Severe anemia from heavy menstrual bleeding requires heightened attention

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Anita L Nelson, Julia J Ritchie


The objective of the study was to analyze the behaviors of women that resulted in menstrually related severe anemia (hemoglobin <5 g/dL) from a single public hospital serving indigent women. This was a retrospective cohort study of all women identified as having been treated at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center for excessive menstruation (International Classification of Diseases, ninth revision, codes 285.9, 6256.2) and hemoglobin values less than 5 g/dL in the 6 years from 2008 to 2013. Approvals were obtained from the Human Subjects and Research Committees. This search identified 271 women with those 2 diagnoses; 122 were excluded because their severe anemia had nonmenstrual causes. The remaining 149 women had 168 episodes with hemoglobin levels below 5 g/dL attributed to chronic excessive menstrual bleeding. Mean age was 41 years (range, 19-55 years). Mean body mass index was 28.9 kg/m(2) (range, 18-57 kg/m(2)); 58.2% were actively bleeding at presentation, and 90.4% reported chronic excessive blood loss. Two thirds recognized heavy bleeding that had persisted for more than 6 months without seeking help. However, 7.8% described their bleeding as normal, and 40.5% had received at least 1 previous transfusion. Mean nadir hemoglobin w...Continue Reading


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