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Old 08-18-2008, 03:49 PM   #1
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What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

I have gone through many tests and all have come back as negative. Is it possible that one never finds out why their body doesn't have ferritin and that you are chronically anemic?

Is it just being menstrual?

I am a bit worried that I don't have a reason. I am going to have an ablation because I hate having a period. Anyone that has had one-do you no longer have symptoms of a period? I am assuming the bleeding stops, but what about bloating, cramps, pms, etc.?

Thanks!

 
Old 08-19-2008, 12:35 AM   #2
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Re: What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

What tests have you had done? I spent years being told nothing was wrong and that all my tests were fine. It wasn't until i began reading other people's posts on the healthboards and learning about what extra tests to request, what is normal and what isn't and hearing about other people's experiences that i began learning a lot and found a doctor who knew his stuff. I knew he knew his stuff as what he said was what people who had received help were saying too.

My main symptoms were irregular menstrual cycles which and there would be off and on spotting all the time and heavy cycles mixed in with the spotting and i didn't know half the time whether my period was finished or starting!!

My other main symptom was sudden abnormal hair shedding which went on for years.

The basic blood tests done over the years all came back 'normal' and 'within range'. I soon learnt that doctors love those 2 terms and all the while i wasn't normal and was soon beginning to feel more and more sick as the years went on.

I found out a bit over 2 years ago that my ferretin was down to 8 so no wonder i was tired. I found out my vitamin D and my iodine were very low. I spent 2 years lifting my ferretin from 8 to 61. It appeared that i wasn't absorbing any of these things very well, even my Vit D was taking ages to rise.

I had a blood test which showed that i was a bit over the maximum level on my gluten intolerance test. My doctor told me to go off all gluten products for 6mths. Gluten intolerance can cause malabsorption of nutrients too. Gluten intolerance is also an autoimmune issue.

At the start of this year my doctor did a further test for my thyroid and it came up that i had very high thyroid antibodies and i was diagnised with Hashimoto's, which is an autoimmune thyroid disease.

My new doctor who is treating my thyroid did a further test which involved a stool test to check my digestion as i was having issues with bloating after eating meals. It turns out i dont have sufficient digestive enzymes to digest protein and could be connected to the reason why i had so much trouble raising my ferretin and vitamin D and even my iodine.

He also tested my adrenal function via a saliva test as i was suffering from chronic tiredness even after my ferretin reached 61. It turns out my adrenals don't produce sufficient cortisol to keep me going through the day. This test also included my other hormones eg: estrogen, testosterone, progesterone. They were all over the place courtesy of my thyroid and likely the reason for my abnormal monthly cycles and can also lead to hair shedding.

So as you can see, i went from being told there was nothing wrong with me, all was normal, to in the end finding a couple of good doctors who found lots wrong. I can happily say i'm on the road to recovery. Not quite there yet, but at least i can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

If you feel every avenue has been exhausted and you have full trust in your doctor then it's totally your choice of getting the ablation done. I was at the end of my rope with my periods and being told i had to stay on the pill to regulate my cycles. A long time ago one doctor suggested a hysterectomy!! All along it was to do with my thyroid. I ended up going to a naturopath who gave me some herbs to settle my cycles, but every time i tried to slowly stop taking it my cycles would mess up again. My last period was the best one and most normal and i put that down to my thyroid med's helping settle my thyroid and therefore my hormones. I will see how it goes further, but i have every confidence that it will get better. It just all needs time for the med's to take effect properly.

Don't give up, get copies of all your test results and look for help in relevant sections of the healthboards. Unless you are a vegetarian or are losing huge amounts of blood at every cycle, then low ferretin is normally a side effect of another illness. Even if your low ferretin was from blood loss due to your periods, taking a decent dose iron supplement with vitamin C should help keep your ferretin levels up. It's when you can't lift your ferretin that something is most definitely wrong. You could have the ablation and still end up with low ferretin. Personally i'd not be getting any drastic procedures done until every avenue had been looked into.

