The association between subjective assessment of menstrual bleeding and measures of iron deficiency anemia in premenopausal African-American women: a cross-sectional study



Abstract Background Both iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia are common in the United States with a prevalence amongst women of 12 % and 4 % respectively. These numbers are even higher in African-American women (AAW) and are often a result of heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB). The primary objective of this study was to determine if perceived assessment of menstrual bleeding was associated with objective and subjective measures of anemia in AAW. Methods Quantitative cross-sectional pilot study with surveys and venipuncture. Results 44 premenopausal AAW (mean age 37.9 years ± 9. 4) participated in the study. Iron deficiency was present in 68.2 % of the participants and 18.2 % were anemic. Almost half of the participants reported that their menses were heavy or very heavy, and there was a relationship between perceived heaviness of menstrual flow and anemia (P = 0.021). Of the individuals who reported that their menses were heavy or very heavy, 35.0 % were anemic. AAW who reported heavy or very heavy menses had significantly lower hemoglobin (P = 0.015), hematocrit (P = 0.003), and ferritin (P = 0.012) levels, as well as more general (P = 0.006) and menses-associated symptoms of anemia (P = 0.015) than those who reported normal or light menses. Conclusions This pilot study of premenopausal AAW found that a significant percentage of women who report HMB are not only iron deficient, but also anemic. AAW should be educated on the consequences of HMB and counseled to seek care with a women’s health provider when they perceive HMB. More importantly, providers should be aware that when AAW report HMB, evaluation for iron deficiency and anemia are essential.
Date made available2016

Cite this