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Old 04-15-2004, 05:10 PM   #1
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fairchild HB User
Anemia from heavy menstrual flow

Hi, I've been having this problem ever since I was about 13 years old. Well, now I'm 21 and I found out that I'm still anemic. But I had no idea that it was because of my period. When I was little, my pediatrician just told me it was from my diet (how ignorant) Well, I've been suffering all these years and I'm always exhausted. I've been getting some chest pains that goes away for a second. I don't have the energy to do anything. I'm depressed and I suffer from anxiety attacks. Well, when I got my lab results from a physical it said that I had SOME anemia. Don't know if that means that I'm a little anemic or extremely anemic. It said on the paper to go see a gyno if my periods are heavy( which they are) I am so sick of this, I'm sick and tired of having no energy. So, I have to go see a gyno. Does anyone else have the same problem? Should I worry? I don't know what she is gonna tell me. I'm scared!

 
Old 04-15-2004, 09:05 PM   #2
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Re: Anemia from heavy menstrual flow

Anemia can be caused by a very heavy menstrual flow, or by a bad diet, or other things. Your pediatrician may or may not have asked you at the time if you had heavy periods before making his diagnosis but it's not usual in young teens to be anemic from heavy periods, it usually is the diet.

But regardless, your drs are now considering your periods to be the cause and there are a few options. One may be that you start taking iron pills, another is that you try to get more iron into your diet naturally (there, it's back to that again!), or maybe go on the pill with a brand known to reduce the amount of menstrual fluid you produce. There can be other options but given your age, they probably won't be considered unless you are SEVERELY anemic.

btw, when you say your periods are 'heavy', just how heavy are they?

 
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Old 04-15-2004, 09:18 PM   #3
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dagmarharris HB User
Re: Anemia from heavy menstrual flow

Quote:
Originally Posted by fairchild
Hi, I've been having this problem ever since I was about 13 years old. Well, now I'm 21 and I found out that I'm still anemic. But I had no idea that it was because of my period. When I was little, my pediatrician just told me it was from my diet (how ignorant) Well, I've been suffering all these years and I'm always exhausted. I've been getting some chest pains that goes away for a second. I don't have the energy to do anything. I'm depressed and I suffer from anxiety attacks. Well, when I got my lab results from a physical it said that I had SOME anemia. Don't know if that means that I'm a little anemic or extremely anemic. It said on the paper to go see a gyno if my periods are heavy( which they are) I am so sick of this, I'm sick and tired of having no energy. So, I have to go see a gyno. Does anyone else have the same problem? Should I worry? I don't know what she is gonna tell me. I'm scared!
I had exactly your problem. I unfortunately never had anyone tell me to go to the gyno as I should have. I got so anemic, I was at 5.4. hemoglobin.
Normal is 11 to 14 hemoglobin.
I was so white and I almost could have fainted. I went on birth control, and am fine....It took awhile to build my blood back up!!
I had to build it up to 10 mg, to go back to work....
So listen to your gyno and get a blood test. She will help you from there.
I am much older than you but had bad periods for years...so much heaviness. Don't go thru this. I must have walked around anemic for quite some time, not knowing it!!
~dagmar

 
Old 04-15-2004, 10:31 PM   #4
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fairchild HB User
Re: Anemia from heavy menstrual flow

Oh gosh, they were bad. They have gotten a little better now but when I was younger it was horrible. I remember having to go home or go to the nurse really embarrassed cause my clothes got dirty. I managed to hide it from other kids but it was bad. My period seems to last for about 7 days and the few first days are heavy, after that it gets lighter and I don't worry about it. The first few days, I have to wear the overnight pads cause the other ones are too small. I would also get the most terrible cramps, one time I took like 3 advils and it didn't work..I was in so much pain that I had to leave work. Sometimes when I get these cramps, these little chunks of blood come out. And then I feel better once it comes out. I'm not sure if other women get this but my mom told me that it was just bad blood trying to get out of yer system. Anyways, they are pretty bad. I basically have to plan my life around it. If I have vacation plans or anything, I don't go because I really wouldn't enjoy myself.

 
Old 04-16-2004, 08:52 AM   #5
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Re: Anemia from heavy menstrual flow

[QUOTE=fairchild]Oh gosh, they were bad. They have gotten a little better now but when I was younger it was horrible. I remember having to go home or go to the nurse really embarrassed cause my clothes got dirty.

Glad your periods are getting alittle better now....
I was at the funeral of my sister, and then my mom years later....
I bled thru my dress and a huge stain, both funerals. I would get the worse periods under
times of great stress, as well.
Our hormones are very sensitive.
Also the gyno said to watch how big the blood clots were.
No bigger than a 50 cent piece not to worry she said.
All this stopped on the birth control pill. I only wear a pad, and some months don't even have a period.
I use to wear a tampax and a pad, all the time! And constantly change.
So did you get back your blood work to find out your hemoglobin?
Curious what your blood count is.
~dagmar

Last edited by dagmarharris; 04-16-2004 at 08:55 AM.

