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If You Have a Low Ferritin Level, Should You be Concerned?

If you’ve been told you have low ferritin levels on a lab test, what does it mean?

When you visited your doctor, were you told that you had a low ferritin level? If so, you may have wondered what ferritin is and what it means when your levels are low.

What is ferritin?

Ferritin is a protein found in the cells of the body that binds iron and holds it in a storage form until the body is ready to use it. Although it plays an important role of its own within the cell, it’s most important clinical use is as a means to measure how much iron is stored in the body.

How do you know ferritin levels are low?

Ferritin levels can be checked by drawing a tube of blood and sending it to the lab for testing. This is usually done when your doctor suspects you have too much or too little iron in your body. The most common reason for checking ferritin levels is to rule out iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency anemia is a very common diagnosis, particularly in younger women. It’s estimated that up to seven percent of women in this country have iron deficiency anemia. Generally when iron deficiency anemia is present, it shows up on a blood test as a low hemoglobin and hematocrit level. Blood cells may also be unusually small in size if iron deficiency anemia is present. If this is noted after testing your blood, your doctor would likely check to see if ferritin levels are low, confirming the diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia. A low ferritin level is one of the best indicators of iron deficiency.

Can ferritin levels be too high?

Ferritin levels that are too high can also indicate disease. High ferritin levels show that too much iron is being absorbed and stored by the body which can happen with a genetic disease called hemachromatosis. Sometimes ferritin levels can be elevated nonspecifically when a person is ill for other reasons.

What happens if your ferritin level is too low?

If your doctor tells you that you have low ferritin levels, you’ll probably be placed on iron supplements to correct your iron deficiency anemia and replenish ferritin stores. It can take up to four months for ferritin levels to return to normal after iron supplements are started, so don’t expect to see immediate results.

How do you know when your ferritin levels have returned to normal?

Blood tests are usually repeated to recheck levels after four to six months of iron supplementation.

A low ferritin level is usually easily treated with iron supplements and dietary changes and should cause no longer term problems if corrected.

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  1. Great information on this subject helps inform individuals about this condition, and not to be afraid, it is treatable. Nice writing!

  2. Hi- Just found out my ferratin level is 1!!! I am a little scared. Has anyone else had to deal with a level this low? What did you do? Thank you for the article.

  3. Thanks for this information.

    Level 1 sounds vey low and I would be amazed if you can still function properly. Have your docs considered a blood transfusion as it would prob take a while to bring up.
    I have a HG of 12 and Ferratin level 6. Had it checked as constant hair loss (even wrecked bathroom plumbing!). Am now on Ferrous Sulphate equic X 400mg per day. Also having other blood tests done to rule out any underlying causes as also seem to have fluctuating memory loss. Had v stressful work situation over last 4 months and I put it all down to stress! Good luck with following up your reasons for low level. 46 yr old lady.

  4. hi robin i have the same problem as you dont panic just take it eassy go to ur local doctor or clinic or gp and get iorn supplemnts there tablets which would treat it when you go your doctor would explain every think to you.I have an appointment about that to today at 4.30pm. hope that helps

  5. made a mistak i wrote eassy instead of easy

  6. Well, since my last post my ferritin level is up to 7, so I guess I am making progress. I am taking Dualvite Iron (a prescription) with a 500 mg Vit. C tablet each morning. The “C” is supposed to help with absorption. I am 41.

    The other odd thing is that my daughter who is 22 and lives across the country was showing some of the same symptoms, so I asked her to see if her doctor would do a ferritin test. SHe did and her level is 10- still very low, so now she is on iron too. COuld this be a genetic issue?

  7. just diagnosed 2.1 ferratin,10.1hbm,prescribed 200mg ferrous sulp 3 times a day, tea is supposed to affect the bodies ability to absorb iron, might be useful if like me you are heavy tea drinkers!

  8. I just got my test results the other day and I also have a Ferritin level of 1 which should be between 10-154 for a female and my Iron level is 29 which should be between 40-175. EEK! No wonder my doctor looked concerned. I started taking my Spatone Iron and after a few days am already starting to feel a little bit of energy. I love the Spatone because it doesn’t cause any of the yucky side effects and has proven to work in the past. Keeping fingers crossed it comes up some soon. I test again this next month. Didn’t know about the Vit C so I think I will do that and my Vit B12 is at 284 and 200 and below is low so I think I will up my intake of that too. Figure it can’t hurt. I am going to be 40 in July and going thru the change of life early on top of it all. I will be glad to get these levels up so I can start working out again. I wish you all the best.

  9. I just found my ferritin level is 6, and my hemoglobin is 11.4. I just took my first dose of 65mg of iron (from ferror sulfate 325mg). It’s not a timed release pill. I’m supposed to take it once in the morning and once at night, with food. I’ve read the entries on this website, and it is good to know that I’m not the only one with such low readings, and that the pills should be effective within four months. I’m also taking B-12 pills sublingually, and 500mg of Vitamin C per day to help in the absorption of the iron. I’ll check back next time the doctor gets the next results. I’ve had a poor memory recently, and feel weak frequently. I have diabetes and a heart murmur, and I know that my heart has to work harder due to a poor circulation of oxygen. I’m hoping the diabetes and the heart problems will be noticeably helped eventually.

