(BPT) - Regularly checking your chair after you stand up. Bringing back the sweater-tied-around-the-waist look. Convincing yourself black pants go with everything. Heavy uterine bleeding (HUB) can turn even the most confident woman into someone completely self-conscious. If you experience HUB, you probably know what we're talking about.

But along with the inconvenience and embarrassment, HUB may also leave you with a health condition called iron deficiency anemia (IDA).1,2 Despite IDA affecting nearly 25% of women of childbearing age, many are unaware of the condition.3 If you’re experiencing HUB, ask yourself the following questions and learn more about the connection between HUB and IDA.

What is IDA?

Iron deficiency anemia, also known as IDA, is a condition that interferes with the formation and function of red blood cells.4 Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that helps carry oxygen from the lungs to all your cells.4 When you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry enough oxygen to the rest of your cells, that can lead to anemia.5 IDA is the most common form of anemia.4

Could I be at risk for IDA?

If you’ve been dealing with HUB for six months or more, it’s important to understand that you may also have IDA.1,2

When you lose more blood, you lose more iron.3 Periods are the most common cause of IDA in menstruating women.3 In fact, in a recent study, 63% of respondents with HUB reported being iron deficient at some point.3

Am I experiencing any of the signs or symptoms?

Signs and symptoms of IDA are important to recognize. People with IDA may experience tiredness, headaches, yellow or pale skin, dizziness or shortness of breath.6 However, it’s also possible to not experience any symptoms at all.6 So, keep in mind that symptoms are not enough to diagnose IDA — only a blood test from your doctor can diagnose IDA.6

What should I do if I think I have IDA?

Becoming your own health advocate and talking to your doctor is an important and empowering first step. At IMayHaveIDA.com, you can find helpful information, take a quiz and print out personalized results to guide a conversation about HUB and IDA at your next appointment. A blood test is the only way to know for sure if you have IDA.

If you are diagnosed with IDA, work with your doctor to develop an appropriate treatment plan to restore your iron levels. Health care providers may recommend a change in diet and/or supplemental iron, such as oral or intravenous (IV) iron, to help manage IDA.

By: BPT – Sponsored by Daiichi Sankyo Inc.

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References:

1. Munro MG, Critchley HOD, Fraser IS; FIGO Menstrual Disorders Committee. The two FIGO systems for normal and abnormal uterine bleeding symptoms and classification of causes of abnormal uterine bleeding in the reproductive years: 2018 revisions. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2018;143(3):393-408.

2. Bernardi LA, Ghant MS, Andrade C, Recht H, Marsh EE. The association between subjective assessment of menstrual bleeding and measures of iron deficiency anemia in premenopausal African-American women: a cross-sectional study. BMC Womens Health. 2016;16(1):50. doi:10.1186/s12905-016-0329-z.

3. Bruinvels G, Burden R, Brown N, Richards T, Pedlar C. The prevalence and impact of heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) in elite and non-elite athletes. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(2). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149881.

4. Iron-deficiency anemia. American Society of Hematology website. http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Anemia/Iron-Deficiency.aspx. Accessed November 21, 2016.

5. Iron deficiency anemia. Mayo Clinic website. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iron-deficiency-anemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355034?p=1. Accessed August 5, 2019.

6. Iron-deficiency anemia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/iron-deficiency-anemia. Accessed August 6, 2018.

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