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To be struggling with low iron?

(23 Posts)
jessicama Thu 11-Apr-19 15:51:59

I've been feeling increasingly worn out the last few weeks and basically wondering why day to day life feels like such a struggle. Concentration has been poor and just feel a bit meh.

Went to the doctor, got a blood test and my ferritin level (iron stores) came back as 5 . The doctor said it should be at least 10 and ideally above 60. He's put me on iron tablets and been told to eat lots of iron rich food.

Has anyone else had this? Did you feel rubbish too... or am I just being pathetic? Success stories very welcome!

Siameasy Thu 11-Apr-19 15:56:12

Yanbu. You don’t realise how bad it was until it no longer is bad.
My ferritin was 4. I’d previously told myself I must be lazy or unfit. Things got a lot better with the tablets.
I’m gonna get checked again as I’ve been feeling really dizzy recently but previously I had pica and restless feet which I don’t have this time.
Do you know what the cause is? Heavy periods? I had a fibroid

OnlyFoolsnMothers Thu 11-Apr-19 15:56:24

My OH had this, he's on the iron tablets currently and trying to eat more iron heavy foods. He said hes feeling better.

valentinoandme Thu 11-Apr-19 15:59:22

Try and get some liquid iron. Floradix is one, it can be bought from Boots, etc. It's absorbed so much better than iron tablets. Try and avoid having milk around the time you take it as well as this can inhibit absorption.

Cornettoninja Thu 11-Apr-19 15:59:52

You’re not pathetic, low iron is no joke and can really knock you for six. Keep on at the doctor to keep an eye with blood tests and if your symptoms don’t improve. Persistently low iron/ferritin needs investigating and iron supplements don’t suit everyone. In some cases people can have an iron infusion at hospital which works much faster but obviously there are criteria to meet to have that.

Try and balance your iron supplements//diet with your intake of vitamin c too, it won’t absorb as well without it.

idontknowwhattosay Thu 11-Apr-19 16:04:37

You are most definitely not being pathetic..i feel so rough when my levels are low..
Tired, achey, light headed, bruise easily, ulcers...its shit

jessicama Thu 11-Apr-19 16:08:15

Thanks for the support and tips - I've written a shopping list of high iron foods, and included orange juice too for the vit c!

That's interesting about the milk @valentinoandme - I knew that coffee/tea is a problem. Sounds like it might be best to switch to herbals and non-dairy for a few weeks.

Not totally sure @Siameasy but likely cause is heavy periods. Out of interest, what did the pica prompt you to crave? I've seen it listed as a symptom, but never heard of someone who has had it!

I've been told to go back for another blood test in a month @Cornettoninja smile

AfterSchoolWorry Thu 11-Apr-19 16:38:40

I had the same. All my hair fell out. Yanbu.

valentinoandme Thu 11-Apr-19 16:40:27

Also, fresh orange juice can aid the absorption so take alongside it

jessicama Thu 11-Apr-19 16:43:56

@AfterSchoolWorry - oh wow, poor you! Did it grow back okay with the iron supplements?

3timeslucky Thu 11-Apr-19 16:46:37

I had similar (exhausted, getting slightly light-headed, ferritin was at 5). As well as iron tablets (ideally take first thing with Vit C or Vit C foods and wait an hour before drinking tea/coffee or taking dairy) I was advised to get the Mirena fitted. I did but got it taken out 5 months later as it just didn't agree with me. Liquid iron doesn't have the same quantities of iron as the likes of Galfer or Ferrograd (and can stain your teeth really badly) so if a doctor has said iron tablets then stick with them.

You're not being remotely pathetic. The symptoms of low iron are very real and very debilitating.

MeganChips Thu 11-Apr-19 16:47:36

I felt shockingly bad with Ferritin levels of 11 so you must feel really rough. I felt fuzzy headed all the time, I couldn’t breathe properly and was exhausted.

