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  • Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

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    Old 09-05-2008, 03:32 PM   #1
    beautyofspeed
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    Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    Hi all,

    My ferritin level is 10. Hemoglobin 119.

    So, the long awaited appointment was today. I have been waiting one month since finding out about my ferritin level to see the doctor.

    I walked in the room and she basically didn't even know what I was there for. I told her I was very concerned about my low level and she shrugged it off and said "yeah, most menstruating women are usually at a level of 20".

    I said, "umm....aren't we supposed to be at least 30, with an optimum range of 70?"

    she said, "well....most women are at 20".

    I asked her what the reason for my low counts were and she asked me if I had heavy periods. I said, since 2006, yes. She said "oh well that's probably the reason. You're going to have to be on iron supplements the rest of your life probably".

    and that was it for that! I'm left dumbfounded. Am I crazy to be really concerned/stressed about the fact that since 2006 my ferritin has steadily dropped from 25 to a level of 10 now and I don't know the reason for it?

    Thoughts?

    ~BOS~

     
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    Old 09-05-2008, 04:29 PM   #2
    StephRabin
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    Re: Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    Im sorry you felt dismissed...However, you have a reason for it...you have heavy periods. I would have them check you for other deficiencies as well...b12, magnesium, etc.

    You dont mention your symptoms, maybe you did in a previous post I missed...?

    Try a different docotr and ask about eliminating your periods alltogether via birth control pils. You can take the active pills straight through without a plecebo week. This will keep you from losing so much blood.

    Hope you feel better,....

    ps take the iron pills with chewable vitamin c 500 tablets.

     
    Old 09-05-2008, 05:24 PM   #3
    FLFLOWERGIRL
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    Re: Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    I understand what you are feeling because most of us feel this same way. I guess you just have to take their information and tests along with what you learn and use your intuition. By that I mean follow your own instincts that lead you. If the problem self corrects with iron, you are good to go, if not, then you will have to look further. This has often been my experience. Just remember it can be from more than one reason. Heavy periods is so common this is why she reacted the way she did. I hope that you can rebuild your iron stats without any problems. You do have to stop the blood loss or you may not be successful in replenishing the stores. My doctor told me it was like a hole in my bucket that will never fill up. I had an ablation. You can also look into the Mirena IUD. Good luck to you. FLFLOWERGIRL

     
    Old 09-06-2008, 04:46 AM   #4
    ChristineVA
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    Re: Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    This is the typical response of most GPs. Really, it is. They don't get alarmed until your hemoglobin is VERY low. Most of them really don't even know a whole lot about ferritin or where it should be.

    I do actually agree that most menstruation women, especially by the time they hit their late 30s and early 40s (when things get worse) are probably walking around with low ferritin. My mom spent her ENTIRE 40s and early 50s with mild anemia (so did my GP's nurse) due to heavy periods. I think this is very common but so often women either don't get it checked out, blame the fatigue on "old age" or they are given Prozac because they are "depressed." My low ferritin was a real eye-opener for my GP. He then found it in my friend and he has said that he is going to have to rethink the way he looks add borderline normal HCT, HGB values.

    Your doctor treated you like most of us have been treated. We've all just sort of taken things into our own hands. The only issues you need to be concerned about is if you *don't* think your periods are the culprit. If they aren't overly heavy, you should think about causes like GI bleeding.

     
    Old 09-08-2008, 04:35 PM   #5
    beautyofspeed
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    Re: Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    Okay, what is considered a "heavy" period??????

    I mean, fine if the low iron is due to a heavy period, I would be glad if that was the only reason, but what is considered heavy?

    ~BOS~

     
    Old 09-08-2008, 05:08 PM   #6
    FLFLOWERGIRL
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    Re: Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    BOS--Saturation of pads, tampons or clothing. Blood clots equal heavier bleeding that you may not realize. Periods long in duration. Accidents, leaks. Problems like that.

    I found a ~period calculator~ (doesn't calculate tampons, but you can get the message), also with visuals. I always thought that the heavy periods I was having was normal because it only lasted 3 days. I was also heavy all my life, I was wrong. I was found to have 7 polyps that only showed up at the time of my ablation procedure.

