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Old 01-29-2007, 07:50 PM   #1
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Question Low Ferritin/Anemic/Gastric Bypass

Hey guys,

I am new here but so glad I found this board!!! I have already read much useful info already tonight. I have a few questions and wondered if anyone is in my similar situation.

I am a 36 year old female who had gastric bypass surgery in October 2003. So I am about 3.5 years post op. I have been having trouble with my Iron and Hemoglobin being too low for about a year and a half (also my b12 but that is another story). My doc said enough is enough...and sent me to a Hematologist after trying me on supplements with no results. I went today for my first consult. OK so my Iron Levels are like this:

Iron 15
Hemoglobin 9.4
Ferritin 2.7

Now he is really really concerned about my ferritin. He wants to start me on Iron Infusions right away. He says I might only need to have two of them. He wants my Ferritin to be at least 100 as he said that is about where I will start feeling better. He is using some type of Iron that starts with an "I" (does anyone know what this might be called) and he said it is much faster than most of the types and he can get my levels up in two infusions in what most irons would take in 8-10 sessions. He mentioned I might get a lot of bone pain the first few days. This made me worried? I mean how painful is it?

I just want to feel better. I am so tired all the time. I need two naps a day.... and I get 8-9 hours of sleep a night and I just can't take it anymore. It is causing problems in my marriage cause I don't want to do anything but sleep. My husband is trying to be understanding. I also chew so much ice it is driving my family nuts. I literally chew 6-8 pounds of ice daily. Will this craving stop when my levels return to normal?

OK anyone that can offer in-site please respond back. Thanks so much.

 
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Old 01-31-2007, 08:24 AM   #2
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Re: Low Ferritin/Anemic/Gastric Bypass

Hi there!

You have my sympathy, empathy and 'boy can I relate'! Your post could be mine as our situations are so similar...

Have you talked to your surgeon that did your wls? If so, did they have any suggestions? I called mine two weeks ago and they immediately asked, "How is your poop?" lol....the nurse assured me they deal w/ poop stuff all the time and it was important that they know. She thinks I may be bleeding somewhere internally and scheduled me for an upper/lower GI this friday.

Have you been checked for that?
Do the doc's think you just don't absorb iron? That is what my hematologist thinks...but said it is worth doing the GI study to rule out other issues. He wants to start me on the IV iron in a week or so...

Forgive me...I am fuzzy headed from just waking up...and can't remember all you said in your post...But, I think your #'s are too low, even if they are still on the lab's scale of 'normal' it doesn't mean they are enough to make you functional, make sense?
For example, my B-12 came back as 400 something...and the lab range was 350-800...but my gastric bypass surgeon likes to see his patients w/ B-12 levels at 1,000, for optimum health! A lot of wiggle room there!
Whereas, my pcp looked at the numbers and said my #'s were just fine.

I will post again later...after I wake up and get my errands done. It truly stinks that anemia sucks the energy and life right out of you. My husband tries to be patient, but he doesn't get it - that all I want to do is sleep. Not that it helps. Just as eating tons of crushed ice doesn't help...but the cravings are overwhelming. The apathy for doing anything - meeting up w/ friends, going for a walk, going grocery shopping - because it zaps me of energy just contemplating what to wear...brushing my teeth...fixing my hair...kwim?

My 13 yr old son said I am like a ghost...here but almost invisible...
One thing I forgot to mention is that my gyno put me on bcp last week and told me to take them all month so I don't get periods. He feels that even my moderate periods are too much for my body to take right now and anything we do will help. We shall see.

sleepily,
Tana

 
Old 01-31-2007, 06:09 PM   #3
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Post Re: Low Ferritin/Anemic/Gastric Bypass

I am almost five years post-op RNY Gastric bypass. I started having iron issues at about two years post-op.
Your Ferritin is dangerously low at only 2. The infusion you may be talking about is the one I get. InFeD. I have had two IV iron infusions (1,200mgs each). They were over two days each. They brought my levels up temporarily. I did feel good for awhile.
I suffered tremendously before my PCP finally ordered them. My ferritin got as low as 12. I was exhausted, dizzy and this last time I experienced shortness of breath. My PCP finally referred me to a hematologist. She had me go off oral iron for two months to see if it is even helping. She said that I will probably need IV Iron infusions every six months. I see her Tuesday for more info.
The infusions are not so bad. I'd do anything to get rid of the fatigue. I hope that you feel better soon.

 
Old 01-31-2007, 06:45 PM   #4
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Re: Low Ferritin/Anemic/Gastric Bypass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritah View Post
I am almost five years post-op RNY Gastric bypass. I started having iron issues at about two years post-op.
Your Ferritin is dangerously low at only 2. The infusion you may be talking about is the one I get. InFeD. I have had two IV iron infusions (1,200mgs each). They were over two days each. They brought my levels up temporarily. I did feel good for awhile.
I suffered tremendously before my PCP finally ordered them. My ferritin got as low as 12. I was exhausted, dizzy and this last time I experienced shortness of breath. My PCP finally referred me to a hematologist. She had me go off oral iron for two months to see if it is even helping. She said that I will probably need IV Iron infusions every six months. I see her Tuesday for more info.
The infusions are not so bad. I'd do anything to get rid of the fatigue. I hope that you feel better soon. And yes he told me not to bother with the oral iron as I am not absorbing it anyway.

