Iron is the devil! Ok, so maybe it’s just red like the devil but still, you can’t take an iron pill & not wonder why the funky side effects.
I got a call from my dr Wednesday stating that she ran several iron tests and they were all severely low. That is very common with ulcerative colitis but why?
The internal damage caused by UC frequently results in blood loss. What would you expect when your colon, in my case entire colon, is filled with cuts that are effected by everything you do including diet.
I had a theory that Entyvio would heal my gut so that I wouldn’t have bleeding intestines anymore. Well, that recent blood work discounted that theory!
I’ve read the symptoms of anemia and it’s like a checklist! Fatigue, check, muscle aches & pains, check, being cranky, check! I knew there had to be an explanation for my crankiness! Doesn’t look too bad just looking at the symptoms but I wondered what damage it was causing internally.
Losing a substantial amount of iron leads to anemia because your body uses iron to produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen throughout your body which must cause the fatigue. Lack of iron means lack of hemoglobin therefore your not producing new red blood cells. Whoa, that sounds dangerous! Without the production of red blood cells, your body does not get enough oxygen. Thanks to WebMD for my new found knowledge of anemia.
So what’s my treatment plan for now you ask? Keep calm & sparkle on of course! Whatever the plan is will have to be long term, she said at least a year once we find a good balance. I’m taking a chewable called Easy Iron for faster absorption so my gut can’t flush it before it can absorb. Unlike ferrous sulfate, it doesn’t cause constipation (that lovely side effect I mentioned earlier). I also added in a slow release iron supplement for a little extra boost. My body is adjusting to the re-introduction of the slow release formula which I took like clockwork for several years until the dr said it was not enough. I can already tell a difference in energy levels so hopefully the aches & pains follow that path.
An iron rich diet can also play a significant roll in decreasing anemia & ramping up hemoglobin production. I looked up a list of foods rich in iron & some make my list to add to my diet & some need to hit the road! I’m good with:
*Spinach, as it’s the only salad I can have.
*Seafood, when I think to buy it.
*Iron fortified pastas would be ok.
*Peas, never knew that one but I like them.
*And last but not least, my Achilles heel, red meat. I love steak & hamburger meat but it’s so hard for my gut to break down that I have to eat it in moderation. I shoot for 3 or less times per week.
I’m not game for:
*Beans, UC patients already have enough gas produced by the ulcers so nope, not unless I’m eating Mexican food.
*Pork, bacon is our only pork in this house.
*Iron fortified cereals & bread, not a big fan of either, unless Lucky Charms is iron fortified.
So for now, I pop iron supplements like crazy & try to balance that with an iron rich diet. The red devil is not gonna win this time. Instead I’ll blow a few red sparkles in his face and remember Ephesians 6:11. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” He may be up to something but God’s up to something bigger!