Iron deficiency

I have always suffered from Iron deficiency. So I was put on Iron supplements. Then the peri-menopause set in at around the same time my knees, hands and neck started to really play up. As my periods were unregular and the iron made me feel sick at times I gladly dropped to take them regularly.

Now the physio said it could be that my arteries are being restricted through the carpal tunnel I may have or are irritated by the nerve in the neck. I think my problem with my hands now may be due to lack of blood in my body.

When I have my periods (which are always very very heavy and painful) I lose a lot of blood. Now when I have the period my hands get even worse with the tingling/fire/numbness/ache/stiffness/swelling. So I am thinking the two may have a correlation.

Also can meds like Amitryptiline, Pregabalin, Opremazole, Ibuprofen and paracetamol make you anemic?

I try to take Iron but just the idea of taking it makes me feel sick. So I try to eat healthy food but its not working.

I am also losing some weight, which is good, but then I have complete sugar cravings and no willpower to stop. I have secret stashes in my van, next to the healthy food.

7 Replies

  • I'm no expert but from experience RA can make you anaemic. It's called anaemia of chronic disease. I have to take iron supplements all the time because of this.

    As for carpal tunnel symptoms getting worse during your period. It might well be the other way round. Anything hormonal causes my RA to flare. It may well be that your irregular periods are causing your RA to flare which is increasing the inflammation in your wrists which is increasing your carpal tunnel symptoms. Also if your RA is flaring and you have anaemia of chronic disease this may well be getting worse.

    I may well be wrong but from my experience I think it is probably more likely to be that way round.


  • Hi I'm not sure if you are anaemic or not. However when my teenage daughter had to take iron the only thing that did not cause an immediate stomach upset was Spatone. It's a liquid which can be mixed with juice. I've taken it from time to time it just tastes a bit like rusty water. Not the best but not awful. If you are in the UK it's available from Boots or from Amazon.


  • Lots of reasons for things to be worse when you have your period - but the loss of blood isn't going to have an immediate effect on your carpal tunnel. More likely to be your fluid balance causing some extra swelling in your wrists and increased symptoms of compression. Or that you feel worse anyway and less able to cope with your symptoms like most of us (thank goodness for the menopause says I).

    I've had long term (chronic) anaemia because of the RD. Only recently it has come under (almost) control with control of the the inflammation. It was explained to me that the body couldn't use the iron because the inflammation interefered with the process of making the red blood cells.

    If your iron stores are normal (you have had your iron levels checked haven't you?) then extra iron is a waste of time.

    Personally I find that 6 eggs a week (spread out -I don't like them much) keeps my iron levels high enough, but this will vary from person to person and some people do need iron supplements . Generally the liquid forms are most palatable but also tend to contain less iron.

    Hope that helps - don't be bullied by medics who see "iron deficiency anaemia = iron tablets".

  • There is this thing called 'anaemia of chronic disease' which I have. Obviously though your's looks more like the type of 'regular' anaemia that we women so often get. I never had anaemia till PsA set in and I'm told that with anaemia of chronic disease iron supplements are not an option. It's mild though, but the fact that I appear to be stuck with it rankles.

    I'm not saying 'self-diagnose' because we all know the many pitfalls of that, but rather that anaemia of chronic disease could be something to ask your rheumy about.

  • Sorry - I didn't spot that others have already mentioned anaemia of chronic disease as something to check out. Must look before typing away!

  • Sorry to hear you've been having a pretty miserable time of it. Just a few thoughts - during period time we ladies often experience fluid retention which causes puffiness in any part of the body and could be putting added pressure on nerves in your hand/wrist making your carpal tunnel symptoms worse. Also during period time our tolerance levels drop to pain making us feel even more miserable.

    Have you tried the iron supplement Ferrograd C tablets? They are slow-release to minimise side effects such as nausea and contain Vitamin C which assists absorption of iron from the gut.

    Also I notice that you're taking Omeprazole to reduce stomach acid. In a very few people, Omeprazole lowers the absorption of Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) causing pernicious anaemia which causes fatigue. Might be worth discussing with your doctor? Hope this helps.

    Best wishes


  • Thank you very much ladies for your insights. I will check those supplements out.

    Before my RA kicked in I was able to take Iron tablets just fine.

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