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Heavy periods, short menses cycle, low iron, anemia ?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 336 Questions
I am pretty sure I an low on iron as I have heavy periods and a short menstrual cycle. I am constantly tired although I get enough sleep. My GP has said I should go for blood tests but they do not take blood at the GP surgery, so I have to travel to my local hospital during my working day, miles away from where I work to get the blood Sample taken. So I have to leave this for a week because I just can't afford to take more time off work. It's fine, I'll go and get it done within the next week burt I am impatient and I have some iron supplements that I want to start taking straight away. So my question is this: will taking iron supplement for a week mask the blood test results? The range of tests are 'FBC & Diff', 'iron levels', 'electrolytes', 'liver function tests', 'thyroid function tests'.
Posted Sun, 6 May 2012 in Blood Disorders
Answered by Dr. Deepak Anvekar 1 hour later

Thanks or your query,

Though you are sure about your symptoms and the diagnosis of iron deficiency, it is important to determine the type of anemia you have and identify its underlying causes.

The tests that have been advised are the first step in the diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia. In addition to the above testing for folic acid and vitamin B12 levels and a peripheral blood smear might also be helpful.

Initiation of iron therapy before testing can give false reports and hence it is not recommended.

In any case, even if you start the iron supplements that you have currently, to have significant benefits that you can see clinically, you need at least one month of continuous therapy to see any change in hemoglobin levels. Hence waiting a week and getting the tests done before you start iron supplementation will be a very optimal choice.

I hope this is helpful to clear your doubts.

I am available for any follow up questions that you may be having.

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