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Hi NewinnJ,

I am in a similar place as you. I am 44 and have been scheduled for a colonoscopy to look for reasons that may explain my chronic iron deficiency too.

FYI: A colonoscopy is a just screening tool that doctors use to look for a variety of GI conditions, many of which have nothing to do with cancer. Absorption issues can be anything from Celiac Disease (a genetic disease in which people who cannot eat foods that contain gluten -- wheat, barley, rye, etc.) to things like polyps or ulcers. Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn's disease are also detected through a colonoscopy as are cancers. So you can see that it is a valuable tool for doctors to use to rule out causes. Once they rule out any condition that causes damage; then they can look for other reasons. It is good that you have a doctor that is using these tools rather than ignoring your concerns.

I too am anemic as well, and did not know it until I was rejected by the Red Cross the last time I tried to donate blood. That's when I went to my doctor to discuss that, and a whole bevvy of unexplained symptoms that I had mostly been ignoring. These ranged from Fibromyalgia, Restless Leg Syndrome, thinning hair, fatigue and in general poor sleep quality. Oddly enough, these are all symptoms associated with Iron Deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency. I eat lots of meat, green veggies and fruits so it was news to me that I was anemic. I have no problem believing that I am Vitamin D deficient because I have very fair skin, as in "burned by moonbeam white" skin tone. Milk white is another description so I do NOT get out in the sun because I sun burn within 5 minutes and feel horrible the rest of the day. So I have to take supplements for Vitamin D.

My PCP referred me to a Neurologist for the Fibromyalgia sleep clinic because I was complaining about not sleeping well, being chronically tired, etc. They tested my ferritin levels and found that I was at 10. The normal range for a female is "Female: 12-150 ng/mL" according to the National Institute of Health (source: 10 is low and truth be told, even if it was 12, that is on the low end of the scale and what's "normal" for one person can differ greatly from someone else because we all have different metabolic needs.

I have also done a lot of other research into causes and it also turns out that two prescriptions I take can cause anemia: Premarin and Singulair. I had a hysterectomy at age 29 because of Endometriosis and Uterine Fibroid Tumors -- best decision I ever made -- btw! I haven't been in constant pain since I had that taken care of. And I have Asthma, for which I take the Singulair (Monolukast). Both estrogen, including birth contol pills, and Singulair can cause anemia. Exactly how they affect it, I am not sure.

But at any rate, fear not. Your doctor sounds like s/he is doing the right thing by your for ruling out serious conditions to help diagnose your anemia.

I wish you the best of luck in finding the reasons and also in getting healthy again.


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