Iron Infusion For Iron Deficiency Anaemia

I have Iron Deficiency Anaemia. My levels hover around HB 110-106 Ferritin 11 at best, 4 and below at worst.

I Sent My Son To Heaven (2)

There will be people out there with far worse levels, there are many more with far higher.

It has been said that I have naturally low levels – being a young (ish) woman with awful periods and a vegetarian to boot it’s not unusual for my levels to be a bit low. With this in mind I take my iron tablets and I eat a healthy diet compete with all the leafy dark green veg you can think of.

However, my levels continue to rise and fall at will and I tend to hit my own personal health wall when they get around HB 106 Ferritin 4. When my most recent tests confirmed these figures I wasn’t surprised – I had been feeling like c@*p for months.

The signs were all there – I was exhausted, sleep didn’t help. Exercise, parenting, working and generally having fun was becoming more and more difficult.

To be honest I was relieved when the tests came back. No one wants to have something wrong with them but with so many symptoms and feeling like life had become an uphill struggle it was a relief to know it was just my Iron levels.

Amazing how it can cause so many problems.

The latest test results also meant I was referred for my first Iron Infusion. I’m not a fan of hospitals or any kind of procedure (huge wimp with needles!). However, nothing else has worked and I would do pretty much anything to feel better. I know the results are temporary, hopefully around 4 months, but my consultant is hopeful we can turn the corner so fingers crossed.

So, here is my experience of getting an Iron Infusion for Iron Deficiency Anaemia.

Iron Infusion:

My appointment was at 3.30pm, I was relieved to hear I didn’t have to stop eating or do anything special before hand. I just had to turn up on the day ward.

The ‘ward’ is actually just a large room filled with those reasonably comfy/wipe clean hospital armchairs. Everyone had a pillow for their drip arm and there was a coffee machine.

The room was half full, around six other people of varying ages. I felt a bit weird when I first arrived but a few welcoming smiles from the other patients made me feel better and the nurses were all lovely.

The worst bit was the cannula – I doubt anyone considers that remotely pleasant. It is however pretty obvious that the nurses do lots of these day in day out and I was really impressed how quick it all was.

They then hooked up the bag – warning: Iron Infusions resemble brown sludge!

The infusion lasted for half an hour – the room was so quiet so I just checked my emails and took some time to read to Huffington Post.

It’s probably a bit sad to admit I almost considered it to be some rare me time!

After the Infusion finished they kept me behind for another half hour to make sure I didn’t have any sort of reaction, which I didn’t. I was then free to go.

I have read online accounts of Iron Infusions in America where they give you Benadryl to reduce the chance of having an allergic reaction, it also makes the patient very sleepy – many report sleeping through the Infusion. None of this on the NHS – you get your chair, a pillow and some banter with the nurses!

On the brightside you also walk out feeling totally fine rather than doped up!

Post Infusion

Happy to report I didn’t encounter any of the more serious allergic reactions and left hospital feeling fine.

I slept OK the first night but suffered some mild side effects over the next couple of days. I felt sick and had stomach cramps. The worst of these symptoms came on the evening of day two when I seriously considered if it was all worth the trouble. I do feel a little better today and hope that I only continue to improve.

I was told I could expect to see an improvement in my Deficiency symptoms quite quickly. It’s a little hard to tell whilst dealing with the side effects, but the one thing I have noticed is that I feel more clear headed (even while feeling rough). This would be a big improvement as when my levels are low I do feel very foggy – not much fun.

I’m hopeful this will help, even if only in the short term, so fingers crossed!

If you’ve had an Iron Infusion or you’re due to have one I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.

Xx

And then the fun began...