  10. I’m 5 months pregnant and my ferritin levels at 5 though my hemoglobins good at 13. My doctor says not to worry and at the most will prescribe me 80mg per day. can anyone advise me if I should be looking for alternative care – i’m worried about blood loss and birth complications and would love my energy to be higher but he just says low energy is normal pregnancy. Would love any advise

  11. I went to the dermatologist, because my hair has been falling out for over a month now, very depressing, so i was also put on antidepressants, to try to cope with that.
    My hemoglobin was 14.1 and my ferratin was 14, so she told me to only take 300mg of ferroussulfate 1x a day, but then because I had been having alot of hip pain, mri shows bursitis, my ortho doctor told me i could take the iron pill 3x a day, but i didnt know about the vitamin c. So how does a person know how much to really take without getting too much, which could be toxic, and make my hair to fall out even more. Any advice

  12. Sarah…..Your ferritin levels are low and on top of that you are pregnant. Low ferritin has been linked to depression, poor memory and of course low energy. I would get a second opinion as when my ferritin levels go below 10 I have an iron transfusion.
    When i was pregnant with my twins my levels went so low that I needed a blood transfusion. I thought I had a virus and went to hospital only to find my iron level had dropped dangerously low. I am not saying that would happen to you but baby takes a lot from you and I would just mention that normal levels are 15-75 and anything lower you need a top up of iron. Hope that helps.

  13. I just recently found out my hemoglobin is a 9.6 and my ferritin is a 3. My doc prescribed some iron pills and doesn’t seem to be worried. However, I have been dealing with disorientation,mild dizziness, sensitvity to light and a higher level of anxiety. Does this seem normal? Oh and my iron pills make me very ill. I also have had severe leg cramps and no energy. Can all of this be resolved with iron pills? If they make me too sick can I receive iron through an IV/transfusion? I appreciate any words of wisdom/advice:)
    37 year old concerned mom

  14. Hi Carolin, Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post with your experience. Are you in The USA? I’m in France and just don’t think they have the same understanding over the importance of ferritin levels, I’m very frustrated as I’ve been studying for my driving theory (taking it this week) and hope to have my driving license before the babys born!! but its been such a struggle with memory, concentration levels e.t.c., the doctors here just say ‘ you know thats what ts like being pregnant (which drives me nuts – this is my 3rd pregnancy), but your hemoglobins good’.

    I have a swiss doctor friend who has offered to send me the iron perfusion to be injected by my (sister-in-law) nurse but am scared to do it outside of ‘the system’ in case there are any dangerous side effects for me or baby and I have no follow up care or support. If you have time could you tell me if there are any known risks with an iron perfusion?

    thanks so much, sarah

  15. Response to other Karen (Jul. 10, 2009): Found this site while I was googling to see what high hemoglobin/low ferritin might mean. Focused in on your sentence, “Iron pills make me ill.” Me too. Tried several kinds, then one nutritionally-oriented doc put me on Floradix (www.florahealth.com/floradix). It’s liquid, full of good stuff, and doesn’t taste bad. Follow directions to get the dose your doc ordered.
    The leg cramps could very well be due to depleted calcium, because iron bonds with calcium and both are then excreted from the body in feces. DO NOT take iron within 2 hours of taking calcium. And WHEN (not IF) you supplement your calcium, be sure that for every 600 milligrams you are getting 300+ milligrams of Magnesium, as this mineral is critical for muscle function. Don’t want to sound like a commercial, but I use LifeTime liquid Cal/Mag citrate (www.lifetimevitamins.com/products/lifetime_calmag_citrate.html), again because the horse pills calcium comes in seem to upset my stomach, and this doesn’t. I like the strawberry flavor; it’s actually very good :=) I take it around bedtime and it helps me sleep better.
    The dizziness, disorientation, and anxiety sound like something else, so keep calling your doc until you get answers. You deserve to know what’s going on in your own body.
    Health is a tricky balancing act, and I’m rooting for you to find your balance. I hope you feel better soon!
    –Karen in Seattle (age 51)

  16. I’ve found this website while googling low ferritin and just wanted to share my story. I went to the doctor in December 2008 complaining of heavy and long lasting periods (up to 8 weeks at a time). I was always tired and had no energy. The doctor ran some tests and my ferritin level was at 4. On top of that the doc sent me to get a sonohysterogram versus an ultrasound and they’ve noticed polyps. My polyps were small (a few millimeters in diameter).
    In January 2009 I had polyps removed from the lining of my uterus. A polyp is an overgrowth of tissue in the lining of the uterus. The concept is similar to that of a skin tag – basically normal tissue, but growing in an abnormal formation. They were the cause of the heavy bleeding (they were not periods).
    After my polyps were removed I thought I was on the way to recovery, however I only got my period once in February 2009 and not until June 2009 (and ongoing today). My heavy periods came back, along with always feeling tired, finding it extremely difficult to concentrate, upset for the smallest things, inability to remember things and out of breath while walking any distance. I have to walk really slowly other wise I get cramps in my calves and can’t catch my breath. I’m 28 years old and this is really taking over my life. I would be lying if I said this is not affecting my performance at work. This is really frustrating and I just want my old self back.
    Anyhow I have an appointment this afternoon for an ultrasound. I just know my polyps are back.
    – Karen from Toronto, ON Cananda

  17. I was on spatone for two years and my ferritin levels have stayed at 5. I’m now on 300mg of iron twice a day which STILL hasn’t boosted my ferritin level. I’ve now been on iron for 3 years but with no result.
    I’m hoping to go privately to a haematologist to check my stomach lining and my intestines to see if there’s something wrong. I may also ask for an IV iron infusion – I’m only 16 years old and I’ve had enough of the lack of energy, muggy headaches, low blood pressure, high heart rate and insomnia. I feel like an old woman!

