I was told I have low iron and I've started to take supplements.. I feel worse now

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throughout the end of 2017 and the beginning of this year I began to experience anxiety, dizziness and heart palpitations are random times. I never paid much attention to it because it only happened occasionally. Finally, I got the flu at the end of February and my anxiety went through the roof, plus other symptoms like dizziness, brain fog, etc. Finally I got my blood tested and I found out I have low iron. My ferritin level is 15 from the last time I was tested. Now I know this isn't technically considered anaemic but the recommended level is 15-150 which leaves a huge gap, and apparently it dropped quite a bit. Anyways, I've been taking iron supplement pills, 150mg everyday for almost a month. I felt okay for a while, anxiety went down a bit and my dizziness went away. Now I just had my period, it ended a couple days ago and I've been feeling weird Since around my period. Anxiety went up again, started feeling sleepy at random times in the day and now I'm starting to feel weak. I thought i was imagining it because I am very anxious about my health but usually going on a walk reassures me that I have strength and gets rid of my anxiety. I tried going on a walk today but came back feeling significantly more anxious, tired, and weak. I felt like fainting when I was walking and it was very scary. I'm wondering if it's possible that my iron levels became even lower after my period this month, causing me to feel worse even though I have been taking iron supplements. Has anyone had an experience like this before? I'm worried that my body isn't absorbing the iron from the pills and my period has depleted my iron stores even more. I've been feeling generally unwell because of this iron thing for a couple months now, and it's also causing me to feel depressed because I haven't been living life like I used to. I just need some advice and reassurance. 

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  • Posted

    I understand what you are going through. I have been anemic since January. Started with the flu. I was in the hospital with abdominal bleed caused by coughing. The bleeding was repaired. The fun began! Extreme fatigue, loss of balance, loss of appitite, anxiety, depression. In the many, many scans and tests it was discovered that I have an enlarged spleen. Can't seem to find out why. I also take iron. I have had 2 CAT, 1PET, an MRI and a bone marrow biopsy. Now my Drs. are recommending that I have my massive spleen removed. I am really a mess. I recommend that you take a light anti anxiety med. It has really helped me deal with this change in my life.

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    • Posted

      so sorry to hear about all of that, however it is reassuring to know I'm not alone. I think the flu really seemed to affect the low iron because I felt relatively OK before I had it, everything went downhill afterwards. I definitely feel unbalanced when I walk, and I have no appetite whatsoever but I am trying to force myself to eat what little I can. I was prescribed an anti-depressant for anxiety and the depression I've been feeling from all of this just a couple days ago. I have started to take it but I'm not so sure that I really need it unless it's for the anxiety. I really just feel depressed because of my health, I've forgotten what my normal life was like! 

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    • Posted

      Do not give up on the anti depressant. It will take a while to kick in. It will help with sleep and appetite issues.
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  • Posted

    Hi, do you know your haemoglobin level iron?, the ferritin level is the iron store measure, the haemoglobin should be between 13-17 for a male.
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  • Posted

    Hi, another thing, when taking iron supplement you should take vitamin C at the same time, iron absorbs far better alongside vivitamin c.
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    • Posted

      Hi, yes I have been taking my iron supplement along with some orange juice every morning. I'm not sure about fhe haemoglobin though 

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    • Posted

      Hi Dominika

      You may also want to look at your diet and ensure you are eating three balanced meals with lots of iron boosting foods. a day. check the iron pills you are taking to see what it says on the side effects because sometimes the pills can cause unpleasant feelings. if it is affecting you then you may need to request for it to be changed.

      diet, sleep and plenty of rest will help improve your symptoms and make you feel better. let me know how you get on.

      keep well

      Lady C 

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    • Posted

      I've checked the pills I'm taking and the only side effects are nausea and gastrointestinal issues. I haven't really had much problem with these side effects. I am having a lot of difficulty eating now because I have no appetite whatsoever but I have been eating an egg with toast for breakfast these past couple mornings and I do have some kale and quinoa salad which I did eat some of yesterday. I also have a question, do you know if a liquid iron supplement might work better than pills? My pills are 150mg but i think I've read online somewhere that liquid iron absorbs better? I'm not sure if this is true. 

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    • Posted

      Medicines work differently with each person however you will need to go back to your doctor to request for liquid iron medicine. He/She might prescribe it to you for a period of time to see if it makes any difference. Try doing that and see how it goes.. 

      Good to know you are eating something. i understand that when we are feeling unwell one of the things that happen is loss of appetite. when this happens we still need to get ourselves to eat because the healing power of natural food sources and its nutrients is unbeatable.  if we are lacking in vital nutrients we tend to suffer from one symptom or the other. so try playing around and be creative with what you eat for example, when you make it exciting, colourful and use a variety of spices to give inviting flavours you would want to eat it. here with some suggestions to help you.

      Breakfast can be scrambled egg with kale and toast. Served with grilled tomatoes

      - Place a handful of kale with sliced onions in a frying pan on medium heat , Drizzle with cooking oil of your choice,  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fry slowly until soft. Beat 2 eggs and add to the vegetable and continue to cook. Just as it starts to set scramble mixture using a fork. Cook until well done with no wet bits. 

      Slice the tomatoes and place in the frying pan with a drop of oil. cook on both sides until soft but still holding its shape. Serve.

      for main meal

      You can do a quinoa and spinach stir fry

      - cook the grains according to the instructions on the packet and set aside.

      in a good size sauce pan add a tablespoon of cooking oil.  Add sliced onions, any cooked and sliced meat of choice. stir over medium heat. Add the cooked quinoa and baby spinach leaves, season to taste with spices, stir to combine and cook until flavours have been completely absorbed. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice and serve warm.

