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    Old 05-17-2009, 02:12 PM   #1
    newinnj
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    Someone please respond ... colonoscopy?

    Sorry to be a pest, but is a colonoscopy a normal screening for a 43-year-old with iron deficient anemia that is responding well to supplements? I have no other symptoms and am terrified. Hemoglobin was 8.9, Iron was 11. I am hoping anemia was brought on by bad morning eating habits, too much tea, two C-sections in short time period and heavy periods.

     
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    Old 05-18-2009, 05:24 AM   #2
    herekittykitty
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    Re: Someone please respond ... colonoscopy?

    Hi,
    I think different doctors have different ways of doing things. It sounds like your doctor thinks a colonoscopy is the first test to run if diagnosed with anemia. You definately have many, many things that would cause your anemia besides an undiagnosed cancer. Two pregnancies, breastfeeding, poor diet, heavy periods, 2 major abdominal surgeries (c-sections) could all cause anemia by themselves. So you have multiple reasons for anemia. Have the test done and you won't have to worry about it anymore, but I really don't think you have anything to worry about as far as undiagnosed cancer causing your anemia. Doctors should explain things more to their patients so that they do not cause undue worry.

    Last edited by herekittykitty; 05-18-2009 at 05:25 AM.

     
    Old 05-18-2009, 05:41 AM   #3
    jcjwillis
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    Re: Someone please respond ... colonoscopy?

    herekittykitty:

    When I was first diagnosed as being anemic my doctor ran all kinds of tests such as a colonoscopy to rule out any internal bleeding any where.

    Hope this helps you!

     
    Old 05-18-2009, 07:49 AM   #4
    herekittykitty
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    Re: Someone please respond ... colonoscopy?

    I'm just saying some doctors do a colonoscopy routinely when there is anemia and they should explain to the patient this is a routine test that I always do when someone has anemia. If they don't explain that this is routine, a person's mind can really run away with them (like mine has done many times).

    I really think the doctor just wants to rule out any GI issues you may have. I don't think he suspects anything, just trying to rule out everything. Then you can say for sure it is all the risk factors for anemia you already have. Like I said before, have the test done and you will know for sure, but I wouldn't worry myself sick over what the doctor probably just considers a routine test for anemia.

     
    Old 05-18-2009, 07:50 AM   #5
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    Re: Someone please respond ... colonoscopy?

    newinnj--Welcome to the boards!

    herekittykitty is right, I couldn't agree more. Many people come here to the boards thinking the worst, it's a common response. Whenever there is anemia in women, the most common reason is blood loss, through heavy monthly periods. Age is also a major factor here as far as colonoscopy goes. Different test required for different ages. However, when it comes to blood loss it is prudent to be sure that there are no other "hidden factors" and you want to rule it out as a ~potential problem~ that may be missed. That's all. When you have a colonoscopy you also want to have the endoscopy (I think susieq14 said this too in another post ) at the same time it is only 10 more minutes as far as the procedure goes. Some doctors don't do this (believe it or not) at the same time but you need to rule out these conditions also as much as the colon, I always say that looking at just the colon is like having half a mammogram, so it is necessary too. It is unfortunate that some doctors do one procedure at a time and the patient unaware elects to do this.

    Many people also are looking for one reason as a cause for their anemia when actually there can many times be more than one cause or several. In my case I was a little more like you. I never ever ate breakfast, I didn't take vitamins , drank tea, tea, tea, , had heavy periods and this went on for years. In addition for me I also take a PPI (was Nexium) and I took that 1 hour before my main meal every night. Your stomach needs acid to break down the iron to be absorbed and I had very little. Now I take my PPI way after dinner to absorb as much as possible, don't know if it helps or not but it's a try. I also don't drink tea around supplement time or with iron source foods. I don't eat red meat either. So, you can see how this stuff happens. I think it's equally as important to see your GYN too, I opted for an endometrial ablation because I was told by the Hematologsit that I had to or have blood transfusions. At the time of my procedure they found 7 polyps that were missed on the US and they were removed and thought at that time to be a major contributing factor for my anemia. I had a 8.5 Hgb and 2 ferritin. Did you say what your ferritin is? If it makes you feel any better, my PCP told me that because my numbers were so low, (as yours are) that with that amount of blood loss you would have known it. I think thats about equivalent to 2 pints low on blood, I don't remember exactly, ask your doctor. But it all makes sense. You have multiple reasons as a major cause for your low numbers. It can take years to deplete the ferritin (total iron body stores) before anemia shows up which is the final, end stage of the ferritin store.

