Anemia and Periods: How Low Iron Levels Affect Menstruation

Monali Sharma
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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anemia and periods

Anemia is the most common blood disorder in the world.

Every 1 out of 5 women of child-bearing age in the United States suffer from iron deficiency or Anemia.

It can affect the menstrual cycle and cause delayed periods, irregular cycles, or even stop the periods.

When the hemoglobin or iron level is low, the Anemia-related symptoms increase during periods.

Nutritional deficiency can cause Anemia, which in turn affects the menstrual cycle.

This article will explain and explore the relationship between Anemia and periods and provide solutions for managing periods with Anemia.

Fact:
According to WHO, in 2019, Anemia was prevalent among 29.9% of women of reproductive age, that is, between 15 to 49 years of age.
This global prevalence has been stagnant since 2000.

Anemia is when the hemoglobin concentration in the blood becomes low or the red blood cells become deficient.

There are different types of Anemia, and iron deficiency Anemia is the most common of all, affecting women more than men.

Iron deficiency Anemia and periods are connected because when there is insufficient iron in the body, it cannot create enough blood cells or hemoglobin, thus affecting the periods, too.

The impact of Anemia on period

menstrual cycles in womenSource: Mehaniq
Irregular menstrual cycle

The hemoglobin levels of someone with Anemia determine the impact it has on their periods, such as:

  • Irregular periods
  • Light periods
  • Absence of periods
Warning:
Ignoring symptoms of Anemia and periods such as fatigue, weakness, and heavy bleeding can lead to serious health complications, such as heart problems, shortness of breath, and pregnancy complications.
If you experience heavy periods or other Anemia symptoms, seek medical attention and get tested for Anemia.

How are periods for an anemic

Managing periods and Anemia together can be difficult.

Common challenging symptoms for Anemia and periods are increased fatigue and feeling dizzy or weak.

There can be heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged bleeding, and presence of large blood clots.

Strategies like using medications or surgery to control the blood flow may not always be effective in cases of anemia.

Anemia halts the blood from transferring oxygen.

However, if Anemia makes the periods heavier, the symptoms may worsen. 

Symptoms of iron deficiency make the monthly cycle a struggle because they need to be managed for maintaining a daily routine.

In cases with heavy periods and anemia, hormonal birth control or iron supplements are required to treat the anemia.

Sometimes, blood transfusion remains the only treatment option when anemia causes very heavy flow.

Managing periods with Anemia

Following are some ways that can help in the management of Anemia and menstrual periods: 

Consulting a doctor

Always consult a DoctorSource: studioroman
Consult a doctor

If someone has been diagnosed with Anemia, a doctor will prescribe suitable heavy periods and Anemia treatment.

A healthcare professional will suggest appropriate ways to monitor the condition.

They might prescribe supplements or medications for controlling heavy bleeding, such as Tranexamic acid (Lysteda) and GnRH medicines.

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  • Taking iron supplements

    Any healthcare professional is most likely to prescribe iron supplements to boost iron levels.

    Iron supplements reduce the severity of Anemia and improve menstrual health.

    Using good menstrual hygiene products

    Invest in quality sanitary pads or tampons for heavy bleeding. 

    Also, change the pads regularly to avoid any discomfort and eliminate the chances of infection.

    Taking adequate rest

    Getting enough rest for the body is essential for periods and Anemia.

    Iron deficiency Anemia already causes fatigue, which only adds to the stress when the periods start. 

    Anemia affects sleep quality and causes Insomnia, but it is important to rest as much as possible.

    Resting not only aids the body to recover but also helps it cope with Anemia and heavy periods.

    Managing iron deficiency Anemia and periods through diet

    For Anemia and heavy periods, a well-balanced diet consisting of the following is vital:

    Folate (Vitamin B9)

    Folic acid, or folate, aids in the production of red blood cells.

    Ensure that there is enough asparagus, avocado, broccoli, etc., in the diet to increase their folate intake.

    Iron

    Spinach smoothieSource: Lilechka75_from_Getty_Images
    Spinach smoothie

    Foods containing iron help combat Anemia by raising iron levels.

    Therefore, it is advisable to consume foods such as beans, fish, fortified cereals, lean red meat, lentils, and poultry.

    Leafy greens are excellent sources of iron.

    Vegetables like collard, kale, and spinach are good for Anemia and heavy periods. 

    Apart from having them through cooking dishes, salads, and smoothies also provide good ways to enjoy those.

    Vitamin C

    Sources of Vitamin C, like bell peppers, citrus fruits, and strawberries, help to increase iron absorption.

    Fluids

    Dehydration can increase symptoms like fatigue and dizziness.

    Staying hydrated helps in maintaining blood volume

    Drinking fluids like water reduces the risk of dehydration during heavy periods.

    Conclusion

    Understanding the impact of Anemia and its link with periods is important for overall better health.

    Low iron levels make the symptoms of Anemia more prominent during periods.

    It is possible to manage Anemia and periods together without letting the conditions affect the quality of life.

    Iron deficiency Anemia mostly affects women and can cause irregular periods.

    The periods and Anemia management becomes easier if one seeks timely treatment by visiting a doctor.

    There are effective solutions to make anyone with Anemia feel better and stronger, even during their monthly cycle, like taking iron supplements.

    It is also easier to manage Anemia and periods by taking adequate rest, using high-quality menstrual hygiene products, and staying hydrated.

    Making dietary changes helps to a great extent, so a diet should contain natural sources of iron, Vitamin C, and folate.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can Anemia affect your period?

    Yes, Anemia can affect your period and cause irregular periods, for example, delayed periods and lighter or heavier flow. You may even miss your periods because of decreased oxygen levels.

    What are periods like if you are anemic?

    For individuals with Anemia, managing periods can be challenging. Some symptoms they face for Anemia and periods are heavy bleeding (in most cases), irregular periods, long periods, dizziness, severe fatigue, and weakness.

    How do you treat Anemia during your period?

    Seek medical advice for treating your Anemia during your period and consume the iron supplements that a healthcare professional is likely to prescribe you. Getting enough rest, staying hydrated, and using proper menstrual hygiene products is also vital.

    I have Anemia and heavy periods. What should I eat?

    You should include vitamin C-laden foods for increased iron absorption, iron-rich foods like beans and lean meat, and leafy green vegetables for folate. Additionally, stay properly hydrated because water can improve the hemoglobin index, and reduce fluid retention, which can otherwise contribute to Anemia

    Citations:
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