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Longtime anemia?
Feb 22, 2011
I had my blood checked about a month ago and the doc said my iron was 5 and should be at least 15. My hemoglobin was also low, so they wanted me to come back for a follow up (which I haven't done yet because it costs $100 and the nurse said it's "not urgent"). When I was pregnant almost 3 years ago my iron was 8. I was exhausted and out of breath, palps and my muscles were burning.

I went through this strange set of symptoms in the months before I got pregnant, too. I started getting burning in my legs and arms from just walking or doing normal stuff. I got so weak and tired and my heart beat like 100 all the time. I was out of breath just walking to the bathroom. Had tons of heart tests and x rays of my lungs and whatnot, had EKG's and echos and all that. It all mysteriously resolved itself some months later (weird.)

I had been sorta fine, getting along but still achy (tho no burning/weakness) and just always a bit tired but I got used to feeling that way. Went on like this for months.

Anyway, the past week or two I've been feeling my muscles get worn out a lot sooner and my legs have started burning again. It's like I will be typing and my arms get tired and I have to rest them. I walk and then sit down and my leg muscles burn like I have been doing squats. I am sleepy all the time, I need naps at least once a day if not twice. (I also recently gained 30 lbs from taking Zoloft so I'm a lot heavier now than I was, which is hard to drag around, too.)

I have been having muscle spasms, bouts where my arm or leg would get weak for a few seconds and have a spasm, and sharp shooting pains in my nerves, plus my tongue hurt for like 2 weeks, and my fingertips went a bit numb.

Now since the doc told me I am anemic (and my regular doc in Texas -- I'm in canada right now -- also told me a year or so ago that I was low in iron but not "anemic" and told me to take prenatal vitamins which I can't because of my stomach issues). It seems i have been borderline anemic for years and when it dips low, I get the burning muscles and fatigue and all the rest. It got so bad in 2007 that I couldn't even wash my hair.

I just got "feraMax" -- 150 mg of elemental iron and I got some Vitamin C. I can't tell what kind of iron is in this stuff -- it says polysaccaride iron complex or something. What IS that?

Now the question is, it's anemia, right? (I still always doubt it and worry myself that it's something else.) Also, how long does it take to get the levels back to normal? The box for Feramax says that you have to take it for 3-6 MONTHS after hemoglobin levels return to normal. So I'm gonna be on this stuff for a long while.

Another thing is how do you deal with the constipation? I got some Miralax which works well but you're really not supposed to take it for more than a week at a time. I read that high fiber stuff can decrease iron absorption, too. I've been eating fiber like mad because I have gut problems and get constipated very easily (I can't even LOOK at cheese!)

Thanks for reading all this and for any advice. I still need to see the doc for my follow up as the nurse had mentioned supplements so I will have to just pony up the cash.

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