Slow Severe Blood Loss


Q: Hello,
I have had severe blood loss due to iron deficient anemia and am wondering if you can offer some suggestions to get me back on the road to health.

On Jan 21, 2014 my hemoglobin was 12.5 and hematocrit 38.1. On March 18 they were 6.6 and 20 respectively. I was admitted to the hospital and had two blood transfusions. I have had anemia on and off for three years but this is the worst it has been and the first time I had a transfusion. I was told that I am still three pints low and no one knows how I could have lost five pints of blood in two months.

My pulse was 99 when I was admitted to the hospital and is about 77 now. I had heart palpitations one time in December. I have had whooshing in my ears which is apparently a sign of severe blood loss.
I am normally a very healthy, active 55 year old woman. I do strenuous hikes on the weekends with my golden going up and down ravines and boulders for 2 ½ - 3 hours. I do Yoga, I walk and can still do handstands. I eat a healthy diet of meats, vegetables, fruits and grains and always have. I don’t drink or smoke. I don’t have any other diseases or health problems.

I had a large benign polyp removed during a colonoscopy in 2013 and small benign polyps removed in 2012 and 2011. Stool smears and rectal exams within the past two years were negative for blood. I had a clear endoscopy in the hospital on March 19. I had a capsule endoscopy Wednesday and am waiting for results but I do not think they are going to find anything. I no longer get periods, my stools still look normal and I don’t have blood coming out my mouth. I had two food surgeries in the past three years and the hospital did an ultrasound of my legs and found no blockages.

I feel breathless just walking on my deck and woozy when I lean over and stand back up. The doctor and I can feel/hear that my chest is clear but I can’t get a full breath. I am tired before I get out of bed. I frequently have chest pains.

I am depressed that I can’t do the normal things I want to do—garden, paint a room and mostly find a job. If I go out for an appointment and run a few errands I am exhausted and on the couch the rest of the day and the next, which is where I spend most of my time.

I feel like I am getting worse and this week I have actually started to wonder if I am going to die—not in a freaked out way but in a we all die someday thought process and wonder if maybe that is where this is leading.

I am going to see my Internist Monday and my Hematologist in a couple of weeks and so far they are stymied as to the cause of my blood loss. They are both top doctors at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

What I can do to feel better? I wonder if I should try to push it like an athlete does or if rest is better? The more I try to do the more exhausted I am and I am spending my days on the couch. Are there other tests I can do?

I don’t know what else to do or where to look. Any advice you have would be much appreciated.

Thank you.


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