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I am a 36 year old female. I had a very heavy period weeks ago that bordered on hemmorage. I also have PCOS. Went to GP, iron stores are at 2 and hemo is at 8.5. Very Low. Doctor suggested iron/blood transfusion if levels don't go up next week. Went to GYN, who did not see fibroids and rx'd BCP.

My question:

1) How can I bring iron levels up. I am taking supp fe tab 3x per day, eating iron rich foods and taking vit. c to help with absorption. Is there anything else I should be doing?

2) I am keeping hydrated as well

3) The doctor scared me a little. Is it okay to drive/do daily tasks with levels that low. I am resting as much as possible but am needing to go about daily life. Any advice you could give would be much appreciated.

Thank you!
 

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HI,
I am not an expert but saw that your post has been here a couple days so I thought I'd give you my experience.

I have the same problem. A few years ago, I had been pregnant/breastfeeding for 4 years and my iron stores and hemoglobin were at the same level. In fact, my hemoglobin has varied between 7.9 and 11 this whole time.
The dr. suggested that my body was depleted from pregnancy/bf plus I was having heavy periods. The iron supp/vit c wasn't enough and I did start having iron IV's weekly so that I could avoid a transfusion. It took several months of that plus the supplements to get it up to about 11 and almost normal iron stores.

I was pregnant again during this time and am now still breastfeeding so I do not want to take bcp. The alternative they suggested was Mirena because it is not systemic, just local hormones. Unfortunately, it interferes with a med that I have to take.

Since that time, I have continued to have them periodically, the frequency depends on my blood levels that they test each time.
It's a pain because it takes a few hours but definitely helps with energy, not being so dizzy plus stopped my hair loss that I thought was related to pregnancy.

You can drive, perform normal activities as long as you feel ok. Sometimes I get very dizzy and need to rest if it is really low. Also, strenuous exercise when my hemoglobin is low seems to correspond with chest pain and he told me not to continue if that happens.
So just watch for that.

A couple months ago, I had the heaviest period I ever had and it scared me enough to go to the gyn. They did the u/s and test with the water injected into the uterus (I can't remember what it was called) but everything is normal. rthankfully that hasn't happened again, I was afraid it would just keep going like that, it was horrible.
That one time lowered my hemoglobin from 11 to 8. I had no idea it could go down that fast!

So, for me, the IV's work well and can be as far apart as 2-3 months or every week if needed.

I am vegetarian so eating meat just isn't an option, I cannot do it. The hematologist suggested red meat, vit C along with the iron supplements, cooking in cast iron and if you take Calcium, do not take it when you take your iron, it can block the absorption.

I hope you feel better soon,

Deb
 

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Thank you for your post. I can understand why you may be feeling a bit scared by what your doctor revealed to you. During this next week, in order to help get your iron and hemoglobin levels up; I have a few recommendations for you to consider.

I recommend in addition to your iron supplementation increasing your intake of the following iron rich foods. Foods that contain very high iron levels include beets (which are great for stimulating hemoglobin production), blackstrap molasses, sweet potato, amaranth, lima beans, pinto beans, swiss chard, dulse, mustard greens, dandelion greens, leeks and apricots. Foods that contain moderate to high levels of iron include kale, pumpkin seeds, spinach, broccoli, pumpkin and peas.

Additionally, consumption of high protein foods is critical for bringing up hemoglobin and iron levels. I recommend eggs, wild Alaskan salmon, organic meats, and organic organ meats. Try making your own broth from a whole chicken with all its organs. It's very nourishing.

Take B Complex daily to increase your hemoglobin level. Also consider taking nettles, which is considered by many to be one of the best herbal remedies to assist with iron-deficiency anemia. This herb promotes the absorption of iron from the gut.

As for driving and doing daily tasks; I recommend checking in with yourself to see how you're feeling. If you're feeling dizzy or faint, I recommend not driving, and resting. If you're feeling ok, you should be fine to participate in moderate daily activities. However, with that said, your body is giving you some important information, and consequently this may be a time to ask for more support from your friends and family, so that you can nourish yourself properly and get well. I believe this would be a good week to start making yourself a priority by delegating many of your daily activities.

Francie Healey
 

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Can I poke in and recommend going gluten free as well? Gluten blocks the absorption of iron, and going gluten free at last until healing has occurred, can be very help and shorten the duration of getting levels up.
Be careful going back on gluten though, just in case it is the real culprit.
 

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I was thinking further about your post, and I wanted to share a few more thoughts about increasing your iron levels. I appreciated the post about gluten, and it got me thinking of other foods that would be best for you to avoid right now. The following foods and beverages can also interfere with iron absorption: dairy products, soft drinks, candy bars, coffee and tea.

Additionally, here are some other foods that have a high iron content at about 5mg of iron per average serving: kidney beans, lentils, dried peaches, and prune juice.

On another note, if you're experiencing constipation from taking iron-you may want to consider supplementing with Magnesium, which can be beneficial for this type of side effect.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francie Healey View Post

I was thinking further about your post, and I wanted to share a few more thoughts about increasing your iron levels. I appreciated the post about gluten, and it got me thinking of other foods that would be best for you to avoid right now. The following foods and beverages can also interfere with iron absorption: dairy products, soft drinks, candy bars, coffee and tea.

Additionally, here are some other foods that have a high iron content at about 5mg of iron per average serving: kidney beans, lentils, dried peaches, and prune juice.

On another note, if you're experiencing constipation from taking iron-you may want to consider supplementing with Magnesium, which can be beneficial for this type of side effect.
Raw dairy will not be a problem
wink1.gif
It is packed with undamaged magnesium as well. And good liver from pastured animals has super high levels of iron.
 

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Just a reminder of the forum guidlines:
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