During pregnancy and after the birth of my daughter I experienced fatigue like I’d never felt before. It took a few weeks before I gave in and went to the doctor, where I had blood drawn and was told that my iron levels were low. This condition, known as anemia, is easily treated once you’re aware that you have it. If you’re feeling exhausted and you’re not sure why, anemia may be the culprit.
Anemia is primarily characterized by unexplained fatigue and tiredness, even when you’ve had a good night’s sleep. It can also cause shortness of breath, paleness, shadows under the eyes and heart palpitations. These symptoms can also be caused by other things, so it’s important to get blood tests to determine if anemia is indeed the exact cause.
Anemia has a variety of potential causes. If you’re pregnant, rest assured that anemia is especially common. Your body needs additional iron to help your baby grow and bring the necessary nutrients and oxygen through, so supplementation may be necessary.
If you’re not pregnant then anemia can be caused by a deficiency of iron in the diet, or by malabsorption in the body. Malabsorbtion can be as a result of coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease.
When you’re diagnosed with anemia, most doctors will prescribe an iron supplement as treatment. Taken daily, this should build your iron stores back up to normal and help improve your energy levels.
I was diagnosed ferrous sulphate which I took for several weeks, but I found that my body didn’t react well to the tablets- they caused stomach aches and nausea for me. I replaced it with a natural iron supplement called Floradix, which is an easily absorbed iron and herb liquid. It’s a little more expensive, but it was well worth it for me when I finally had my energy back.