    Anyone else in this situation I would love to hear from you!

  18. If anyone can give more advice, I would be grateful. For quite some time now I have been bleeding from my rectum and having bloating and left abdomen pain (my doctor is assuming it’s probably hemmoroids).
    I also started having anxiety attacks (MD put me on antidepressants for that).
    Then just the past several weeks I have been extremly exhausted. I yawn all day at work and have a hard time concentrating. When I am home I can do nothing more than sit on the couch or lay down in bed. I literally can not get myself up and moving. I also look sick; my skin is pale and ashy.
    My doctor tells me it’s probably caused by stress and not to worry. But I know my body and this is NOT normal.
    To calm my worries she ordered some blood test just to ease my mind. These are my results.
    HGB 10.8
    HEMATOCRIT 32.8
    FERRITIN 7
    Well now I see why I am so tired. I am now just waiting to see what my MD says. This exhaustion is taking over my life.
    Thanks,
    40yr old mom who is tired, irritable and in a blah mood lately.

  19. Rachel, hi.

    I recently found out I have extremely low ferritin (1) and am taking iron supplements and having a bunch of tests done to figure out the underlying cause. I feel fine and only discovered the low iron during a routine physical exam and blood test. One thing my doctor is testic for is Celiac disease. It’s an intolerance to gluten (wheat products) which makes it impossible for you to absorb iron and other nutrients. This could explain why even supplements have not helped you raise your iron level. If you haven’t been tested for it you might want to ask your doctor if you should be.

  20. Amy,

    thanks for your reply, I should have mentioned that I’ve already been tested for celiacs disease and it was negative, so I’m kinda at a loss of what to do to get better!
    Like I said, I’m hoping to visit a haematologist who can hopefully look into think like my intestines, stomach and bone marrow to see if there’s anything more sinister, but I hope not!

    If anyone else is in this situation please feel free to reply :)

  21. I have Restless Leg Syndrome and a low, but not very low, ferritin level, 18. I’d like to get an iron transfusion since the oral supplements don’t seem to be helping. Has anyone had any luck getting a doctor to do a transfusion, here in the US or anywhere else? I’d like to know what the protocols are in other countries. I have a feeling that the reason there are no large studies of how low iron effects/causes RLS is because there’s very little profit in it for pharmaceutical companies. Thanks.

    alh

  22. Hi Aria,
    Good news for you. I have the same problem and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville FL gives me Iron Infusions weekly. My Ferritin level is 13 and they have told me it will be months before it gets to a 50 level or so. I can say that the night I get the infusion, I have no RLS problems. It lasts for a couple of days than tends to return. Then I go back. I wonder after reading the other comments on this site if Vit. C will work? I must check that out. Good luck to you.

    Bruce

  23. I have had ferritin levels of <5 and hb 8.5. I have 800gms iron infusion every 5- 6 months. the Doc.s all tell me i have internal bleeding but I have no visible signs – internal or external. I have no periods, no blood in stools nor urine so where does it go? I have have cameras up, cameras down, even very small cameras up my nose and into my small intestine with no signs of abnormality or bleeding, yet still they say I’m bleeding in my gut. Confused or what. After my last iron infusion my ferritin was 90, six weeks later it’s 60, I have no sign of blood loss but it goes down very rapidly. the consultant tells me the only reason for it going down is due to internal bleeding, they do not believe me when I say I have none. I am going round in circles.
    50 year old woman, wife, mother, slave etc.

  24. I also just got the results back from my test. I have a Ferritin level of 1, hemoglobin level of 7.2, iron level of 9, MCV level in the 50’s. My white blood cells are in normal range as are my red blood cells. Doc prescribed 325 ferrous sulfate 3 times a day. Next week i have to get my reticulocytes tested and in september i am getting the scope down my throat and small intestine to see if i have an ulcer. I dont have any bleeding though. What if it isnt an ulcer? What are the other possibilities? Oh and my TIBC (Total Iron Binding Capacity) is a bit high.

  25. my level is also 1, im pregnant too,all you can do is take iron supplements and see if that helps, doctor should follow that up

  26. Hello, my name is Katheline and I have been having iron infusion therapy since April of this year. I have had a hysterectomy to control blood loss, since my blood count was 5.6 and other female issues. I am also a gastric bypass patient. November of 2007. My ferritin is a 2, and my folate test was also a 2. I am always extremely tired, depressed, mentally confused and forgetful. At night my legs cramp up and i have trouble sleeping, but all I want to do is sleep. I have had a colonoscopy, a endoscopy both were negative. My hematologist is not sure if I am losing iron due to the GBS surgery i had. He says I may have some internal bleeding. But I have had all the tests and they were negative. I am very frustrated and wish someone can tell me what is going on. I just had infusion on Thursday and go back on the 15th, has anyone had a similar problem? Please help or pass on any advice. Thank you.

  27. hi i am 5 and a hlf months pregnant am worried as doc has sent me a letter saying my HB level is 10.7 and that i need to take 200 mg of iron starting asap. am worried as no mention of anything else on letter. should i be concerned

  28. My best advice to you would be to get another doctor! Low Ferritin/Iron needs to be treated by a hemotologist.

  29. hi , i have had a blood test , my ferritin level is 6 and my hb is 11.3. i have a low b12 which i have an injection for. i have extreme tiredness, hair loss low mood. do i need to worry? i hate feeling like this. linda

  30. I have pernicious anemia and I have low B12 and get injections as well. I also take Chromagen Forte for low ferritin and iron as well as sleep aids for the insomnia. Have you been tested for pernicious anemia (an autoimmune disease that attacks the intrinsic factor in the stomach which allows you to absorb B12)? A blood test which is positive for anti parietal cells can indicate pernicious anemia.

