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Dizziness during the period

Hi, I had my first period just over a year ago, and in the past six months I’ve often felt dizzy, and I’ve blacked out a couple of times. I’ve never fainted, but I always have to sit down when I get dizzy, so that I don’t faint. My doctor said it was probably due to my period and lack of iron, so she told me to take iron tablets three days before, and during, my period. However, my period is still irregular, and now I’ve taken the tablets for nine days without having my period. Is this dangerous? I take them twice a day. How can I know when I should start to take the tablets?

Hi, and thanks for your question,

First of all, let’s start with some facts about iron: iron deficiency (low levels of iron) is the most common cause for having too little haemoglobin in the blood, this is also known as ‘anemia’. Symptoms can include dizziness, as you describe. The body needs iron to make haemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood. Women are more prone to iron deficiency than men, as they lose iron during their period.

Before you start to take iron tablets you should have a blood test in order to find out if you really do have iron deficiency. This is important, as it will show whether iron deficiency is the cause of your dizziness. It is not good for your body to have too much iron, so only take iron tablets if the tests show that you have low levels of it.

It’s normal for doctors to treat iron deficiency by prescribing daily use of iron tablets for a limited time. Iron tablets need some time to take effect, as it takes the body time to build up iron reserves. You should take a new blood test after two months to check if the treatment is working, and whether you need to continue taking the iron tablets or not.

From the above information, it is hard to understand why your doctor recommended you to take iron tablets three days before your period, as well as during it. This sounds very difficult to do as you have an irregular period! It isn’t dangerous to take iron tablets for a short time even if you don’t have a proven iron deficiency.

We recommend that you talk to your doctor again, in order to clear this up.

You can also take steps to prevent iron deficiency by being aware of your food intake, this is good advice for every girl who has her period.

Here are some good sources of iron:

–       wholemeal bread and wholemeal cereals

–       red meat, pate

–       cold meat

–       plenty of fruit and vegetables

Iron from animal-based foods (meat) is more easily absorbed than iron from plant-based foods (fruit and vegetables). Vitamin C helps the uptake of iron from plant-based foods, so taking a glass of apple juice with a slice of bread or cereal can be a good idea.


Best wishes

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