Clinical Practice Guidelines

Management of Iron Deficiency Anaemia 2005

Biritish Society of Gastroenterology

A F Goddard, MW James, A S McIntyre and BB Scott on behalf of the British Society of Gastroenterology

Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA)1 has a prevalence of 2-5% among adult men and post-menopausal women in the developed world and is a common cause of referral to gastroenterologists (4-13% of referrals).
While menstrual blood loss is the commonest cause of IDA in pre-menopausal women, blood loss from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is the commonest cause in adult men and post-menopausal women.
Asymptomatic colonic and gastric carcinoma may present with IDA and seeking these conditions is a priority in patients with IDA. Malabsorption (most frequently from coeliac disease in the UK), poor dietary intake, blood donation, gastrectomy and NSAID use are not uncommon causes of IDA and there are many other possible causes (Table 1). IDA is often multifactorial. The management of IDA is often suboptimal with most patients being incompletely investigated if not at all. Dual pathology, i.e. the presence of significant GI bleeding in upper and lower GI tracts, is uncommon but does occur in 1-10% of patients.

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Southern Gastro Group: Specialists in Gastroenterology