Women And Anemia
Anemia resulting from iron deficiency in women during their reproductive years is an issue that is not given sufficient recognition. This is in spite of the efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) to bring the issue to the public forefront. Six million American women in their reproductive years aren’t getting enough iron and half of them will end up developing iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the United States. Don’t let anemia get in the way of your life; consider an iron supplement to get your energy back. If you choose iron supplementation, consult with your doctor to determine the appropriate dosage.
Menorrhagia, a condition in which there is heavy menstrual bleeding, is a common cause of this type of anemia and is experienced by around 2 million women. Up to 15% of all women will at some point develop heavy menstrual bleeding. Out of this number, up to 20% will develop anemia.
Most women get their periods around every 28 days. A typical menstrual period lasts between four and five days. A woman will lose anywhere from 4 tablespoons to one cup of blood during this time.
If you find that you need to double up on protection measures during your period, for instance you need to use a tampon plus a pad at night, or you soak through your protection every hour for several hours running, you may be experiencing menorrhagia. Other signs include passing large blood clots during your menstrual flow, having periods that last beyond a week, or experiencing severe cramps.
If you have any of these signs, it’s not something to ignore. You need to be assessed by your physician for anemia and for underlying medical conditions that may require treatment. You may be losing more iron-rich blood than is typical for menstruation.
Sometimes, this type of heavy bleeding is caused by a medical condition like fibroids. These are benign non-cancerous tumors that grow in and just outside of the uterus during a woman’s reproductive years. It is quite rare for fibroids to become cancerous, and they do not increase your risk for developing cancer. Fibroids are most often found in women in their 30’s and 40’s. By the time women reach their 50’s, 80% of them will have developed fibroids.
Women may not recognize the signs that come with iron deficiency anemia. Here are some common signs:
*Decreased productivity at work
*Inability to concentrate
*Anxiety or nervousness
*Cravings for ice
*Shortness of breath