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Women's health

Low Iron

19 replies

coolwalking · 02/02/2019 06:40


Posting on behalf of partner.

Since birth of DD 7 years ago her iron levels have depleted. Didn't realise until about 3 years ago.

Had iron infusion a year and levels rose a lot. However each blood test since shows Ferratin levels dropping and now they are 14. Normal range is above 20.

Eats meat regularly and is in good health.

Has anyone had this and what can she do to keep the levels up. We're not really sure what to do. GP suggested supplements but they don't agree with her- she gets really ill and feels sick.

Iron infusions are expensive as we have to pay for them privately.

Any advice would be appreciated

OP posts:
coolwalking · 02/02/2019 06:41

Sorry that should say had iron infusion a year ago

OP posts:
Biologifemini · 02/02/2019 07:01

Do you have middle eastern background? Is it b- thal trait?
I take iron plus vit c supplements most days, but just very low dose from pharmacy. I also eat red meat 1-2 per week with lemon juice drizzled on.
Reduce her calcium intake as this competes for iron absorption.

coolwalking · 02/02/2019 07:12

Thanks for reply- no middle eastern roots. From NZ with English/Scottish roots.

Do you have any reaction to the iron supplements?

OP posts:
coolwalking · 02/02/2019 07:13

Also she doesn't drink milk and has very limited calcium. Maybe a couple of small yogurts per week

OP posts:
PenguinPandas · 02/02/2019 07:20

Have you tried the liquid iron Feroglobin, much gentler on you.

Biologifemini · 02/02/2019 07:22

No issues with supplements if I eat plenty of fruit and have low dose but frequently

sometimessometimes · 02/02/2019 07:23

Iron level of 14 is normal....?!

Range for females is 12-15, for men 12-30.

Mine is 10 (suffering in pregnancy) and on iron tablets.

coolwalking · 02/02/2019 08:03

@sometimessometimes not sure if we're talking about the same scale. On the blood test form it says normal range is between 20-80. It has been highlighted by the computer as an issue. It's the ferrotin levels specifically.

The levels have been decreasing each month after every blood test.

I will see if she has tried the liquid iron.

Having low iron is making her restless legs really bad, tired all the time. It just seems to be something that we can't fix!

OP posts:
PenguinPandas · 02/02/2019 08:08

The Feroglobin one also has magnesium in which I found stopped the shooting leg pains was getting at night. I can't take the solid iron tablets without getting ill but took the liquid one fine and brought my results back to normal after couple of months or so.

If she's consistently going low on iron they should be doing further tests as to why if it keeps dropping if they aren't already.

coolwalking · 02/02/2019 08:20

@PenguinPandas thank you so much - we'll look into that. We're not in the UK so not sure what alternatives are here.

Doctors appt is being booked for next week and hopefully they will start investigating. All other blood results are within normal range.

OP posts:
coolwalking · 05/02/2019 06:11

She has been referred for a colonoscopy. Doctor wants to check for internal bleeds.
She's now panicking about it being something really serious. Has anyone had a colonoscopy for low ferratin levels?

OP posts:
PenguinPandas · 05/02/2019 08:09

I had this and it came back clear - they checked me for cancer with any abnormal bleeding so I had bladder, bowel and uterine cancer checks but all clear thankfully.

I think if she's getting blood that's darker in colour it can also be from higher up - mine was bright red and I was only slightly anaemic. Irregular bleeding from the uterus and bowel isn't uncommon and normally isn't cancer but very important to be checked. Losing weight can be a concern too, unless its intentional. It's quite hard to tell with symptoms whether you have these cancers - I had all the symptoms for several cancers but didn't have them and bowel cancer there aren't many symptoms early on. Hope she is fine.

coolwalking · 05/02/2019 23:46

@PenguinPandas thanks so much - glad you were all clear. There aren't any other symtoms - no weight loss, dark stools etc.

Thing is, she isn't anaemic - it's only ferratin levels that are causing concern. think she is feeling a bit better today. Told her to stay off Dr Google! Did your colonoscopy take all day?

OP posts:
SatsumaFan · 05/02/2019 23:56

Hi there. I had low ferritin levels about 14 months ago, so was prescribed ferrous fumerate tablets. I also had a change in my bowel habits (full of wind if I'm honest!) So the Dr sent a stool sample off. It came back in a "grey area" so I was sent for a colonoscopy. I'm in the UK. It was over and done with quickly, but the prep you have to do is horrendous as you have to be completely empty before.

It all came back clear and to this day I still don't know why I'm anaemic. Gastro guy put my bowel changes down to IBS Hmm But I found the ferrous fumerate tablets gave me black sticky stools and were a bit harsh on the stomach, so am now taking liquid iron every morning in the form of Spatone and after a week I'd say I'm starting to feel less wiped out.

Hope your partner gets to the bottom of things quickly OP.

PenguinPandas · 05/02/2019 23:57

That's good she doesn't have symptoms. Over here you drink 2 litres of like a chemical cocktail which tastes horrid, one litre night before, one litre on morning then test in afternoon if on afternoon test. I think you can get tablets but not on nhs here but that's better the liquid. You would need to be off work and at home when drinking liquid and day of test, it made me ill a few days after too but a lot of people don't get that. The test itself is fine, the liquid is pretty horrific but that type of cancer I think takes something like 5 years to develop so if get the all clear you know you are fine for a few years.

KellyMarieTunstall2 · 06/02/2019 14:35

Hi I have low ferritin levels, currently 14 and taking an iron supplement called Ferracru. I am coeliac and have problems absorbing it, I also have heavy periods. I'm not aneamic though. Ferracru is ferric maltol. It takes around 3 months for the ferritin to rise to 20ish. It is gentle and easily tolerated.I hope you find some answers.

coolwalking · 06/02/2019 19:05

Thanks everyone, she's off to get another blood test this morning as they want to do an iron infusion on Monday. As it's her second one we got a subsidised one.
Then waiting on hospital to send through the colonoscopy details. Should be about 6 weeks.
Thanks for telling me more about it. She's not the greatest patient ha! But it's just gotta be done.

OP posts:
3girlsmama · 06/02/2019 19:25

Has she had blood tests for hypothyroidism?

CurlyhairedAssassin · 06/02/2019 19:34

I had the same problem. I’m 45. Ferritin low for a year or so but no obvious cause. No heavy periods, I eat plenty of meat, not got anything like coeliac that I’m aware of.

I took ferrous fumerate and it increased slightly but was still abnormal on many tests.

I was determined to get to the bottom of why this was suddenly happening because I was concerned that my GP wasnt bothered to look for a cause and I knew it wouldn’t go down for no reason.

I looked closely at what medication I was on. I was on Losartan for high blood pressure, had been for about a year since the previous BP med Ramipril had given me a debilitating cough 24 hrs a day (to the point of nearly vomiting!). I had to discover the cough/BP med link for myself by the way as wasn’t told by GP that it might be an issue.

Anyway, the decreasing ferritin seemed to coincide with when I’d started taking the new BP med so I read the literature more closely and what did it say was a side effect in some people? Anaemia!

I stopped taking the losartan (checked my BP at home, and also came off the mini pill) and ensured my BP was keeping within acceptable levels and told my Gp the reasons I’d stopped the Losartan. They weren’t aware of the anaemia link bht told me to carry on taking the ferrous fumerate and get it checked again in a few months.

anyway,,basically, 6 months after stopping the Losartan and not having had any ferrous fumerate for a few months as I ran out, my tests finally came back in normal range.

I thought I’d tell my experience in case it helped anyone in a similar situation. Always worth checking any other medication you’re on and looking closely at side effects, even rare.

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