Thank you for your reply. Yes my hema doc ordered me to have InFed. Did you have many side affects with this iron??? He told me the risk is higher but it would be so worth it. Yes he is not too happy about my ferritin being 2. I have suffered from extreme exhaustion, dizziness, feeling week, and I do get short of breath but I have asthma and I aslway thought that was the reason. He wants my ferritin to be at least 100. I will get my first infusion on Tuesday the 6th then another one, one week later. He will do my labs after one month... then continue to do them every three months. How long did it make you feel better for???

 
Old 01-31-2007, 06:48 PM   #5
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Re: Low Ferritin/Anemic/Gastric Bypass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2JAM View Post
Hi there!

You have my sympathy, empathy and 'boy can I relate'! Your post could be mine as our situations are so similar...

Have you talked to your surgeon that did your wls? If so, did they have any suggestions? I called mine two weeks ago and they immediately asked, "How is your poop?" lol....the nurse assured me they deal w/ poop stuff all the time and it was important that they know. She thinks I may be bleeding somewhere internally and scheduled me for an upper/lower GI this friday.

Have you been checked for that?
Do the doc's think you just don't absorb iron? That is what my hematologist thinks...but said it is worth doing the GI study to rule out other issues. He wants to start me on the IV iron in a week or so...

Forgive me...I am fuzzy headed from just waking up...and can't remember all you said in your post...But, I think your #'s are too low, even if they are still on the lab's scale of 'normal' it doesn't mean they are enough to make you functional, make sense?
For example, my B-12 came back as 400 something...and the lab range was 350-800...but my gastric bypass surgeon likes to see his patients w/ B-12 levels at 1,000, for optimum health! A lot of wiggle room there!
Whereas, my pcp looked at the numbers and said my #'s were just fine.

I will post again later...after I wake up and get my errands done. It truly stinks that anemia sucks the energy and life right out of you. My husband tries to be patient, but he doesn't get it - that all I want to do is sleep. Not that it helps. Just as eating tons of crushed ice doesn't help...but the cravings are overwhelming. The apathy for doing anything - meeting up w/ friends, going for a walk, going grocery shopping - because it zaps me of energy just contemplating what to wear...brushing my teeth...fixing my hair...kwim?

My 13 yr old son said I am like a ghost...here but almost invisible...
One thing I forgot to mention is that my gyno put me on bcp last week and told me to take them all month so I don't get periods. He feels that even my moderate periods are too much for my body to take right now and anything we do will help. We shall see.

sleepily,
Tana


Yes my labs were very low. My ferritin is only 2 and he wants it at least 100. I have not seen my wls in quite some time. I need to get in for a check up. I have not seen him since I was one year post op. I am sure he would not be pleased with my labs. I hope your infu
sions make you feel better.

 
Old 01-31-2007, 08:58 PM   #6
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Ritah HB User
Re: Low Ferritin/Anemic/Gastric Bypass

Quote:
Originally Posted by IceQueen2007 View Post
Thank you for your reply. Yes my hema doc ordered me to have InFed. Did you have many side affects with this iron??? He told me the risk is higher but it would be so worth it. How long did it make you feel better for???
I had a rash the day after the last one. My Hema said it was because I should have been pre-medicated with benadril. The dizziness went away first, probably about a week. It took a few weeks to start getting my energy back. Once I did feel better it would last about four months and then start dropping again. Please remember to take your vitamins and protein. I laxed on those when I wasn't feeling well, they really do make a difference.

 
Old 01-31-2007, 09:15 PM   #7
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Re: Low Ferritin/Anemic/Gastric Bypass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritah View Post
I had a rash the day after the last one. My Hema said it was because I should have been pre-medicated with benadril. The dizziness went away first, probably about a week. It took a few weeks to start getting my energy back. Once I did feel better it would last about four months and then start dropping again. Please remember to take your vitamins and protein. I laxed on those when I wasn't feeling well, they really do make a difference.

Yes he is going to pre medicate me with benadryl and steroids. He said I might get some bone pain also or flu like symptoms. I have been pretty good about my vitamins....my b12 and multi and vitamin C.... but bad about my calcium and my protein shakes.

 
Old 02-08-2007, 12:19 PM   #8
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Re: Low Ferritin/Anemic/Gastric Bypass

Hi everybody,
I also had GB back in 2003, but I've been anemic since I was little, it runs in my family. It's an ongoing battle to get to the bottom of it all and it can be fustrating. I have had a new development which I'd figure I'd share cuz you never know if it might help someone else. During my last round of visits with my GYN late last year, she detected that I had 3 polyps, which turns out played a role in my heavy bleeding, my really bad PMS, cramps, etc. Since they were removed, the bleeding was really heavy for about two cycles then calmed down considerably. The PMS (cramps) had lessened to, I still get them but they dont make me double over and I dont have to take tons of tylenol anymore. Also my skin cleared up alot, go figure.

