Menstrual bleeding is a part of almost every woman’s life. The truth is that it might seem like a lot but we only part with a couple of millilitres of blood every month. However, if you think your periods are too heavy in terms of flow, anaemia could be causing it.
Anaemia is a blood condition which pertains to iron deficiency and is more common in women. Constant fatigue, pale skin, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and a lack of concentration are some of the most prominent symptoms you see in an anaemic person.
According to Dr Sandeep Chadha, consultant obstetrician & gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida, menstruating women are more prone to this problem as they lose blood every month and, in some cases, twice a month as well.
“Low intake of iron in their diet is the main reason why the number of anaemia cases is increasing in India. Menstruating women must include dates, pomegranate, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood, and fortified foods to ensure their iron level is under check”, she suggested.
How is anaemia related to the menstrual cycle?
Multiple reasons can lead to anaemia but women who are dealing with menorrhagia are at a higher risk of being anaemic. Menorrhagia is a condition where you bleed abnormally during your menstrual cycle. The bleeding is so heavy that you need to change your sanitary pad way too frequently. The amount of blood loss that happens is way beyond 80 ml which isn’t normal.
According to Dr Chadha, menorrhagia can occur due to issues like hormonal imbalance, fibroids (abnormal growth of muscle tissues on your uterus), and polyps (abnormal growth on your cervix).
“This situation can lead to anaemia by reducing the number of red blood cells. How does one get to know about it? Well, for this, you need to get a blood test done for your hemoglobin level. Low hemoglobin level means the oxygen supply in your body is low which leads to constant fatigue and lightheadedness”, she explains.
In women, anything lower than 12 deciliters (120 grams per liter) is considered to be low hemoglobin.
This is when you are more at risk of anaemia due to heavy bleeding
According to Dr Chadha, here are the four things you need to watch out for since these can increase the risk of being anaemic:
1. If you are changing your tampons or pads every hour or two.
2. If you are passing blood clots larger than 2.5 cm.
3. If you are often concerned about bleeding through bedding or your clothes.
4. If your bleeding lasts for more than seven days.
Leaving anaemia untreated is an invitation to a much bigger problem
“You can very well try to treat this condition by either taking iron supplements, doing light exercises, and by including iron rich food in your diet. You need to cut down on caffeine and alcohol for better absorption of the nutrients. You must remember that if anaemia is left untreated, it can cause severe complications like heart problems, pregnancy complications, and chronic health conditions”, she concluded.
So, you need to keep a track of your flow when you’re menstruating to catch this condition in time.