Personally I would try the iron tablets first if you can tolerate them, ferrous fumerate are more gentle. I was fine on them, apart from the black poo. The dosage required to get my levels back to normal was 120x that found in something like floradix. It still took me 3 months to get back to normal.

Take with orange juice and avoid caffeine and calcium for an hour either side.

Fiveredbricks Thu 11-Apr-19 16:50:26

Make sure they check your vitamin D too and thyroid function/thyroid antibodies.

UnalliterativeGeorge Thu 11-Apr-19 16:50:29

Yanbu. I'm on the iron tablets 3x a day at the minute and am two weeks in and beginning to realise how dreadful I felt before. You'd think you would notice but it just creeps up and I've two small children so was used to being tired!

jessicama Thu 11-Apr-19 16:51:40

@3timeslucky It sounds like I'd better get used to the taste of orange juice (not my favourite drink!) I will stick with the tablets for now, hopefully

Thanks to everyone saying I'm not pathetic... I think I'm just aware that saying "I'm so tired" to my boss, sounds like a rubbish excuse for slower-than-normal productivity. It's not a visible thing, like breaking a leg!

jessicama Thu 11-Apr-19 16:52:18

(Not that I'd prefer a broken leg instead)

NicoAndTheNiners Thu 11-Apr-19 16:53:51

Are they investigating why it's so low? Dd had low iron for ages before being diagnosed with coeliac disease which affects mineral absorption.

endofthelinefinally Thu 11-Apr-19 16:57:56

It will make a difference.
I reiterate the advice from pp to not have tea or coffee , not just around the iron, but meals as well if you want to absorb iron from your food. My consultant prescribed vitamin C tablets to take with each dose of iron - she said that you absorb 4 times as much iron that way.
My ferratin was 3. I felt dreadful.
Also found to have very low vitamin D, so that should be tested too.
I had very heavy periods and had a mirena coil put in, which stopped all the bleeding.

jessicama Thu 11-Apr-19 17:07:06

@MeganChips - sorry to hear you felt so bad, but makes me feel less like I'm making a fuss to hear it

@UnalliterativeGeorge - yeah it really has creeped up on me - which I guess is why I felt stupid complaining about it til now...

@Fiveredbricks @NicoAndTheNiners @endofthelinefinally - the doctor said to try the tablets for a month, and the have another blood test to see if they've gone up. If I'm still tired he's going to do some further blood tests for thyroid issues, other vitamin deficiencies etc.

Waveysnail Thu 11-Apr-19 17:12:22

Mine was 3 when I went for testing. I went to doctor because I couldn't get me breath and felt like I was wading through treacle. Month of high dose iron tablets and I feel so much better

Macaroonmayhem Thu 11-Apr-19 17:18:38

Hello, I had this at the tail end of last year, my haemoglobin was 6, should be min of 12? Anyway, I had been feeling shit, no energy, breathless, pale, grumpy...2 months of tablets later, I genuinely feel like a new woman. It’s great! Didn’t realise just how crap I had been feeling til I was better!!

My advice would be -
Take your tablet with orange juice - helps absorb it better.
Eat lots of fibre because the tablets will make you a bit constipated (and turn your poo black!!)
I felt quite nauseous the first few weeks and couldn’t take the full dose to start with - GP said even one a day would help and just to step it up to the full dose as I felt able.

jessicama Thu 11-Apr-19 17:48:06

@Waveysnail @Macaroonmayhem - glad to hear you're both feeling so much better!

I've also been told to start on one tablet, and then build it up to 3 if I feel okay... been given Ferrous Fumarate

tor8181 Thu 11-Apr-19 20:28:26

i had this my levels came back as 2

i had extreme fatigue for weeks and didn't have the energy to life my head some days but put it down to our life style(24 hour carer to 2 disabled kids kids that dont sleep)as we live a very stressful life and i though 14 years has come to a head and my body just stopped coping

went to the doctors and level came back that low and they want to put my in hospital which wasn't a option due to the kids so they give my vitabiotics feroglobin on prescription and told me to buy high quality multi vitamins

few weeks in and im so much better

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