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What causes iron deficiency anemia?

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Causes of iron deficiency anemia include blood loss, lack of iron absorption ability by the small intestines and pregnancy, according to Mayo Clinic. Eating a low-iron diet may also cause iron deficiency anemia.

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Iron deficiency anemia is a condition in which patients have insufficient iron to form blood hemoglobin, which is a substance that defines the color of the blood and facilitates the transport of oxygen in the body, explains Mayo Clinic. When an individual loses blood, he loses iron as well, leading to a reduced blood iron. Blood can be lost through menstruation and gastrointestinal bleeding. Patients with conditions such as peptic ulcers, colorectal cancer and hiatal hernia may also experience blood loss, culminating in iron deficiency anemia.

The small intestines may lose their ability to absorb iron from digested food as a result of intestinal disorders, notes Mayo Clinic. One disorder that renders the intestines unable to absorb iron is celiac disease. Additionally, a surgical procedure that involves partial removal of the small intestines also renders the body unable to absorb iron, which results in iron deficiency anemia.

Pregnancy causes iron deficiency anemia because the fetus shares available iron with the mother, reports Mayo Clinic. Additionally, a pregnant woman experiences an increase in blood volume, which increases the amount of iron her body needs.

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