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Having pain in lower back, chest, legs and arms. Blood test done. Found anaemia. Any cure?

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I am female, age 30. I have mid to lower back pain on one side, more prominent veins on my chest, legs and arms.
I have gained 5 lbs in 8 weeks, and my stomach is protruding more and my lower legs around my ankles and feet are swelling mildly. I haven't missed any cycles and I had a blood test done March 13 that came back negative for pregnancy (level less than 2) and my last sexual intercourse was January 13. The tests also confirmed severe iron deficiency anemia, with 3% total iron saturation.
Are my symptoms normal for iron deficiency? I keep being anxious re pregnancy. Thank you.
Posted Sat, 11 May 2013 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 10 hours later
Hello and thank you for sending your question.

Iron deficiency can cause a multitude of symptoms. I do not Think it is common for swelling or weight gain to be associated with iron deficiency. I would encourage you to obtain another pregnancy test to rule this out completely.

Also, did your doctor check your ferritin level? This level tells us the approximate amount of total body storage iron there is. If you have severe iron deficiency your doctor might consider giving you intravenous iron infusions to help restore your iron stores.

In a young female such as yourself the most common cause of iron deficiency anemia is heavy menstrual bleeding. I would encourage you to discuss the possible cause of your anemia and iron deficiency with your doctor. After that you can discuss the most appropriate way to approach this with either iron infusion or oral iron supplementation.

After you restore your iron you can observe to see if these other symptoms slowly resolved.

Thanks again for sending your question. Please let me know if you have additional concerns.


Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having pain in lower back, chest, legs and arms. Blood test done. Found anaemia. Any cure? 24 hours later
According to my bloodwork results that were given to me, my ferritin is 3 ng/mL, I'm set to follow up with a hematologist this week.
My dr is thinking the other symptoms are due to stress and being sedentary due to my low energy from the lack of iron, and 3 out of my last 5 cycles were heavy.
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 2 hours later
Thanks for the additional info.

This low ferritin confirms iron deficiency for sure. As I said - likely this is from heavy menses. You should also make sure there is no evidence of gastrointestinal bleeding. This can be done with a simple stool test.

The hematologist may recommend intravenous infusions to restore your iron. Over the next few weeks this should slowly help you feel stronger and more energetic.

Thanks again for your query,

Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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