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In a nutshell, I've become anemic and we don't know why. After a lot of lab tests we know that it's iron deficiency anemia. My primary doc says that the labs indicate internal bleeding/blood loss, and she wants me to have a colonoscopy; my rheumatologist also said she thinks we need to start with a colonoscopy. That's fine, but the occult blood tests have all been negative. :confused:

Anyway, I had a hysterectomy at 22, so it's been a VERY long time since periods could have anything to do with this. Here are some of my most recent lab values:

Iron and total iron, % saturation --> 10 (low)
Reticulocyte count, automated --> 4.3 (normal)
Reticulocyte count, absolute --> 193070 (very high)
Ferritin --> 7 (low)
B12 --> 309 (normal)
Hemoglobin --> 9.7 (low)
Hematocrit --> 29.7 (low)
RBC count --> 4.25 (barely normal)
MCV --> 70 (low)
MCH --> 22.7 (low)
RDW --> 18.0 (high)
Sedimentation rate --> 36 (high)

Over the past 4 years I've run around in circles trying to sort out a plethora of health problems, mostly mysterious, and almost ALL without ever reaching a definitive diagnosis. This anemia is just the latest in a very long string, and I'm anxious to get it figured out. Meanwhile, I feel exhausted physically and depleted emotionally. :(

For the past few weeks I've been taking 325mg X 3 daily of iron (OTC), but the effect on my gut has been REALLY bad. We're now considering iron injections, but haven't started them yet.

As for my actual questions!, I'm not even sure what to ask. Ideas, perhaps, as to what's going on? Like, how is it possible to be bleeding so severely in the colon that it's made me this anemic, yet there are NO SIGNS of blood in the occult fecal blood tests? It's been under a year since we first started noticing my falling hemoglobin and hematocrits, and it's only been in the last month or so that things have reached what my doctors are considering a crisis point. (I have to admit that when I was first found to be anemic, my primary doc sent me to a GI doc because she thought a colonoscopy was in order; that's exactly what he recommended last summer, but I didn't have it done then.)

Sorry for rambling, especially in a first post! Any advice, suggestions, or insight will be greatly appreciated. :D

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