Iron supplements improve anemia, quality of life for women with heavy periods

June 9, 2014
This photo is of lead author Dr. Peuranpää, Hyvinkää Hospital. Credit: Dr. Peuranpää

A study by researchers from Finland found that diagnosis and treatment of anemia is important to improve quality of life among women with heavy periods. Findings published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, a journal of the Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology, suggest clinicians screen for anemia and recommend iron supplementation to women with heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia).

One of the common causes of and is heavy bleeding during menstration. Over time monthly mentrual loss without adequate dietary can reduce iron stores in the body. Previous studies have found that may impact women's physical performance, cognitive function, mood, and overall quality of life.

Led by Dr. Pirkko Peuranpää from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hyvinkää Hospital in Finland, this prospective study assessed the impact of anemia and iron deficiency on health-related quality of life in 236 women treated for heavy . The participants were randomized to either hysterectomy or treatment with a levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system such as Mirena®.

The team separated the participants into two groups. Women with hemoglobin—the oxygen-carrying proteins in the red blood cells—levels less than 120 g/L were defined as anemic and those with levels greater than 120 g/L were in the non-anemic group. Researchers also measured levels of ferritin in the blood to assess iron stores in both groups.

Results show that at the start of the study, 27% of women were anemic and 60% were severely iron deficient with ferritin levels less than 15 µg/L. In those women who were anemic only 8% took an iron supplement. One year following treatment hemoglobin levels had increased in both groups, but women who were initially anemic still had significantly lower levels compared to those in the non-anemic group.

One year after treatment women in the anemic group had a significant increase in energy, along with physical and social function, and a decrease in anxiety and depression compared to the non-anemic group. It took five years for the iron stores to reach normal levels. "The quality of life of women with heavy periods is plural, but the treatment of anemia is important to get good results," concludes Dr. Peuranpää. "Our findings suggest that clinicians should screen for anemia in with heavy menstrual bleeding and recommend early iron supplementation as part of the treatment process."

Explore further: Low iron levels slow down female athletes

More information: "Effects of Anemia and Iron Deficiency on Quality of Life in Women With Heavy Menstrual Bleeding." Pirkko Peuranpää, Satu Heliövaara-Peippo, Ian Fraser, Jorma Paavonen And Ritva Hurskainen Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica; Published online: June 9, 2014 DOI: 10.1111/aogs.12394

Related Stories

Low iron levels slow down female athletes

November 21, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Female athletes with low levels of iron in their bodies, yet who are not anemic, may be at a disadvantage even before their competitive season starts, according to a new Cornell study. These athletes could ...

Iron supplementation can provide cognitive and physical benefits to anemic children

October 15, 2013
Giving daily iron supplements to anemic primary-school–aged children can have cognitive and physical benefits, according to a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Iron supplements can reduce fatigue in nonanemic women

July 9, 2012
Iron supplementation reduced fatigue by almost 50% in women who are low in iron but not anemic, according to the results of a clinical trial published July 9 in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Forging iron women

April 9, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—A new University of Melbourne study has found that women who take iron supplements, experience a marked improvement in their exercise performance.

Twice weekly iron supplementation to pregnant women as effective as a daily regime

June 18, 2013
Daily supplementation of iron tablets to pregnant women does not provide any benefits in birth weight or improved infant growth compared to twice weekly supplementation, according to a study by international researchers published ...

Recommended for you

Study shows a significant ongoing decline in sperm counts of Western men

July 25, 2017
In the first systematic review and meta-analysis of trends in sperm count, researchers from the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai ...

Women exposed to smoke while in womb more likely to miscarry

July 13, 2017
Women exposed to cigarette smoke while in their mothers' wombs are more likely to experience miscarriage as adults, according to new research from the University of Aberdeen.

Lack of a hormone in pregnant mice linked to preeclampsia

June 30, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers from Singapore, the Netherlands and Turkey has isolated a hormone in pregnant mice that appears to be associated with preeclampsia—a pregnancy-related condition characterized by ...

Aspirin reduces risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women

June 28, 2017
Taking a low-dose aspirin before bed can reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, which can cause premature birth and, in extreme cases, maternal and foetal death.

The biology of uterine fluid: How it informs the fetus of mom's world

June 22, 2017
A developing fetus bathes in a mixture of cellular secretions and proteins unique to its mother's uterus. Before fertilization, the pH of uterine fluid helps create a conducive environment for sperm migration, and afterward, ...

New clues in puzzle over pre-eclampsia and cholesterol regulation

June 21, 2017
Scientists studying a mystery link between the dangerous pregnancy complication pre-eclampsia and an increased risk of heart disease in later life for both mother and child have uncovered important new clues.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.