Why women are more likely to be iron deficient and what to do about it

3 November, 2023 / words by IALH Editor

Huns, have you ever felt unusually tired, weak, or even dizzy, and wondered if there might be more to it than just living a super busy lifestyle? If so, you’re not alone. Iron deficiency is a common concern for women and can lead to a range of symptoms that can impact your daily life. Let’s dive into why women are more prone to iron deficiency and what you can do to control it in the future.

Why Are Women More Vulnerable to Iron Deficiency?

Menstruation is the most significant reason that comes up when discussing iron deficiency in regards to women. During your period, you lose blood, and with it, comes the loss of iron. Over time, this can lead to a depletion of your iron stores. If you’re currently pregnancy, you may experience an increased need of iron requirements to support your growing baby. If dietary intake or supplementation isn’t sufficient, it can result in an iron deficiency called anemia. Nursing Mums also need more iron to provide for both themselves and their baby and if these additional iron needs aren’t met, it can lead to deficiency.

Iron deficiency can manifest in various ways, including:
– Fatigue and weakness
– Paleness
– Shortness of breath
– Dizziness or light-headedness
– Cold hands and feet
– Brittle nails
– Hair loss
– Irregular heartbeats

The main question that you maybe asking is “what can I do about it?”

A great start would be to incorporate iron-rich foods into your diet. These include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, fortified cereals, and dark leafy greens such as kale or cavolo nero. To get the best out of the iron you consume, you’ll want to pair these foods with vitamin C-rich options like citrus fruits (mango and kiwi are great too!). These will really enhance iron absorption.

If your iron levels are significantly low, your healthcare provider may recommend iron supplements. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation, as excessive iron intake can have adverse effects – we don’t need that!

If heavy periods are a recurring issue for you, consider talking to your healthcare provider about management options, including medications or birth control methods that can help regulate your cycle. You may want to check for fibroids too as this will affect how you menstruate and they amount of blood you lose during this time.

During pregnancy and while breastfeeding, it’s essential to attend regular prenatal check-ups to monitor your iron levels. Your healthcare provider may recommend iron supplements as needed. But overall, make an effort to maintain a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrients. Don’t skip meals, and focus on eating mindfully.
Listen to your body and if you suspect you may be iron deficient, don’t hesitate to consult with a healthcare provider. They can perform blood tests to confirm the diagnosis and recommend the appropriate course of action.

Iron deficiency is a common concern for women, but it’s manageable and treatable with the right attention and approach. By being proactive about your diet, lifestyle, and health, you can maintain optimal iron levels and enjoy a more energetic, vibrant life. So, Huns, remember to put your health first and ensure you’re getting the iron you need to thrive. Your body will thank you for it!


IALH Editor


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