    Have you also had your B-12 and folate checked? This is also a common deficiency that can happen (among other things) and should always be checked when anemia is present.

    I truly hope that you are doing a little better now after reading these posts. Know that anxiety is very common related to low ferritin/low iron. Maybe you are experiencing a little of this too which doesn't help matters, it is a usual symptom just to let you know. Feel better soon!
    Sending in angels FLFG
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    Last edited by FLFLOWERGIRL; 05-18-2009 at 10:39 AM.

     
    Old 05-18-2009, 03:26 PM   #6
    newinnj
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    Re: Someone please respond ... colonoscopy?

    Thank you to everyone for your thorough and kind responses (and warm welcome)! I was absolutely paralyzed all day Sunday thinking I was walking around with a giant tumor in my colon. You have all made me feel much more at ease, although I am a worrier by nature and will worry til the tests come back clean.

    I will get my lab results (latest ones) from my primary and post them when I do.

    I have an OB-GYN appt, on Wed. to discuss periods and anemia and possibly have a US.

    I have an initial consult with the GI on Thurs. although they made it sounds like the wait for the colonoscopy would be awhile. The doctor my primary initially recommended wouldn't see me until July 28 (!) but I refused to wait that long.

    I will keep you posted but I just want to say again how much of a life line finding this board is/was. I will try to stay off the ledge and stop reading so much about colon cancer until I know more.

    If any members on here were diagnosed w/anemia primarily due to heavy periods, I'd love to hear from you. My OB nurse on the phone sounded surprised I'd be coming in with anemia, but I'm thinking the docs must actually see it quite often.

    Have a wonderful evening.

     
    Old 05-18-2009, 06:43 PM   #7
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    Re: Someone please respond ... colonoscopy?

    newinnj--Glad we were able to help a little, I know with this sort of thing it doesn't get better until the test are complete. It seems typical and ordinary to have to wait for the colonoscopy. My GI doc got me in in 3 days of my receiving my results and then I had to wait for 3 weeks to have the procedure. They are just so busy all the time being specialists. Mine told me that if he were a betting man in Vegas that he would bet that it was from my periods. He see this all the time. It was a little over a year later when I saw him for my acid reflux (an unrelated visit), I told him that my ferritin was only at 43 and he said it is malabsorption due to PPI's. It can get very interesting. It can also take a very long time for some of us to replete the ferritin stores.

    Have you also had your thyroid tested? I ask because there are many of us that have Hashi's or Hypo-T in common along with a low ferritin/anemia. It can cause heavy periods. Having heavy periods is really not normal and there is an underlying cause for this and that also needs addressed, there can be many reasons. Remember my polyps didn't show up until surgery. That also happened to another person here but I think that hers was a fibroid so it is rather common too, I think. It makes me a little irritated though. Funny thing is, I never thought as heavy as they were, that my periods were too heavy. I have even heard that they don't have to be that heavy either. My Hematologist told me that the more blood loss that there is the more you will tend to bleed with your periods, FYI. He was right in my case.

