What's the difference between low iron, low... - Women's Health

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What's the difference between low iron, low hemoglobin and low ferritin?

EndoRabbit08 profile image

I've tried Googling but I still don't understand this.

I've been told by GP that I have low Hemoglobin due to my heavy periods. He gave me iron tablets. I've been on and off them for years. I'm fine while taking them but then when I stop, my levels drop again, so I go back.

I don't particularly like them because they give me stomach ache and I feel sick sometimes. Lately they've been giving me diarrhea ( sorry) but that's happened only when I've taken them at night before I sleep which maybe isn't a good thing.

Last blood test showed that my Ferritin levels were normal, my serum iron was normal/ high but my hemoglobin is low. 10.7.

GP said to continue with tablets. However I'm confused. Wouldn't taking iron tablets just make my Ferritin / serum iron even higher? ( Which isn't a good thing).

Do I even need the iron tablets? I want to take them for my low hemoglobin but I worry I may be doing damage elsewhere. Iron toxicity is not something i want to deal with.

I'd appreciate any advice or explanation. Maybe somebody has had this explained this to them before by GP?

I'll get in touch with my GP but I was wondering if anyone on here knew anything.


5 Replies
wobblybee profile image

Definitely ask your GP to give you a simple explanation...

Try taking them with orange juice, or just after food to reduce the side effects..

Copied from nhs.uk..iron deficiency anaemia

Hemoglobin (Hb or Hgb) is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. A low hemoglobin count is generally defined as less than 13.5 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter (135 grams per liter) of blood for men and less than 12 grams per deciliter (120 grams per liter) for women.

mayoclinic.org › basics

Thank you. Yes I understand all the information mentioned. I just wanted to know if taking iron tablets was the right thing to do when my other iron markers are normal.

Definitely need GP to explain this further.


Ferritin are these stores of iron

Have you been tested for thalassaemia? What I have hereditary and no matter what haemoglobin will always be low

It can also be due to low vitamins eg Vit B12 which causes Pernicious Anaemia. Have you tried 1 iron tab and 2 during periods. May be you would benefit from going to a specialist Blood clinic

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