What is the most common cause of iron deficiency anemia?

Updated: Aug 04, 2019
  • Author: James L Harper, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Bleeding is the most common cause of iron deficiency, either from parasitic infection (hookworm) or other causes of blood loss. With bleeding from most orifices (hematuria, hematemesis, hemoptysis), patients will present before they develop chronic iron deficiency anemia; however, gastrointestinal bleeding may go unrecognized. Patients often do not understand the significance of a melanotic stool.


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