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Aug 29, 2014

Iron Supplements Improve Anemia, Quality of Life for Women

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. 
The findings suggest that clinicians screen for anemia and recommend iron supplementation to women with heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia).

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

The team separated the participants into two groups.  Women with hemoglobin 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 percent of women were anemic and 60 percent were severely iron deficient with feritin levels less than 15 ug/L.  In those women who were anemic, only 8 percent 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 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.

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