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Urgent advice re. anaemia please! I'm feeling very faint.

(26 Posts)
violetismygirl Tue 23-Jun-09 21:09:33


Just wondered if anyone could advise me based on experience or medical knowledge.

3 months ago I was diagnosed as anaemic after having a couple of fainting episodes. I'm not pregnant so it's thought that the cause is my heavy periods over the past few years. My haemoglobin was 9 and ferritin level (iron stores was 4. I was prescribed strong iron tablets (ferrous glucamate 420mg) which I took on and off for a month but they made me very ill - they just don't suit me. The Doctor wanted me to be on them for 3 months but once my haemoglobin was up to 13 and ferritin to 38, we decided that I could just take floradix/floravital which suits me really well. I've just had my levels checked again and my haemoglobin is 12.6 and ferritin down to 18. I'm feeling very faint today.

Am I anaemic even though my haemoglobin is at an acceptable level? What should the ferritin level be to be acceptable?

I know that I am going to have to start taking iron supplements again. Does anyone else have a sensitivity to iron tablets? Have you found a way of taking them, ie once every other day, to minimise the side effects? I heard that you can buy slow realeasing iron supplements - has anyone tried these?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

violetismygirl Tue 23-Jun-09 21:11:27

Also my heart is beating faster than usual which is very annoying at night as it is difficult to get off to sleep.

LittleWonder Tue 23-Jun-09 21:12:12

You can get Spatone from the health food shop - I heard about it on here and it is brilliant.

EccentricaGallumbits Tue 23-Jun-09 21:13:37

don't quote me but I think ferritin is low if under 10.

think you need to get back to the Dr.

JodieO Tue 23-Jun-09 21:15:28

Spatone is very good, my levels were under 8 (they took blood before birth and it was 8 but I gave birth and lost blood so it would have gone down) at a guess from the drs and I only ever used spatone (had used floradix in the past but it tasted awful). I found that is helped a lot.

ShowOfHands Tue 23-Jun-09 21:15:43

I didn't get on with tablets at all. I took them for the minimum time and then used spatone sachets and ate lots and lots and lots of naturally iron-rich food and vitamin c rich food alongside it.

How's your diet? If the anaemia is a side-effect of something else then you need to tackle that. Have you dealt with the heavy periods in any way for example? Do you know if your B12 levels are normal? Thyroid?

You need to rule out any other underlying cause or it's like a vicious cycle.

I sympathise. It's blardy horrid. Palpitations, breathlessness, faintness. It's like living in a fog.

Doozle Tue 23-Jun-09 21:15:54

My ferritin is low at 14 but I'm told it's still within normal range. I think it's 9 when it goes out of range.

Think anaemia comes down to the haemoglobin specifically doesn't it?

bloss Tue 23-Jun-09 21:17:28

Message withdrawn

puffylovett Tue 23-Jun-09 21:23:38

Agree with showofhands, you need to address the underlying issue / cause of the anaemia, ie the heavy periods. Do you have a coil fitted, or are you on the pill?

EldonAve Tue 23-Jun-09 21:24:40

Your doc should be able to prescribe alternative iron products
Avoid drinking tea with food or your tabs as it also reduces the absorbtion

Get your B12 checked too and ask to see a gynae about the periods

wonderingwondering Tue 23-Jun-09 21:28:05

Can anaemia cause sleeplessness?

I can recommend Spatone, too, by the way, they are brilliant. Boots sell them, even my local quite small store. Two a day to start with and I saw an improvement in a week or two, and no nasty side effects (constipation and wind!) which the tablets can have.

gigglewitch Tue 23-Jun-09 21:28:30

violet - I am also anaemic, have recently had gynae surgery to sort out the cause (well worth it imho) I am rubbish when it comes to iron meds, they ended up giving me Pregaday hmm which is fairly low dose, and I have to take one every morning and another in the evening. Apparently I will have to stay on them for a min of 6mo but as they don't give me any real grief otherwise, I'm happy to take my chance. Feeling much much better even with a month or two on them smile

violetismygirl Tue 23-Jun-09 21:29:04

Thanks for quick responses.

