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I am a 25 yr old female in college. I have been turned away

several times from donating blood...
I am a 25 yr old female in college. I have been turned away several times from donating blood because my hemoglobin is "too low." I am often tired and find myself falling asleep in class. I never used to fall asleep in class until about 2 years ago.
I bruise easily and get random petechiae spots (not clustered unless I bump into something blunt or scrape against a wall or door frame). I get petechiae on the areas that my bra tightens around sometimes, and from my back pack straps.
I've tried taking vitamin supplements and iron supplements but find it very hard to keep consistent. The longest I've taken vitamin supplements daily is about one month and a half. I did not feel that it helped my energy much but they did make me urinate more often than usual. I don't even have the energy to exercise anymore and use caffeine daily to function. My menstrual cycle is most often light because I am on oral contraceptives. What can I do to feel better? What is causing my symptoms?
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Answered in 37 minutes by:
5/16/2013
Anthony Bray, MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 10,341
Experience: 14 years experience in the field of Family Practice
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Anthony Bray MD : Hello!
Anthony Bray MD : With regard to your low hemoglobin, I would recommend that you follow up with your doctor. You should have your CBC checked (low platelets might also tie in with easy bruising)m
Anthony Bray MD : The CBC would be accompanied by checking your serum iron to see if you are at this time iron deficient. This along with B-12 and folate levels would usually be checked as these may be causes of anemia.
Anthony Bray MD : Iron deficiency and anemia nad B-12 deficiency may be a cause of general fatigue as a possible symptom...
Anthony Bray MD : The fatigue with sleepiness also makes me think that you should have your thyroid function checked...
Anthony Bray MD : Low thyroid function may make you tired with increased sleep requirement and daytime drowsiness. Other causes of the drowsiness quality of fatigue may include such things as mono, sleep deprivation, sleep disorders (obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome)
Anthony Bray MD : The easy bruising MIGHT benefit to take Vitamin C 500mg /day >> Vitamin C deficiency may cause easy bruising and petechiae >> Your blood clotting factors may also be checked to make sure that these are normal >> these are checked with blood tests called Protime and aPTT...
Anthony Bray MD : So I can't give you a definite answer to your symptoms BUT I do say to you that these symptoms should be investigated further... I think that the cause is very likely to be determined and that treatment to help you can be directed on the basis of a good evaluation of you!!
Anthony Bray MD : You are exactly right in the things that you have mentioned as trying to feel better. Exercise would in general help with your sense of energy... short term it is hard to make yourself exercise > I realize that >> if you can then over time your energy level would probably benefit...
Anthony Bray MD : Good healthy diet , multivitamin, and adequate sleep ( I know as a college student that this may be a challenge..and this may be a large part of the trouble..) >> these are generally good for you and probable benefit and certainly no harm type of positive measures...
Anthony Bray MD : If you are chronically anemic and perhaps iron deficient then you should be checked for occult GI bleeding as a potential cause...
Anthony Bray MD : I hope this information is helpful for you!!
Anthony Bray MD : If you have further questions then let me know and I will be happy to get back with you!!
Anthony Bray MD : If my answers have been helpful adn to your satisfaction then please remember to leave positive feedback. That would be very much appreciated! Thank You and Best Regards,
Anthony Bray MD : Anthony Bray MD
Customer: Thank you so much for your quick reply! I'm sorry for my untimely response. My mother, 2nd oldest sister, and Maternal aunt, all have hypothyroidism and they take Synthroid. It may be possible that my thyroid is hypofunctioning but I am not very overweight. 4'10" 136 lbs. I have made an appointment with my student health dept for blood work. Thank you for your professional opinion!
Customer: Would being anemic affect my menstrual cycle. I am taking Ortho-tricyclin and am regular because of it but my last menses was very scant and much lighter than usual.
Anthony Bray, MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 10,341
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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
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Anemia does not typically affect the menstrual cycle, although bleeding from menstrual periods are a common cause of iron deficiency anemia. Some of the underlying medical problems and hypothyroidism can affect menstrual cycles, but there should be further evaluation to determine what underlying problems are present.
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