Question for those who are anemic

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Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 8/11/2008 10:29 AM (GMT -7)   
I have been borderline low and now low on my IRON since April 2008.  My Ferritin is 11.1 (normal is 13-150ng/ml) and my IRON is 43 (normal is 60-170).  They have said for months that I am anemic.  At my last GI visit he wanted me to take oral iron supplements, but I just cannot tolerate them as they tear my gut up bad.
I am seeing my GI again in a few weeks and want to talk to him because I am so tired all the time.  I get up go to work and usually within a hour of being home I am falling asleep on the couch.  I get B12 shots bi-monthly and have been sneaking in an additional shot in between my bi-monthly shots to try to help with the fatigue at times.
I want to know if there are other options to getting IRON.  Can I get it in a shot?  I know their are IRON IV infusions.  Just wondering what other options I may have.  I am getting more and more fatigued all the time and know that my diet (low residue diet) is very limited so I know I can't make it up that way.  Appreciate any thoughts!
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 32 years.  Currently on Asacol, Prilosec 60 mg, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain and Calcium.  Resections in 2002 and 2005.  Recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and doing tests to see if I have Inflammatory Arthritis or AS.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 158
   Posted 8/11/2008 12:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Nanners,
Sorry you're feeling so worn out. I was really anemic too and I wasn't absorbing the oral iron. I did the IV infusions of iron - once a week for 8 weeks. After the 6th or 7th infusion, I felt so much better! Before, I would get winded when I just stood up and walked around the house. Now I'm back to doing yoga! I'm not sure if there is a shot you can do at home, but I highly recommend the infusion - they're expensive though. Mine were done at the infusion center at the hospital and each one was about $2300. That totaled over $18,000! Thank goodness I have decent insurance.

Good luck to you :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 589
   Posted 8/11/2008 12:41 PM (GMT -7)   
idk about iron specifically, but ive gotten in the habit of taking a multivitamin every morning. it doesnt stop the anemia entirely, but it helps.
20, Male, diagnosed over Christmas Break of my Junior year in High School. BEST CHRISTMAS EVAR LOL

(not really)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 1250
   Posted 8/11/2008 12:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Nanners, I am borderline anemic and my GI wants me to start oral Iron. I'm hesitant to because I suffer from occasional constipation. He recommended a brand called Slow FE. He said it is supposed to be very gentle on the system. Have you tried this? Just a suggestion.
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (Pancolitis) 10/25/05
New Diagnosis of Crohn's March 2006
Asacol 3 pills three times a day
Remicade 10mg/kg every 4 weeks
Prednisone 12mg a day
Imuran 75mg
Miralax as needed, Cortisone enemas as needed
Prevacid 30mg
Paxil 40mg daily (for Panic disorder)
Xanax .5mg as needed (for anxiety attacks)

New Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 8/11/2008 12:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Nanners,
I take 1T of Floradix everyday.  It's a liquid iron and herb supplement that you can get at Whole Foods Market.  You might want to give that a try since it's not in pill form.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 8/11/2008 12:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Can't even do the multi-vitamins as they upset my delicate little gut too. Julie, I have heard of the slow-fe, but anything oral just seems to tear up my insides something fierce, so I am even scared to try that. I wish there was a way that they could give me an iron shot, instead of something orally. I was hoping someone would know if there was such as thing as a iron shot. I knew about the IV infusions, but didn't know you had to do so many to get relief. Heavy sigh!!!!
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 32 years.  Currently on Asacol, Prilosec 60 mg, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain and Calcium.  Resections in 2002 and 2005.  Recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and doing tests to see if I have Inflammatory Arthritis or AS.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 686
   Posted 8/11/2008 1:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Nanners - I would speak to a hematologist. I was anemic when I was first diagnosed but now I am back to donated blood on a regular basis. I was able to handle Fergon after trying Slow FE and another iron pill suggested by my internist. The hematologist suggested the Fergon but had other options if that didn't work for me.

Remicade and 6MP

Rider Fan
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1445
   Posted 8/11/2008 2:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes, there are iron shots. I got them weekly for 10 weeks once but they didn't do much, and they really hurt. Ask your doc about Venofer IV infusion.

Dx'ed in 1999. No surgeries.

Current meds: 75 mg 6MP. 10mg prednisone (trying to taper). Udo's Choice Probiotics (30 billion).

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 168
   Posted 8/11/2008 2:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Stemming off of your question nanners, what about blood transfusions? I know they can do that for low iron but I didn't know at what point a doc will decide to go that direction. My ferritin is currently 5 and my iron 13, and i'm in the same situation trying to figure out how to boost my iron without eating spinach!
diagnosed: Crohn's Aug 2005
other set-backs: Vasculitis Aug 2006, Sub-total Colectomy (10 inches of colon left) Feb 2007, Ogilivie's Syndrome Mar 2007, Pulmonary Embolism Sept 2007, Collapsed lung Oct 2007, Recto/Vaginal fistula Nov 2007
drugs: Imuran, Remicade, Prednisone, Fentanyl, Warfarin, Flagyl, Cipro, Celexa, Ferrous Gluconate, Acidopholous

Aimee =)
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2004
Total Posts : 1020
   Posted 8/11/2008 4:21 PM (GMT -7)   
I have iron infusions - my GI sent me to a hematologist who does them in their infusion center.

