Can Anemia Cause Late & Irregular Periods?

By Megan Smith

Anemia is a condition in which the body lacks enough red blood cells to carry enough oxygen to the rest of the body. There are many causes of anemia, including the most common form, iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency anemia occurs because iron is necessary to create hemoglobin, which aids in creating healthy blood cells. Without iron, the blood cells are not able to bring enough oxygen to the body, including the brain. Other causes of anemia include vitamin deficiency, where the body is missing B12 and folate; Aplastic anemia, where the bone marrow can not produce red blood cells; and sickle cell anemia, where a defective form of hemoglobin is inherited, causing red blood cells to form a crescent shape and die more quickly than normal red blood cells.

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What is Anemia?

Anemia is a condition in which the body lacks enough red blood cells to carry enough oxygen to the rest of the body. There are many causes of anemia, including the most common form, iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency anemia occurs because iron is necessary to create hemoglobin, which aids in creating healthy blood cells. Without iron, the blood cells are not able to bring enough oxygen to the body, including the brain. Other causes of anemia include vitamin deficiency, where the body is missing B12 and folate; Aplastic anemia, where the bone marrow can not produce red blood cells; and sickle cell anemia, where a defective form of hemoglobin is inherited, causing red blood cells to form a crescent shape and die more quickly than normal red blood cells.

Anemia and Menstruation

Regardless of its cause, anemia causes a lack of oxygen to the body, which can cause irregular menstruation, and even skipped menstruation. Types of irregular menstruation that can be caused by anemia include a very heavy flow, an absent flow, frequent spotting, or skipped periods. Because of the blood loss that a heavy menstruation can cause, symptoms of anemia can worsen during your period. Your doctor can give you iron supplements if you have iron deficient anemia or other supplements that tailor to your specific anemia diagnosis.

Other Symptoms of Anemia

Your doctor can give you supplements to prevent the symptoms of anemia. Besides irregular or heavy menstruation, other symptoms of anemia include pale skin, fatigue, irregular or quick heartbeat, difficulty breathing, chest pains, dizziness, headaches, and cold hands and feet. If you have any of these symptoms and think you might be anemic, contact your doctor as soon as possible. He or she can prescribe you with supplements that will help your particular deficiency.

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About the Author

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