    As for anemia. I don't feel that there has to be a whole heck of a lot of blood loss to be a problem if you are not taking in the amount of iron lost. Or shall I say, it is the amount of iron that your body is able to absorb which is key. Eventually it can catch up to you through your ferritin count. FLFLOWERGIRL

     
    Old 09-08-2008, 05:13 PM   #7
    beautyofspeed
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    Re: Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FLFLOWERGIRL View Post
    BOS--Saturation of pads, tampons or clothing. Blood clots equal heavier bleeding that you may not realize. Periods long in duration. Accidents, leaks. Problems like that.

    I found a ~period calculator~ (doesn't calculate tampons, but you can get the message), also with visuals. I always thought that the heavy periods I was having was normal because it only lasted 3 days. I was also heavy all my life, I was wrong. I was found to have 7 polyps that only showed up at the time of my ablation procedure.

    As for anemia. I don't feel that there has to be a whole heck of a lot of blood loss to be a problem if you are not taking in the amount of iron lost. Or shall I say, it is the amount of iron that your body is able to absorb which is key. Eventually it can catch up to you through your ferritin count. FLFLOWERGIRL
    Hi! Could you give me the info for the "period calculator" or shall I just google it?

    Everything changed for me (hormonally wise, hair loss wise and period wise) after I took the drug "Wellbutrin" for a year in 2006. I only took it for a year, but it forever changed me...my ferritin has been steadily dropping ever since.

    I will ask my naturopath if she thinks my periods are "heavy". they are definitely heavier than before 2006. Thanks!!

     
    Old 09-09-2008, 08:57 AM   #8
    TiredOTired
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    Re: Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    I couldn't agree more with the OP that we are basically dismissed with regards to being anemic. I am so angry that my dr. didn't take me seriously! I ended up getting so sick that I almost needed a blood transfusion. I also think just giving out iron supplements without knowing which kind of anemia you have is just crap. The medical community diagnosed me as being depressed when in fact I had no ferritin and a 9 in hgb. I could barely breathe and had a hard time going down a flight of stairs and they just told me I was tired due to depression! They didn't even check my blood! I found out by accident at my annual exam at my gyno appt!!!!

     
    Old 09-09-2008, 10:44 AM   #9
    Ashley9045
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    Re: Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    I have learned we have to be our own advocate when it comes to our health. Doctors are good for certain things, but there are just certain things you go to them for they look at you like you are crazy and they think you are over reacting. As I stated in another posting of mine, My husband died very young 6 years ago suddenly and if the doctors would have stayed on top of his case the way they should have, he may be here today. I learned from that day on, you have to be your own advocate. Doctors are helpful, but they are only human. Some are smarter than others, some care more, but it is up to the person themself to take care of themself and to go forward if one doctor is not helping them.

     
    Old 09-09-2008, 11:14 AM   #10
    beautyofspeed
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    Re: Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ashleymichele23 View Post
    I have learned we have to be our own advocate when it comes to our health. Doctors are good for certain things, but there are just certain things you go to them for they look at you like you are crazy and they think you are over reacting. As I stated in another posting of mine, My husband died very young 6 years ago suddenly and if the doctors would have stayed on top of his case the way they should have, he may be here today. I learned from that day on, you have to be your own advocate. Doctors are helpful, but they are only human. Some are smarter than others, some care more, but it is up to the person themself to take care of themself and to go forward if one doctor is not helping them.
    Absolutely I agree. In fact, I HAVE been taking an active role in my healthcare for years. I like to use doctors more as a tool to help me achieve what I already found out through my research. I'm was just stunned at my GP's reaction, especially because we talked about other things too, and her attitude was not what it used to be.

    I thought that maybe because I had the proof of a ferritin level of 10 she would take this seriously and try to find out the reason why, or just be, I don't know, more interested in the whole thing. I think because she knows I have a naturopath I've been "written off".

    I guess doctors don't like when you know more than they do!