 
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Old 08-19-2008, 09:36 AM   #3
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Re: What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

Thank you for your reply. I have had a test on my hgb which was at 9.7, and then went on iron and within a couple of weeks it went to an 11.1. I am thinking that iron is going to help. I was ignorant for years what being anemic meant and therefore only knew that taking iron=constipation and avoided it altogether. So, this time I am going to give it a fair shot.

If I could have my uterus removed, I would. I don't want any more kids, and one less place to worry about cancer growing-sounds good to me. However, they no longer remove any "healthy" organs so ablation is the closest thing. I don't want periods anymore. I am miserable and always have been. Since I first got them at 13, I have had at least one day per month that I am curled up in a ball of agony. It is cruel to make one have to deal with this when they no longer plan on using the "benefit" of it. (IMO)

So, thank you for your info. I had my thyroid checked years ago, and don't even know what exactly that means. (Meaning if there is more than one thyroid test and or if it is like every other test when they say "all is normal" and "you are within the range of normal")

I have to pay $25 to get test results from every single provider. Even if it is one lousy page of bloodwork. I am angry about that. I have tried to get the key results via phone as quite frankly, I am not paying them $25 to photocopy a page of paper--that is crap. Also, this dr. seems to be slightly "script ready" and "knowledge slow" if you get the idea.

I do think I should wait and see though with regards to the iron, as I have noticed a positive change. I have many other problems that may or may not be related. I have widespread body pain. I pronate when I walk, and have overuse injuries to my feet and possibly ankles. I have tmj, scoliosis, neck pain, migraines, muscle tightness, fatigue, lack of interest in life in general, etc. I have some hair loss, but not enough to notice on my head. (On my brush, yes.) My periods were the same for years and lately they are slightly different. I still don't have spotting during the inbetween times. I just can't count on the exact date anymore and some are what I term as the "horror" ones and some are the "did it happen?" kind. So, maybe I am just getting older? I am 37.
Thanks for your thoughts.

 
Old 08-19-2008, 10:19 AM   #4
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Re: What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

Did you have any side affects when you first started taking iron? I have a low iron count so I have started iron, and yesterday was my first day, and I woke up with stomach pain. It has settled down now, but I am afraid to take my iron again. Thanks

 
Old 08-19-2008, 01:35 PM   #5
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Re: What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

I got stomach pain then started taking the iron with the C earlier in the day and now it's o.k.. If you have been taking it at night try taking it earlier in the day and something else I learned don't take iron with calcium because the iron won't get absorbed as well.

 
Old 08-19-2008, 02:17 PM   #6
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Re: What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

I have a hiatal hernia, GERD, and gastritus to say that I had stomach pain was an understatement. It was more like pain in my throat so bad that I wanted to stop eating altogether. I am changing the type of iron that I am taking and moving to a different PPI for the reflux as well. We'll see how it goes. I know you are supposed to take it on an empty stomach, but quite frankly, I can't so I know taking it when you have something in your tummy (not dairy) might help.

 
Old 08-19-2008, 02:34 PM   #7
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Re: What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

I hope you don't mind me asking, but did the stomach pain last for quite awhile. I woke up with it and it is now in the afternoon and my stomach still hurts.
I will try to take the iron again tomorrow with C and hopefully that will help
Thank you for your reply.

 
Old 08-20-2008, 02:20 AM   #8
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Re: What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

If you start taking a high dose iron supplement it can cause you stomach upset. Start off with a small amount and work your way up over time.

I was getting irritable bowel type symptoms and a lot of pain. My doctor gave me some iron phosphate tablets which i would take along with my iron supplement and it stopped all the IBS symptoms and i never looked back symptom-wise.

If your iron supplement causes constipation you can buy stool softeners to take.

 
Old 08-20-2008, 09:09 AM   #9
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Re: What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

Couple of replies:

Yes the GERD type throat pain lasted all day long. It was pretty bad. Actually it lasted for several days.

I am so constipated now, it is unreal. I take prescription stool softeners daily--nothing is happening. I literally could go weeks without going to the toilet. I also take a laxative and enemas as well. I was very constipated prior to starting this iron, which is why I avoided taking it to begin with as I have IBS with constipation. However, it got so bad that I had to take the iron, so now I need to deal with the constipation.