I should really go back to the Doctor but they advised me that I was have to control my heavy periods - either by a blood clotting medication to stem the flow or a mirena coil. To be honest I haven't tried either as I don't like the sound of them and would rather try and keep my levels up through diet and supplements. I am eating a diet richer in iron than I was and do know about the vitamin c absorption/no calcium rule.

Is Spatone richer in iron than Floradix?

Showofhands - Thyroid is fine but don't know about B12 levels - would that be checked in a blood test?

gigglewitch Tue 23-Jun-09 21:31:08

afaik they usually test B12 when they test your hb levels.

FWIW, I have done both the clotting/slowing down meds and now have a mirena. Would honestly give it a go - from where I was, anything was worth it to get a life back sad

violetismygirl Tue 23-Jun-09 21:32:00

Gigglewitch - what gynae surgery have you had if you don't mind me asking? The Doctor feels pretty sure it's my heavy periods that are causing the problem. I can cope with them except for the fact that they are making me anaemic.

EldonAve Tue 23-Jun-09 21:34:50

they don't routinely check B12 so you need to ask if they have done so

you should see a gynae to check for fibroids or any other cause of the bleeding

I am now taking the clotting meds and it is much better

violetismygirl Tue 23-Jun-09 21:35:51

Have looked on MN re. mirena coil and a lot of women link it to causing anxiety and depression. I feel like I've had enough stress with the whole thing already. I know it's really something quite straightforward but it's really getting me down and stopping me from carrying on as normal.

EldonAve Tue 23-Jun-09 21:38:13

have you seen a haematologist?

if necessary they can give you an iron drip

gigglewitch Tue 23-Jun-09 21:40:58

I have a hunch that the whole thing is a hormone imbalance in my case - the uterine lining was over three times thicker than it should be on scans, and I have had pnd for 3yrs, very up and down because of it. I had a whole array of minor stuff that I took little notice of until one day I decided to add them all up because it all 'felt' hormonal IYKWIM. I had a hysteroscopy / polyp removal / mirena in, at the beginning of june. So far so good smile

puffylovett Tue 23-Jun-09 21:48:57

if you're anti coil or the pill, then there are natural alternatives you could try. Agnus castus can help heavy periods, as can a high dose of B vits (get a B100 complex) or even some magnesium citrate. It's definitely worth getting your B12 checked, and probably your B9 too.
Also making sure that your diet is low sugar / refined carbs can make a real difference too.

violetismygirl Tue 23-Jun-09 21:50:46

gigglewitch, thanks it's very helpful, my MIL thinks I've had pnd for the last 3 years too and that I've never quite been myself since DD was born. Did you have any other physical symptoms, I've had very itchy skin for the past year.

EldonAve, I've only seen the Dr recently about things but no consultant. May be a good route to go down. Thanks.

gigglewitch Tue 23-Jun-09 21:59:23

defo get to the gp and get a gynae referral.
My 'assortment' of other stuff was a lot of skin related complaints - eczema kicked off which I hadn't had badly for years, spotty skin, greasy hair, headaches, eye problems ( = recycled teenager?) and then all the stuff which was more to do with anaemia, tiredness, feeling stressed and restless, anxious but no energy etc. I can't think of them all now, but they were all generally minor bits, but added up to make me feel run-down and achey all the time.

violetismygirl Tue 23-Jun-09 22:16:09

Thanks gigglewitch, I can relate to some of those symptoms. Def off to Drs tomorrow morning. Think I need to get some sleep, my body feels so wrong on every level.

Thanks again everyone.

JodieO Tue 23-Jun-09 22:59:44

I have really heavy periods with clots etc as well so I guess that doesn't help with mine. I'm on the pill and still get the same, big clots and very heavy flow. I have pcos and I have symptoms of endo too but I've never really done anything about it because I hate hospitals and tests.

gigglewitch Thu 25-Jun-09 23:56:31

Violet - how are you doing? did you go to the GP?

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