Iron Deficiency Symptoms in Women

Women often experience iron deficiency due to heavy loss of blood during their menstrual cycles, inability to supply the increased demands of body for iron during pregnancy or lack of insufficient iron in diet. Iron is the most essential element which is required for hemoglobin formation in the body. Hemoglobin plays a vital role in transferring oxygen to various parts of the body by being present in the red blood cells. It is also present in several enzymes but iron is mostly used for producing hemoglobin. Menopausal women, teenage girls and nursing and pregnant women must have adequate amounts of iron in their diet. Following are the iron deficiency symptoms in women.

Iron Deficiency Symptoms in Pregnant Women:

Nearly 50% extra blood is produced in a woman’s body during pregnancy. The body needs more iron for the development of fetus, placenta and uterus. Most women fail to consume sufficient amounts and are advised to take iron supplements. Nearly 50% of pregnant women suffer from iron deficiency. Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Increased irritability
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Pale lips
  • Brittle and pale fingernails
  • Pale palms
  • Excessive weakness
  • Constant fatigue
  • Pica (A condition that involves craving for non-edible items such as paint chips, cigarette butts, ice cubes, paper, clay and so on)

Women following vegetarian diet may also develop iron deficiency because they do not consume meat, particularly red meat. But foods such as beets, spinach, broccoli, fruits, walnuts, almonds, dates, grapefruits, bananas and apples may provide required amounts of iron.

Iron Deficiency Symptoms in Teenage Girls:

Besides transport of oxygen, iron is required for normal body metabolism. Iron aids in synthesizing DNA, brain chemical dopamine and white blood cells as well. Hence the symptoms may include:

  • Frequent infections
  • Low resistance to diseases
  • Weak immune system
  • Inability to think properly
  • Impaired neurological development
  • Poor academic performance
  • Behavioral disturbances
  • Low bone density
  • Hampered growth
  • Cracks at the corners of the mouth
  • Sore tongue
  • Increased irritability
  • Lack of concentration and confusion
  • Lightheadedness and dizziness
  • Chest pain and heart palpitations
  • Difficulty in breathing or rapid breathing
  • Pale lips, pale and brittle nails and pale skin
  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness
  • Lack of energy

Iron Deficiency Symptoms in Menopausal Women:

Nearly 6% of post-menopausal women and 10% of premenopausal women may experience low iron. Low iron symptoms include:

  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Sores at the corners of the mouth
  • Sore tongue
  • Brittle hair and brittle nails
  • Dry throat and mouth
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Giddiness and excessive tiredness
  • Difficulty in breathing on slight exertion
  • In extreme cases, achy legs, angina and headache
  • Fainting
  • Pale appearance

If iron deficiency signs are neglected in women the body may gradually starve for oxygen. This leads to serious health conditions like extreme fatigue, heart palpitations, difficulty in breathing and skin pallor.

RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of iron for a woman over the age of 51 is 8mg per day. 18 mg per day is needed for women between the age group of 19 – 50 and for pregnant women it is about 27 mg per day. Fortified cereals, whole grain products, raisins, legumes and bean products, seeds and nuts, green leafy vegetables, fish, poultry and meat are rich sources of iron.

Besides lack of iron in diet, excessive consumption of medicines such as aspirin, medications for hemorrhoids, parasitic infections, inflammatory bowel disease, tumors, internal bleeding because of peptic ulcer and gastritis may also lead to iron deficiency. Likewise, if your body is unable to absorb iron which is consumed through diet, you are likely to suffer from low iron even after consuming a healthy diet rich in iron. Vitamin C improves the iron absorption process and thus consumption of sufficient vitamin C is must to maintain proper levels of iron. We hope the above information about iron deficiency symptoms in women is helpful for you. Family members must encourage menopausal and pregnant women to consume a diet rich in iron.

14 thoughts on “Iron Deficiency Symptoms in Women

  1. Jess

    Well how useless this turned out to be. Women are either teens, pregnant, or on menopause. Sure that works. Because there are no young adult or middle aged women who aren’t pregnant. It’s not like it left out a huge chunk of the female population or anything. Fail.

  2. Tiff

    Well, im 18 and i have almost all the symptoms of the teen catagory. After i went to the doctor he told me how bad my iron really was.

  3. ryley

    im 18 and i am always tired and pale looking i have no energy to do anything. i hate going to the doctors. can someone tell me there experiences they had at the doctors with this same problem? and how they fixed it. :)

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