Saving My Life

Anything I post on here about PCOS or any other condition, is general information or information I've accumulated in my experience having PCOS or other conditions. I'm not a doctor, so nothing I say should EVER take place of a real diagnosis from your doctor. My eating plan described on this blog is one I've made for myself and I'm constantly changing it according to my body's needs.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

PCOS and Iron Deffiency....One for the Ladies ☺


Ok, so I mentioned in one of my last posts I had a really rough period last week. This is not totally uncommon for me b/c most of my cycles are rough, but what made this one worse is the fact I was under a lot of stress. Now, a lot of people think that PCOS means women don't or rarely ever have cycles which is true, but there are those of us PCOS'ers that are pretty regular. We have periods, but we fail to ovulate every time and periods are pretty painful and heavy. These heavy periods can last past 7 days! Mine typically last for 7 days and even that is too long. The heavy periods characterized by heavy bleeding and big blood clots are called menorrhagia...said like (men-or-age-e-uh). There are different reasons it can happen such as lifestyle, diet, stress, and hormone problems, but for me it is PCOS. My doc has told me that if the amount of bleeding does not get under control soon, I'll have to have a D&C (scraping of the excess uterine lining) b/c if heavy bleeding occurs too long without check, it can increase my risk of a certain type of cancer. (I'm not sure about what kind and we didn't really talk much about it) Read more about menorrhagia here.
  Usually when I have menorrhagia, I become a bit anemic. My doc has told me this is common. When I'm anemic, I usually feel very fatigued and irritable...usually very irritable especially since I have to run to the bathroom almost every 45min. to an hour. Well, last week I experienced a new symptom. I was very cold. I was cold to the point of not being able to warm under 2 comfortors, 1 heavy quilt, and a sheet. My husband crawled in bed with me to warm me, but every few seconds I'd get goosebumps or start shivering. This went on until 3am until my husband finally remembered we have an electric heating blanket. I finally went to sleep after this. I Googled the next day to see if iron deffiency symptoms include being cold and sure enough it does. So, if you have menorrhagia and are a bit anemic remember this. As soon as I figured out my iron was low and after the cold spell, I ate more red meat and put bunches of spinach/greens in my smoothies. Also, Vitamin C is responsible for good iron absorbtion so make sure you get enough of it as well. When I make my smoothies I use all sorts of fruit but I especially use orange juice (not from concentrate) as my liquid for a good source of Vitamin C. So, make sure you're getting enough iron especially if you are a PCOS'er who has heavy menstrual cycles. Here's an interesting article on iron deffiency related to periods.
  Also, I crave chocolate seriously during this time, so I thought I'd tag along this article on chocolate for has to be 70% cocao for it to be beneficial though. Enjoy! ☺


  1. I have PCOS and I found a non surgical way to reduce the tissue loss, lighten the bleeding and improve the iron deficiency- you may want to investigate it for yourself . It is an herb called Vitex ( Chaste Tree Berry) and it is sold in capsule form in health food stores. It brought my cycles to a totally normal state of flow, minimal tissue passage and no cramps. For the iron loss, Blackstrap Molasses is a great dietary addition, along with Nettle leaf tea. These moves are a very individual matter of choice, but I thought I would mention them to you in the event that you have never heard about these.

  2. Thanks for the reccomendations. :) I had forgotten about Blackstrap molasses..thanks for the reminder. ☺ I will definitely try the tea too. I used to take Vitex and it helped w/ energy, too much energy. lol. I don't know why it affected me in this way but I'd actually not be able to sleep b/c of it. I was on the highest dosage (5-6 capsules a day), so that was probably the reason. It never did help with my cycle though unfortunately. I was really bummed about that too b/c it helped many of my other friends with their problems. Before I started taking prescription meds, I tried a lot of natural remedies...some worked ok, but never enough so thats why I finally started taking prescription pills. They finally came out with a type of Metformin that doesn't make me sick, and it's helped with a lot...I'm hoping over time it will help my cycle too. Now that I'm on prescription meds for PCOS, I'd honestly love to start taking a little bit of Vitex again even for the energy benefits. I keep forgetting to ask my pharmacist if it would be ok to take with all my current meds though. I'm sure they'll probably remind me of the FDA not approving it or something like that, but I'd really like to find out b/c it is good stuff.

  3. I had such horrendous periods that I literally couldn't leave the house for 7 days, I'd stand up and gush! I found out my progesterone the second half of my cycle was low, so I was done having babies and got endometrial ablation. It took just a few minutes and I've had zero periods (and zero anemia) for 8 years now. I also don't get the signs of a period coming like bloating, cravings, and irritability. It's very nice. I can't believe I didn't do it sooner. The anemia alone was making it impossible to have energy to workout. Another way you know you're anemic too is to look at the pink conjunctivae in the corners of your eyes. If they get pale--you have anemia. Your membranes tend to get pale including your gums.

  4. @Autumn- My progesterone levels are off during my cycle too. I used to take progesterone derived from wild yams (prescribed by doc), for ten days after ovulation. It eventually became too difficult b/c I'd have ovulation signals 3 times a month so I stopped that. Thanks for the tool about looking at membranes. I didn't know this. Also, even though my hubby's had his vasectomy and I know that means no more kids, I still just couldn't come to terms cutting out my cycle forever...don't know why. I'm not sure that I'll get there. I'm hoping the more weight I lose will help. It should curb some of my PCOS symptoms...hopefully.

  5. I too have very heavy gushing periods, combined with hair loss over the last few years. I am 51, peri-menapausal. hair loss has devastating affect on my life. Labelled as PCOS early 20's, all the horrible symptoms, but blessed with children. Anyway even though the endrocrinologist said hair loss due to stress, I believe it to be iron deficiency, even though iron within normal levels. I read a post Trost/Bergfield state minimum of 70ugl ferritin levels needed for healthy thick hair. Trost/Corsarelus 50ugl. Normal levels of ferritin can be between 15-160ugl, I believe women who have heavy periods should try to maintain a higher level for healthy hair. Heamoglobin 117-160gl normal level for women, but level below 140gl can cause hair loss. Ladies save your hair, maintain healthy iron levels, I only hope I have not found this out too late and I will be able to restore my hair loss.

    1. Yes, thankfully if your hair loss is from iron deficiency it will grow right back once your levels are healthy again. You'll just have to wait for the hairs to grow out lengthwise. :)