpations setteled, but recently started again, but god the iron and B12 have been lifesavers!!

Edited by *Lib*, 16 November 2012 - 09:46 PM.


#9 jayskette

Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:49 PM

I had anameia all throughout high school. I was put on the pill and did not take the inactive pills, plus iron + vit C tablets every day and eat more read meat etc. Now I have it under control - I am TTC so no more Pills but I just add 2 iron pills for each day I have the period, and 3 red meat meals a week.

#10 lucky 2

Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:01 PM

I'm about to get another iron store check as I'm getting the restless legs again, when I had it really badly in the past I had extremely low iron stores, it was a miserable symptom and made sleeping difficult.
I also had depression at the time and I still wonder how I would have been if the low iron was picked up earlier and treated. I think it would have saved me a whole lot of heartache.
It gets missed too often.
I hope you feel better soon.

#11 ~iMum~

Posted 22 November 2012 - 01:00 PM

Well, I went back in for my results today and yes, I have anaemia; my ferretin levels came back as 4. I have now bought some iron tablets from the chemist that my GP recommended and need to have repeat bloods taken in about 6 weeks to check for improvement. I have also made an appointment for a few weeks time to see a gyno about my disgustingly heavy periods.

Off now to do some googling about increasing iron through diet as well.

Edited by whathousework?, 22 November 2012 - 01:01 PM.


#12 wonder woman

Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:19 PM

QUOTE (lynnemine @ 16/11/2012, 04:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I then started liquid iron, which I mixed into a small glass of orange juice - and I haven't been retested, but I feel much more alive, so they must've come up into normal range.

+1 Much better than tablets - I take SpaTone.

#13 weepingangel

Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:28 PM

QUOTE
I'm about to get another iron store check as I'm getting the restless legs again, when I had it really badly in the past I had extremely low iron stores, it was a miserable symptom and made sleeping difficult.


This is me too!

OP it can take awhile to find a supplement that works for you, some people rave about SpaTone, but it does nothing for me. I use Thompsons Organic Iron 24mg at a dosage suggested by my Dr.



#14 Isolabella

Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:38 PM

DS1 had low iron.he took ferro liquid at 4x dose ( on paed orders) in orange juice.






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