Dr. Jayashree Veerappa Kanavi

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Dr. Jayashree Veerappa Kanavi

Consultant - OBG

Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road

Hidden Anaemia in Women: Everything You Need To Know!

Posted On: May 14, 2024

blogs read 6 Min Read

Anaemia in Women - Types, Diagnosis, Treatments

Anaemia is one of the leading health issues globally. About 40% of children, 37% of expectant mothers, and an alarming 30% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 are diagnosed with anaemia in the world. Young children, pregnant and postpartum women, and adolescent girls and women who are menstruating are most commonly affected by anaemia. The prevalence of this condition is higher in undeveloped countries with low and lower-middle incomes where there is no facility for proper healthcare services and nutritional guidance. Keep reading to know more about anaemia in women. 


What Is Anaemia?

In simple terms, when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells (RBC), you may be diagnosed with anaemia. The RBC cells contain haemoglobin that carries oxygen. In anaemic patients, the haemoglobin level is significantly low, and as a result, their organs and tissues don’t receive an adequate amount of oxygen. 

  1. Mild Anemia (Hb 9-11 gm/dL): It is a common and treatable condition. However, it often goes unnoticed due to their mild or non-existent symptoms.

  2. Moderate Anaemia (Hb 7-9 gm/dL): Symptoms include tiredness, difficulty breathing, and paleness.

  3. Severe Anaemia (Hb < 7 gm/dL): Symptoms like increased fatigue, dizziness, fast heartbeat, and chest pain become more prominent in severely anaemic patients.

Different Types of Anaemia

Anaemia is a more complex problem than people often think. Several underlying causes can result in this condition. Based on these reasons for anemia in females, we can categorise the different types of anaemia. 

Type of Anaemia


Physiological Anaemia

It naturally occurs during specific stages of life. For example, increased demands for iron can cause this in pregnant women.

Pathological Anaemia

Deficiency Anaemia

Iron deficiency anaemia

Insufficient iron intake
Blood loss
Absorption issues

 Folic acid deficiency anaemia

Lack of folic acid

Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia

Lack of vitamin B12

Protein deficiency anaemia

Severe protein deficiency

Hemorrhagic Anaemia

Blood loss. The acute condition is sudden and severe. The chronic condition is slow and ongoing.

 Hemolytic Anaemia

Inherited abnormalities in the red blood cells
Premature destruction of red blood cells by the body’s immune system

Bone Marrow Insufficiency

Damaged bone marrow (the part responsible for blood cell production)


Genetic disorders affecting the function and structure of haemoglobin

To understand more about the causes of anemia in women and diagnosis, consult our experienced gynaecologist in Bangalore.

Diagnosing Anaemia

The diagnosis of anaemic conditions can be tricky as it often stays hidden in the early stages. Thus, regular screening becomes very crucial to identify anaemia in its early onset so that it can be managed. 

Here are a few symptoms that may indicate that you have anaemia:

Your doctor may run some tests to detect anaemia following consultation:

  • A Complete Blood Count test.

  • Urine Routine Examination.

  • Serum Iron Level and Ferritin tests.

  • A stool Examination.

  • A Peripheral Smear.

Consult our Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital in Bangalore if you want to learn more about anemia symptoms in women. 

HWA – Hypoferritinemia Without Anaemia

The key difference between HWA and Iron Deficiency anaemia is that HWA hardly causes any reduction in red blood cell levels. It is difficult to diagnose because your haemoglobin percentage also remains the same. 

A Ferritin blood test is the most critical to diagnose HWA. Ferritin is a protein that stores iron in your body. With HWA, ferritin levels fall under 30 μg/L. This shows low iron reserves. Such decreased ferritin level is the most precise and accurate indicator of iron deficiency, even if haemoglobin stays within the normal range.

There are certain risk factors, too, that increase your chances of developing HWA.

  • History of blood loss.

  • Repeated pregnancy.

  • Repeated blood donation

  • History of coeliac disease

  • Atrophic gastritis

  • Medications are used to limit gastric acid secretion.

The earlier your anaemic condition gets detected, the better a particular treatment plan would work. As there are not always major signs and symptoms of anemia in women involved, you may consider getting a regular checkup to be safe.

Understanding the Treatment of Anaemia

The chosen treatment plan for anaemia depends on your current medical condition and the severity level. Here is an overview of the most accepted modes of treatment.

If you are in your 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy and you have moderate to severe anaemia, your doctor will suggest high-dose iron supplements (either IV or oral). Pregnant women should consume daily iron-folic acid or multiple micronutrient supplements to keep their iron levels in check.

For adolescent girls or women in their reproductive ages, the treatment will be different. They will need to increase certain food items in their diets. For example, flour, salt, etc. If there is high anaemia prevalence, the doctor may prescribe weekly iron supplements.

Iron supplements are more or less necessary for every anaemic patient out there. Whether the administration will be oral or parenteral can only be decided by your doctor. If there is a risk of cardiovascular instability involved, the doctor will suggest blood transfusions. However, this treatment mode is reserved only for such extreme cases. 

It is best to treat the underlying cause of anaemia so that you don’t have to worry a lot. This means supplying enough iron and folic acid to your body. Talk to an expert medical specialist to get proper guidance and understand your options.

Without timely treatment of anaemia, several complications may occur. This includes:

  • Heart issues

  • Pregnancy complications

  • Cognitive impairment

  • Increased risks of infections and other illnesses

  • Developmental delays in children

  • Restless legs syndrome


Yes, it is possible. You may have Hypoferritinemia Without Anemia (HWA). Your CBC test may show normal red blood cell count and haemoglobin levels. So, you must do a ferritin test. Low ferritin levels could indicate depleted iron stores. 

Some factors contributing to the development of HWA are:

  • Blood loss

  • Dietary factors

  • Digestive problems

  • Side effects of certain medications

The most accepted treatment is iron supplements to restore your iron levels. They could also manage root issues, like excessive menstrual bleeding or digestive problems. Prompt identification and management of HWA can stop it from developing into severe iron deficiency anaemia and enhance your general well-being and vitality.

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