    I'm glad that you are seeing the GYN just make sure that s/he does give you a good US. You will also need to start thinking about options for correcting your bleeding, if your periods are just heavy then your choices are BC pills, Merina IUD and endometrial ablation. If you have polyps or fibroids then of course they will be dealt with in other ways. Just giving you a heads up on what I was offered or learned about. Oh and yes, a "H" is always an option too just one that I am not quite ready for yet. Although I was told that if the ablation didn't work for me that I would need to have one. Thank goodness that it has worked amazingly with great results. Take care. Let us know if there are any questions that you may think of in the interim. FLFG
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    Old 05-19-2009, 07:07 AM   #8
    herekittykitty
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    Re: Someone please respond ... colonoscopy?

    I read that heavy periods is the main cause of anemia in women of child bearing age. I think heavy periods gets worse the closer we get to perimenopause/menopause. I know in my case, heavy periods is the cause of my anemia and low ferritin. I have polyps, fibroids, enlarged uterus, all caused by hormone imbalance. My progesterone to estrogen ratio is out of whack, with too much estrogen not enough progesterone. I started on natural progesterone cream but it has not helped yet with heavy periods (but has helped with some other issues). I also recently started on thyroid meds. as I found out I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Doctor said she hopes this is going to be the missing link for me as far as the tiredness and heavy periods that the progesterone cream and iron supplements hasn't straightened out yet.

    Like flflowergirl said, there are a lot of issues that seem to go hand in hand as evidenced by a lot of us here that have the same diagnoses.

    I can't remember if anyone has mentioned this but low vit. D can have the same symptoms as anemia and hypothyroid. You might want to check this also.

     
    Old 05-22-2009, 10:27 AM   #9
    Daises28
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    Re: Someone please respond ... colonoscopy?

    I would not suggest a colonoscopy unless you were having bleeding after having a bowel movement. I had my first one when I was 22 cuz I was having severe constipation and bleeding, but luckily I was OK, I think that contributed mostly to me being anemic. I am better now and am on Fiber supps, however, my iron levels are still low and I am back on iron supps. If anything it would be good to see a Hematologist who specializes in blood disorders. He/she can run some labs and ask you questions that may be contributing to your low iron. I am not a doctor or a nurse, but my guess is as I've said before having a colonoscopy would not be necessary, unless the Hematologist refers you to a GI doctor otherwise.

     
    Old 05-22-2009, 10:33 AM   #10
    Daises28
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    Re: Someone please respond ... colonoscopy?

    More luck of being a woman..heavy periods It could even be something as small as that, well I'm not saying that's small but I mean serious wise. Anemia is extremely common in women, I'm sure you hear that all the time. Why the OB nurse is surprised I have no clue, she should know that working with women.

     
    Old 05-22-2009, 05:45 PM   #11
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    Re: Someone please respond ... colonoscopy?

    At the age of 42, I would ~think~ that most doctors' would agree that having a colonoscopy/ensdoscopy is highly recommended, to be sure that nothing is missed. Although age is a factor, if you are having problems it is best to always get scoped. Age does not discriminate when it comes to rare things or cancer in general. FLFG
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    Old 09-30-2009, 07:55 AM   #12
    LadyFraser
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    Re: Someone please respond ... colonoscopy?

    Hi NewinnJ,

    I am in a similar place as you. I am 44 and have been scheduled for a colonoscopy to look for reasons that may explain my chronic iron deficiency too.

    FYI: A colonoscopy is a just screening tool that doctors use to look for a variety of GI conditions, many of which have nothing to do with cancer. Absorption issues can be anything from Celiac Disease (a genetic disease in which people who cannot eat foods that contain gluten -- wheat, barley, rye, etc.) to things like polyps or ulcers. Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn's disease are also detected through a colonoscopy as are cancers. So you can see that it is a valuable tool for doctors to use to rule out causes. Once they rule out any condition that causes damage; then they can look for other reasons. It is good that you have a doctor that is using these tools rather than ignoring your concerns.

