Iron Deficiency Anemia: A Common But Often Overlooked Cause of Female Fatigue

You’re a superwoman: You work all day in and outside the home, keep track of everyone’s schedules, and still manage to find time to brush your hair (most days). It’s understandable if you’re feeling worn out — but your hectic life may not be the only thing you can blame. 

Dr. Michael Skardasis at Optimal Performance Medicine in Woodstock, Georgia, specializes in diagnosing and treating fatigue, especially lesser-known causes. Here, we dive into an often-overlooked cause of female fatigue: iron deficiency anemia. 

What is iron deficiency anemia?

Iron deficiency anemia sounds complicated, but when you break it down, it means that your blood lacks an adequate amount of healthy red blood cells. 

The key word here is “healthy.” Your red blood cells are typically packed with iron, which helps them do their main job: transport oxygen. Iron is essential for producing hemoglobin in your red blood cells, which gives them their color and the power to carry oxygenated blood throughout your body.

Without enough iron, your red blood cells can’t supply your body with enough oxygen, which leaves you feeling fatigued. Those who are iron deficient may also notice:

Iron deficiency anemia doesn’t usually go away on its own, and it’s tough to self-diagnose. That’s why we recommend making an appointment for any unexplainable symptoms, such as chronic fatigue. 

Why are women more at risk?

Iron deficiency anemia can occur in anyone who doesn’t have enough iron, whether you're not consuming enough iron-rich foods, not making enough on your own, or losing too much. However, two bodily processes unique to females increase their risk for iron deficiency anemia. 


Women with heavy periods lose a significant amount of blood every month, which causes iron levels to dip and fatigue levels to spike. 


During pregnancy, your blood volume increases by almost half to support you and your growing baby. That may sound like a good thing when iron deficiency anemia is set off by a lack of healthy red blood cells, but the opposite can be true. 

If you’re not supplementing or eating a diet to support all the new blood you have, you could experience the side effects of iron deficiency anemia. 

Iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy is no small matter. In some cases, it can lead to premature birth and low birth weight in babies. 

What can I do about iron deficiency anemia?

The best way to beat iron deficiency anemia is to team up with Dr. Skardasis. He can help you make the necessary healthy changes to reverse or alleviate your symptoms and support your overall wellness. If you’re pregnant, we work with your obstetrician to make sure you’re getting the right care for your and your baby’s changing needs. 

These things can help alleviate symptoms of iron deficiency anemia:

Changing, and supplementing, your diet

Many of our patients benefit from making simple changes to their diet. Usually, that starts with taking an iron supplement, but if you’re expecting, we advise you to check with us and your OB/GYN before adding a supplement to your regimen.

The best iron-rich foods to eat include:

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan or if your obstetrician has advised against seafood during pregnancy, increase your intake of iron-rich plant-based foods.

Getting more vitamin C

Your body often needs a little help from other vitamins and minerals to absorb iron properly — and vitamin C is one of the best for the job. 

You can get more vitamin C through your diet or a supplement, or you can see us for vitamin C hydration therapy. We offer Myers’ cocktail, which contains a powerhouse blend of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, to replenish your body and aid its most vital systems and processes. 

If you’re feeling frustrated by fatigue, we want to talk with you about the possible reasons why. Call Optimal Performance Medicine to schedule an appointment, or use our convenient online booking.

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