How to combat Iron-deficiency Anaemia in case of prolonged menses?

Dr. Rati Parwani
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A strong woman in her essence is the gift of the world. Womanhood is the best feature and essence of life. You need to be strong and healthy. It is not just taking off your skin body and hair but it’s essential to take care of the internal health system.

Menses or menstrual periods is the essence and the feature of womanhood. Just like a woman has feminine and sensitive features, long hair delicate feature and feminine voice being one of the features similarly menses is considered as woman’s identity and her nature of entering from the puberty to reproductive age. But many females go through this problem of iron deficiency anaemia due to prolonged menses which is caused due to menorrhagia (irregular periods ) or dysmenorrhoea (painful periods ) due to fibroid, PCOS or endometriosis.

These are medical defined terms causing problems with the uterus and ovaries which is female reproductive organs. Prolonged menses is associated with iron deficiency anaemia.

Let’s look into what exactly is iron-deficiency – Anaemia.

Iron-deficiency – Anaemia? What is it?

Iron deficiency is the most common form of anaemia and usually results from blood loss. It can also be a result of malabsorption syndrome. Symptoms are usually non-specific. RBCs tend to be microcytic and hypochromic and iron stores are low as shown in low ferritin levels and low serum iron levels with high serum total iron-binding capacity. If a diagnosis is made occult blood loss should be suspected until proven.

Treatment involves iron replacement and treatment of the cause of blood loss.

Iron is distributed inactive metabolic acid and storage pools. Total body iron is about 3.5g in healthy men and 2.5 g in women, the difference relates to women’s smaller body size because of iron loss due to menses.

Iron absorption and aetiology: What is the science behind blood loss? Yes, iron is poorly absorbed.

Because iron is poorly absorbed, dietary iron barely meets the daily requirement for most people. Even so, people who eat typically western diet are unlikely to become iron deficient solely as a result of dietary deficiency.

  • Blood loss

It is the commonest cause of the iron deficiency. In women and postmenopausal women, the most frequent cause is chronic occult bleeding usually from the GT tract (eg from the peptic ulcer disease . malignancy, haemorrhoids) in premenopausal women, cumulative menstrual blood loss meaning 0.5 mg iron /day is a common cause.

Intestinal bleeding due to hookworm infection is a common cause in developing countries.

Recurrent pulmonary haemorrhage

  • Increase iron requirement

It may contribute to iron deficiency. From birth to age 2 and during adolescence when rapid growth requires a large iron intake dietary iron is often inadequate. During pregnancy, the fetal iron requirement is present despite the absence of menses. Lactation also increases the iron requirement

  • Decreased iron absorption

Decreased iron absorption can result from gastrectomy or malabsorption syndromes such as celiac disease, atrophic gastritis rarely absorption is decreased by dietary deprivation due to undernutrition

Haemoglobin: What is haemoglobin and how essential is it?

Haemoglobin is a protein in the red blood cells that carry oxygen to your body. It transports carbon dioxide back to your lungs to be exhaled.

Iron is an important mineral and nutrient that is found in foods we eat, which when combines with certain proteins to becomes haemoglobin in your cells. The red blood cells are important as they carry oxygen from the lungs to the other parts of the body. Low iron levels may cause tiredness fatigue lethargic mood and extremely low levels may cause damage to the other organs.

Signs and symptoms: What should you look for in iron deficiency anaemia?

Most common signs and symptoms of iron deficiency is due to anaemia. such symptoms include fatigue loss of stamina, shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness and pallor, Another common symptom is restless leg syndrome which is an unpleasant urge to move the legs during the period of inactivity.

  •  Deformed nails: Let’s choose iron supplements

Koilonychia (concave nails): In addition to the unusual manifestation of anaemia some uncommon symptoms occur in severe iron deficiency. Patients may have pica, an uncommon craving to eat substances. Other symptoms of severe deficiency include glossitis, cheilosis and concave nails.



When it comes to getting enough vitamins and minerals you may focus on meeting your daily recommended values of calcium, potassium and vitamin c. But what about eating enough iron-rich foods. Iron is an essential mineral that provides oxygen from lungs to all parts of the body tissues and muscles. It is necessary to human development and growth as well as functions of our cells and even some hormones

The best sources of iron are lean meats, chicken and fish. there is however plenty of plant-based iron supplement foods. Here are the most delicious iron-based foods you can add to your daily meals.

  •  Spinach

this dark green leafy vegetable is packed with iron. Your body absorbs the best source of plant iron with vitamin C so try adding fresh spinach to your food

  • Pulses

Chickpeas, lentils, peas, beans and more sometimes fall short of iron so these plant-based food are great sources of iron. Vegans and vegetarians sometimes fall short of iron so these plant-based food are a great source of iron. There are tons of ways to reap the benefits of pulses have them in soup add them to salads  or scoops them up as hummus for crackers

  • Quinoa

Unlike most grains, quinoa is high in protein and gluten-free which is why it is so popular. It is a great source of iron

  • Pumpkin seeds

Whether you add them to your morning toast or sprinkle them on top of salads you should consider adding pumpkin seeds to your diet. They are a great source of omega 3 fatty acid and magnesium which is another mineral that they are

  • Fortified breakfast cereals can be packed with iron

Opt for a fortified version to start for the day with a dose of iron. Check the nutrition label for the amount of iron per serving. Many varieties offer 90 – 100% of daily recommended value along with other vitamins and minerals such as fibre zinc and calcium

These are the top 5 foods to combat iron deficiency anaemia and fight blood loss. Also, remember to take your iron supplement if your Haemoglobin count is very low and if you have been prescribed by the doctor.

NOTE: Some females cannot absorb iron despite taking an iron supplement. That’s true!!! Complement your supplement with vitamin C like lemon water or oranges or simply vitamin C chewable tablets which will help in proper and faster absorption of iron.

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