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9 Comments on Iron Infusion For Iron Deficiency Anaemia

  1. makemeanearthmother@gmail.com'
    Jude
    March 11, 2015 at 11:47 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow, I never even knew this was a thing. I always just thought people took tablets for iron like I did when I was pregnant. Best of luck with the treatment, glad you felt better in the end. I did laugh when you described your treatment as ‘me time’. #thingsonlyparentssay #thetruthabout

    Reply
    • Claire
      March 12, 2015 at 1:21 pm (3 years ago)

      Sad isn’t it but so true!!
      I’ve been on the iron tablets for years and didn’t hear about infusions for ages, I think they like you to try everything else first (which is fair enough when it’s on the NHS I guess!)
      Thanks for reading.
      Xx

      Reply
  2. spidermummy@hotmail.com'
    Spidermummy
    March 12, 2015 at 12:31 pm (3 years ago)

    Oh yes, I’ve always been anaemic too and had the infusions. It was only last year that they realised I had Coeliac’s disease and that was the reason for the anaemia (when you’re a Coeliac and not on the right diet you don’t absorb any vitamins or minerals) – now I’m on the diet it’s getting better but still have to take Ferrous Fumerate three times a day to get the ferretin levels up. It’s a pain the arse isn’t it!!!!! x

    Reply
    • Claire
      March 12, 2015 at 1:23 pm (3 years ago)

      How did you find the infusions? Did you feel much better?
      I had the test for Coeliac’s last week but haven’t had any results – I’m assuming perhaps negative, no news is good news!! Realy glad you’re seeing some improvement now you’re on the right diet etc.
      Total pain in the arse – don’t you just sometimes wish your body would actually work with you instead!!
      Xx

      Reply
  3. ashintulsa@gmail.com'
    Ashley anthony
    March 13, 2015 at 1:16 am (3 years ago)

    I feel guilty for how plush my infusions are. They give me snacks, I sit in a plush chair that’s heated and has massage. I also get a private room with a flat screen tv.

    Reply
    • Claire
      March 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm (3 years ago)

      Wow! I take it you aren’t based in the UK (or if so private?!).
      God bless our NHS for the clean pillow case and friendly nurse banter (and no bill at the end obviously). Wouldn’t trade it for the world…though that massaging chair you mentioned could sway me!
      Xx

      Reply
  4. tideyem@hotmail.co.uk'
    Emma
    March 15, 2015 at 4:53 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi Claire,

    I hope you don’t mind me asking but how long did the results last for (of higher iron levels) How often have you had to go back for infusions? If at all?
    I have my first iron infusion tomorrow, in the U.K, so wondered what happens after, I guess blood tests every few months to see when levels drop, but wondered if you have to keep having these infusions done or if levels have stayed high.
    Thank you xxx

    Reply
  5. gracedrummond1998@icloud.com'
    Grace
    June 29, 2017 at 12:25 am (4 months ago)

    My levels are;
    Iron 2
    Ferritin 5
    Haemoglobin 91

    I had my first iron infusion exactly a month ago, I got the infusion on a Thursday morning by lunch time I had a rash over my whole body but that went away by 8pm. On Saturday I felt a little ill like in the post then had a sleep about noon, my partner was away for work and I was home alone. When I woke up I couldn’t stand, I was so weak and my eyes were so blurry I couldn’t see, I crawled across the floor to the shower as I was so cold I was shaking. I vomited atleast a dozen times and another dozen on the way to the hospital emergency. They said it was just way to much for my body at once, I had double the normal dose because of my levels. They gave me fluids, and medication and released me about midnight. I wasn’t completely better until the next Monday, however I felt well for 2 weeks and now I’m back to feeling tired and exhausted again! But I’m back to the doctors tomorrow for my month after check up.

    Reply
    • Claire
      July 3, 2017 at 2:47 pm (4 months ago)

      I really sympathise with the bad reaction – although I didn’t suffer any problems I hear it can be very common. I even had a second transfusion in Spain where they gave me a very large dose and was OK, which demonstrates how individual our reactions can be. Ultimately the transfusions I had were great…until they wore off and I was back to square one. I’m not sure if you’re in the UK but over here the NHS will only give you so many transfusions so its not a long term solution. I ended up having an endometrial ablation which all but stopped my periods and has (fingers crossed) stopped my iron levels dropping away – I’m still a few months off knowing if this has been totally successful but I do feel a lot better already.
      Ultimately with your low levels there has to be an actual reason – if you’re young and otherwise healthy make them look for the underlying reason, transfusions only offer a short term solution. They actually didn’t find anything wrong with my periods, I’ve just been unlucky for them to get so heavy after having children but at least they could treat that.
      Best of luck and I hope you get some answers.
      Claire x

      Reply

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