HELP,low iron levels

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 6/3/2008 1:52 PM (GMT -6)   
sad  Hi all, just want to congratulate you all on such a friendly, informative site yeah .
I dont know if anyone can help but i am looking for a bit of advice.
I was diagnosed with uc just over a year ago, i have never been totally free of symptoms but it has been bearable. Stupidly i always told my consultant that i was fine when i really was not nono .
The past two weeks i have had a really bad flare, im currently on 40mg of pred, 8 pentasa and a tablet to stop acid irritating my stomach, i have just had the results back from my blood test and it says my iron level is 6 when it should be around 12-13.My gp is starting me on iron tabs right away. I was wondering if anyone else has suffered low blood and if so what was there treatment?
My gp says that it will take 2-3 months for my levels to get back to normal, which is hard when you feel breathless and tired all the time. Would it be beneficial to have a blood transfusion? Should i phone my consultant and let him know and see what he thinks?
Sorry to waffle but do not know what to do! sad
 Thanks for listening and any replys will be greatly recieved.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 3402
   Posted 6/3/2008 2:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi vicksie - welcome to HealingWell! This is a great site with knowledgable and caring members. We're glad to have you - but sorry you had to find us.

I have been anemic in the past. I also used iron tabs. It does take a while to build up those iron stores. There are risks that go with blood transfusions. If you have questions, it's best to talk with your doc. He/she can explain why they are chosing what they are.

I've also learned not to downplay my symptoms. A previous GP chewed me out good for doing so. Tell your docs exactly what is going on - don't downplay - don't overplay. How else can they help you???

Hope to see you around!
Pan-colitis and GERD diagnosed May 2003
Osteopenia diagnosed Feb 2006
Status:  Flaring
Asacol 12 per day,  Azathioprine 100mg, Aciphex, Forvia, and Pro-Bio
Last dose of pred: May 25
Co-Mod for the UC forum:  Keep HealingWell running smoothly:

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 1766
   Posted 6/3/2008 3:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi vicksie. My iron level was around a 6 last year and my GI had me get a blood transfusion and start on iron pills afterward. You might want to call your doctor and ask about it.
Female, Age 19, Dx w/ UC August 2007
Seasonal allergies
9 Asacol/day, 1000 mg Canasa, Proctofoam, Rifaximin 2/day
Digestive Advantage (Crohn's & Colitis) 3 pills/day, 1 Florastor/day
1 DanActive/day

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 213
   Posted 6/3/2008 5:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Sorry you are dealing with this. My iron has always been low and is just now borderline. They told me it would take years of iron supplements to fix it. Just take the iron every day (with food) AND take vitamin C which helps iron absorbtion.

34 year old female, Diagnosed 5 years ago
Current Meds: Remicade every 6 weeks, Prednisone 20mg, Prevacid, Sustenex, Lialda, Lexapro (anxiety), Synthroid, Iron, vitamin, Fish Oil
Expecting first child 12/08 via gestational surrogate!!!!

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 6/3/2008 5:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I am sorry to hear about your iron issue.  I was hospitalized because mine dropped to 5.9.  They said if it went down the following day they would have to transfuse me.  My iron level did increase slightly by the next day (I was in the hospital for 5 days though), so no transfusion needed. 
I agree with the others on the idea of the associated risks of transfusions.  I would really speak to your doctor about the risks vs. the benefits.
It takes a long time to get the iron levels back but do use the Vitamin C... it does help with absorption.
DX with (pan colitis) UC 9/02 while pregnant
meds:  Sulfasalazine 6 pills a day
Colazal - made me sicker (nausea, diarreha, etc)
Rowasa (when needed)
Iron (when issues appear)
Mild bronchial asthma too
Prednisone 30mg
6MP 50mg started beginning of July

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 6/3/2008 5:41 PM (GMT -6)   
I was also dangerously low..but my dr put me on a multivitamin and 2 slow fe iron tabs a day. within a few weeks I noticed a difference. hang in there. it is important to get your blood levels back to normal.
Diagnosed with Crohns/Colitis in 2004. Currently taking Azulfidine 500 mg/3 x 3 day, Synthroid. Have had joint complications such as pyroderma gangrenosum in ankles as complication of IBD. Started Humira March 2007

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 619
   Posted 6/3/2008 8:26 PM (GMT -6)   
I know just how you feel, like you're just shutting down. I had very low iron last November and my GI had me take a series of Venofer injections weekly over five weeks. By the third week I was feeling a lot more like myself. I have been taking a multivitamin with iron now and they test my levels periodically because the UC can make it difficult to absorb oral iron. Talk to your GI about getting your levels up quicker. It's not safe to have such low iron.

