In non-anaemic menstruating women with unexplained fatigue and ferritin levels below 50 μg/L, 12 weeks of oral iron therapy resulted in a significant reduction in symptoms of fatigue, and improvements in biological markers, including haemoglobin, ferritin and soluble transferrin. However, no significant improvements of other measured indicators of quality of life other than fatigue were seen1.

Iron deficiency is associated with a range of symptoms that are not only detrimental to women’s quality of life, but may also have a negative impact on clinical outcomes, including the health and wellbeing of offspring in the case of pregnant women1. When severe, iron deficiency can result in iron deficiency anaemia, which has a negative effect on patient vitality that is comparable with chronic diseases including clinical depression and chronic kidney disease (see figure below).

Levels of plasma iron available to be utilised by the body are maintained within a tight range under normal circumstances by controlling the rate of iron absorption and storage1. However, there are a number of different factors that can lead to disruption of the iron balance in obstetrics and gynaecology patients (see figure below).

Figure 2. Why patients seen by obstetricians and gynaecologists become iron deficient2

Iron deficiency is a clinically significant nutritional disorder that disproportionately affects women compared with men, and is particularly common in women of reproductive age1. Iron deficiency is also frequently associated with pregnancy where it can have implications for the health of both the mother and child1,2.


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