 
Old 04-16-2004, 09:09 AM   #6
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fairchild HB User
Re: Anemia from heavy menstrual flow

They never gave me my numbers. I was mailed all my results (I was tested for all the basic stuff, cholesterol...etc) Under CBC all he put was "some anemia is present could be from heavy menstrual period. Set up an appointment with a gyno if periods are heavy." I have to go back anyways, so I will ask them.

Last edited by fairchild; 04-16-2004 at 09:12 AM.

 
Old 04-16-2004, 12:52 PM   #7
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robste HB User
Re: Anemia from heavy menstrual flow

Quote:
Originally Posted by fairchild
They never gave me my numbers. I was mailed all my results (I was tested for all the basic stuff, cholesterol...etc) Under CBC all he put was "some anemia is present could be from heavy menstrual period. Set up an appointment with a gyno if periods are heavy." I have to go back anyways, so I will ask them.
I really think it's a good idea to go back to your doctor (who wrote that "some anemia is present"). Remember, he said that it "could be" from heavy menstrual periods. That's what some doctors (and most of us) assume is causing the anemia, when that's not always the case.

Ask the doctor if he/she is able to tell from your bloodwork test results exactly what type of anemia you may have...there are many different types. (I have iron-deficiency anemia, which was determined by among other things, my very low ferritin level)

Also ask your doctor if he/she is concerned with trying to find out exactly what is causing your anemia, not just guessing (but don't word it that way to the dr., lol ) that it's your periods.

My family dr. explained to me that if you're anemic, not to scare you I hope, but you could have internal bleeding somewhere, like an ulcer, that is not apparent by just doing blood tests.

My doctor wanted to find out exactly what was causing my iron-deficiency anemia, and if I had any internal bleeding, so she sent me for other tests to rule out any internal bleeding. I'm not sure if they would do the same tests for someone as young as you, but I had a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, and a lower bowel series of x-rays. When I had the colonoscopy and endoscopy, they took a biopsy to test if I was having a problem actually absorbing iron, but it was normal, so that wasn't the problem.

It was only then, that all those tests came back normal, that my family doctor recommended that I visit my gynecologist. It wound up that my gynecologist thought he felt a small fibroid while doing my pelvic exam, so he ordered a vaginal ultrasound that I had done a few days later in his office. It wound up that I have four fibroids (which are very common in women in their mid-thirties to mid-forties, but not that common in younger women). My periods have always been rather heavy the first few days, but I'd learned to live with them, so to me, they were not severely heavy. And, I never had fibroids or anemia until last year. The dr. explained that the fibroids make my periods heavier...which in my case is probably the cause of my anemia (since we ruled out everything else).

So...after all that, it was a comfort to me to know that I didn't have an ulcer, colon problems or anything like that. My doctor did put me on low dose birth control pills, but they didn't work right for me. Instead of lessening my period...it wound up lasting many more days each month. So, I had to look into other options.

Since I'm a lot older than you (I'm 44), my options are much different than yours...but, I just wanted to let you know that yes, it is aggravating to find out you have anemia & to try to research what's causing it. Just ask lots & lots of questions of your doctors.

And, in case your doctor hasn't told you so, I would ask about taking vitamins and iron supplements to help in the meantime, if your doctor determines that you should take them. Of course, don't take any supplements without asking your doctor if it's okay first!

Please keep in touch with all of us...and let us know what your doctor says next! -Robin

 
Old 04-16-2004, 02:03 PM   #8
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stacydl HB User
Re: Anemia from heavy menstrual flow

I had the same problem and went on the pill to lessen the cramps and bleeding. I am 27 now and found out the cause was a fibroid inside my uterus. If I were you I would definitely go the gyn and request an ultrasound. They will probably just tell you you need to take iron and/or go on the pill. But you might want to get an ultrasound to rule out certain causes like fibroids because if it was a fibroid, the pill can make them bigger. Fibroids are non cancerous tumors of the uterus. They can be removed if they're causing problems like heavy bleeding resulting in anemia and cramping.
Also, I recently had my fibroid removed and have been taking prenatal vitamins, and I have never felt better!
Take care!
Stacy

 
Old 04-17-2004, 08:10 AM   #9
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Re: Anemia from heavy menstrual flow

Hi all, I have the same problem. I bleed for a month: now I did stop for 2 or 3 days in between only to start back. I went to ob/gyn , done a ultrasound, found a ovarian cyst. Of course , that was the cause. Put me on provera for 10 days, the bleeding stopped 3 or 4 days into it. Then 3 days after started , now it has been 7 days and the bleeding is getting heavier instead of lighter. My concern is , they didnt even do a cbc on me. My question is this: Dag, did you have any symptoms of your anemia? What prompted you to go to the doctor when you found out you was anemic?This is really starting to worry me. So for any of you all, that has been diagnosed with anemia due to menstrual bleed, please hellllppp. Tell me your story.