  31. Hi my name is leah i have b12 deficiancy and i have b12 injections every 3 months for the rest of my life just recently i started to feel extreamly tired and drained was having bad anxiaty, not sleeping properly and i had mouth ulcers which is a sign my b12 is low i contacted the doctor and asked for my injection 1 week early i asked for some bloods to be done 1st to check my ferritin level they did this and it came back low at 10 they have put me on ferrous fumarate 210mg 3 times a day im just wondering they never checked my hb and is thinking should they have its bad enough having pernicious anemia now ive got anemia as well should they be checking why this is happening.

  32. Has anyone had horrible leg cramps that were relieved by taking iron supplements? I had terrible leg cramps for 4+ years and finally discovered Floradix ( a liquid iron and herbal supplement). It contains elemental iron listed as ferrous gluconate. It’s the only thing that has greatly alleviated my cramps. But I remain curious as to why it has been of help. My Ferritin level has been low … I have yet to get it rechecked since taking the Floradix. I have found the ferrous gluconate in pill version available on line and also at Walmart for a lot less than the Floradix which runs $39 a bottle (lasts about a month). Don’t yet know whether the much less expensive pill version works to alleviate cramps as does the Floradix.

  33. I am four years out from gastric bypass, and found that my ferritin level was seven. I went to my internist and he followed me after three weeks my hemoglobin was 13. He told me to discontinue the iron supplements. I called back to see if they did a ferritin test and was told no. He said that if the hemogolibn came back as 13 my ferritin test would be normal. I have found after two weeks of discontinuing the iron I am tired again, losing sleep, and having problems with shortness of breath. Thanks for this posting I think I will find another doctor to test my ferritin levels. I also have a family history of prenious anemia (grandmother and uncle) is it hard to find a doctor that will listen to me. I also have a burning sensation on my tongue and mouth. Has anyone had these symptoms?

  34. My friend has ferretin level of 6….she is a vegeterian and thinks that is the reason. Mostly poor diet. The Dr is pushing for an endoscopy. Is this crazy? She feels excellent

  35. HI I have sever hemoglobin problems and also had GBS. Talked to someone had same problems
    Had 4 iron infusions last month and had bleeding ulcer .
    told this happens to by pass patients.
    Now im losing my hair . I m reading this too is lack of iron and amemia or too much iron even.
    This is problem for GBS PEOPLE . Im nancyb0305@yahoo.com and can be reached here .

  36. had iron problems also . I also had GBS and looks like this is common problem for GBS people. We are not absorbing Iron like we should. Now I am losing my hair so something is still wrong. I just had 4 iron infusions. My hemoglobin was 5 but I had bleeding ulcer . Now my hemoglobin is up but hair is falling out now . This is because of GBS. I finished infusions 2 weeks ago and on 2 x 325 iron pills a day .
    Now i find hair falling out. Concerned and reading this too is from lack of Iron and also too much Iron.
    Also I can eat so much food again after 5 years later for GBS
    Anyone else have hair loss situation

  37. Val,
    What are they trying to rule out?
    Mine is 7, and I am taking the same medication to get it up.
    What could this low ferritin level and my poor brain be symptoms of..
    Tammy

  38. I am wondering if it helped with the leg cramping because it had “Potassium” in it?? Many time leg cramps are an indication of “Low Patassium”
    I hope this helps, it looks like many people are having leg cramps.

  39. I would love to hear from and keep in touch with others who have problems with a low ferritin level. if anyone would like to contact me for this please do. im on charlottex7362@aol.com. im a 46 year old woman who has been having headaches, nausea and bad stomach all the time, feeling very depressed, irritable, moody. wouldbe nice to be in touch with others and i do not check this site, so please write if interested or i will not know about you. thanks and merry christmas

  40. Hi, I saw my GP towards the end of November as I was exhausted and was also suffering from restless leg syndrome at night. Blood tests showed at haemoglobin of 11.5 and ferritin of 4.7. I have tried iron tablets and liqud and I cant tolerate either. I had the tests repeated last week, one month after the 1st test and my haemoglobin is now 11.3 and ferritin 3.6. My haemocrit is also low 0.343 and so is MCV = 79.2 and MCH = 26.1. My red blood cell distribution width is high at 16.9, something to do with cell size I think??? Anyway, my GP tried to refer me to Haemotologist who has refused me and suggested I see the gastro people instead. Problem is I have been there and done that for IBS last year. I had both cameras, scans you name it, all negative. Dr now not sure what to do, so says come back for another blood test in 6 weeks!!!! Anyone got any advice please?. Female, 31, Mum of 3. UK

  41. Have you since found out what is causing your low ferritin levels EVEN AFTER having repeated iron infusions? The same thing has been happening with me and my hematologist can’t find the cause: many different tests for internal blood loss including a recent camera-swallow study to investigate the small intestines and that was negative too. I hope you or someone else with the same situation after repeated infusions has a reason/answer. Thanks.

  42. I have had a chronic cough for 7 months now. I have been through 2 medicines and several tests. I found out I have a hiatal hernia. They did blood work and my ferritin level was a 4.5. I am now getting referred to the gastroenterologist. I want the hernia fixed and to get the problem fixed. Why does it always seem as doctors want to always refer you to another doctor instead of making a diagnosis ? I am sick of coughing! Fix the hernia already!

