Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body's organs. Continue reading to learn more about anemia to find out if anemia can cause irregular periods so that you can battle the health condition effectively today.
The most common causes of anemia are lack of iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid in the diet.
However, anemia can also be due to more serious illnesses, including:
- Malaria, septicemia, and other infections that reduce the lifespan of red blood cells
- Excessive blood loss (i.e. from trauma or surgery)
- Bone marrow disorders, such as cancer
- Chronic diseases, including tuberculosis and rheumatoid arthritis
These conditions cause red blood cell deficiencies, including abnormally low red blood cell production or a low concentration of hemoglobin, the protein to which oxygen molecules attach themselves.
Is There a Relationship between Iron Deficiency Anemia and Irregular Periods?
Yes, there is a relationship between iron deficiency anemia and irregular periods. Anemia triggered by an iron deficiency can cause irregular periods, and likewise, women with irregular periods can suffer from iron deficiency anemia from excessive blood loss.
It is estimated that one in five menstruating women are anemic, which can have a detrimental effect on the reproductive system and menstrual cycle patterns.
Women should consider the following symptoms when trying to identify anemia:
Tiredness. This is the most common of all anemia symptoms. Less oxygen reaching muscle tissues means an achy, fatigued body.
Dizziness and breathlessness. With decreased hemoglobin levels, the heart has to work harder to pump the quantities of blood needed to get around the body, and the brain might not be getting enough oxygen, leading to dizziness.
Impaired wound and tissue healing. Reduced oxygen-carrying hemoglobin concentration in the bloodstream can slow down the healing process as tissues need oxygen to regenerate.
Jaundice. When red blood cells die, hemoglobin is broken down into a compound called bilirubin, which makes the skin and eye sockets yellowish in color.
Should I Be Worried?
Anemia symptoms are likely to impede your well-being if undealt with as the tiredness, irritability, and physical weakness may affect your performance.
The health condition can be temporary or long-term and can range from mild to severe, depending on its cause and how long anemia is left untreated.
As such, if you suspect that you have anemia, it is important to consult your doctor to treat the cause of the condition immediately.
Anemia is diagnosed through a series of physical exams, medical history, and a blood test. In serious cases, your doctor may do a bone marrow aspiration, wherein a sample of bone marrow fluid is taken from the hip for analysis.
Treating Anemia and Irregular Periods
Once the type and cause of anemia has been diagnosed, it can be treated. When iron deficiency is the cause, dietary changes and supplements are usually the solution. Whereas, anemia caused by other diseases and infections is treated on a case-by-case basis, sometimes involving blood transfusions, bone marrow transplants, or additional therapies.
For menopausal women, it is important to note that irregular periods and symptoms similar to those experienced by anemia may be due to a hormonal imbalance, not iron deficiency. Click on the following link for more information about natural and effective irregular periods treatments.
- Mayo Clinic. (2011). Many Possible Causes of Irregular Periods. Retrieved February 28, 2019, from https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/many-possible-causes-of-irregular-periods/
- Mayo Clinic. (2017). Anemia: Symptoms & causes | Diagnosis & treatment. Retrieved February 28, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20351360 | https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anemia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351366
- Wirth, J.P. et al. (2017). Predictors of anemia in women of reproductive age: Biomarkers Reflecting Inflammation and Nutritional Determinants of Anemia (BRINDA) project. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 106(Suppl 1), 416S-427S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.143073