Anemia affects all ages of both sexes, especially iron deficiency anemia, but women are the most affected by anemia, for a number of factors such as the menstrual cycle, in which women lose blood for a full week every month throughout the fertile years, and other reasons. (1)

In this article, we discuss the causes of anemia in women, and learn about its most important symptoms.

What is anemia?

Red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body, which operates and gives energy to all organs. A person suffers from anemia or anemia if there is not enough hemoglobin in red blood cells, or the number of red blood cells is normal, but they do not work efficiently and are helpless. on the performance of its functions. (2)

A person with anemia does not get the energy needed to operate all body systems, and this results in poor cognitive and motor development in children, and the ability of the adult individual to work, productivity, and the ability to perform daily tasks is affected. Anemia may be simple, short-term, and disappear easily. Or long-term chronic type that needs treatment for many years. (3)

Causes of anemia in women

Why are women considered more susceptible to anemia? Indeed, women suffer from anemia more often, especially in the age period between 12 and 49 years, for the following reasons: (1) (2)

  • The menstrual cycle accompanies girls and women for many years during their lives, which are the fertile years that begin between the ages of ten and 12, and continue until the age of 50 and may be longer than that. Women must compensate for the blood they lose during menstruation through food or iron supplements. Iron is necessary for the production of new red blood cells.
  • Heavy menstruation: Heavy menstruation is the cause of anemia in women by a large percentage, as the menstrual cycles of a number of women are characterized by extreme abundance, and menstruation days may be prolonged to 10 days or more, which means losing a lot of blood compared to others, which may not exceed their menstrual days. 3 or 5 days.
  • Infection with uterine fibroids: Infection with these tumors leads to bleeding and blood loss, and they are non-cancerous tumors.
  • Using the IUD: The IUD sometimes causes the woman to have increased menstrual blood, or bleeding between periods, which is one of the most common causes of anemia in married women.
  • pregnancy.
  • Childbirth: Women lose large amounts of blood at the time of natural or cesarean delivery. It is recommended to check the level of iron in the blood during pregnancy, before childbirth, and to take iron supplements before childbirth.

Anemia due to pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most important causes of anemia in women, so a pregnant woman needs to increase her iron intake by nearly 50% compared to before pregnancy, which is equivalent to 27 mg of iron instead of 18 mg per day. (1)

The fetus gets its iron needs from the mother, so the pregnant woman gets infected easily, which may cause a number of complications such as the following: (3)

  1. The birth of underweight babies.
  2. Low iron stores in the newborn.
  3. Poor growth of the child.

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Symptoms of anemia in women

It is difficult to diagnose anemia in the majority of women, as the symptoms are not clear or similar to other pathological conditions, and often the symptoms of anemia do not appear in girls and women until after the hemoglobin level decreases a lot. (4)

Symptoms usually appear according to the causes that led to anemia. We mention below the most common symptoms of anemia in women: (4)(2)

  • Severe dizziness, and the feeling of the woman about to lose consciousness, which is one of the clearest symptoms of anemia in women.
  • fast heartbeat
  • Headache.
  • Pain in the bones, joints, abdomen, and chest.
  • Weakness and disorder in the growth of children and adolescents.
  • Yellowing and pale skin, which is one of the most important symptoms of anemia in women after childbirth.
  • Cold hands and feet.
  • which is the inability to breathe deeply.
  • General tiredness and exhaustion.
  • Wheezing or ringing in the ear.

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It is recommended that women, upon noticing a group of the previous symptoms, take a test to determine the level of hemoglobin in the blood, in order to diagnose anemia early, and take iron supplements as one of the steps to treat anemia in women, or other treatment steps recommended by the doctor. (2)