A new study published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, a journal of the Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology, suggests that clinicians should screen women with heavy menstrual bleeding for anemia and recommend iron supplementation (Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. Published Online, 2014 Jun 9).
The 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, such as Mirena. The women were separated into two groups: anemic (women with hemoglobin levels less than 120 g/L) and non-anemic. Levels of ferritin in the blood were also measured 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 ferritin levels less than 15 µg/L. In the anemic group, 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. The women in the anemic group also had a significant increase in energy, along with physical and social function, and a decrease in anxiety and depression, a year after treatment. The researchers concluded that clinicians should screen for anemia in women with heavy menstrual bleeding and offer iron supplementation as part of the treatment process.