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Iron Deficiency Anemia and Your Period

2 min read

woman not feeling well

Your monthly period can make you feel a bit off even when things are normal, but an abnormally heavy period, called menorrhagia, can lead to more severe symptoms. Exhaustion from iron-deficiency anemia is one of them.

Menorrhagia is bleeding that is so heavy that it impacts your usual activities due to extreme blood loss and cramping. When you lose too much blood during your period, the body isn’t able to quickly replenish red blood cells. When there aren’t enough red blood cells, the result is anemia. In an attempt to quickly replace blood cells, your body will also tap into and deplete stored iron. Anemia can make you feel even more exhausted than a normal period.

 

Menorrhagia is most common in young women who have just started menstruating or older women who are nearing menopause.

 

In the United States, 7.6% of women have iron-deficiency anemia. It is particularly prevalent in women of reproductive age or surrounding pregnancy. If you are struggling with abnormally heavy periods and fatigue, it’s important to understand the symptoms and treatment options available to you. 

Symptoms of Menorrhagia and Anemia

A few symptoms that might indicate you have heavier-than-normal periods that may lead to anemia include:

  • soaking through more than one sanitary pad every hour for several hours.
  • needing to change sanitary protection overnight.
  • bleeding for longer than a week.
  • passing large blood clots.
  • exhaustion/extreme fatigue.
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness.
All of the above may indicate a problem with your menstrual cycle, but can also overlap with other medical conditions that need to be addressed.

    Causes of Menorrhagia

    Menorrhagia is most common in young women who have just started menstruating or older women who are nearing menopause. For younger women, it is usually due to hormones because of a period without ovulation. For older women it is generally indicative of a physical problem. Some causes of menorrhagia include:

    • uterine fibroids
    • hormonal imbalances
    • medications
    • ovarian dysfunction
    • pregnancy
    • cancer

    A doctor must do a medical evaluation to determine the underlying cause of heavy periods before treatment can begin.

    Treatment of Anemia and Heavy Periods

    A doctor may suggest hormone therapy or NSAIDs to reduce blood loss from menorrhagia. For severe cases, surgery may be required to remove fibroids or cancer.

    If heavy periods are the cause of anemia, this should be addressed as well. A doctor may prescribe an iron supplement to help restore iron. Although that might help, it doesn’t actually replace any of the red blood cells that have been lost from heavy bleeding. Iron can also cause stomach upset and discomfort. 

    This is where Prohemia can help. Prohemia encourages the production of new red blood cells, while providing iron at the same time. It tackles both underlying causes of period-related anemia: the loss of cells and iron depletion. Although treatment for the underlying cause of menorrhagia is still necessary, Prohemia can help you start feeling less fatigued and give you more energy right away.