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Iron deficiency causing TMS equivalent symptoms

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Benjiro, Nov 25, 2022.

  1. Benjiro

    Benjiro Peer Supporter

    During the last several months I’ve experienced some new symptoms — fatigue, brain fog, restless legs, dizziness, and confusion. At first, I attributed it to stress since I’ve had TMS equivalents in the past that got better. However, this time it never seemed to got better and kept getting worse, no matter how much treatment or care I was giving it. I suffered a concussion a month ago after being hit by a ball, fainting, and hitting my head. I assumed the worsening of symptoms was due to the concussion (post-concussion syndrome). However, I found out through labs that my iron was severely low. And I have all the symptoms of anemia even though I am not (yet) anemic. In hindsight, the iron is likely why I fainted and explains my symptoms both before and now after the incident. Judging from what I’ve read online, many people present with symptoms of anemia in cases of iron deficiency where anemia is not yet present.

    All of that to say, make sure you do what the TMS specialists recommend and rule out a structural issue, especially if your symptoms match the profile of a common mineral deficiency like iron. You want to rule out a structural cause so you aren’t chasing ghosts or fighting a battle that is a lot harder than it needs to be.

    In sum, I tend to assume all my physical symptoms are psychosomatic. In this case, that assumption was false. Posting this so someone can avoid my experience and that of people who spent years suffering with symptoms of iron deficiency before being properly diagnosed.

    P.s. I will be eating a lot more red meat moving forward
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great reminder, @Benjiro, thank you! And thank goodness this is something you can easily do something about (and thankfully you're not a vegetarian I guess!).

    Something similar happened to me in 2020 (I think you already know this, so this is for the benefit of others). Back in 2011 I experienced a significant amount of recovery from a tornado of symptoms all coming together and getting worse - in the year I turned 60. Thanks to Dr Sarno, Claire Weekes, the SEP, and this forum, I reversed what appeared to be an inexorable path of becoming housebound, and although like many of us I've had my ups and downs over the years since, I still considered myself to be a TMS success story. So when my hands started hurting in the spring of 2020, I assumed it was stress (due to the pandemic, and a volunteer job that suddenly became dysfunctionally demanding and overwhelming due to the shutdown). I kept assuming it was stress, and tried journaling every night (in spite of the hand pain) but I wasn't taking the time during the day to be mindful or meditate or take care of myself. Goodism and people-pleasing is what I was doing - on overdrive. One day I realized, just like you Ben, that unlike TMS, my pain was very consistent and getting worse - until suddenly I was really quite crippled (I could barely hold a pen, and bought a device to open cat food cans). My doc immediately ordered x-rays and bloodwork, and after seeing the lab results she sent me to Rheumatology for a consult with a specialist (and 14! more vials of blood) - who gave me an official Dx of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

    So yeah - it's not always TMS. Or, as my story illustrates, it's also possible to stress yourself into a physiological condition that you then need to take seriously (and there is no other logical reason for me to have developed an auto-immune condition so suddenly, so late in life, and with zero family history).

    It's actually now widely accepted and becoming more well-know that stress causes inflammation, which is at the heart of many chronic conditions and diseases. It's a good reason to get on top of anxiety and stress as early as possible in life.

    Bottom line: look at the bottom line on every forum page, which says: "If you have symptoms, see your doctor to rule out anything serious and get proper care. No information on this site should be considered medical advice."
    LoveAfterAll and Benjiro like this.
  3. Benjiro

    Benjiro Peer Supporter

    In my case, I had severely cut back on meat and was taking a supplement that is known to interfere with iron absorption.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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