What Causes Iron Deficiency Anemia?
Your body normally uses iron from the food you eat or recycles iron from old red blood cells in your body. But if you're not getting enough iron from the foods you eat, or if you're losing too much iron, then iron deficiency will eventually develop.
Common causes of iron deficiency include:
- Too little iron in your diet
- Your body can become iron deficient if you aren’t eating enough iron-rich foods, such as meat, eggs, dairy products or iron-fortified foods, which include cereals and pasta.
- Blood loss
- Blood loss is the most common cause of iron deficiency anemia in the United States. If you lose blood, then you lose iron. Women who have heavy menstrual bleeding can become iron deficient. Gastrointestinal bleeding from certain types of cancer, or a peptic ulcer, can also cause iron deficiency.
- Poor absorption of iron by your body
- An intestinal disorder, such as Crohn's disease or celiac disease can lead to iron deficiency. So can some medications—such as antacids, or long-time use of aspirin, ibuprofen, or arthritis medicines.
- Iron deficiency occurs in many pregnant women because the iron in their body needs to serve their own iron needs as well as their fetus's needs.