low ferritin and high iron with abdominal pain and fatigue
25 female, 103lbs, 5'4.
For the past 7 months following a sudden bout of what was likely gastritis, I developed chronic symtoms. Pain in my abdomen, specifically in the upper and upper right side (aka stomach and liver area), extreme bloating after eating, nauseua, fatigue/malaise, loss of sex drive. Also my tongue will turn bright orange sometimes, and often there is a "raw dough" taste in my month, it feels like my stomach and esophagus are full and bloating.I've been getting rashes all over my ribcage, abdomen, and back, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night sweating, shaking, feeling nauseous and almost hungover, my heart pounding. I have not been able to associate the rashes to any possible allergy (no common food/enviroment).
Gastroscopy ruled out H.pyori, celiac and ulcers, only mild chronic gastritis was found. Gastric emptying test was normal, as was a colonoscopy. I'm now in the process of completing a battery of hydrogen breath tests for lactose, fructose, glucose, sorbitol and lactulose intolerance, and a screening for parasites (my symptoms started after a 4month trip to rural South America (I had gotten all the necessary vaccines before leaving) with low grade fever, vomiting, fatigue/malaise/muscle pain, bloating and vomiting after ingesting alcohol or oily foods. I had spent time living with locals, eating ceviche and raw vegetables, and took a trip to the Amazon. After a couple months I was fine, then suddenly one year later, I get sick again.
Also interesting is that my normal blood pressure is 90/60. In fact, in january it was 90/54. In march it spiked to 115/80, and it was 115/78 again when i checked in May.
I had a blood test on Monday. Everything was normal except the following:
Mean Cell Hemoglobin - 33 HIGH (normal: 27-31)
Ferritin - 10.9 LOW (normal: 11.0-306.0)
Iron Level - 46.5 HIGH (normal: 11-29)
UIBC - 33 NORMAL (normal 26-52)
Iron Binding Capacity - 79.5 HIGH (normal 43.8-67.0)
Iron Saturation - 0.58 HIGH (normal 0.21-0.42)
Albumin - 38 NORMAL (normal 38-50)
Everything else was within normal ranges except the above which was either borderline or in the case if iron, way high.
I should mention I cook vegan (no meat, no dairy, no eggs) at home, and only eat meat (red meat or fish) when I eat out (which is pretty often). So I don't eat a lot of meat, but when I do it's usually red meat or sometimes fish. I do eat tofu and legumes a lot. I do not take supplements.
What does all this mean??? Does this suggest a liver problem or infection???
I am having surgery for endometriosis and removal of an ovarian cyst next week, and I am very concerned that high iron could increase my potentiel for infection and/or increase the virulence of an infection.
Your story sounds strangly similar to mine (even the South American trip, diet and age) I had most of what you describe but also with cardiac symptoms including inappropriatly high heart rate with episodes of SVT.
I hope your problems have since resolved. I'm curious to hear.
My bloods were all pretty normal when I originally got tested except with height total billrubin. I went to a new Dr after a year of this and after seeing a GI and endoscope. The new GP prescribed a new set of antibiotics for a parasite and cardiac testing and blood tests. This time ferritin was low like yours and Vit D.
Anyway. 1 day after starting iron and Vit D supplements my symptoms have all but gone and I've not had any episodes since. After looking for something obscure or complicated, it seems as though I had a parasite, it messed with my digestive tract and caused malabsorption which caused other symptoms and resulted in this mess. Parasite seems to have gone with the antibiotics (I had a few rounds with different combinations), and the symptoms I was left with (particularly the tachycardia) has resolved with the iron and Vit d.
I'm hoping it's not a placebo and this is the end of a sucky year, but its still early days yet.
I hope you find/found answers and don't underestimate low ferritin levels - do a google of low ferritin and high iron.
Best wishes Jackie
Since this post, I had surgery on July 26th, a laparascopy to remove endometriosis and an ovarian cyst. An allergy test showed I didn't have any allergies, the immunologist had no clue what was causing my rashed but based on my blood work (which was ordered by the GI) he sent me to a hemaotologist. He ordered a second blood test, this time my ferrtin was even lower (it was 8, 20 to 300 is suppose to be normal acccordng to the lab) and strangely, my iron was now also low. He had no explainatation for the high levels in July.
I also saw a tropical disease specialist to rule out any lingering parasites or something I picked up in South America. Everything came back negative... so he suggested I was depressed and told me to take anti-depressants!!!! WTF, i;m not depressed!!!
Then I had another follow up with the GI. He concluded that I have a kind of post-infectious IBS. Basically whatever I caught in south America was sever enough to cause some damage and sensivity. So the next year, when I caught a stomach virus, its effects were WAY worse because i was already sensitive. This second infectious got severe enough that my body had an autoimmune-type of response, basiclly it kept "fighting" the infection even after it was gone, so harming intelf. Hence the chronic gastritis and constant inflammation causing my abdominal pain and other symptoms.
to make matters worst, another test showed I was fructose intolerant, so anytime i hae fructose it aggravates the indigestion and bloating.
the low ferretin and iron is likely one reason I have been so tired, and prolongedthe recovery of my surgery from the normal 2-3 weeks to now 8 weeks!!! I've only now started to get enough energy to do little chores around the house but i have to go back to work fulltime monday, not sure how i'm going to handle it. my productivity isn't going to be very high thats for sure.
But at least i finally have an idea of what is wrong and luckil ruled out lots of serious stuff. Hopefully iron supplements will help we get some energy back, and avoiding fructose will help reduce my gastric problems. I've been making sure to take al my vitaminsand mainatina good diet. I also started acupuncture... not sure it does anything but its covered by my insurance and i;m desperate to feel better! I also have oestopathy and massagetherapy appaointments every month that help, but only temporarily. Hope this al goes away soon, my whole life is n holf until I get better enough to do stuff!!!
Why are you taking vitamin D? Was it low on a blood test?
I started taking it in winter months (I live in canada) but not in summer since I'm pretty outdoorsy normally.
I've had a heart arrythmia since I was a kid. its idiopathic (not dangerous) and i usually dnt even notice it, unless i'm sick (like a bad cold) or eat too much sugar (halloween). It has been worst since my surgery, i'm attributing my heart problems to my body just dealing with being sick and fatigue, and i'm hoping its still idopathic and not a sign of something worse.
I'm glad you got rid of the parasite, andhopefully you start feeling better again soon :)! What were the atibioitcs you took?
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