How to treat iron deficiency anemia?

Q. My daughter is suffering from severe stomach pain. Could it be due to iron deficiency anemia?

Answered by
Dr. Singh Smrita
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 16, 2023

Hi doctor,

My daughter is 13 years old. She is having moderate to severe stomach pain for a year. We thought that it was related to constipation. After a few weeks, my daughter started to have a headache, feelings of dizziness, and shortness of breath. She had a habit of eating ice all the time. Her stomach pain got increased day by day. I took her to an urgent care. They did an iron deficiency panel. Can it be iron deficiency anemia? Can I give her an iron supplement? Is her body unable to convert iron to ferritin? Please help.



Welcome to

I have gone through the attached blood test results (attachment removed to protect patient identity). Your daughter's serum ferritin is low which reflects the low iron stores. Her hemoglobin is low. Her low ferritin levels support it. Her TIBC (total iron binding capacity) is high, and it is commonly seen in iron deficiency anemia. But her serum iron levels are not consistent with iron deficiency anemia. Her transferrin saturation of 66 % suggests an iron overload.

A transferrin saturation of less than 20 % indicates iron deficiency, while a transferrin saturation of more than 50 % suggests iron overload. Higher transferrin saturation values are found in high iron status, such as megaloblastic anemia, sideroblastic anemia, and iron overload status. She needs a detailed hematological workup, and she should avoid taking iron pills. You are correct in your thinking. Her iron is being absorbed, but it is not adequately processed and utilized by the body. The underlying cause is needed to be determined soon and treated accordingly.

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