Iron Deficiency Anaemia in Women

The most common cause of anaemia in Singapore​ is iron deficiency. Your body requires iron to make haemoglobin in red blood cells that enable them to carry oxygen. When there is insufficient iron in your body, your red cell count falls, and you become anaemic. Iron-deficiency anaemia affects more women than men, and the risk of iron-deficiency anaemia is highest for women who:

  1. Are pregnant. Pregnant women require additional iron during pregnancy to support foetal development. Severe anaemia during pregnancy could increase the risk of premature birth, a low birth weight baby and postpartum depression. 
  2. Have heavy menstrual periods. Women of childbearing age with heavy bleeding during their periods may develop iron-deficiency anaemia because of the excessive blood loss, depleting the body’s iron stores. This may cause fatigue, hair loss and frequent infections.

    .

According to a survey carried out by Sata CommHealth, almost half of the women in Singapore could have an iron deficiency and are unaware of it. In addition, some recent studies have indicated that more than half of pregnant Singapore women are iron deficient during the late phases of pregnancy.
.

The symptoms of iron deficiency can easily be ascribed to other causes; hence many women tend to have had them for years without ever knowing why. The symptoms include physical and mental fatigue, hair loss and brittle fingernails, which women may put down to stress and a lack of sleep.
.

.

How much iron do I need?

Health Promotion Board recommends 19mg of iron for women between the ages of 18 and 59 years old, while women aged 60 years and above require 6mg of iron a day. During pregnancy, your iron needs rise to 27 mg to support the needs of the foetus.
.

How can I tell if I have Iron-deficiency anaemia?

Iron-deficiency anaemia can go unnoticed due to its mild symptoms. However, as the conditions worsen, the signs and symptoms intensify.
.

Iron deficiency anaemia signs and symptoms include:

  • Extreme fatigue and weakness
  • Pale skin, brittle nails and hair loss
  • Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Inflammation or soreness of the tongue
    .

When should I see a doctor?

If you develop signs and symptoms that suggest iron deficiency anaemia, refrain from self-diagnosing or taking iron supplements on your own. We recommend that you see a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. Overloading the body with iron can be dangerous because excess iron accumulation can damage your liver and cause other complications.
.

How can I prevent Iron-deficiency anaemia if I am pregnant?

  • Treat the cause of blood loss. Talk to your doctor if you have digestive system problems, such as frequent diarrhoea or blood in your stool.
  • Eat foods high in iron. Chicken, lean meat, dark leafy vegetables, and beans are good sources of iron.
  • Eat foods that help absorb iron. Include orange, strawberries, broccoli, or other fruits and vegetables with vitamin C into your diet.
  • Talk to your doctor about supplements. For women who do not get enough iron from their regular diet.
    .

Does birth control help to improve Iron-deficiency anaemia?

Yes, if the cause of the iron deficiency is heavy menstrual periods. Birth control such as the oral contraceptive pill and hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) help to lighten the menstrual flow which reduces the risk of iron-deficiency anaemia.
.

How long will I have to take an oral iron supplement?

This will depend on the cause of iron deficiency. Generally patients will require 3-6 months of oral iron supplements. Your doctor will monitor your iron levels to determine how long to continue treatment.
.

You can learn more about iron therapy here.
.

Disclaimer:
The information on the Centre For Clinical Haematology website is intended for educational use.  It should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health professional.

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Iron Deficiency Anaemia in Women

The most common cause of anaemia in Singapore​ is iron deficiency. Your body requires iron to make haemoglobin in red blood cells that enable them to carry oxygen. When there is insufficient iron in your body, your red cell count falls, and you become anaemic. Iron-deficiency anaemia affects more women than men, and the risk of iron-deficiency anaemia is highest for women who:

  1. Are pregnant. Pregnant women require additional iron during pregnancy to support foetal development. Severe anaemia during pregnancy could increase the risk of premature birth, a low birth weight baby and postpartum depression. 
  2. Have heavy menstrual periods. Women of childbearing age with heavy bleeding during their periods may develop iron-deficiency anaemia because of the excessive blood loss, depleting the body’s iron stores. This may cause fatigue, hair loss and frequent infections.

    .

According to a survey carried out by Sata CommHealth, almost half of the women in Singapore could have an iron deficiency and are unaware of it. In addition, some recent studies have indicated that more than half of pregnant Singapore women are iron deficient during the late phases of pregnancy.
.

The symptoms of iron deficiency can easily be ascribed to other causes; hence many women tend to have had them for years without ever knowing why. The symptoms include physical and mental fatigue, hair loss and brittle fingernails, which women may put down to stress and a lack of sleep.
.

.

How much iron do I need?

Health Promotion Board recommends 19mg of iron for women between the ages of 18 and 59 years old, while women aged 60 years and above require 6mg of iron a day. During pregnancy, your iron needs rise to 27 mg to support the needs of the foetus.
.

How can I tell if I have Iron-deficiency anaemia?

Iron-deficiency anaemia can go unnoticed due to its mild symptoms. However, as the conditions worsen, the signs and symptoms intensify.
.

Iron deficiency anaemia signs and symptoms include:

  • Extreme fatigue and weakness
  • Pale skin, brittle nails and hair loss
  • Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Inflammation or soreness of the tongue
    .

When should I see a doctor?

If you develop signs and symptoms that suggest iron deficiency anaemia, refrain from self-diagnosing or taking iron supplements on your own. We recommend that you see a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. Overloading the body with iron can be dangerous because excess iron accumulation can damage your liver and cause other complications.
.

How can I prevent Iron-deficiency anaemia if I am pregnant?

  • Treat the cause of blood loss. Talk to your doctor if you have digestive system problems, such as frequent diarrhoea or blood in your stool.
  • Eat foods high in iron. Chicken, lean meat, dark leafy vegetables, and beans are good sources of iron.
  • Eat foods that help absorb iron. Include orange, strawberries, broccoli, or other fruits and vegetables with vitamin C into your diet.
  • Talk to your doctor about supplements. For women who do not get enough iron from their regular diet.
    .

Does birth control help to improve Iron-deficiency anaemia?

Yes, if the cause of the iron deficiency is heavy menstrual periods. Birth control such as the oral contraceptive pill and hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) help to lighten the menstrual flow which reduces the risk of iron-deficiency anaemia.
.

How long will I have to take an oral iron supplement?

This will depend on the cause of iron deficiency. Generally patients will require 3-6 months of oral iron supplements. Your doctor will monitor your iron levels to determine how long to continue treatment.
.

You can learn more about iron therapy here.
.

Disclaimer:
The information on the Centre For Clinical Haematology website is intended for educational use.  It should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health professional.

    Contact Us

Locations

Contact

Consultation Hours

Monday to Friday : 8.30am – 5.30pm
Saturday : 8.30am – 12.30pm
Closed on Sunday & Public Holidays

Find us on Facebook

Drop a Line

Contact Us

If you have any questions about your condition or would like to make an appointment, simply fill up the form and we'll contact you as soon as we can

Disclaimer | 2020 Centre For Clinical Haematology | Website Created by Cleveraa