 
Old 04-17-2004, 09:42 AM   #10
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dagmarharris HB User
Re: Anemia from heavy menstrual flow

Quote:
Originally Posted by fairchild
They never gave me my numbers. I was mailed all my results (I was tested for all the basic stuff, cholesterol...etc) Under CBC all he put was "some anemia is present could be from heavy menstrual period. Set up an appointment with a gyno if periods are heavy." I have to go back anyways, so I will ask them.
You are probably okay, if he only wrote "some anemia". I bet you are alittle under 11 on the scale, maybe 10?
I was half that at 5.5!! He would have had you in his office if you were as low as me!!

I also was very white, and no color in my nails! Another sign.
Good luck, but if the periods continue really heavy do something about it. I wish I had when I was young. I suffered so!!
~dagmar

 
Old 04-17-2004, 09:51 AM   #11
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dagmarharris HB User
Re: Anemia from heavy menstrual flow

Quote:
Originally Posted by google2007
Hi all, I have the same problem. I bleed for a month: now I did stop for 2 or 3 days in between only to start back. I went to ob/gyn , done a ultrasound, found a ovarian cyst. Of course , that was the cause. Put me on provera for 10 days, the bleeding stopped 3 or 4 days into it. Then 3 days after started , now it has been 7 days and the bleeding is getting heavier instead of lighter. My concern is , they didnt even do a cbc on me. My question is this: Dag, did you have any symptoms of your anemia? What prompted you to go to the doctor when you found out you was anemic?This is really starting to worry me. So for any of you all, that has been diagnosed with anemia due to menstrual bleed, please hellllppp. Tell me your story.
My story is I had heavy periods from my late 30's and then worse into my 40's. I never had any fibroids, or cycsts, just heavy periods beyond words. When I finally went I had been bleeding for two weeks, and it wouldn't stop! I was so weak, at work, I felt like I was going to faint. I went to the Urgent Care, they took my blood work, and it was the 5.5! So I was sent home and if I even had a drop of blood on the pad, I had to come back, for a shot of deprovera. I couldn't risk going any lower. So bled at home, and went back for the shot. Then Depro stopped the period but I had to take 3 weeks off work to up my iron. It takes awhile!!
Oh my, onto the birth control pill that solved all my problems! Been on it since '98. And very gentle periods! So different. I am very fortunate the pill did it for me. It thinned out the lining of my uterus, which is where the heavy periods came for me!!
~dagmar

Last edited by dagmarharris; 04-17-2004 at 09:55 AM.

 
Old 04-17-2004, 12:26 PM   #12
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Re: Anemia from heavy menstrual flow

Dag, when you say that your bloodwork is a 5.5, what are you talking about? Please specify....are you talking about your Ferritin Level, your Hemoglobin Level, or your Hemotcrit?

I never knew I had any anemia problem, until I went to donate blood to the Red Cross, and they did that little iron test they always do, and told me I couldn't donate, because my Hemotcrit was too low (it was only a 28...normal is somewhere in the thirties, I believe)...and they told me to go see my doctor. I had donated blood to the Red Cross numerous times over the years, but this was the first time I couldn't donate.

 
Old 04-17-2004, 03:52 PM   #13
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In my case I'd had no symptoms actually. My anemia just showed up during my annual physical so my doc ordered some more blood tests (I forget all the numbers).

I'd been mildly anemic years ago due to my diet (quasi-vegetarian) and had since taken care to eat properly so I'd been fine for years. But this time it was quite sudden and linked to my extremely heavly periods (also recent). I've been told what the range of options are but I'm still waiting to find out what would be best in my particular case. There's a real waiting list to get to a gyno around here . In the mean time, I'm bleeding like you wouldn't believe and taking iron suppliments...

 
Old 04-17-2004, 04:10 PM   #14
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google2007 HB User
Re: Anemia from heavy menstrual flow

Sorry to hear that Thisby. With your history of anemia, it sounds like you may end up like that again with the bleeding. Just try to eat foods high in iron until you can get to doctor.

 
Old 04-18-2004, 11:13 PM   #15
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dagmarharris HB User
Re: Anemia from heavy menstrual flow

Quote:
Originally Posted by robste
Dag, when you say that your bloodwork is a 5.5, what are you talking about? Please specify....are you talking about your Ferritin Level, your Hemoglobin Level, or your Hemotcrit?

I never knew I had any anemia problem, until I went to donate blood to the Red Cross, and they did that little iron test they always do, and told me I couldn't donate, because my Hemotcrit was too low (it was only a 28...normal is somewhere in the thirties, I believe)...and they told me to go see my doctor. I had donated blood to the Red Cross numerous times over the years, but this was the first time I couldn't donate.
Hi I still have the record from 6/24/98.
It says Hemoglobin 5.3 L
and Hematocrit 17.3L

I was very weak and had to stop working. I almost had to have a hysterectomy. As they were very concerned this might not stop. Luckily the birth control did the trick.
Anyone who is having very heavy periods like I did should beware. I just thought they were normal, I knew no different!
Get to a dr. if you are bleeding for more than 1 week heavily!
Especially if you are already anemic. I was no doubt anemic for years.
Then I had such a bad couple periods, I went over to a dagerous place.
Does this help?
~dagmar

Last edited by dagmarharris; 04-18-2004 at 11:16 PM.

 
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