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anemia and weight gain?

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Old 09-11-2009, 03:22 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: san francisco, ca
Posts: 2
anemia and weight gain?

so, i'm very anemic at 7.8 (and it's probably continued to decline because i stopped taking my iron) and my ferritin level of 1.

i know i definitely shouldn't have, but i stopped taking the iron supplements because it makes me horribly constipated and after taking them for a month i gained a 13 lbs!!!

i'm 5'9" and weight a healthy 150lbs and some how over a 1 month span gained 13lbs.
i'm very health conscious. i don't eat meat or dairy but i do eat sea food. nothing changed about any of my behaviors, i just suddenly gained this weight and have an abdominal bloat.
i attributed it to my iron intake because that was the only thing that changed over that time frame.
has anyone else had this problem?
i've even tried diet supplements and have been even more extreme about watching every little thing i eat... and i still haven't been able to shed the extra weight. exercise is difficult for me because i feel so tired and my heart rate shoots up so quickly bc of the anemia.

i know i should be taking my iron (i have yet to get out of bed today because i feel so extremely fatigued and can hardly hold my eyes open).

does anyone have any suggestions? i hate to be so vain that i let my body weight affect my blood heath, but hey, i'm a girl and its important to me. i can't afford to buy an all new wardrobe to make room for the extra lbs.

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Old 09-11-2009, 04:56 PM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: new york, usa
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kdin HB User
Re: anemia and weight gain?

have you tried taking fiber pills to counteract the constipation the iron causes? I can never take iron w/o taking fiber as well. xo

Old 09-12-2009, 11:53 AM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: san francisco, ca
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Re: anemia and weight gain?

yes! and eating super high fiber foods. as well as taking colon cleansing kind of stuff, and i would still be stopped up!

Old 09-15-2009, 06:32 PM   #4
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Re: anemia and weight gain?

grapes and raisins are good for constipation. Also raspberries and blackberries - it's all the seeds.

Flaxseed and Activa with Fiber One Buds are good.

And lots of water with some running.

Old 09-22-2009, 04:53 PM   #5
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Re: anemia and weight gain?

I doubt it's the iron causing the weight gain, but instead the iron is constipating you and research has shown that people with constipation often put on weight easier. Don't ask me why or how, but it was discussed recently on TV, but i was doing something else at the time and wasn't paying too much attention but did hear that bit.

Why dont you try a different form of iron supplement???? The first one i ever used constipated me, the next one gave me IBS, but then i moved to one called Ferro-Grad C and it's slow release, no IBS, no constipation, it's wonderful. Just because one doesn't work for you doesn't mean there aren't others to try. Visit your localy chemist and speak to the pharmacist. They are so helpful and they also get lots of feedback from customers so would know what does what.

Next thing, don't go doing lots of exercise, just a gentle daily walk. Being anemic means there isn't as much oxygen coursing through your body and doing exercise will use up what little is there. That's what makes you tired in the end.

In case it's not the constipation which has caused your weight gain, you ought to have a full thyroid check done. This MUST include: TSH, Free T3 and Free T4 as well as Thyroid Antibodies to check and see whether you have a thyroid autoimmune disease. These are more common than people think. A lot of people with thyroid issues have difficult to raise ferritin and hypothyroid people seem to put on weight without doing anything different. The problem is that some doctors will only check your TSH without the other thyroid tests being done or if they do the other tests and your TSH is 'within range' they will say you are fine, when in fact being at the slightly lower/higher end of the range can bring on thyroid symptoms.

Get a gluten intolerance blood test too. Gluten affects some people by stopping the small intestine absorbing vital nutrients like iron.

Being vegan and not using dairy or eggs, you should also get your B12 and Vitamin D levels checked as they are likely low too and this would make you tired in addition to the low iron levels.

So first things first, change that iron supplement you are on and please speak to your local chemist if you aren't sure and then either leave it a few weeks to see how you feel or go to your doctor and request all the other tests i've mentioned.

Good luck and let us know how you go

PS: just remembered, chemist sell a stool softener which you can take alongside your iron supplement if you wish, but i'd seriously look at experimenting with another brand which wont leave you constipated. Anyway, it's your choice, Good luck

Last edited by Audrey-B; 09-22-2009 at 04:55 PM.

Old 09-27-2009, 03:32 PM   #6
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juner50 HB User
Re: anemia and weight gain?


I gained weight as soon as I started iron supplementation. I wasn't constipated but It did make me retain a lot of fluid. I'm hypothyroid so I'm already medicated and I took my iron 12 hours after my thyroid medication. My weight has been stable for decades. The only difference was adding the iron pills. I stopped the iron and the weight went away. Could this also be your problem??

I need to find another iron supplement that won't cause the fluid retention. (If there is such a thing)

Old 01-26-2010, 01:24 AM   #7
Join Date: Jan 2010
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greentea1983 HB User
Re: anemia and weight gain?

i have been gaining weight too since i was diagnose with iron deficiency anemia. i am currently taking ferrous sulfate, spa tone iron liquid, and other iron pills but nothing change. i have inquired more with my physician but she told me their is no higher dose of iron pills i can take aside from ferrous sulfate.

i have used acai pills to help me lose weight when i gain my self in the weighing scale it shows i lost 10 pounds but my clothes never show any sign i lose weight like it should be loose since i've lost 10 pounds. i was assuming maybe this is just waterloss but exercise does not help me lose a pounds of my weight.


i noticed too that after being diagnosed with anemia, i used to have a very good memorery skills, i can hardly stay focus on reading or memorizing notes. even with ferrous sulfate, i still, always feel light-headed and bloated (my stomach makes really loud, embarrasing noise even if i'm not hungry i consulted this to my physician too but to my dismay he said their is no cure/remedy/treatment for the noise/gas in my stomach)

does anybody has any advice about better ways to improve my chance in losing weight and taking control of my anemia!

thanks for taking time reading my post, i trully appreciate it if you can leave a few words of advice...

thanks again!

Old 02-15-2010, 06:43 PM   #8
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Florida
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shibels HB User
Re: anemia and weight gain?

First of all if your ferritin is that low - diet wont' help fast enough - actually otc iron pills will take a long time too - I cannot tolerate them either - horrible constipcation - I've tried 3 different Rx strength iron, with stool softeners, fiber, lots of water, etc. I am in the middle of Iv Iron Infusion and its way easier to tolerate - not sure it's working for me yet in terms of getting my other blood levels up - but it is getting my Ferritin up. They still have to find the cause! Getting it back up is typically a bandaid. Most women are anemic from their periods - I don't get mine anymore - had ablation done in 04. 2nd cause is usually GI bleed but they've ruled that out with me too --- then they tend to look at the Bone Marrow - which is where I'm at I guess.
Good Luck - keep us posted.

Old 02-18-2010, 08:07 AM   #9
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: US, IL
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JosieO HB User
Re: anemia and weight gain?

I see this was originally posted in 9-09. I know its a touchy subject and this board is dominated by women. We are so into our looks that it does matter. I have ballooned after taking iron. I work in an office and not very active. I don't each much but a good breakfast lunch and dinner. I try not to eat after 6 or 7 pm at night.

My point is that yes, many dealing with this anemia will experience weight gain. Don't let it overwhelm you. As women, we will go through a lot. We are stronger for it. Keep doing what you can to ensure your health. You are not alone.

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