Iron levels after treatment?

I know this is a little bit of a sideways step, but I’ve found this forum to be such a good sounding board, I just thought I’d (again!) ask the question…

Has anyone experienced an impact on their iron levels post-treatment?

I had bloods done towards the start of the year, before finding out I had an abnormal smear (eventually CIN 2 and treated with cold coagulation) and everything was at least “normal”, with the GP saying some things were actually very good - I was so relieved as I’d got myself in a state, so the exact details washed over me.

Fast-forward approximately six months and having gone through months of angst, I’ve had to have bloods redone to rule out anything underlying as I’m experiencing severe hair loss, suspected to be stress-related. The bloods came back as all normal, bar iron which was previously normal and now “satisfactory”. My periods are normally on the light side and don’t last excessively long, so the heavier and prolonged bleeds post-treatment were not normal for me and I guess could reasonably have caused a dip.

I’ve been unable to speak to my GP and won’t be able to for a couple of weeks - I will follow up to try to put my mind at ease, but I don’t want to go over the whole saga with a different doctor so I’m left in limbo in the meantime. I’d have thought “satisfactory” was still OK, so I’m not concerned as such, more curious as to how much of a factor it could be in terms of side effects. I think stress is the more likely cause of the hair loss, but I’ve also been having more issues with restless legs…

So I’m just wondering if anyone has had any iron-related issues after treatment and to what extent it affected them?

Dear justme1,

Iron levels should not be an issue in a healthy individual following CIN treatment, as any blood loss would have been replaced by your body quite quickly after treatment, especially as it’s now over the 6 months since your treatment.

Where ladies do have problems with Iron levels is with Radiotherapy for CC as this destroys red blood cells and platelets. I had three units of blood in transfusions during my treatment, and a platelet transfusion. I was concerned that at my follow up about 4 weeks after treatment ended my iron levels were just ‘satisfactory’ but was told this was not a problem, and my body would sort itself out in any case.

So what I’m thinking (I’m not medical but I do a lot of research) is that any problems with iron levels, if you have them, are likely to be related to anaemia and not your CIN treatment. You can have iron anaemia and B12 anaemia, and both can have a systemic affect on you.

I would suggest you make a point of contacting your GP and expressing your concerns if you think you may be anaemic. It may be that some sort of supplements would be helpful. I know what restless legs is like and it’s very annoying, especially at night, but for me has not been related to low iron levels, more a nerve issue. The hair loss must be upsetting, and could mean a vitamin deficiency, but I presume you had a full bloods done, so this would have been identified?

Yeah, the bloods didn’t show anything underlying, so no deficiencies and even iron was “satisfactory” - I’m just not sure what it means that it has dropped from “normal”. I’m not sure that I’m anaemic as my mum has experienced that and says I would know if I was because the energy levels would drop dramatically - I’m tired and lacking motivation at times because I’m stressed and not sleeping, but I’m not actually lacking energy - I’m physically capable of long hikes, etc.

It is possible that the restless legs thing is nerve related as I’ve separately been struggling with muscle tension leading to referred nerve pain etc - and in a vicious cycle, it is adding to my stress because it is disruptive to normal life. I can’t just chill on the sofa in the evenings, alone or with my bf, because I get so restless and a handful of times, even going to bed doesn’t help (it usually does) and I’m conscious of disturbing my bf.

I guess I’ve just been unlucky in that so many factors have been tangled up over the last couple of years that I can’t get any clarity on what is causing each symptom. I know it could be worse, but I can’t help that feeling of “this is my life now”.