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Anaemic and vegetarian

(36 Posts)
halfwildlingwoman Fri 07-Aug-15 15:47:24

I have just had a blood test due to tiredness which says that I am anaemic. I have been vegetarian for 27 years so I'm not entirely surprised. However, when I was pregnant I started eating fish, maybe once a fortnight. So, I have re-read the list of foods rich in iron and other than the meat, I already eat them all regularly! I eat practically no processed food. I have had very heavy periods for the last six months which may well be the cause.
I suspect the GP will just put me on iron tablets. When I took these in pregnancy the constipation was almost as bad as the tiredness!
Anyone been in a similar situation? What did you do?

BikeRunSki Fri 07-Aug-15 22:15:00

Honestly??? I started eating fish fingers! Anaemia, glandular fever and pregnancy was the end of vegetarianism and the start of pescanarianism to me.

ziggyziggy Fri 07-Aug-15 22:17:09

you can take floradix liquid iron formula, it doesn't constipate you so don't worry!

Is there a reason behind the heavy periods and might it be worth looking into that too?

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 07-Aug-15 22:19:41

Spatone is also good for non constipating iron. If you need high dose, have a Google as some tablets are more effective, and less constipating than others.

What sort of anaemic did he say you were - any chance it is B12 related?

Squigglybear Fri 07-Aug-15 22:34:51

Im iron deficient, low ferritin but haemoglobin normal. Im vegetarian but suspect Ive had low levels since first child birth with near blood transfusion blood loss, plus heavy periods for 5 yrs... I was prescribed ferrous fumarate 210mg for 3 months. I had bad abdo pain and diarrhoea, was also sick once at the start but ok now. No constipation but was prepared with figs and dates. Ive heard that floradix is good but the iron content is small in comparison. I plan on taking multivitamin when my levels are back to normal. I have had moodiness, hair loss, fatigue and do not want to be there again.

StealthPolarBear Fri 07-Aug-15 22:38:09

Bran flakes and butter beans.
Since having dd I've not been able to face another butter bean

sksk Sat 08-Aug-15 10:02:40

Try ferrous gluconate- ask if the go can prescribe. If not, it is available otc. Generally easier to tolerate. I took it while pregnant.

YeOldeTrout Sat 08-Aug-15 10:29:08

Floradix was my friend. (do they still sell it?)

sksk Sat 08-Aug-15 14:23:13

You can still get Floradix.

anonymice Sat 08-Aug-15 14:32:30

Another one for ferrous gluconate here. My go prescribed it for me during last pregnancy.

halfwildlingwoman Sat 08-Aug-15 22:55:54

Thank you everyone. Will read and look into all your suggestions. I have just hadresults read out over phone by receptionist, am still waiting for GP appointment.

MarthaCostello Sun 09-Aug-15 01:28:09

I'm a lifelong vegetarian and I've never been anaemic until I had major bowel surgery a few years back. A friend has also been vegetarian a long time and had a spate of heavy/prolonged periods and became anaemic, so I would think it is that. Have you been offered any solutions for the periods?

I have a leaflet from my dietitian and I was looking at the chart the other day, from memory I don't think fish contains that much iron.

I take Vitabioitics Feroglobin B12 capsules. They are slow release, but have a decent dose of iron, and some other useful things. I have tried all of the prescription iron supplements and had major couldn't-leave-the-house issues with all of them (they affect me differently because of my surgery). These ones actually seem to be doing something, but I will need to wait for another blood test to confirm.

I have everything crossed because if these don't work the only option left is to wait until I become anaemic enough to warrant an iron infusion. Unfortunately by that point I will barely be able to function hmm

I hope you find a solution and start to feel better soon flowers

darkpandora Sun 09-Aug-15 01:44:49

Hey I am A vegetarian and last time I had a blood test it came back my iron levels were too low and I was anaemic I got given iron tablets but couldn't take them so I found spatone with added vitamin C they come in a box and are like little drinks (taste like apple juice with a slight metallic taste for a few seconds) you get 28 In a box and you just drink one everyday. I drank one every morning. Anyway had blood test done a week ago and my iron levels are back to normal again. I don't know if they are the reason but I didn't do anything else might be worth a try smile

LilQueenie Sun 09-Aug-15 02:23:19

I took vitamins from holland and barrett that included iron and upped my green veg intake. Was back to normal within a week. Im veggie too.

butterfly86 Sun 09-Aug-15 11:37:33

I was vegetarian for 10 years then I started eating a little meat but lots of fish, I should still describe myself as pescatarian really as I eat barely any meat. I started feeling exhausted to the point it was dangerous my dd was 6 months old and I was fobbed off with "you've just had a baby it's normal to be tired" I knew it wasn't normal to feel that bad so kept going back and eventually a different doctor found I was b12 deficient so I was started on injections the loading dose worked brilliantly but it's wearing off now and I feel dreadful again but I can't have the next injection for another 4 weeks I'm going to be ill by then. Hope you find something that works for you and start to feel better soon smile

Get the heavy periods fixed. Otherwise, all the iron tablets in the world won't help because you'll just lose so much blood every month that you're never properly topped up with iron.

It took me months to get my levels back to even the bottom end of normal, and the only thing that helped was sorting the periods.

PacificDogwood Sun 09-Aug-15 15:37:14

Find out more about the nature of your anaemia: is it iron deficiency or Vit B/folic acid deficiency related? This is common in vegetarian.
And yes, heavy periods won't help.
Speak to your GP.

KatharineClifton Sun 09-Aug-15 15:41:11

Same here, doc put me on the mini-pill which I was dubious about. Periods that meant I had to stay at home for 3 days rarely come at all now, and are very light and last only about 3 days. Made a massive difference to me. Still borderline anaemic and taking ferrous sulphate which is the one which best suits me, and thinking about eating fish, but not sure it would make a massive difference so undecided.

KatharineClifton Sun 09-Aug-15 15:42:24

And it's so rotten that anaemia actually makes periods heavier. A vicious cycle!

KatharineClifton Sun 09-Aug-15 15:44:56

MarthaCostello just looked up those pills and they contain gelatine and shellac so not vegetarian.

greenhill Sun 09-Aug-15 15:57:04

Tranexamic acid really helps with heavy periods. Once you've sorted that out, you'll retain more iron, naturally, but look for some vegetarian B vitamins too.

PacificDogwood Sun 09-Aug-15 16:11:44

Most (?all) capsules contain porcine gelatin.

Heavy periods can contribute to iron deficiency anaemia; a good vegetation diet has enough iron (provided it is not vegetarian like my uni flat mate's was: cheese on toast and nought else grin).

Vegetarians are more at risk from Vit B12 deficiency as this vitamin is found in meat and meat products.

And, to make things even more confusing, there is a whole host of other possible causes of anaemia - speak to your GP in more detail.

MarthaCostello Sun 09-Aug-15 19:28:39

Oops, sorry, I'd completely forgotten about that blushblush unfortunately I have had to compromise on them as they seem to be the only thing preventing me from being severely anaemic, but obviously not suitable for anyone wanting to remain strictly vegetarian.

Pacific I've had vegetarian capsules, I think they're made from cellulose, but couldn't be certain!

KatharineClifton Sun 09-Aug-15 19:47:08

Ye, you can get vegy capsules i.e. EPO. At a premium obviously.

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