Iron Really Matters!

What are the symptoms of iron deficiency in women?

Symptoms include looking pale, feeling extremely tired, shortness of breath on exertion, irritability, dizziness, and headaches.

What foods are rich in iron?

Lean meats (particularly red meat), fish and shellfish (tuna, sardines, salmon), eggs, nuts, legumes (beans, lentils, and chickpeas), dark leafy green vegetables and iron fortified breads and cereals.

What are the causes of iron deficiency?

Both blood loss, malabsorption, and insufficient dietary iron intake to contribute to iron deficiency.

Heavy menstrual bleeding is a common cause of low iron in women. There are several causes of heavy periods that can be treated, reducing blood loss and helping improve iron stores.

Bleeding from the bowel can also cause iron deficiency. It can be an indicator of serious underlying health conditions and immediate review with your GP is required.

Malabsorption of iron, due to gut disorders, or poor intake of oral iron (which is more common in vegetarian and vegan diets) can also lead to iron deficiency.

Iron deficiency can also be due to a combination of the above factors and shouldn’t always just be put down to periods.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding also increase a female’s iron requirements. Iron builds extra red blood cells to increase oxygen carrying capacity to the developing baby and is excreted in breastmilk to supply nutrients to the baby.

What are the complications in pregnancy associated with iron deficiency?

Low iron in pregnancy can result in a low birth weight of the baby and prematurity. It can also contribute to significant fatigue and reduce breast milk production post-partum.

How is iron deficiency treated?

It is important to find the underlying cause of iron deficiency and treat it, as well as replacing iron. Iron can be taken orally via a number of available supplements, or if sever an iron infusion can be discussed with your GP.


If you think you may be low in iron, or are concerned about anything discussed above, please book an Appointment at No. 1 Women’s Health with our GP

03 9132 9644 or email