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What Menopausal Women Need to Know About Iron

June 25th, 2015

Most women do not need to supplement iron after menopause.

Many multi-vitamins contain iron, and for most of your life this was a good thing. After all, young women and pregnant women often need to supplement iron to prevent anemia. However, with the onset of menopause, this is going to change.

Here’s the most important thing to remember:

If you are feeling fatigued after your periods stop, the problem is almost certainly not anemia. So don’t supplement iron! See your doctor instead for help treating the hormonal causes of fatigue.

Why The Body Needs Iron

Iron has an essential role to play in the transport of oxygen in blood and muscle tissue. It is also needed by certain iron-containing proteins that are important for healthy cellular function. Low iron levels can cause fatigue, high blood pressure, dizziness, muscle weakness, heart palpitations, and fuzzy thinking.

What Changes At Menopause?

Unlike most essential minerals, iron is not excreted through the urine. The main way for the female body to rid itself of excess iron is through blood loss. So, as menopause approaches and periods become fewer, iron can potentially build up in the body. In fact, there is an inverse relationship between estrogen and iron at menopause: as estrogen declines, iron increases. Considering that estrogen and iron are two of the most important growth factors in the female body, this imbalance can be extremely damaging to your health if not corrected.

Perils Of Excess Iron

Excess iron is toxic to cells. Since it is a very reactive metal, it can trigger oxidization reactions that may stimulate the growth of existing cancers. High iron levels can also cause problems with the liver and spleen (where the majority of excess iron is stored) as well as diabetes, joint degeneration, and heart disease.

According to the Nurses’ Health Study, almost 10 percent of menopausal women have too much iron in their blood. Women with a genetic disposition to convert dietary iron into stored iron (a condition called hemochromatosis) are most at risk.

Get Help Staying Healthy After Menopause

If you’re feeling fatigued, don’t risk a trial and error approach trying to fix the problem on your own. And please don’t supplement iron without a doctor’s advice! Instead, come to Renew Woman™ for help. We can run tests to check your levels of vital hormones and nutrients and provide a treatment plan that will help you bring everything back into a healthy balance that is appropriate for your new phase of life.

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