Iron deficiency anemia is a common cause of anemia and a common precipitant to radiological investigation.
Amongst men and postmenopausal women, the incidence in the developed world is around 2%. Among premenopausal women, the incidence is greater and in most cases, investigation is not required.
Causes may be related to reduced iron input, failure of storage or excessive losses:
- inadequate stores at birth
- insufficient dietary iron
- failure to absorb iron, e.g. malabsorption such as celiac disease
- excessive iron demands due to blood loss
- polycythemia rubra vera (PRV)
- cyanotic congenital heart disease
Investigations should include:
- celiac screening
- upper GI endoscopy (UGIE)
- sigmoidoscopy unless malignancy or celiac disease is diagnosed with UGIE
- colonoscopy may replace sigmoidoscopy in some centers
- 1. HARDWICK R.H.  * and ARMSTRONG C.P. . “Synchronous upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopy is an effective method of investigating iron-deficiency anaemia.” British Journal of Surgery 84 (December 1997): 1725-1728. [Link].