    I too am anemic as well, and did not know it until I was rejected by the Red Cross the last time I tried to donate blood. That's when I went to my doctor to discuss that, and a whole bevvy of unexplained symptoms that I had mostly been ignoring. These ranged from Fibromyalgia, Restless Leg Syndrome, thinning hair, fatigue and in general poor sleep quality. Oddly enough, these are all symptoms associated with Iron Deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency. I eat lots of meat, green veggies and fruits so it was news to me that I was anemic. I have no problem believing that I am Vitamin D deficient because I have very fair skin, as in "burned by moonbeam white" skin tone. Milk white is another description so I do NOT get out in the sun because I sun burn within 5 minutes and feel horrible the rest of the day. So I have to take supplements for Vitamin D.

    My PCP referred me to a Neurologist for the Fibromyalgia sleep clinic because I was complaining about not sleeping well, being chronically tired, etc. They tested my ferritin levels and found that I was at 10. The normal range for a female is "Female: 12-150 ng/mL" according to the National Institute of Health (source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003490.htm). 10 is low and truth be told, even if it was 12, that is on the low end of the scale and what's "normal" for one person can differ greatly from someone else because we all have different metabolic needs.

    I have also done a lot of other research into causes and it also turns out that two prescriptions I take can cause anemia: Premarin and Singulair. I had a hysterectomy at age 29 because of Endometriosis and Uterine Fibroid Tumors -- best decision I ever made -- btw! I haven't been in constant pain since I had that taken care of. And I have Asthma, for which I take the Singulair (Monolukast). Both estrogen, including birth contol pills, and Singulair can cause anemia. Exactly how they affect it, I am not sure.

    But at any rate, fear not. Your doctor sounds like s/he is doing the right thing by your for ruling out serious conditions to help diagnose your anemia.

    I wish you the best of luck in finding the reasons and also in getting healthy again.

    Sincerely,
    LadyFraser

     
    Old 10-01-2009, 02:58 AM   #13
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    Re: Someone please respond ... colonoscopy?

    I agree, a lady i know recently had a colonoscopy and biopsy of the small intestine to check for Celiacs. They uncovered a number of very interesting things, especially considering she hardly had any symptoms and her ferritin wasn't too low and she responded very well to iron supplements. She was in two minds about doing the test, but decided to go with it. She's so greatful now. They didn't find cancer, but a few other issues which explain a lot about her health and foods she now can or can't eat.

    After hearing about this i'm looking at having the same procedure myself as it's taken me a bit over 3 years to get my iron up from 8 to 89. I can't stop my iron supplements or i'll slide down fast. I know mine is related to my lack of pancreatic enzymes to help digest protein, but i wonder if there is anything else also.

     
    Old 10-01-2009, 03:05 AM   #14
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    Re: Someone please respond ... colonoscopy?

    LadyFraser - a lot of your symptoms which you mentioned either belong to homonal imbalances or thyroid issues. Even though you had a hysterectomy, you can still have hormonal imbalances. Has your doctor also checked your entire thyroid panel? which should include: TSH, Free T3, Free T4 and Thyroid Antibodies. All forms of hormone testing, including thyroid, ought to be done first thing in the morning (8am - 10am)

    The symptoms you had prior to your hysterectomy, including the fibroids and endometriosis are all linked to excess estrogen. This is another area linked in with thyroid issues.

    A lot of doctors tend to treat the symptoms of excess excess estrogen, eg; fibroids, but don't do anything about what is causing it in the first place, the excess estrogen which is not balanced with progesterone, which is often too low.

    Between my thyroid doctor and my naturopath we have successfully lowered my estrogen quite a bit and my naturopath believes my fibroids will shrink as they dont like a lowered/normal estrogen level. I'm aware in your case it got to the fibroids being tumours so it's more risky, but it still upsets me how doctors don't look at the real problem, but look instead to what is the easiest solution for them. I'm sick of hearing doctors pushing birth control and hysterectomies to fix a hormonal imbalance. There are so many confused people out there who have no idea what to do, who to believe, what alternatives they have.

     
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