Please share you symptoms of low iron

Posted , 39 users are following.

Hi Everyone!

i would love to atart a thread for people to share a clear list of their symptoms of anemia/ iron defficiency to help others.

Like always, official medical info pages are very limited and generic as is often explanation from the doctor.

My symptoms have been:

-fatigue and exhaustion

  • hair loss
  • brittle peeling/ tearing nails
  • vertical nail ridges

    -Going into fight or flight when bending down to pick something up, getting up from sitting, going up stairs, lifting items etc.

    -throbbing sound in ears when lying down

    -super dry skin

    -pale skin

    -dry lips always

    -nervous system feels in overdrive

    -severe depression, crying episodes, hopelessness

    -cold hands and feet

    -subconcious TMJ/jaw clenching during period

    -crushing fatigue and pain and weakness during first two days of period

Thank you!

1 like, 49 replies

49 Replies

  • Edited

    I have had pretty much all the symptoms you mention. In addition, I am having terrible headaches, shortness of breath, and I have not been able to sleep well for months. It was only a few weeks ago I got my blood results that showed low ferritin (8), and I've only been on supplements for a little more than two weeks. I am relieved to see on this forum that it takes a long time to rebuild ferritin levels. Although I've had a couple days when I thought I was improving, overall I still feel terrible most of the time. And I think some symptoms (headaches, fatigue) are worsening even while other symptoms (sleep) seem to be slightly improving. Very frustrating.

    I especially like how you describe "nervous system feels like it's in overdrive." That is absolutely correct. For the longest time I was describing it as anxiety, which leads health care professionals down the path of anti-depressant/anxiety medication. Since finding out about my low ferritin levels and discussing with my new health care provider (a PA who specializes in functional medicine), I have come to understand what I used to call "anxiety" in two ways: (a) my body is in over-drive--"fight or flight"--just trying to survive, and (b) I am short of breath most of the time, not because I'm anxious, but because my body is struggling to get enough oxygen.

    Thank you for starting this thread. I would love to hear from others as well. I am finding that iron deficiency is poorly understood in mainstream medicine, but fortunately, some forward-thinking physicians are starting to have a better understanding. Hearing from other patients adds a lot of value to all the expert information you can find online.

    • Edited

      Hi, I sympathize with you both, I'm 47 and I haven't felt well for about 2 plus years but put it down to the perimenopause. Last November I rang my gp as l can honestly say that I thought I was dying, I'd started my 6th week of couch to 5k and whilst out could run no further and felt lightheaded/dizzy and just awful. Fortunately she did a full blood count plus ferritin which at the time I'd never heard of, it came back with a level of 6 and apparently she said they like it to be at least 30!! I was then perscribed iron tablets and after 3 months have had my bloods redone, my ferritin has increased to 25. Whilst i am pleased i am also frustrated as i may not have all the symptoms that i had before which were bad dizziness, fatigue, brain fog, hair loss, nails never grew, breathlessness etc but i still don't feel right! I went for a brisk walk with a friend today and felt lightheaded, I'm wondering if i expected a quick fix!!!! I have got to stay on the iron for the foreseeable. I am due to have the mirena coil fitted at the beginning of March as my periods are so heavy and I have numerous fibroids. i just want to feel tip top, sure it will happen eventually. Hope you both get relief soon too!

    • Edited

      Wow 3 months is a long time. I am just going on 3 weeks of being on supplements and already losing patience. Some days, like today, I feel worse than when I started. In particular, my headaches are getting more severe and won't respond to Tylenol or ibuprofen anymore. Other days, like yesterday, I do notice some improvement, but I never seem to have more than one good day in a row. I would love to hear from people who have made it through and really saw improvement on iron supplements.

    • Edited

      I was exactly the same I even got to the point where I rang the gp again as I was so worried about how I felt, my headaches were bad too but I can assure you that they do improve with time. I still get symptoms but not as severe, some days are better than others. Make sure that you don't take your iron near when eating dairy foods or drinking tea or coffee, you should make sure at least 2 hours as it can affect the absorption. Good to take with vitamin c so a small glass of fresh (not from concentrate) orange juice! Time is the key and we'll get there!

    • Edited

      Thank you! It means so much to hear from other people who have been through this. I will keep posting updates here and would love to hear from others as well. I just can't believe how long it takes. But I guess it makes sense--in my case this has been building for years, and should have been caught much sooner. So I shouldn't expect it to be fixed overnight. (I've also been having heavy periods for the last several years, which is a whole other story, but that's likely the cause of the iron deficiency, and if I had started supplementing sooner, it wouldn't have become this severe).

    • Edited

      Hi Amy,

      I'm sorry you are experiencing similar symptoms.

      My ferritin was 30 and I'm symptomatic. I have read that symptoms can begin at 75. Have you considered talking to your provider about an iron infusion? You are very low and supplementation can take a long time. I have recently had an infusion but i have heard it can still take up to 9-12 weeks for your body to create new cells and haemaglobin with the iron.

      Yes i am always hyperventilating and always thought it was because i was a 'mouth breather' or just a more stressed person. it is reassuring though as hopefully this will dissipate in time!!