    ~BOS~

     
    Old 09-09-2008, 04:05 PM   #11
    Nina01
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    Re: Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    Hi all! I was looking for answers here since my hair seems to be falling out. My dermatolgist checked my ferritin and it was 13, so she has me taking iron and vitamin C twice a day. She said this can cause hair loss. I hope it helps, cuz I think I might look wierd bald!

    and yet, think of all the cute wigs I could buy...LOL

    On the heavy period issue, I have to weigh in! About 5 months ago, I had a surgery that changed my life - endometrial ablasion. My periods were so heavy that I literally would be home-bound for a day or two each month. I would wear a maxi-pad and 2 super tampons and still had major problems. I am telling all my friends about this because I don't think the doctors are really promoting this enough. So many women suffer through this and don't know they can fix it! The surgery was so easy and I have not had a period since. I am 41 and have 3 kids, so we were totally done with that. But for anyone suffering from heavy periods, if you are done having kids, I highly recommend it!

    Interestingly, now that I am not menstruating any more, my iron is now low, and my hair falling out. I am wondering if this is a delayed reaction to years of heavy bleeding? I called my OB this week and asked them if they had checked my iron before the surgery. She said that my hemoglobin was normal, but they did not actually test my ferritin level at the time. Has anyone else experienced this?

     
    Old 09-09-2008, 04:05 PM   #12
    Ashley9045
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    Re: Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    I could not agree more! When my husband was ill, I would go into the cardiologist office and talk about all of these things I found out in regards to his condition, they did not like that one bit. I felt they thought I was over stepping my boundaries. No more, you have to over step and be your own advocate.. How do you feel with your low ferritin? Mine was a 5 and in 2 months it went up to 27.5. The doctor said she would like this to be higher, but I keep taking the iron and hope it goes up. It does make you feel exhausted though. Do you feel exhausted also?

     
    Old 09-09-2008, 06:31 PM   #13
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    Re: Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    Nina01--Your hair problem is probably due to your low ferritin. Once that is corrected you should see regrowth. Mine started growing back at a 20 ferritin, but it still falls out at a 41 ferritin not nearly as much. I would agree that your low ferritin is from the many years of heavy blood loss and you finally just got too low because you were not on iron supplements. 5 months from surgery with a lowered ferritin is not all that long of a time, so I would agree with you. Most doctors do NOT run the Ferritin test without cause. In your case they should have done this for sure. If it is easy to correct then you can count on your periods as being the cause. If it is hard, then you need to look into other reasons. There are many.

    I also had the ablation procedure and it was the best thing that I have done for myself. I however, are not as young as you and how I wish that I would have done it sooner, but I was not told about it. Even though I did complain to the GYN, I was like you with a pad and 2 tampons which is really crazy right? I had to do that in order to leave the house and I still thought it was normal for ME. At that time they tested me for anemia and found out that I had Hashimotos instead but again they did NOT check the ferritin or we would have known I'm sure. Ferritin really does need to be an annual test done by the GYN or PCP. Hope you find your answers. Keep us posted. FLFLOWERGIRL

     
    Old 09-10-2008, 10:32 AM   #14
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    Re: Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    I totally agree that any woman who walks into her OB or doctor complaining of heavy bleeding should be tested for sure. I'm not blaming them, they did do a screening for hemoglobin which was normal. Is it possible that my ferritin was still low?

    All we can do is tell our friends about it, which I do. I am thinking of calling my hair dresser because she had me attend a screening where they look at your hair under a microscope, and then convince you to buy all this crap for your scalp that I'm sure was a waste of money. She said she also has the hair loss problem and uses the stuff. I bet she talks to alot of women about it.

    I just spent a ton at the health food store on vitamins - let's hope they work! In the mean time, get the word out about the iron and about the ablasions!

     
    Old 09-10-2008, 10:38 AM   #15
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    Re: Finally saw doctor today regarding my low iron -- she didn't even care!

    Flowergirl, I just read your reply to my hemoglobin question on the other thread. I am going to ask my OB why they don't screen ferritin automatically. I think this needs to be done. Why wait until you are anemic! That makes no sense.

    Nina

     
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