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Low ferritin
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Low ferritin

I have been trying to figure out what's wrong with my body. I've had muscle pain for over a year now and 1 year ago I was so tired I thought that I might be anemic (plus a bunch of other odd symptoms). My blood tests showed my ferritin level at 2.32 and my iron at 47. My thyroid appeared to be a little off as well. In the end I was told to take iron supplements (very well tolerated) and another doctor said I was in the beginning stage of autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto's?). I'm now taking a low dose of levothyroxine and last summer between the iron and the other I felt real good! By the end of summer the one doctor said that I was fine with my ferritin at 22 and my iron at 63. No need for more iron. In November I started getting muscle pains again and feeling tired again. Blood test showed ferritin at 12 and iron at 78. The doctor said that I'm fine and that nothing is wrong with me and I shouldn't even be treated for thyroid problems. I've read that ferritin levels should be at least 50 in order to feel good. I'm convinced that I need more iron. I haven't even been tested to see why my ferritin dropped as it did. "Heavy periods" is what I was told because of the info I gave this female doctor.

Can anybody comment on this? Thank you!
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12 Comments
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563773_tn?1374250139
Hi,
You see Serum Ferritin is definitely one of the most sensitive lab test for the diagnosis of anemia. Normal blood levels are 30-300 ng/mL for males and 15-200 ng/mL for females. The most common cause of Iron deficiency in females is due to excessive menstrual blood losses and inadequate intake from the diet. I think you should continue to take the iron tablets and you’ll definitely feel much better over a period of time.
I hope that helps. Please do keep me posted.
Kind regards.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your input! I'm going to see a GP tomorrow to see if I can convince him to have me take iron again. If not, I'll have to find or go to another doctor who will listen to me and my symptoms. I'm narrowing things down and I'm pretty sure that my "problems" are easily treated. I will keep you posted. It's nice to find somebody who's empathetic and doesn't think of me as a hyperchondriac!

Best regards!
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Avatar_f_tn
Sorry, I meant to say hypochondriac!
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Avatar_f_tn
Went to GP yesterday. He said that having a ferritin level of 12 has no importance. Upon seeing my reaction (I got a little emotional out of frustration) he said that maybe I should do a psychiatric study because I was depressed. He thinks it's psychological. Oh, well...I'm getting used to doctors thinking along the same lines. It is frustrating. Anyway, I was able to convince him into prescribing me iron, only to take it 3 times a week instead of everyday. I understand that it's not good to get the overall iron too high. I'll give it a try.
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Avatar_f_tn
hello marilis.  my best advice to you is if you have a doctor that thinks your symptoms require you to seek psychological help then you'd be better off seeking a new physician.  my doc of 30 years (i'm 50) just retired in december and i was forced to find a new one.  well she's wonderful (just saw her yesterday).  i am a healthy, active 50 year old female but i have had severe neck, shoulder, upper back pain ongoing for over 10 years.  i have tried so many modalities for relief but haven't really found any.  regular chirocpractic and massage appointments keep me moving but i wanted to get to the root of the problem.  i have known that over the years my ferritin levels have been on the low side (16-24) but my doc didn't seem concerned because all other lab results are excelllent.  well the new doc thinks these levels may be too low for someone active and may be the root of my muscle pain.  if so, what a fabulous easy fix!  i have just started floradix herbal iron tablets and will start eating red meat once a week to see if boosting my ferritin will relieve my pain.  i'll keep you posted.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
I just did a quick read through your info. My suggestion, seek another opinion. I spent 5 years with low Hgb. and low ferritin, as low as 4. The Dr. never seemed concerned but I would keep going back with other complaints, fatigue, inability to connect, concentrate, very cold, muscle aches and cramps...etc...The Dr. I was seeing, kept increasing my iron supplements to the point of terrible constipation..the iron tablets did NOTHING. I then moved to a different state, saw a new Dr. who said I should have been having iron infusions long before this time because of going for so many years without any change in my levels. I have now been doing iron infusions for a year. My levels go up for about 3 mo. then drop again so I am doing infusions indefinitely 1 x mo.
Please seek another opinion, this isn't something to take lightly.
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Avatar_n_tn