  43. Just finished reading some of your comments and I found them very interesting. I’ve been battling low ferritin for 20-25 years. It goes up (with treatment) and then goes down. I cannot take iron supplements so have to get the I.V. treatments which I hate. The reason I’m commenting is once you’ve been diagnosed with low ferritin, you’ll need to keep on your doc to checking it on a regular basis. Yes, sometimes docs forget too. There is absolutely no excuse for someones ferritin level being as low as 1. When I was first diagnosed, mine was down to 4 and I could barely get out of bed and nearly fell asleep while driving. Now when I get that dragging feeling for more than a few days, I know what’s up. It’s not laziness, fatigue but total exhaustion. Right folks?

  44. Both my daugthers who are elite athletes, healthy eaters have been diagnosed with ferritin levels of -1 and 2. Should we be looking into a genetic or heredity component. It seems odd to me. The doctors are amazed that they are both functioning so well doing college studies and division 1 athletics. Any advice?

  45. I’m finally feeling better and I wanted to pass along my tip. I have no idea if it will work for anyone else but I am doing pretty darn great as of this week. I never had an iron deficiency until I donated blood 3 times this past summer, every two months. All seemed fine until I went to donate for the 4th time in the fall and was turned away for low iron (9.9). I immediately started on SlowFE after seeing my PCP. Then, every month there after, I progressively felt worse and worse. Five months later, I ended up at a hematology appt attempting to get iron sucrose through iv and passed out in a pool of sweat within minutes. I spoke with a friend of mine and she was listening to my story of slow decline and she came up with the idea that it was the iron pills that were making me ill. So, I went off all my iron supplements and within one week I was feel remarkably better. My ferritin is currently at 19 and I plan to get it checked in the next couple of months. At my worst I could not walk in one room of my home without feeling like I was going to fall over from loss of balance. I had such shortness of breath I could not keep my arms above my head for more than 5 seconds without becoming winded. I had cramping in my upper arms and upper legs, and I had a permanent tickle in the back of my throat due to sinus drainage. I have had extremely heavy periods for the last 6 years and had no anemia until I donated blood. I just had a uterine ablation which should eliminate future monthly blood loss and I plan to never donate blood again. So, since I can’t successfully take iron supplements or iv, I’m trying to get all of my iron through food sources. I have no idea where this will take me in the next few months but I feel so great I thought I’d pass this along. All of the above symptoms are gone. I certainly hope we all find what it takes to feel healthy again. Take care. Karen (age 39)

  46. My ferratin is 1, my hb is 7.1, I also have an underactive thyroid.
    I recently went to my gp because I was feeling totally exhausted, i feel like all i’m ever doing is sleeping, i know i want to get up, but my body has other ideas.
    My gp sent me to A&E for an iron infusion, but to mine and my gp’s horror, i was sent away !!!!!
    I have always been a very active person, running, swimming, cycling, so feeling like this is a totl blow to me.
    I am 30 years old and a mother of 5 children, which 3 of them are young girls.
    My oldest daughter is 10 years old, and i’ve noticed that she is constantly cold, tired and always ill, she fainted recently also.

    I took her to my gp, but he won’t listen to my concerns

    I want to know does anyone think that this condition could be hereditary??

    Can i ask for a second opinion, or even ask to be referd to a haematologist ??

  47. I just got only my ferritin level done.. and it was a 9, women should be between 18-160 ng/mL.

    Also a very good supplement would be the liquid ferrous sulfate elixir. It absorbs faster and should work great. I just haven’t taken mine in 3 years and had 2 kids in between that.

    Also, Annette, Im a runner myself, and my personal coach has told me to always keep up with my iron, and since your active all the time, its a good idea to take the iron supplement.

    I dont think its hereditary, as most women, will have this problem, if you can find a good dr to get her tested, that would be great for her!

  48. So im 8mths pregnant an my doctor is worried my iron level is 8.0 they were telling me at 6.0 a blood transfusion is needed. so i had to get blood work today an im waitign on my results…should i be worried? my baby will be here anyday an i hope this doesnt cause any problems for me at delivery..

  49. I had a transfusion before and I was also worried but they assured me that the blood they use has been screened and within a few hours the blood will get warm so they have a certain amount of time to inject it before it gets warm. If it gets warm it’s of no value and they replace it with another bag of blood. You need your levels up so you can be a healthy mom after any birth you loose blood and you don’t have any to waste so I think you should do the transfusion,you’ll feel like a million bucks afterward. Good luck!

  50. Hi E,
    Have you ever been checked for pernicious anemia?

  51. hi… im 42 and have been feeling very low and dizzie for some time. went to the dr;s and had blood tests found out i needed iron my level was low at 7 when it sould be at least 15.
    since taking my prescribed iron supplements i have been feeling lethargic and a little nausea, along with dark green poo ha ha yuk!
    now ive been getting a pain in my back under my shoulder blade and hurts like hell if i sneeze or cough as if im being injected with a huge needle. could this be a symptom of the supplement im on.
    ive only taken them for about 5 days and they are 200mg and im to take 3 a day. what should i do? any ideas i dont want to waste the dr’s time.:)
    thanks guys

  52. Hello, my daughter is 8 months pregnant and her iron is really low. They put her on supplements yesterday, but said that she might have to have a blood transfusion. Her due date is July 13. What was your experience, was there any side-effects and did it have any affect on your baby? As a Mom I am very concerned.

