Are you having trouble eating a? balanced diet, especially about your period? Whether or not high-sugar foods or caffeine make uncomfortable aspects of your period worse varies greatly from person to person. One thing is true, however, if you menstruate you are at a higher risk of developing iron deficiency anemia.
Are you wondering what that means exactly? You’re not alone!
What is anemia
Anemia is a condition that can make you feel weak and tired. There are a few different types of anemia that can be temporary or long-term and mild or severe.
The most common type of anemia is iron deficiency anemia. It means you don’t have enough in your body of the element iron, which is needed to make hemoglobin. This is one of the essential parts of a red blood cell, which is how it carries oxygen around your body. But why is it happening?
Causes of Anemia
There are a few things that can cause iron deficiency anemia or put you at risk. Anemia is generally caused because you are not consuming enough iron or you are losing too much. You may have an iron deficiency in your diet, which is why meat-free people have to watch out for their iron intake.
If you have a bowel disorder like celiac disease, you may be getting enough iron but not being able to absorb it.
There is one bigger risk factor. People who menstruate are more prone to this type of anemia due to blood loss. Compared to 2% cisgender men, the prevalence for others is much higher, but that’s not the only difference. 9-12% of white non-Hispanic menstruators are anemicbut that jumps to 20% for black and Hispanic women – and doctors aren’t entirely sure why.
Down the line, menstrual-related anemia is more likely when you have very heavy periods (called Menorrhagia).
If you think pregnancy will give you some rest, unfortunately, guess again. Your little bundle of joy that grows within you loves to take in a large portion of the nutrients in you.
Are Painkillers a Problem?
One unexpected factor contributing to anemia problems during your period can be your choice of pain relievers. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen are an effective over-the-counter drug to relieve your period pain.
Unfortunately, prolonged use of NSAIDs can cause stomach ulcers. (P.Eptic ulcers are open sores on the lining of the stomach or at the beginning of your small intestine.) Burning stomach pain is the main symptom, but untreated ulcers can also lead to slow blood loss, which contributes to anemia.
In summary? It’s important to stick to recommended doses of pain medication and seek treatment if you already have ulcers and are concerned about anemia. It’s always a good idea to look around natural remedies for your cramps also!
Signs of anemia and what to do
According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some of the key symptoms of anemia to look out for:
- Extreme tiredness or weakness
- Pale skin
- Chest pain, fast heartbeat, or shortness of breath
- Headache or dizziness
- Cold hands and feet
- Inflammation or pain in the tongue
- Brittle nails
- Unusual cravings for non-nutritious substances like ice, dirt, or starch
If you feel like your nails are breaking too easily, or you enjoy chewing on ice, it may not mean you are anemic. The best way to find out for sure is to speak to your doctor. anemia you should not self-diagnose and treat.
Unless your anemia is very severe, your doctor may recommend simply eating more iron-rich foods, such as red meat, beans, and dark, leafy vegetables. If you are already doing this, they can prescribe an iron supplement.
It is important to wait for a doctor’s guidance when it comes to nutritional supplements.
Although iron supplements can be bought over the counter, your anemia can be part of a larger problem and too much iron can build up Heart, liver, joints, pancreas and pituitary gland.
Lane Baumeister is an international Canadian writer with years of experience creating educational and entertaining articles dealing with intimate health and sexual wellbeing. When she’s not into menstruation, she devotes herself to extremely good food and equally bad movies.