I LOVE them. Easy, painless, and I felt better within a few days.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2739
   Posted 8/11/2008 5:39 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm pretty sure you can get it in a shot form, or IV. I was able to handle the pills thank goodness. I sure had to take a lot of them over several months to get caught back up on my Iron!
Diagnosed with Crohn's Disease 2/06 after sever GI bleed. Has been suffering since 1998. History of rectal fistula and gallbladder removal. Currently taking Prednisone: tapering down again at: 4mg now, Asacol, Questran, Toprol XL (for high blood pressure).

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 165
   Posted 8/11/2008 6:16 PM (GMT -7)   

Back in 2004 before I knew I had crohn's (before I was having HUGE stomach issues) I was so severely anemic that at my lowest point my hemaglobin was 5.6 (11-13 being "normal"). I had tried several oral iron supplements. At one point I was up to like 1200mg a day by pill...YUCK!! I finally got a 1 time IV treatment that was 5 hours long (1 hour "test" infusion then as long as no reaction within that hour they started the 4 hour infusion). It helped boost my level back up to like 11 within 2 weeks and I was better able to maintain it with diet and pills. In 2006 I got a 5 week round of IV infusions (1 hour each I think) when I was at my worst with crohn's and that also helped bring it back up from 7 to 13 over that 5 week period. It was a bigger pain in the butt cause it took 5 weeks but still worked.



Fibromyalgia DX March 2003
Crohn's DX Jan 2006 (Symptoms since 96-Misdiagnosed as "female" problems-Major flare during pregnancy in 05 which lead to DX)
1st resection July 2007
Currently on Remicade/8 weeks

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4527
   Posted 8/11/2008 7:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Nanners I too think you should talk to your Dr. about it if you cain't take it orally. The only other thing I can suggest is a iron frying pan for cooking soups and stews but am not sure if it will help us with CD. Hope you get your levels up soon. lol gail
Hallarious woman over 50 ,CD ,IBS 27 years--resection,fistula's,obstructions,and still gail

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1034
   Posted 8/11/2008 9:04 PM (GMT -7)   
most docs will recommend a ferrous sulfate form of iron. slow fe is one. i took this many many years ago as i was initially diagnosed via anemia. this form of iron does constipate you. so i recommend NOT taking it. there are other brands out there that are non-constipating. but to get them you have to go to a health food store or order them on-line as the constipating kinds, which are cheap, are sold at the drug stores. they're also synthetic iron in most cases.

i'm also dealing with anemia. basically low iron store levels. my blood work comes back good now, but the iron stores/saturation rate are low. right now the iron supplement i am taking is called gentle iron by solgar. it is in the form of iron bisglycinate. 25 mg per capsule. my hematologist has me taking 3 per day. it is non constipating and is sugar and starch free. i have no problems with it. does not bother my system. the dosage for the amount of iron is different from ferrous sulfate and the form in the solgar iron pills i take. so talk to your doc to get the equivalency so you know how many to take.

you can get iron naturally through food - increase your consumption of dark leafy greens, eat more red meat (cooked no more than medium rare) and try liver.

getting your iron levels up will take time. be patient.
Crazy Harry

Crohn's since 1993 (17 yrs old then)
surgery in July '05 - removal of 2 inches at ileum and 8 inches of sigmoid colon (had fistula into bladder)
Nov '05 developed colonic inertia; July '06 told i needed ostomy surgery
began maker's diet in August '06 - now feeling the best ever with no symptoms of colonic inertia and i kept my colon
med free as of 10/31/07

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 769
   Posted 8/11/2008 10:59 PM (GMT -7)   
I’m annoyed my GI won’t let me have infusions or injections of iron, even though I’ve been on supplements for over 2 YEARS and haven’t seen any improvement in my red blood which is very low, and iron …. He says its better to treat the crohn’s because the reason I’m not absorbing the iron is because of the inflammation in my insides ….. Momentary relief would be good too, though! Sometimes I wish he knew what it feels like to have severe anemia on top of crohn’s! And I work full time!

Sorry for the rant, just tired, (as always)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 8/11/2008 11:31 PM (GMT -7)   
The most easily absorbed form of iron is heme iron from red meat. You may not get enough from that source if your digestion is impaired, so I would suggest blood sausage. It is not to everyone's taste, but it should help the iron problem without the need for infusions (and a lot cheaper).

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 8/12/2008 6:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Crazy & Keeper I do not eat red meat. I had to give that up over a year ago because it kept causing blockages in me. As far as green leafy vegtables, haven't been able to eat those in even longer time. As I stated above, my diet is not going to help me replace my iron stores, because I can't eat most of the stuff that would help.

I am hoping he will do the IV infusions, that seems the best way to get your levels up again. Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 32 years.  Currently on Asacol, Prilosec 60 mg, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain and Calcium.  Resections in 2002 and 2005.  Recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and doing tests to see if I have Inflammatory Arthritis or AS.

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