      Try different foods and experiment with what you have never tried before, Foods also lift up moods so i would advise you not to rush and ask for anti depressant pills as you are still very young and long-term use of those pills are not good because there is a possibility of becoming totally dependent. so exhaust other non medicinal routes with your depression first before considering medication. 

      Also i would say you should also ask your doctor if you can take some multivitamins, they are very good and helps with topping up the required nutrients in the body..

      Best wishes

      .

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      thank you so much for all your replies, I appreciate all the advice and tips, really. You don't have to put so much effort in but you do and I feel very taken care of. I know I definitely need to take care of my diet at times like this. I know I've been thinking my symptoms are of iron deficiency anemia but this sudden weakness, anxiety, depression has me thinking I may have a mono like virus. My sister has been struggling with many of the symptoms I am having now and she is still recovering from this virus. I believe I may have caught it from her. I will definetly keep your tips in mind but I have a feeling this might be it, as all of my symptoms started off with a horrible flu at the beginning of march. I haven't felt right since then, and a lot of my low iron symptoms like dizziness and heart palpitations have gone away after I started taking supplements.

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  • Posted

    Dear Dominika, 

    Sorry to hear you are going through challenging times with your health. The symptoms you have listed appear to be classically  associated with anaemia although it can also be linked with other health conditions. However its always good to get checked out which is exactly what you did.

    If you are still experiencing those symptoms again i will strongly advise you go back to your doctor and talk through your concerns in details and probably request for another blood test for double assurance cause sometimes with the monthly periods it can be heavy and also this circle can cause the hormones playing about. when this happens it can affect an individual in so many ways. Heavy periods have been associated as one of the causes of anaemia, hormones playing about in one's body can also affect mood and behaviour. you can also request for your medication to be reviewed and maybe changed cause it might also be that the particular one prescribed and dosage may not be suitable for you. Your clinician should be able to look into this and offer helpful options to get you back to good health.

    Going for walks when the weather is cooler is a good distraction strategy and it uplifts the mood. Try not to think about the negatives so much because that is what is possibly causing your anxiety to rise and giving you that feeling of depression. Try listening to calming and relaxing music of choice as this will help with your mood. there is a good book on Amazon,  Overcoming Anaemia: My Experience which has a lot of practical advise without the clinical jargon's. Try using other strategies to help with your mood and see if you have any positive changes from that before embarking on mood pills as the last option.

    i will also advise you to keep a positive outlook about yourself and engaged in mood uplifting activities that you enjoy, breakdown tasks in small chunks and only do what you can handle. Also include lots iron boosting foods in your diet such as liver, spinach, kale, quinoa, Branflakes, Prunes and many more.do not hasitate to make contact again, remember we are here to help each other and share ideas.

    I hope this helps and good luck.

    Lady C

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for the advice, I really appreciate it. It's very hard to keep positive when I feel so unwell, but I know it's so important to not give up. My period isn't exactly heavy for all 5 days but the first 2-3 I would say are quite heavy, with blood clots sometimes. I'm not sure if it's heavy enough to affect the iron but I don't know why I would feel so strange again only after my period. As for the hormones, I am turning 17 in a couple months so I wouldn't be surprised if my teen hormones are also just making me feel messed up. I'm scared to go on walks now just because I of this recent weakness I've been experiencing. Plus, I'm also starting to wonder if sleep is making me feel even worse. I haven't really slept at all for about 4 days, which probably isn't helping. The weakness is making me very anxious and it's hard to fall asleep at night. I'm pretty much in bed all day at this point. 

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    • Posted

      Dear Dominika,

      i am not a doctor so cannot give you any medical advise. From what you are saying i will strongly advise you to go back to your doctor and discuss how you are feeling. from the point of someone who has suffered from IDA and can recognize some of your symptoms i will say go back for professional medical attention.

      You have clots during your period which means it can be on the heavy side which in my view is heavy cause i suffered same. i was prescribed medication which helped.

      Happy Birthday in advance. you are still young and are about the same age as my daughter. Try and sort this out so that it does not ruin your celebration. Hormones at this age can also be a factor but as i say its good to check with the doctor.

      It can be hard to pick up yourself when you are feeling unwell and anxious but we cannot let that feeling overpower us. At some point of our lives we all go through that but how you pull the will to combat it is very important and key.  As for your anxiousness and depression i can see that its the age where you are approaching the time when you will have to start taking on big responsibilities and being independence. Thinking about this and the future can be scary for teenagers. I know this because my daughter went through the same patch of anxiousness/slight depression which i had to deal with. she is fine now.

      Sleep deprivation has a lot of negative effect on the body and mind and can  also cause a lot of discomfort so try and set yourself a routine where you have a least 8 hours sleep a day. 

      i can understand you may be feeling you are going to die, No do not worry about that. it is exactly what i told my daughter. For now focus on the positives, happy and uplifting things. Try not to stay in bed all day. you need to also look at your diet and ensure you are eating a balanced and iron boosting diet because getting the required nutrients will also aid in your healing. Go on to Amazon and get the E. book, Overcoming Anaemia:: My Experience. its full of non clinical practical tips and ideas which i think will be helpful. Also talk to close family and friends on how you are feeling and get the support you need and make sure you do not isolate yourself. Please go and get checked out  and let me know how you get on. Do not hesitate to get back to me.

      I wish you well.

      Lady C

       

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