  53. Michele….check your thyroid levels!!!!!! (TSH, free T3, free T4).
    I was exhausted all the time and was diagnosed with hypothyoridism (underactive thyroid). Went on Synthroid and it definitely helped.

  54. My ferritin level is 7, but when I have tried to take iron supplements my blood pressure soars and I feel even more fatigued than usual. I am on Levoxyl for hypothyroidism, and in the past the iron supplements have had resulted in a higher TSH score. Besides the fibromyalgia and fatigue, I feel as if I am in between a rock and a hard place.

  55. I have had very low iron for last 3 years. At first they gave blood transfusion, then iron and then a check up a year later at which time I have almost no iron in my system – lowest Doctors had seen, I was losing hair, ears burning, muscles cramping and couldn’t walk 5 feet without stopping to rest. I had to have iron therapy infusion in February, then waited and then in July went on 160 mg of iron a day and still no iron – another transfusion.

  56. I have had very low iron for last 3 years. At first they gave blood transfusion, then iron and then a check up a year later at which time I have almost no iron in my system – lowest Doctors had seen, I was losing hair, ears burning, muscles cramping and couldn\’t walk 5 feet without stopping to rest. I had to have iron therapy infusion in February, then waited and then in July went on 160 mg of iron a day and still no iron – another transfusion.

  57. Hi I’ve got hb of 7.2 I have already had one blood transfution and I don’t want another iron tabs make me feel awfull, I’m extremely light headed and my doc said if I don’t have a transfusion I’ll die as I don’t have any iron to remake the heamaglobin? Is this true or is he just trying to make me have blood? I am bulimic too. I lose masses of hair and my legs cramp up at night, my pelvis aches too. My low hb is due to acute blood loss. Any one help? I’m 23 female

  58. My name is Elizabeth. I just found out yesterday that I have low iron and low ferritin. I had never heard of this before yesterday. I went to my dermatologists because my hair had been falling out real bad. He has referred me to my primary doctor. Along with the hair loss, I do get leg cramps, and I have been craving ice. (my dentist is not going to be too happy) I am very tired most of the day, have no get up and go. Now I know why. When I see my primary doctor, I’ll check back and let you all know what he has prescribed for me. My iron levels are at 50ug/dL and my ferritin level is at 9 ug/L.

  59. I haven had iron deficency anemia since I was a teen and my body doesn’t absorb the pills so from time to time I have to get IV iron infusions done. I know when I need one when I start to eat ice and really tired all the time. That is some side effects of having low iron. My ferratin level last time was a 5 and since then has gone up alot after having an infusion. I was pregnant last year and ending up needing a blood transfusion. I had fainted in the shower and before that I could only go about 3 feet then have to stop and sit or I would get dizzy and I literally had no energy to walk. Once I got into the hospital the tired the IV infusion and it didn’t help at all so ended up getting a blood transfusion. My hemoglobin leve at this point was a 5.6 and thats pretty low. If you don’t bring up your levels you could possibly die due to your red blood cells not making enough in which in turn doesn’t carry the oxygen to your body that it needs. The best people are to see for this is a hemotologist from my experiece. My regular doctors everytime I go is a new one due to hubby being in military and they all want to put me on a iron pill which I explain time and time again that my body doesn’t absorb and I’ve had this problem since I was a teen. So if you can try to get refered to a hemotologist. Just thought I share my experiences with ya’ll.

  60. what will happen if ferritin level increased up to 3700 due to Venofer injections………..what will be the side effects and how to get it back to normal.
    please Advise.

  61. hi, are there any proven fixes for a low ferritin count? I was a 5 a few months ago, and am now at 7. doctors want to scope me from both ends. previous to this, i was given iron tablets – but this does not work. other than feeling tired sometimes (maybe because i am mom of 4 young ones), i am ok.
    look forward to your comments.
    thanks
    jane

  62. Hi, I have read alot of your stories. I can relate!!! About two years ago my Ferritin was at a 1. I went to a Hematologist, which gave me 7 days of iron infusion (Ferrlicet). I was starting to feel very tired, loss of memory, craving ice etc. Just went back today and my Ferritin is back down to a 5. I am starting my next course of iron infusions. My question is…….why does it keep dropping?

  63. Hi…I’ve had Venofer infusions and blood transfusions for my low iron…my ferritin was tested today and it was at 5.0 I was moved to the clinic and given my first of 6 Venofer infusions. Previously I was admited into the hospital and had 2 blood transfusions and followed that up with 12 infusions of Venofer…twice weekly for 6 weeks. It was wonderful..I had forgotten what it was like to not be tired or having yet another headache or feeling dizzy The worst thing was loss of concentration. Getting lost driving somewhere I had been to before or spending most of my day Iooking for things I had misplaced and couldn’t find. I would get so upset n nervous and dizzy .The Venofer helped me so much. I wasn’t happy when the dr told me today (11/6/2010 ) that my ferritin count was back down to 5.0 and I had to go start all over again…6 infusions to start with..then go from there…but considering the alternatives…I’m doing it. I hope all of you will find what works for you. My drs have been wonderful and I thank God for them ! Good Luck !! Kathy B

  64. Hi again my HB is now 5.5 and ferretin is 1. Don’t feel to bad really, cramps have gone hairloss has stopped and just left with fatigue. Doctor is screwing over me having a transfution of blood. I really don’t want one. I said he can force me? Is this true? Surely my body my choice. How low can HB go?

