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AnnHilary--Welcome to the boards! Since you have been DX'ed with IDA, you now need to stop any blood loss which equals iron loss. It would be a good idea to discuss your heavy periods with your GYN. You should also see your PCP to be sure there are not other reasons for blood loss. There can be more than one cause. Runners also tend to be more at risk for anemia. You have to take in more iron than is lost.

For me I had an endometrial ablation to stop the heavy periods. That is when my iron begin to hold and stabilize. I also too a script iron, Poly Iron 150 mg's and I took 2 daily when possible. I ended up in the ER from the Ferris Sulfate it did a real number on me. So I say no to OTC iron in small doses if you are at a 5 ferritin. Your Hgb is not too, too, bad but no anemia is good no matter what.

Just know that you have to first find a cause for the anemia and second iron therapy, what your doctor prescribes for you. I was 45 when I became anemic and I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy to rule out any other causes for blood loss but my Hgb was 8.5 and a 2 ferritin. Take care. FLFG :)
When I was diagnosed with IDA my ferritin was a 5 also and I think my Hemoglobin was 10.8, so very similar levels to you. I started taking 108 mgs of elemental iron a day (6 pills Ė 18 mgs each) within 4 weeks my ferritin went up to 14. At that time I had switched to an iron complex (only because I could buy it locally and the other I had to order online) and over the next 2-3 months my ferritin never raised again and started going back down. I went back to the first form of iron I was taking and within 3 weeks had a blood drawn and my ferritin had shot up to 35. Itís an amino iron in the form of iron bisglycinate, highly, highly recommended on other anemia sites. Iíve never had any digestion issues with it.

Japlopper is exactly right, Iím on month 4 and am no longer considered anemic, however, there are good days and bad days. Iím starting to have more good days but the bad days are still pretty bad, mostly fatigue. Itís the worst right before and during my period.

Flflowergirl mentioned an endometrial ablation; you should definitely look into it. In the meantime, my Naturopath gave me something called Slow Flow to take just during your period. It works wonders Ė you can google it. It doesnít stop your period but makes it way lighter and shorter.

I also had massive hair loss and believe it is connected to low ferritin levels. Thereís a ton of information about levels having to be around 70 for hair loss to stop. Iíve also seen 50 or 60 for hair loss to stop but up to 70 for new growth.

Good luck girl - I feel for ya!
I also had severe hair loss, lashes falling out, dizziness, heart palps, lack of energy, etc, since last March (2010). I was finally diagnosed with iron deficient anemia in June/July. My Ferritin level was a 5. It has been a long, long year. I am no longer clinically anemic but my Ferritin level, at best, was 40. I have since had an Endometrial Ablation, approx a month ago. My blood work is checked every other month by a hematologist. My periods were not super heavy but leaning more towards the heavy side. Itís a process of elimination. I tested negative for Celiac Disease and blood in the stool. Now with my periods completely stopped, weíre hoping my Ferritin will come up. I still experience heavy hair loss and some eyelash loss daily (up to 31 lashes in one day, canít believe I even have any left). The Endometrial Ablation is the best thing I couldíve done, no period what-so-ever, and this is just the first month. It was a breeze and glad I decided to do it. Iím due for a blood draw so weíll see if the Ferritin starts climbing, more rapidly. Not expecting much this first blood draw since the Ablation was only a month ago but hopefully the next one will show more significant improvement. If not, the doctors are planning on taking a more aggressive look at me internally.

Good luck to all! Iíve been there and know how upsetting and life altering anemia can be Ė I had no clue.

Hugs, Payton

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