Birth control pills gave me iron deficiency anemia

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Jay27
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Birth control pills gave me iron deficiency anemia

Unread post by Jay27 »

I’ve posted on the boards about breakthrough bleeding and fatigue on my birth control pill (been taking it for 3 months). My doctor finally found out what’s causing the fatigue! It’s iron deficiency anemia caused by the bleeding. Even though I’m not losing a lot of blood each day, because I'm bleeding for 16-20 days a month, my iron levels are way too low. My diet is pretty good, so all I can do now is wait for the supplements to kick in and that could take a month or two.

I just wanted to rant about this because I’m so annoyed and I cry every time I think about it. This pill has almost completely gotten rid of my cramps and my acne. Both of those symptoms used to be extremely severe. I’m so glad it’s helping! But now I can barely stay awake, no matter how much sleep I get. This is my only side effect. I want to wait it out, and my doctors also want me to wait it out, because some people’s bleeding goes away after 6 months or more and then they do fine. I’m just so tired. I have to get accommodations from school just for this iron deficiency.
Sam W
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Re: Birth control pills gave me iron deficiency anemia

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Jay,

Oof, I just wanted to chime in with some sympathy because I went through something very similar where the length/frequency of my period lead to me being anemic. That fatigue it causes is no joke and I recall being so tired and frustrated with the whole thing. I'm really glad you were able to work with your doctor to figure out what was going on, and that you're already starting on iron supplements and are in communication with them about if/how long you want to try and wait this out.
Jay27
not a newbie
Posts: 135
Joined: Tue May 16, 2023 8:12 pm
Age: 22
Primary language: English
Pronouns: She/her
Sexual identity: Lesbian
Location: USA

Re: Birth control pills gave me iron deficiency anemia

Unread post by Jay27 »

It’s really hard to deal with :( Breakthrough bleeding is a very common side effect on this pill. At first it just felt like an inconvenience to buy menstrual products all the time, but as the weeks have passed, the fatigue gets worse and worse.
Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 9693
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
Age: 32
Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
Primary language: english
Pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity: queer
Location: Desert

Re: Birth control pills gave me iron deficiency anemia

Unread post by Sam W »

Yeah, I remember that frustration and anxiety when I just kept feeling more tired. I will say that, with the caveat that our bodies respond to things in different ways, I did find that the supplements helped and kicked in relatively quickly in terms of my noticing a difference, so here's hoping they do the same for you.
Jay27
not a newbie
Posts: 135
Joined: Tue May 16, 2023 8:12 pm
Age: 22
Primary language: English
Pronouns: She/her
Sexual identity: Lesbian
Location: USA

Re: Birth control pills gave me iron deficiency anemia

Unread post by Jay27 »

I really hope so! My primary care doctor just refused to write me an accommodation letter for school so I’m just going to have to hope my psychiatrist can do it instead.
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