She also did some bloodwork on me and like all the other doctors before went into the whole "OMG your levels are crazy" routine. But this doc was different, she gave me two more blood test, and finally called me oneday and said that I have Alpha Thallasemia, which is why the iron tablets do nothing for me, I dont absorb them, and I'm sure with the GB the absorption level is even worse. I am really thankful to her, but it ****** me off becuase since like the age of 12 every doctor says the same thing, take iron, take iron, and none of them bothered to give me this apparently simple test that wouldve diagnosed the Thalasemia, and put me on a diff route in tryin to figure out what to do. So now I am going to go to another hematologist with this new found diagnosis and see what the approach will be this time. I am also gonna try liquid iron and see if that helps. I have a procedure comin up and I know they will move my date if my blood isnt up to par.

For vitamins, I take the Andrew Lessman brand from HSN shopping. They are high potency so I figure theres a better chance of more absorption, they are kinda expensive (60 bucks for 60 day supply) but they are gel caps and dont hurt my stomach.

Whew hope that wasnt too much rambling. Good luck to everyone

 
Old 04-22-2007, 03:43 PM   #9
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sparkles916 HB User
Re: Low Ferritin/Anemic/Gastric Bypass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritah View Post
I am almost five years post-op RNY Gastric bypass. I started having iron issues at about two years post-op.
Your Ferritin is dangerously low at only 2. The infusion you may be talking about is the one I get. InFeD. I have had two IV iron infusions (1,200mgs each). They were over two days each. They brought my levels up temporarily. I did feel good for awhile.
I suffered tremendously before my PCP finally ordered them. My ferritin got as low as 12. I was exhausted, dizzy and this last time I experienced shortness of breath. My PCP finally referred me to a hematologist. She had me go off oral iron for two months to see if it is even helping. She said that I will probably need IV Iron infusions every six months. I see her Tuesday for more info.
The infusions are not so bad. I'd do anything to get rid of the fatigue. I hope that you feel better soon.
Ritah: I am not a post op person, but just a low ferritin person. I wondered if it was only your ferritin that was 12, or if you had any other problems that promted your dr to take action.

My ferritin is 18 (range 9-120). I am fatigued, dizzy and can hardly exercise anymore. I am also being treated for hypothyroid.

I went to a hematologist who basically made me feel ridiciulous for coming, since I an not clinically "anemic". I read that there are depletion/deficiency levels that are just as debilitating, however.

I am just trying to see what others have gotten in terms of good advice from drs/hemos about what ferritin level a person should aim for.

Thankx

 
Old 04-22-2007, 09:57 PM   #10
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Post Re: Low Ferritin/Anemic/Gastric Bypass

Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkles916 View Post
Ritah: I am not a post op person, but just a low ferritin person. I wondered if it was only your ferritin that was 12, or if you had any other problems that promted your dr to take action.

My ferritin is 18 . I am fatigued, dizzy and can hardly exercise anymore.
I went to a hematologist who basically made me feel ridiciulous for coming, since I an not clinically "anemic"
Thankx
I had a difficult time getting proper treatment, because my other iron numbers looked normal except for the ferritin. One doctor even told me I was so tired because I must be depressed or stressed. I finally demanded to be referred to a specialist. (hematologist)
My Hematologist says that I am not "anemic". She treats my low ferritin with I.V. Iron Infusions. My only problem was low ferritin before my first two infusions, and the terrible symptoms. The last time my ferritin was at 17. My symptoms were fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath. She said that we will try and keep my ferritin above 50.
I have read that even in non gastric bypass people, once the ferritin is so low it is difficult to bring it up with pills. It sounds like you need to seek another doctor's opinion.
I became frightened the last time when I had shortness of breath. I usually do an hour of cardio a day, when my ferritin is low I really have a difficult time getting my exercise in. I did 30 minutes today and napped for three hours!
I'm having an infusion next Friday. I really need it. Just got back from Hawaii and I am sooo pale and tired. This time my iron serum and saturation is low and my ferritin is at 125.
HTH
Rita

Last edited by Ritah; 04-22-2007 at 10:04 PM.

 
Old 04-23-2007, 08:00 AM   #11
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Re: Low Ferritin/Anemic/Gastric Bypass

Thanks Ritah!

I decided to try iron supplementation on my own, so II'll see if it works. That is an interesting fact about the ferritin reaching a low point and not being able to be brought up by supplementation. Will keep it in mind.

I blew 300$ on a hematoligist. They specifically told me NOT to take iron! go figure.

I LOVE to swim, but cannot go very often as it drains me. I can usually get through a workout (not nearly as strenous as a few years ago), but after that I may crash and have to nap for a few hours. The next day, I feel Like I have been run over by a truck when I wake up.

My drs and hemo have all said the same thing - must be depression. Well, it doens't explain how I start trembling in exhaustion in the middle of a swim, no warning, no rhyme or reason. Or how my heart pounds sometimes when I exert myself, and I have to throw myself on the bed.

I hope all goes well for you.

 
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