Jump to content

Menu

Low Iron Questions (Maybe TMI - you've been warned!)


Recommended Posts

Over the summer, I started getting super-tired every day, as in bone-weary, can't function tired every afternoon. I have a history of Anxiety, and I thought I was adding Depression to the mix (because 2020). I was also having so much trouble focusing on anything - I thought that was Depression as well. I made an appt with my doctor (new PCP, who I didn't love, but my previous one left medicine and I needed someone quick so that I can continue to get all my meds refilled). Anyway, she ran some labs - everything was normal, except the iron. My Iron Saturation was 11 (15-55 is the lab range). Doc's office calls, says that is the reason for the tiredness, recommends an OTC Iron supplement and re-run labs in 3 months. Also important - I haven't had a cycle in over 10 years, due to a Pituitary gland problem.

Meanwhile, I also go see my GI doctor, because I have bleeding hemorrhoids (Isn't getting older FUN????). GI decides to do a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy since I have a history of GERD, just to make sure there isn't anything going on that would be causing internal blood loss. Those procedures are 100% normal.

I had to go off the Iron supplement for 5 days before the Colonoscopy. Sure enough, the tiredness is back.

I guess my question is - Does this all sound right? I've never had low iron before. Can I have low Iron without being Anemic? I can provide more lab results if that would be helpful.

Thank you!!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

You are anemic. 
 

I’d be a bit concerned about cancer somewhere because that’s the typical reason for low iron after menopause. If you have any other symptoms you need to talk to your doctor about screening. 
 

To correct the low iron ASAP, I’d find a Mexican restaurant that mixes liver in with their beef fajitas and order them. Or make them yourself if you can stand the smell of raw beef liver. The vitamin C in the peppers and onions increases absorption of the iron in the liver dramatically. You should be able to tell a difference in exhaustion and in the color of your gums the next day. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Katy is spot on. I can’t handle liver, so I do shots of Floradix liquid chased with orange juice. It will pull me out of transfusion levels within 24-48 hours but I stay on it until it tastes disgusting (which is usually a hemoglobin of around 14, fwiw). When I am really anemic it tastes amazing.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I am  anaemic, The tiredness etc is exactly how I get. I am meant to take iron tablets all the time, but they make me feel like I have morning sickness for 3 to 4 hours after. Doesn't matter what time I take them. So I take a few then stop for a few days, then feel increadably weary, then start eating huge amounts of chocolate, then remember iron and take some for a few more days.  I also eat huge amount of leafy greens, read meat at least 4 time a week and lental, bean, pea and vegetable soup for lunch most days

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, your iron levels fall before you are actually anemic. 

Yes, it causes fatigue. The body uses ferritin (the form of iron stored in the cells) to convert T4 to the active form of thyroid hormone, T3. So it feels like low thyroid, even though thyroid is fine. 

I recently was reading about a whole list of foods/drinks that interfere with iron absorption  - tea/coffee, eggs, spinach, etc. 

  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I am anemic and take an iron supplement.  Your fatigue sounds very much like mine.

A few years ago my iron levels were low enough to require a transfusion.  I felt amazing after the transfusion and have tried to be more diligent in taking my iron supplements.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was pre-menopausal I got that sometimes.  The clue was when I would start concluding that I would probably die young.  After a few incidents I realized that when that feeling struck I needed to think through whether I had stopped taking iron, or had run out of thyroid.  Either one would give me that numbing fatigue and also make me tend to be cold.

I took prenatal vitamins with very available iron all the way through to menopause, and then tapered off of them, and now don’t need them.  But I remember that bone crushed fatigue.  Wow.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just commiserating. I’m dealing with anemia right now and the fatigue is incredible. I was glad to find out there was a reason for it. I was thinking I had post-Covid syndrome. The iron I’ve been taking isn't working great, so I just ordered Blood Builder, which I took when I was last pregnant. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Putting aside what Katy said about looking closer for a cause, which seems like a very good idea.

Glycinate forms of iron are more gentle on the stomach. I used to have trouble with constipation and nausea with different ones but do not with these. You can also add in magnesium to counteract constipation. I take it now anyway to help with sleep and mood.

I've brought my ferritin up more than once with bi-glycinate, from 11- to 70+ within a month, no ill effects. I took 100+ mg a day.

I always start to drop if I don't keep supplementing.