 
Old 08-20-2008, 11:30 AM   #10
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Re: What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

TiredOTired,

I actually just got diagnosed with anemia- I also have IBS with constipation. I have been constipated my whole life and have tried everything. I've been on prescription stool softners and they haven't worked. My dr. told me to try Miralax (its over the counter- you can find it in CVS, walgreens, etc.). It's the only thing that works for me. It's a white powder that you put into a glass of water (doesn't actually matter what it is.) and you can do it once/day or as needed. Try to avoid enemas. Yes, they flush out your whole system but they also reduce the movement of your colon. Your colon performs "perstalsis" which moves your stool out by a squeezing type motion. When you use enemas, it damages this movement, so you actually put yourself in a worse position than you were before. I found stool softeners to be the best. I'm really scared now though with these iron pills so hope the miralax continues working for me throughout this. Dont forget to drink A LOT of water, that also helps :-)

 
Old 08-20-2008, 12:08 PM   #11
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Re: What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

I have been using enemas for years and have already damaged that movement. I tried to stop, even for weeks and had NO bowel movement. I don't know how to undamage the damage as using BOTH stool softeners and prescription laxatives have done nothing. I literally gave myself an enema yesterday and it downright freaked me out that nothing (or close to it) happened. I simply had a stomachache for about 2 hours while it took its time coming back out-without an actual movement. Yikes!

 
Old 08-21-2008, 04:28 AM   #12
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Re: What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

I have found that some iron supplement pills will constipate while others wont. I'm on one at the moment and i've been using it for the last few months and my bowel movements are normal, no constipation. It's called Ferro-grad C. Other iron tablets have constipated me and i've had friends who have ended up in the same situation.

If one form of iron supplement is causing problems, then try a different brand.

TiredOTired - in your case where you have been on the enemas and laxatives for years i'm not sure what you can do to reverse the damage done. Being on a form of iron supplement which constipates you will likely make your bowel issues worse. Have you spoken to a doctor about how to go about reversing the problem? Maybe it wouldn't hurt to start on a new thread which deals with anemia and long term constipation issues.

 
Old 08-21-2008, 09:19 AM   #13
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Re: What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

Yes, I have spoken to dr. about it. I have been prescribed stool softeners and laxatives via prescription that I am to take 2 times a day. However, I work a full time day job that doesn't allow for proper time to sit on the toilet if I have pain and need to. I also have to work far too early and it gets in the way too. I am on the border of needing to quit working due to all of my physical problems but I have no way of supporting myself and my son if I did so. Even if I did qualify for disability, it would take like 2 years of fighting them for an amount equal to just my rent and not anything left over. I am in a position of starve or work and suffer. So, there ya have it.

 
Old 08-21-2008, 10:25 PM   #14
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Re: What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

After I went to the ER for severe stomach pains, that ended up being constipation, I was also told to take Miralax 2x a day and also a fiber supplement. I've been taking the Miralax most of the time but sometimes 2x a day is too much. I'm still having problems with the fiber suplements; I took both together for a few days and ended up with horrible pains from them...it was too much for me, for someone who is used to going every 2 - 3 days 2 times a day is hard to get used to.

 
Old 08-25-2008, 04:24 PM   #15
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Re: What if no cause is found for low iron, anemia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MandyPandy View Post
After I went to the ER for severe stomach pains, that ended up being constipation, I was also told to take Miralax 2x a day and also a fiber supplement. I've been taking the Miralax most of the time but sometimes 2x a day is too much. I'm still having problems with the fiber suplements; I took both together for a few days and ended up with horrible pains from them...it was too much for me, for someone who is used to going every 2 - 3 days 2 times a day is hard to get used to.
Bingo. These guys seem to think that as long as you take their script you will go--perhaps forgetting the cramping and pain you are in while waiting for things to happen. I had such a bad stomachache this weekend that I was curled up in a ball on my bed. I realized then that there is no way I could take that laxative 2 times a day while I was at work--imagine that! These people are nuts!

 
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