Serenity Gastroenterology

Iron Deficiency Anaemia Treatment in Brisbane

What is Iron deficiency anemia

What is diarrhoea

Symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia can include:

  • Weakness
  • Deep tiredness
  • Feeling breathless
  • Poor memory
  • Reduced concentration
  • More frequent infections (low iron means a less effective immune system).

We can test your iron levels by measuring your haemoglobin and ferritin levels through a blood test.

The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) considers you to have:

  • Anaemia if your haemoglobin levels are below 130 g/L (men) or below 120 g/L (non-pregnant women)
  • Iron deficiency anaemia if your ferritin (stored iron) levels are below 45 ug/L (different thresholds apply for patients with chronic kidney disease or inflammatory conditions).

There are several potential causes of iron deficiency anaemia, including: 

  • Not eating enough iron-rich foods (vegans and vegetarians need to get iron from plant-based sources)
  • Not absorbing enough iron through your stomach and bowel – that can happen after bariatric surgery or when you have a condition like coeliac disease
  • Needing a higher level of iron because you’re pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Losing iron due to blood loss from heavy periods or regular blood donation. 

However, if you don’t fit any of those categories or if there remains cause for concern, we need to check other potential causes of low iron. Other causes include internal bleeding due to peptic ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, bowel polyps or cancer.

The following protocol is recommended for people with iron deficiency anaemia:

  • Blood tests for Helicobacter pylori infection and coeliac disease
  • Bidirectional endoscopy to examine your whole digestive tract
  • Iron supplementation in patients with negative results
  • Video capsule endoscopy (swallowing a miniature camera) and/or a repeat bidirectional endoscopy for patients with negative results whose iron levels remain low after iron supplementation.

Bidirectional endoscopy means looking at your whole digestive tract through two procedures, which can be done at the same time:

  • An endoscopy to investigate your oesophagus, stomach and the first part of your small bowel (the duodenum) by inserting a flexible tube down your throat while you are sedated
  • A colonoscopy to investigate your large intestine (colon) and rectum by inserting a flexible tube up your anus while you are sedated.

Men or post-menopausal women with iron deficiency anaemia should be offered bidirectional endoscopy.

If you’re a pre-menopausal woman with iron deficiency anaemia, then it’s possible that your low iron levels are due to blood loss during your periods. However, we can never be completely sure without investigating further. Talk to your doctor to weigh up the pros and cons – it is often still worth having bidirectional endoscopy to rule out other reasons for your low iron levels rather than simply taking iron supplements.

How can Serenity Gastroenterology help?

At Serenity Gastroenterology we provide comprehensive and personalised assessment and management of iron deficiency anaemia. This includes expert consultation, endoscopy, colonoscopy, and capsule endoscopy.

We understand that the symptoms of iron deficiency can be burdensome and the implications worrying.

We’re here to help you find the answers you are looking for. Speak to your GP today to start your care journey.