Endometriosis can lead to heavy bleeding and rapid loss of blood cells. This is why it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of anemia.

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Yes, endometriosis can cause anemia and low iron levels.

Anemia occurs when your body has too few healthy red blood cells. If you lose red blood cells faster than they’re made, you might develop anemia. Because endometriosis can lead to heavy bleeding, it can cause your body to lose blood cells quickly, which might lead to anemia.

Anemia can be a sign of endometriosis, but iron might also play a role in developing endometriosis, according to a 2020 study. Genes that affect endometriosis can be regulated by iron. But this needs to be studied further.

Your body naturally loses and replaces red blood cells constantly. About 2 million red blood cells are made in your bone marrow every second, which is around the same rate that red blood cells are removed from circulation.

When you have too few red blood cells in your body, you may develop anemia.

Two things can cause anemia: losing red blood cells at a faster rate and being unable to produce red blood cells quickly enough.

Several conditions can cause your body to lose or destruct red blood cells quickly.

Blood loss, which can be caused by:

Hemolysis, which is when red blood cells break down too soon due to conditions like:

Inherited conditions, like:

Other conditions include:

Conditions that make it difficult for your body to produce red blood cells quickly enough include:

There are many possible causes of anemia. Some people may have more than one of the above conditions, which can increase their risk of developing anemia.

Other than anemia, the signs and symptoms of endometriosis include:

But it’s possible to have endometriosis while experiencing little to no symptoms.

Your clinician might start by addressing the underlying cause of your anemia. If you have endometriosis, they might suggest a care plan to treat it first.

Endometriosis treatments can include:

These treatment options might reduce your heavy bleeding, which can mean that you’re losing blood at a slower rate. This can ensure that you maintain a healthy number of red blood cells.

Your clinician might also suggest a change in diet to ensure you’re getting adequate nutrients and vitamin supplements or injections if you don’t get enough dietary iron, vitamin B9 (folate), or vitamin B12.

In more severe cases, they might suggest erythropoiesis-stimulating agents to increase red blood cell production. If you’ve lost a lot of blood or have severely low iron levels, a blood transfusion may be necessary.

The causes of anemia aren’t always preventable. But there are some precautions you can take to reduce your risk of developing anemia.

For example, you can:

  • eat a balanced diet rich in iron, vitamin B9, and vitamin B12
  • avoid eating iron-rich foods alongside foods that block iron absorption, like coffee, tea, eggs, oxalate-rich foods, and calcium-rich foods
  • get medical help for health conditions that could lead to anemia, including endometriosis
  • following your clinician’s directions for home care (e.g., taking your medication as prescribed)

You should seek medical care if you suspect you have anemia or endometriosis.

The symptoms of anemia can include:

If your clinician cannot diagnose the cause of your symptoms, it’s okay to seek a second opinion.

Anemia can be caused by endometriosis, especially because endometriosis can cause you to bleed heavily and lose blood cells rapidly. If you suspect you have endometriosis or anemia, consider speaking with a doctor or other healthcare professional about your concerns.

Sian Ferguson is a freelance health and cannabis writer based in Cape Town, South Africa. She’s passionate about empowering readers to take care of their mental and physical health through science-based, empathetically delivered information.