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How to treat anaemia in a lactating woman?

Q: I am 26 years old lactating woman. My baby is 9 months and 3 weeks old. I feel tired and fatigued. I did a complete blood count and my Hb is 10.8. My doctor told me that I am suffering from normocytic normochromic anaemia. I want to get pregnant once more and want to know how to treat anaemia.

A:You are suffering from iron deficiency anaemia following your pregnancy and childbirth. The iron requirement is much higher in pregnant and lactating women. Normally, the body concentration of iron is regulated carefully by cells in the proximal part of the small intestine, which change iron absorption to compensate body losses. Iron deficiency is caused by either reduced intake of oral iron or excessive loss of iron from the body. A diet low in iron can lead to it as iron is obtained from foods in our diet but only 1 mg of iron is absorbed for every 10 to 20 mg of iron ingested. A person unable to have a balanced iron-rich diet may suffer from some degree of iron-deficiency. Treatment of most patients with iron deficiency is with oral iron therapy. The underlying cause too is corrected so that deficiency does not recur. The cheapest and most effective form is ferrous iron. The side effects experienced on taking iron tablet are proportional to the amount of iron available for absorption. The iron preparation you take should contain between 30-100 mg elemental iron. Avoid enteric-coated or prolonged-release preparations. The dose you take should be sufficient to provide between 150-200 mg elemental iron per day and the tablet may be taken 2 to 3 times a day about 1 hour before meals. Please consult your doctor who will examine you and prescribe the necessary treatment.

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