      If anyone else is reading this and relating, please share your symptoms as there is not much information about them, especially mental health symptoms.

    • Edited

      I'm so sorry you have been unwell with this too!

      Omg a 6! That's crazy!!

      Apparently we can be symptomatic with ferritin 75 or below so don't always trust what the medical doctors say and don't stress if you are experiencing symptoms at level of 35.

      Well done on raising it so much from such a low level in a short period of time!!

      Have you suffered anxiety or depression also? i have had the odd panic attack also. Its the hardest part feeling like your body is so stressed 24/7!!

    • Edited

      Yes I have asked two different doctors about an iron infusion and both have said I have to try the supplements for at least one month. I will get my blood tested March 2, and that will be one month on supplements so we'll see where I am then. Let me know how it goes--it is definitely something to consider.

      I have another question for others on this forum: for me, my ferritin was very low (8), but most of my other CBC numbers were in normal range--hemaglobin 12.4 for instance. (MCHC was low: 31.6. Platelets high: 471). Is that similar to others' experiences, or did you have low CBC numbers as well? Interestingly, in looking back over my routine labwork from the last five years, there were a few occasions where I had low hemaglobin and the nurse made a note that I was "mildly anemic." Nobody ever bothered to let me know that, or I could have started supplementing before the ferritin got this low.

    • Posted

      could you describe what not sleeping good felt like to you because im having an issue with sleep

    • Posted

      So happy to find this forum. I've been dealing with heavy prolonged period this year. Got me so stressed! My periods were always fine, im in my 40s now.I know low iron is a risk, but when my doctor told me i had extremely low levels of iron and hemoglobin levels, and might need a transfusion if levels dont go up, I almost had a breakdown. Been feeling terrible since then. More blood work in 2-3 months to check levels but im scared it wont go up. i also dont know how I'll cope at work when i start back as I'm always busy. Guess I need to hear it will be ok. Learned all this from an email from my doc, so didnt have anyone to talk things thru with!

    • Posted

      ask your doctor to send you to hematology for an iron IV (infusion).

    • Posted

      I've had trouble with headaches before, and I find that in addition to iron, b vitamin complex, including riboflavin, is also helpful to prevent headaches. I also take vitamin c in a low dose a few times a day.

    • Edited

      I had iron infusion Ferinject almost a month ago.I had it done privately.I was taking iron supplements for more than ten years and they never worked for me, the highest my ferritin has ever been is 45( only once).

      Half of my life I am struggling with low iron and its symptoms that you guys already mentioned.

      Going back to iron infusion,if you ever have it please make sure you check you phosphate levels before and after the infusion.Iron infusion has an impact on phosphate levels and as a result phosphate levels could drop post infusion.I wasn't aware of that.Dr had never mentioned anything about it.

      After I started to experience bad side effects which lasted more than two weeks and my numerous tries to get an answer being ignored, doctor who prescribed me a infusion finally confirmed that my side effects had something to do with phosphate levels.

      I got them checked and now I am waiting for the results.

      My iron infusion side effects were so bad,I had nausea, bad headaches, tight chest, pressure at the front and back of my head, flushing, low blood pressure, tingling feeling all over my body, insomnia.

      I felt worse after the infusion than before and I regretted having it done. Thankfully symptoms stopped after almost three weeks.

      Please double check everything before booking a iron infusion, don't rely only on doctors words, don't make the same mistake I did.

      I hope I won't need another infusion, I don't want to go through this again.

    • Posted

      ace2022 I have same issue right now and scared about coping at work it's a panick attack someday I don't know what to do. How are you doing now?

    • Posted

      Oh my goodness I’m so happy I found this page! I’m having all of that!!! I thought I was having heart problems and I went to the emergency room last weekend. I also went and saw my doctor and told her I was having anxiety so she put me on anxiety medication which doesn’t help. Now it all makes sense. I had my iron levels and another CBC drawn today and all of my numbers are lower than before because they never told me to start taking more supplements other than my multivitamin.

    • Posted

      I also chalked it up to perimenopause. And then I continue to ignore my symptoms blaming it on that. It’s so nice to hear everybody explaining all of their symptoms because I really did think that I was dying or something was seriously wrong with me. I hope you feel better soon!

    • Posted

      When I went to the hospital, thinking that it was a problem with my heart they ran a CBC. They told me that it looked like anemia. They also failed to tell me to do anything about it before I left. So I went and had the CBC ran again today, because my symptoms are getting worse. my hemoglobin, hematocrit and red blood cells are all low, in addition to my ferritin levels. This is also frustrating because some of these symptoms are debilitating to me. When I walk up my steps to go to my bedroom, I am literally winded. When my heart starts racing, I get panicked. I never knew much about iron deficiency anemia so I’m so grateful that I came here to read what y’all are going through. I’m sad for all of us, but I feel a little bit less worried now.

    • Posted

      your post has been helpful. all the same issues as above. thought it was anxiety, depression, perimenoupause, auto immune, my thyriod. my whole body has gone to s**t! i am working with a hematologist currently and taking supplements. even the sunlight is killing my eyes! headaches are my biggest complaint all kinds of headaches!! are you feeling better? is there hope?!

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