Can Low Iron Cause Missed Periods?

Can Low Iron Cause Missed Periods?

Missed periods can be a source of concern for many women, and there are many factors that can contribute to this phenomenon. One factor that is often overlooked is iron levels.

In this blog post, we'll explore the connection between low iron levels and missed periods and what you can do to help ensure your iron levels stay in a healthy range.

The importance of iron for reproductive health

Iron is a vital nutrient that plays an important role in many bodily functions, including reproductive health.

Iron helps to produce hemoglobin, a protein in the blood that carries oxygen to the cells and organs.

When there's not enough iron in the body, the levels of hemoglobin can drop, leading to iron-deficiency anemia.

Iron is also important for maintaining regular menstrual cycles. Iron-deficiency anemia can cause hormonal imbalances that can disrupt the menstrual cycle and lead to missed periods.

The connection between low iron and missed periods

When there's not enough iron in the body, it can lead to iron deficiency anemia, which can cause hormonal imbalances that can disrupt the menstrual cycle and lead to missed periods.

Additionally, the body may also try to conserve iron by reducing the amount of menstrual bleeding, leading to lighter and shorter periods.

In some cases, low iron levels can also lead to the cessation of menstrual periods altogether.

This can be especially concerning for women who are trying to conceive, as low iron levels can impact fertility and make it more difficult to get pregnant.

Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia 

So we know that low iron can cause anemia, which in turn can interrupt our monthly cycle. But what other symptoms does iron deficiency anemia cause?

  • Fatigue 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • Cold feet and hands 
  • Dizziness 
  • Shortness of breath 

If your late or missed period is in combination with any of the above symptoms then consider taking a blood test to check your iron levels as soon as possible.

Alternative causes of missed periods 

As well as low iron levels, there are many possible reasons why you might have missed a period, including:

  • Pregnancy. If your period is uncharacteristically late and you're sexually active, doing a pregnancy test will let you know if you're pregnant. 
  • Stress. Stress affects our bodies and menstrual cycles in many ways, and can cause longer, shorter or missed periods. 
  • Excessive exercise or weight loss. Losing too much body weight can interrupt ovulation and cause a late or missed period.

Because a late or missed period can also be an indicator of a health condition (such as premature menopause, overactive thyroid, or diabetes) it is important to contact your doctor to find the accurate cause of any changes to your period. 

How to maintain healthy iron levels

There are several things you can do to help maintain healthy iron levels and reduce the risk of missed periods due to low iron. The first step is to ensure you're getting enough iron in your diet.

Good sources of iron include:

  • Cacao (found in dark chocolate)
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Poultry
  • Shellfish
  • Legumes
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Iron-fortified cereals

You can also consider taking an iron supplement, but it's important to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen as excessive iron can also cause health issues. They can help you determine if you need a supplement, what kind of supplement is right for you, and the right dosage for your needs.

Our favourite way for ensuring we're getting enough iron into our diets is drinking Femme Cacao drinking chocolate before and during our periods. Cacao, the main component of our drinking chocolate, contains 13.9 mg of iron per 100g. To put that into perspective, one of the most highly recommended sources of iron is beef, which contains 2.6 mg.

Conclusion

Low iron levels can cause hormonal imbalances that can disrupt the menstrual cycle and lead to missed periods. It's important to maintain healthy iron levels to help ensure regular menstrual cycles and overall reproductive health.

To maintain healthy iron levels, it's important to eat a diet rich in iron, consider taking an iron supplement, and talk to your doctor about the best course of action for you.

Let us know in the comments how you make sure you're consuming enough iron! 

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