Should I Take Iron After Menopause?
How do our iron needs change after menopause, and are iron supplements typically recommended?
Should Postmenopausal Women Take Extra Iron?
For most postmenopausal women, iron supplementation is not generally advised. This is because the cessation of menstruation results in a lower risk of iron deficiency. Additionally, excess iron intake can lead to complications like iron overload, which can be harmful to organs such as the liver and heart.
However, there are exceptions to this general rule. Women who have been diagnosed with iron-deficiency anaemia or who have undergone certain medical procedures that affect iron absorption may still require supplementation. Additionally, those with dietary restrictions, like vegan or vegetarian diets, might have a harder time getting adequate iron from food sources alone and may need to consider supplements.
To accurately determine individual iron needs, healthcare professionals often recommend blood tests that measure levels of ferritin, the protein that stores iron.
What is the RDA of Iron for a Post Menopausal Woman?
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of iron for postmenopausal women is approximately 8.7 mg per day. This is lower than the RDA for women of reproductive age because postmenopausal women no longer lose iron through menstruation.
Iron is readily available in a balanced diet, including foods like red meat, poultry, fish, and certain plant-based foods like lentils and beans. For most postmenopausal women, meeting the daily iron requirement through diet alone is achievable.
Can menopause cause an increase in iron stores to a harmful level?
Postmenopausal women may experience an increase in iron stores since there is no longer a regular loss of iron through menstruation. In some cases, this can lead to a condition known as hemochromatosis, where excessive iron accumulates in the body tissues, potentially causing damage. It's crucial for women who have gone through menopause to have their iron levels checked regularly to prevent such complications.
After menopause, how often should iron levels be checked?
The frequency of iron level checks should be personalized based on individual health conditions, dietary intake, and any symptoms of deficiency or excess.
Are there any signs of iron deficiency to look out for during menopause?
Yes, signs of iron deficiency can include tiredness, shortness of breath, pale skin, and a decrease in physical performance. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical advice and get your iron levels checked.