  65. my mom has very very low iron on her blood test it shows thta iron is not igcistent and she has no memory and iget scared

  66. hi i have the same syptoms i had gastric bypass as well and my ferrtin is 4 what did they find to be the cause i have been scope up and down with nothing but still loseing blood some were i had the histrectomy to any thing any news would be great

  67. I have been doing alot of reading on the subject since I also have low ferritin at a 7. I have been tested for Celiacs Disease and the test was negative but my doctor told me I could still be gluten intolerant. Gluten has been proven to block absorption of iron so maybe something you all should try, I am just starting to figure out how to eliminate gluten from my diet completely. I am 26 and have been iron deficient anemic for over 10 years and I have always had bad reactions to iron prescriptions. I really enjoy an over the counter iron supplement by Garden of Life, all of their vitamins are derived from raw food so it is much easy for your body to absorb. I just am not very good at taking pills so I am really going to try. I have alot of the symptons that you all have noted such as severe leg cramps,depression,anxiety,fatigue,mental fogginess, poor concentration and memory.I also have a period twice a month lasts about 10 days each time and about 4 day period of that time is very heavy. I had no idea that all of these symptons were from my lack of iron so I am relieved to know that this may be something I can control with change of diet and the right supplement.

  68. hey..yes i have RLS badly…am working with Dr Early at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore,MD.
    I just had an iron infusion..my feritin was 7….i have very little energy….

    he detoxed me form mirapex and now i am on low low dose of methodone…long stories but after 6 weeks things have setled down..except my iuron issue we still are working on it…su

  69. I have had a feritin level of 4 for the past year (checked every 3 months) My PA sent me to an MD for a possible iron transfusion, but he will not do it. Is there side effects from the transfusions? He told me to take iron supplements whenever possible. I do not tolerate them and get very sick. Why is he so hesitant to do the transfusion?

  70. I have had extremely low ferritin for years. Have had endoscopic, colonoscopic, and laprascopic procedures done as well to find causes of my inability to absorb and retain iron. I have had 2 intravenous iron treatments and am scheduled for my third in a few weeks. What I ended up figuring out, with a LOT of research and insisting that my doctor order some tests, was that I am hypothyroid. Without enough iron in your body your thyroid cannot function properly. If your thyroid does not function properly it can affect your other body systems as well. Namely, your metabolic process is out of whack, your digestive system is also out of whack and you just plain feel YUCKY. Hope this helps others. P.S. significant hair loss forced me to search for my own answers, but I had many other symptoms as well.

  71. Also, if your ferritin is low you really need to be working with a hematologist and if your thyroid is not functioning properly then you need to be consulting with an endocronologist, as general practitioners are not experts in these matters. Good Luck.

  72. hi guys wonder if any1 can help??
    I,ve just returned from the doctors with my latest blood results and came out rather confused….
    I,m insulin diabetic and have suffered with extreame heavy periods since i had my 1st child 11 years ago. I have a 6 year old to.
    blood tests were taken to the fact i was extreamly tired every month and also regular diabetic bloods taken.
    the results showed my ferritin levels are 7 but my hb levels are 12.2…
    but what we also discovered is that i am pregnant again..
    shes advised that as i’m early pregnant i can’t take iron
    supplements yet but i should eat high iron foods because of the ferritin levels.. but in my mind i souldn’t be eating high iron foods..
    hope some1 can help and i’ve not confused you all x

  73. I haven’t seen Proferrin mentioned here anywhere. It is a great supplement. It is expensive though. I take two a day and my ferritin is rising consistently.

  74. Hi,
    It is really interesting to read all of the posts. I have been anemic since my early teens,[I'm now 50], poor tolerance of iron tablets, liquid iron doesn’t do much, iron injections helped but now discontinued in the UK. My haemotologist now prescribes Cosmifer, an iron infusion approx 9-12 months apart as and when I need it. Going in for the next one next week .hurrah..as I have a ferritin level of 2, although my Hb is okay at 9.5. Luckily I work in a Path Lab so blood tests are easy to get done.Trying to keep going in a fulltime job and looking after a family when you’re feeling pretty grim is not the easiest of things, but usually a couple of weeks after the infusion,I feel so much better and begin to function properly again. Can’t wait!

  75. My Hematologist stated that the lab values for low normal Ferritin-13-, “is crap”
    According to him 100 is a realistic value for women.
    He also told me that I have most likely been deficient since the birth of my last child, when most OB/GYN’s tell their patients to finish their pre-natal vitamins & then discontinue. I also breast fed my child for 3 years before becoming pregnant again, with a miscarriage in between.
    My ferritin level is 10; I have had numerous tests to rule out gastrointestinal bleeding, I do have hypothyroidism, hair loss, life changing fatigue that leaves me in bed many days when I used to swim a mile every day, weight lift, college, full time heavy physical labor 24/7 on horse farm, family, & non-profit organization. Now I lie in bed & sleep most of the day.
    When I started complaining of fatigue 7 years ago all the doctors I saw from different specialities kept asking me if I was depressed! Told them I was going to be depressed if someone didn’t figure out what was wrong!
    Starting bio-identical hormone replacement did help to a point after a short course of Tamoxifen, but soon the estrogen stopped helping. Without the estrogen I would probably be worse off, I wholeheartedly believe the concept of keeping your hormones, ALL your hormones in balance as a means of keeping you healthy. much better than a list of medications with long lists of dangerous side effects.
    I have always been sensitive to reduced sunlight, again part of the body’s natural response to less sunlight which effects the level of hormones in your body.
    I had my 1st iron infusion today, 6 hours, no problems. Read, shopped on EBay, slept. Hopefully in a few weeks I will wake up & be ready to go. I know I have lost muscle mass & aerobic conditioning, but I hope that will come back in time.
    People who do not suffer from this overwhelming fatigue have no idea, they compare it to feeling tired @ the end of the day. No comparison. This fatigue is exhaustion like when you are running a fever of 104 every day. There is NOTHING there, nothing. When I am tired I can do mind over matter, with this I cannot. I have burned out my adrenals by running on adrenalin to get work done. There is nothing left. Nothing.
    Exhausted But Still Hoping

