Please help! Low ferritin

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I donated 2 pints of red blood cells "power red" through the Red Cross 2 months ago and have been miserable ever since. I've gone to doctor to doctor and I don't feel like they're taking my low ferritin seriously. Here are my current labs

HGB 13.2

MCH 26.7 ( .7 points low according to the reference range)

Ferritin 5

I'm light headed, dizzy, heart pounds just from walking around, takes me 20 mins just to get out of bed, anxiety and feeling down because it's been a few months. All the doctors say is that I'm just nervous, that you don't usually feel symptoms from low ferritin..but in reading all these posts on this forum and it's hitting everything right on the head! I was completely fine, zero symptoms before I donated. The next day after donation, BAM! I've been miserable. It's getting better slowly I just wish I could find a doctor that would consider my ferritin being the issue!

With my labs do my symptoms point to typical symptoms of low ferritin?

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4 Replies

  • Posted


    That sounds a lot like my symptoms, but I also had low was anemic (HGB 8.1) and low iron (8). My ferritin level was 2, so I can't say if my symptoms were due only to low ferritin or a combination of that and iron-deficiency anemia.

    Have you ever donated 2 pts before? If not, it's hard to believe the two issues aren't related. They told me oral iron can take up to three months to really have an effect. That's miserable when you're feeling the way you've described, I know. It's fantastic that you donated blood, but it sounds like you might be suffering because of it.

    I hope you find something that helps soon!

    • Posted

      Hey Dee,

      Yes I definitely think they're related. They have to be. I was completely normal up until I donated. It was the first time I donated and definitely my last. It's just so frustrating when you speak to doctors and they brush your symptoms off. But after reading so many posts on here from all you members it gives me hope. I know I'm not crazy and these symptoms aren't just in my head that doctors have me thinking when leaving their offices. I'm starting to take Ferretts Tablets Iron Supplement (325 mg Ferrous Fumarate) that has 106 mg of elemental iron. It's also suppose to be gentle on the stomach. I hope so, because iron pills have been upsetting my stomach😑..So I'm hoping if I stay consistent with those pills I'll be back to normal. Those iron pills have great reviews on amazon. You should check it out!

  • Posted

    Congratulations and thumbs up for blood donating!

    Probably one pint would have been enough for 4-6  months before another donation.

    Usually before donation your Hb is measured, so if you were low in Hb would not be allowed to donate, yet of course, this Hb test does not show your iron storage for compensation.

    It is important that you take iron supplements. Your ferritin is too low. It is known, that even if your red blood count, Hb is normal, but only ferritin was low, that you have an iron deficiency plus can have all the weakness, anaemia symptoms with it. As to why is actually a mystery as there are enough red cells with oxygen carrying Hb in your blood.

    It is good your Hb is still up, so not a severe anaemia, but you do need iron in order to have values not falling. 

    Red blood cells live 90-120 days, after that time each and every single cell is replaced, if blood is taken, a hormone encourages blood cell making, so you need even more iron, so yes please, give them the iron food they need to make good Hb filled red cells and all should come back to normal...for next donation.

     You could also consider plasma donation, antibody donation, which filters your blood (takes longer) and gives you the red cells back though.

    All the best!



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