I also tell my GI I am "fine" when I am not. I think it's just a reflexive response to "how are you?" Plus I tend to be like an animal -- hiding my weakness, going off to my "cave" when I feel bad ;)
Diagnosed UC April 27, 2006; mild arthritis in lower back, dx'd May 2008
8 Remicade infusions: 7/21/07; 8/18/07; 10/13/07; 12/15/97; 1/26/08; 3/8/08; 4/19/08; 5/24/08
Current meds & supplements: Lialda, 4 tabs in the morning; Protonix; Lexipro 10 mg; Xanax as needed; Tramadol as needed for arthritis pain; multivitamin w/folate; Culturelle; Fish oil capsules, calcium chews and/or Tums; Past meds: Prednisone 4/06-4/08; Entocourt EC; Rowesa; Asacol; Colazal; Venofer (iron) injections Dec '07; Imuran (extremely bad reaction 2/07)

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 6/4/2008 1:19 AM (GMT -6)   


My HB dropped recently to 8 anything below this my GI would have transfused me, I was in hospital for IV steriods at the time though. I am now on my 5th iron infusion done at the the local endosocopy unit takes about an hour but my hb should go back up to 11/12 within 2 weeks, also stops the problems of digestion I am prone to severe right sided constipation.  I would contact your consultant or specalist nurse for advise. My disease has spread to 40 cm in 12 weeks so things can change.

Hope that helps

Colonoscopy Feb 2008
14cm Proctitis
1g Pentasa sup
400mg iron
Pred (tapering from 30 mg)
800mg calcium and vit D

Post Edited (mitch33) : 6/4/2008 12:24:04 AM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 6/4/2008 1:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks everyone for all your replies, sorry to hear that most of you have iron problems as well. I am going to consult my gp and consultant and see what they reccomend. I will keep you all posted.
Thanks all so much xxxxx

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 53
   Posted 6/4/2008 7:31 AM (GMT -6)   
My son is the one with UC.
To stop the bleeding I gave him Yunnan Baiyao,
open capsule and mix with warm water. once in morning and once at night before you go to sleep.
It will stop the bleeding, slowly but surly.
After about 2 weeks, Advantage Digestive, iron, fiber - all after breakfast along with med (his is Asacol 4 tab)
about one hour before the big meal, dinner - Probiotic (VSL#3)
Diet - very important - no sugar, no refine food, no alcohol, no fried food
Yes - chicken, potatoes, brown rice, bananas, pears, spinach (I read it here - great)

After 5-6 months of bleeding, treatment took about 1- 1 1/2 months - he went on remission.

Good Luck Dear !!

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 6/4/2008 7:52 AM (GMT -6)   
That sounds great! Glad your son is in remission. I am willing to give anythink a whirl!
Thanx for your advice.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 53
   Posted 6/4/2008 8:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Please let me know how you are doing.
Good luck!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 6/13/2008 1:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Anemia is a side effect in 5-ASA drugs...maybe it's from the Pentasa you're taking...My iron level counts were almost non-existent and I had to take iron supps for about a month and now my levels are back to normal...also b/c I stopped 5-ASA drugs.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 6/13/2008 2:26 PM (GMT -6)   

Well thanx for all your replies, the docs did not mention that it could be the pentasa, but im back on tuesday for another blood test so i will ask. I have started on iron tabs but still feel really weak and rubbish. Guess it will take a while to get back to normal. yeah

Thankyou all for your replies, its much appreciated,xxxxxx

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 6/13/2008 2:27 PM (GMT -6)   
I am horribly anemic too. I unfortunately can't take supplements so I go ever other week for ferolicit (not sure on spelling) IV to get iron pumped straight into me. It's the only thing they can do other than to let me bottom out and get a transfusion which I do not want.

There's also Procrit or aranesp that they give to chemo patients when your iron is super low. Those might be an option to investigate for you too.

I've been getting IVs now for 2+ years and the one big thing I learned in the all that time I was severely anemic was find out why!

Took them a LONG time and me getting pregnant dropping my iron to 4.3 before they caught it (yes I passed out several times) and then it took my kidneys shutting completely down in the middle of a 37 hour delivery to figure out that my iron issue is due to failing kidneys. No having UC doesn't help at all but the kidneys were my source. . . took them over a year to find that one.
Kim ~ Mom of Nathaniel aka "Peanut" 18months old
I'm a married 36 yr old mom and here's "The list "
- UC 1997 currently unmedicated was on Colozal from 2001-2007
- Stage 3 CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) 2007 taking 7.5mg lisinopril
- Anemic - Ferolicit IV bi-weekly
- Ashermans Syndrome - no treatment
- Allergies - water - haven't been tested officially but pine suspected

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 6/13/2008 11:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Yafit, i would like to try the formula Yunnan_Baiyao you mentioned for my husband but was wondering where do you buy it from?? Also does your son take that regularly or when the bleeding stops you discontinue it. My husband's bleeding has not stopped since he was diagnosed in Mar. We started hydrocortisone enemas last month along with asacol and that has helped him in minor flares and blood.Thanks in advance for the info.

wife of a UC Patient diagnosed on 3/3/08 started Asacol 3/7/08 2-3x a day
takes mutlivitamin/mutlimineral tablet, folic acid, vit. C, vit. E, selenium, turmeric

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