  76. My Hematologist stated that the lab values for low normal Ferritin-13-, \”is crap\”
    According to him 100 is a realistic value for women.
    He also told me that I have most likely been deficient since the birth of my last child, when most OB/GYN\’s tell their patients to finish their pre-natal vitamins & then discontinue. I also breast fed my child for 3 years before becoming pregnant again, with a miscarriage in between.
    My ferritin level is 10; I have had numerous tests to rule out gastrointestinal bleeding, I do have hypothyroidism, hair loss, life changing fatigue that leaves me in bed many days when I used to swim a mile every day, weight lift, college, full time heavy physical labor 24/7 on horse farm, family, & non-profit organization. Now I lie in bed & sleep most of the day.
    When I started complaining of fatigue 7 years ago all the doctors I saw from different specialities kept asking me if I was depressed! Told them I was going to be depressed if someone didn\’t figure out what was wrong!
    Starting bio-identical hormone replacement did help to a point after a short course of Tamoxifen, but soon the estrogen stopped helping. Without the estrogen I would probably be worse off, I wholeheartedly believe the concept of keeping your hormones, ALL your hormones in balance as a means of keeping you healthy. much better than a list of medications with long lists of dangerous side effects.
    I have always been sensitive to reduced sunlight, again part of the body\’s natural response to less sunlight which effects the level of hormones in your body.
    I had my 1st iron infusion today, 6 hours, no problems. Read, shopped on EBay, slept. Hopefully in a few weeks I will wake up & be ready to go. I know I have lost muscle mass & aerobic conditioning, but I hope that will come back in time.
    People who do not suffer from this overwhelming fatigue have no idea, they compare it to feeling tired @ the end of the day. No comparison. This fatigue is exhaustion like when you are running a fever of 104 every day. There is NOTHING there, nothing. When I am tired I can do mind over matter, with this I cannot. I have burned out my adrenals by running on adrenalin to get work done. There is nothing left. Nothing.
    Exhausted But Still Hoping

  77. I had a intestinal bypass back in 1970…..due to major anemia…I was hooked back up normally about 10 months later…by then I had had 27 units of blood….no where was I leaking..they blamed it on taking out to much intestine…they went back in..did a modified one…and then in 1994,,,due to health probs I was hooked back up normally….then about 6 years ago,….I had the ferritin problem…mine too was 1….I got 5 units of blood…and it stayed normal for about 8 months and then plummeted…back to 1…I am on 100mg of dexferrum every 2 weeks and have been for the last 5 years and now I am up to 19……iron supplements by mouth did not work…but least the shots are….but without them…..I guess I would die…I will be on them the rest of my life or have to have blood for that long too…..good luck…..

  78. me unfurtanly……im at 2.0, but im getting Venafor to treat it ….i hope dose the job.

  79. Hi Guys. I had RNY gastric bypass in 2002. A couple years post, I began getting dizzy, tired, short of breath, etc. I was anemic. They believed it was an isolated incident, patched me up and said I was good to go. A couple more years later, I became extremely tired, dizziness again, irritable, near passing out, just miserable. I went to the ER. I had a hemoglobin of 7. I was admitted & had a blood transfusion. Same thing, claimed it was isolated, patched me up & sent me on my own. Then, in 2008 I was sooo sick that I couldn’t swallow & lost 20 pounds. I was losing hair, itching all the time, super depressed, weak, leg cramps & pain all night, my bones hurt, was exhausted upon extertion, craved ice, short of breath, confused like I was drunk or something, just seriously ill. I was back in the ER, my hemoglobin was 5, ferritin was less than 1. Admitted again, 4 units of blood. I was hooked up with an AMAZING hematologist. He said severe anemia caused throat stricture, which didn’t allow me to swallow (nobody else knew this!), that my ice craving was called Pica & that all my symptoms were classic. I will NEVER absord iron as I should bc of my bypass surgery. I get Venafur every couple of months & will until the day that I die. Thanks & good luck all!!!

  80. Hey, my ferratin is at 2 and it should be between 15-200, I’ve had loHB for about 12 years but docs just say its a female thing! And I’ll have to take iron for the rest of my life :( I’m gonna get more tests though because they won’t do anything about my periods to help and they can’t even be sure that’s the reason for it!!! I’m on something other then ferrous sulphate as I have to take liquid and you can only take that for six months. My advice is to eat all iron rich foods and use supplements and avoid tea and coffee when taking iron too …Ali 31 mother and general dogsbody!

  81. Hey Ali I just found out the same thing today, 2 for me as well. I am so sick and have been having the worst headaches. Dr. put me on iron supps and go back in 2 weeks to check levels again. This is just no fun. Really hard to take care of myself let alone the kids when all I want to do is lay in bed and sleep. If you need anyone to talk to, I’m here!

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