Anemia and iron supplements

Fatigue, weakness, headaches, irritability.  Sound familiar?  

Iron Man
NOT FAMILIAR TO IRON MAN!

These are the most common signs of anemia. If you’re feeling these I’m not guaranteeing you are anemic. You may just be grumpy. Or stressed. Or not sleeping enough. Or depressed. But you can (and should) be checked for anemia through a simple blood test called a CBC (complete blood count).

If you are anemic, the most likely cause is iron deficiency. A little more than 10% of women ages 16 to 50 have iron deficient anemia. Iron is important because low levels lead to decreased red blood cell production, and red blood cells are the carriers of oxygen through your body (this is over simplified, but you get the gist). Women can even have symptoms with a mild iron deficiency before it’s low enough to cause anemia. Continue reading “Anemia and iron supplements”

Headaches and pregnancy

Non pregnant women with headaches become pregnant women with headaches. Less than 10% of women will be first diagnosed or have their first symptoms of headache during pregnancy.

cernunnos horned deity of fertility and abundance honored by the gauls and other celtic peoples

(Cernunnos, god of nature or fertility. Fertility = pregnancy. Horns = headaches)

 

Good news or bad news, depending on if you suffer: the most common type of headache – tension type – won’t change with pregnancy.

Tension type headaches won’t adversely affect pregnancy outcomes. But they are annoying! And painful! And can interfere with your daily happiness.  And I want to make your pregnancy happier, so here are some treatment tips that can help: Continue reading “Headaches and pregnancy”

Migraine plus meds (birth control pills, to be specific)

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You probably aren’t surprised to hear that patients mention headaches to me quite often. Several months ago, after a long and in depth discussion of birth control options with a patient who suffers from migraine headaches, I promised her a blog entry about the topic.  She was taking normal birth control pills (that contains both estrogen and progesterone, which we refer to as combined oral contraceptives, and I’ll just call “the pill” for the next of this post).  She suffered from migraines with aura and I told her to immediately stop her birth control pill and that she was never allowed to take them again because her risk of stroke was too high. In her years of taking the pill and having migraines with aura no one had ever counseled her like this. She was surprised. And disappointed. She had to stop her beloved pills?  She needed more convincing. This is what I told her: Continue reading “Migraine plus meds (birth control pills, to be specific)”