I have been battling low ferritin with above normal hemoglobin off and on for years now, its now to the point where when I get sick,  a cold or flu, I'm out for like 3-5 days. I can't get enough sleep and I feel like I'm sick all the time memory loss and sometimes i think i'm going crazy, i recently started taking anti depressants hoping they would help me get my energy back. I take iron pills, even though they upset my stomach. I have seen a few different doctors, one doctor says I shouldn't even feel sick because my hemoglobin was normal and all others says just take iron pills, you'll be fine, my thyroid test came back normal, the thing i find so strange is how is my hemoglobin remaining higher then normal for so long  if my ferritin is so low, recently its at 10.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Jeribear,

I've been strugling with problems similar to yours! I convinced my GP to let me take iron during the 5 - 7 days after my period. I think that that has helped but my other problems are still there. I'm convinced that it is a type of subclinical thyroid problem, that is difficult to detect with blood tests. I will be traveling across the Atlantic next month (I live in Spain) to see a doctor who was recommended to me. I have a lot of faith and hope that she'll help me resolve my problems! I'm so tired of feeling down, tired, little or no energy, memory loss, no concentration, a bloated stomach, poor digestion, etc., etc....

Last month I did a hair analysis to see if I had any type of heavy metal toxification. My mercury level was a bit high, but most everything else pointed towards hypothyroidism!!!! It was very interesting!

I'll let you know the results of the doctor!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
hi im so glad i found this site.. my boys ..(12yrs)  been feeling ill for a long time..ive taken him to the doctors time and time again only to be told his fine.. but i know he isnt fine nor looks fine... after many doctors i got one to arrange blood tests and within 3 days i got a letter with a prescription for ferrous suphate 200mg to be taken twice a day .. and more blood test forms... his been taking these for 3 months now but got cut down to one a day because he was getting upset stomach his ferritin level was 19 i know thats not as low as some ive read on here... although his been taking the tablets he seems to be getting worse rather then picking up.. his levels have now reached 41 which is a good thing but he feels sick every single day plus says he gets pains in his belly and gets the bile alot..im waiting for a hostpital appointment next thurs to get to the bottom of this.. will his ferritin levels go back down after the tablets end soon next week??...
so frustrating as his missing time off of school and when he is in school his being sent home..its just the stomach aches and sickness thats the worrying thing.. and he looks as white as a sheet and his eyes are very dark.. but the doc say his not anemic..he also does get alot of ulcers as well...
it does make me laugh tho , ive been taking him for a long time to the doctors and each time they say nothing wrong  his fine.. until now... and i get one doctor say for his ferritn to go down, this would have been going on for a long time.. i replyed .. do you know how many times ive been and got told nothings wrong... it does wind me up...
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Avatar_f_tn
I was researching my chronic low ferritin problem when I came accross your post. Just a suggestion....look into celiac disease and gluten intolerance. It can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies. You can have symptoms such as stomach pain or be symptomless and still have it. The best thing is, you just have to remove gluten (wheat rye and barley) from your diet and you will heal.
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Avatar_f_tn
I wish you the best with your son! It is soo frustrating when you know that something's wrong and the doctors say that everything is fine!

I've taken iron off and on but it does seem to go down when I don't take it anymore. My serum iron is ok (it has been low) but my ferritin won't get any higher than about 23. The doctor who prescribed me iron said that with my ferritin at that level I was fine, although I read that it should be between 30 - 50. I went to a great doctor in December and she said that it should be at at least 40. She put me on progesterone (12 days a month) to try and lighten up my periods so that I don't lose as much iron. We'll see what happens. I know that there are other factors involved and I do agree with sandwitch about diet, at least in my case.

Good luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your input. I agree with what you've said about diet. I've had a food intolerance test and a lot came up about wheat gluten. The doctor said to stay off of it but said that I could have rye. I've been trying to exclude wheat gluten, sugar, dairy products and soy products (because of thyroid problems) and it seems to help a lot. I also went to a new doctor and she put me on several types of vitamins and minerals. I did have a Celiac test done and it came out negative, this year and last year. So, I'll see how things work out this way for the time being. I am feeling a lot better, though, thanks to finding a doctor who listened and understood me! :-)
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