Is iron deficiency a common side-effect of having a stomach evacuation procedure?

Posted on Wed, 17 Jun 2015 in Digestion and Bowels
Question: I am a male retired dentist. D.O.B.Dec. 166, 1938.
I had emergency small bowel resection surgery on October 28, 2013, consisting of removal of 42 cm of small bowel 3 ft. past the Ligament of Treitz. The surgery was performed about 48 hours after presenting for symptoms of intense pain and inability to keep down either food or water for 1 day. The surgeon reported that the bowel had formed a loop and was strangling itself. I was hospitalized for 2 weeks during the first 1 1/2 week I had a tube into my stomach suctioning out any fluids to allow for healing. After leaving the hospital , I found I had difficulty tolerating many foods I had eaten before especially fatty foods. My family doctor had no suggestions to improve my situation. My daughter suggested a digestive supplement called Digest Gold which contains a number of digestive ensigms and probiotics. (Information available on internet) This helped a great deal for after about 2 weeks it almost completely releived these symptoms.
The second after effect has been more challenging to deal with, namely a low blood hemoglobin level. previously my hemoglobin levels had been very good and well up to average healthy levels. when leaving the hospital my hemoglobin level was about 90. I have been prescribed iron supplements which at first seemed to help some and raised the level to about 118, but in the last year have been innefective at raising my blood iron level. I have many of the symptoms of iron deficiency anemia as listed on the Mayo Clinic list of symptoms. My family physician has now prescibed a Vitamin B12-B6 preparation to try to improve my iron absorption, if that fails she will resort to B12 injections. My question is this: is this a common side effect of having the stomach evacuation procedure in place for that period of time?
I am not questioning the need for the sugery or the surgeons skill or the necessity of the evacuation procedure but rather trying to identyfy the source of my quasi pernicios anemia symptoms. XXXXXXX Enns
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
No, this is not common for small intestine removal.

Detailed Answer:

Thank you for the query.

What is your MCV level? Anemia is a characteristic symptom for stomach resection. Small bowel resection usually does not cause anemia directly. Anemia may appear due to malabsorption but this gives constant weight loss as the primary symptom.
At your age, anemia should be always checked with possible colon cancer. This is the very common reason of anemia in patients over the age of 50. This type of anemia appears with normal or low MCV.

Stomach diseases like bleeding from ulcer or chronic inflammation can also give anemia. It appears with high MCV.

It is also possible to have some ulceration in the intestinal junction area.

I suggest you to have colonoscopy and gastroscopy done to rule this out.

Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Answered by
Dr. Grzegorz Stanko

General Surgeon

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 5768 Questions


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