Edited by Soror
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

My mom has been told for years her blood levels were low and to take an iron supplement. She never did...afraidmof constipation and just didn’t know what to buy.  She was very tired all the time.  She finally asked her pharmacist to recommend an iron  supplement. She has been On it for just a few weeks and feels like a new woman! 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect low iron for myself.  Those of you who take supplements,  every time I read about supplements,  it always mentions on taking them under doctor's supervision.  Are there any that are safe enough to try on your own? Or do you always go through the doctor?

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Soror said:

Putting aside what Katy said about looking closer for a cause, which seems like a very good idea.

Glycinate forms of iron are more gentle on the stomach. I used to have trouble with constipation and nausea with different ones but do not with these. You can also add in magnesium to counteract constipation. I take it now anyway to help with sleep and mood.

I've brought my ferritin up more than once with bi-glycinate, from 11- to 70+ within a month, no ill effects. I took 100+ mg a day.

I always start to drop if I don't keep supplementing.

I didn’t know it was safe to take that much per day. I was taking Iron bi-glycinate called gentle iron, but I think one tablet is 24 mg and I was doing just once a day. Well, still am, as I am still waiting for my blood Builder iron to come. Unfortunately, I don’t think my system would do well with more than one a day of them, even though I take magnesium daily. I take a magnesium that’s easy on the system, so it probably doesn’t help with the iron.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

I can’t handle liver, so I do shots of Floradix liquid chased with orange juice. 

Most red meats are also good for iron. I absorb heme iron much faster. 

 

2 minutes ago, KeriJ said:

.  Are there any that are safe enough to try on your own? Or do you always go through the doctor?

 I have done Floradix, SlowFE and other iron supplements without going through the doctor.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just take them. I know from blood tests in the past that I am very anaemic.  

I just couldn't be bothered with all the constant blood tests to be doing it under a doctor. 

 

Boy I just looked up the symptoms. I had forgotten that heart palapatatins and shortness of breath were signs. I think I should go to the doctor.  I was puffing just washing a Window yesterday. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Melissa in Australia said:

I just take them. I know from blood tests in the past that I am very anaemic.  

I just couldn't be bothered with all the constant blood tests to be doing it under a doctor. 

 

Boy I just looked up the symptoms. I had forgotten that heart palapatatins and shortness of breath were signs. I think I should go to the doctor.  I was puffing just washing a Window yesterday. 

My mom is often the one to point it out when I've become anemic - she notices me breathing harder while talking to her on the phone. 

Mom's are so smart!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, kand said:

I didn’t know it was safe to take that much per day. I was taking Iron bi-glycinate called gentle iron, but I think one tablet is 24 mg and I was doing just once a day. Well, still am, as I am still waiting for my blood Builder iron to come. Unfortunately, I don’t think my system would do well with more than one a day of them, even though I take magnesium daily. I take a magnesium that’s easy on the system, so it probably doesn’t help with the iron.

YMMV, I wasn't officially anemic (although with a ferritin of 11 I felt rotten and feel fatigued even with levels higher than that- I aim for 70+)  and tolerated that amount well. I routinely take 36 mg, as does my husband (he donates double units of blood as often as he is able). When I started feeling real fatigued during my period this summer I knew I was low again and went back to 100 mg (I'd slacked on taking it).

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Soror said:

YMMV, I wasn't officially anemic (although with a ferritin of 11 I felt rotten and feel fatigued even with levels higher than that- I aim for 70+)  and tolerated that amount well. I routinely take 36 mg, as does my husband (he donates double units of blood as often as he is able). When I started feeling real fatigued during my period this summer I knew I was low again and went back to 100 mg (I'd slacked on taking it).

And what is listed on the bottle on the front is not always what the level of elemental iron is - to compare iron products you have to compare how much elemental iron there is. Chelated products sound like a ton of iron on the front label because they have other molecules bound to them. 

That said, my regular bariatric vitamin has 45mg of iron, as a daily dose. And I'm still low on iron. Less than that and I was miserable. Hck, I ran out last week and the new bottle isn't here yet and I'm noticeably more tired. (I think a lot of it with me was taking it around foods that bind with iron, namely spinach, eggs, and coffee. I took it at breakfast with those foods almost daily and all bind with iron)

A few meals of liver did perk me up, but the store was out last time I tried to get it 😞

Edited by ktgrok
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...