Dr Dafydd Bowen Gastroenterology


There are many types of anaemia. An iron deficiency anaemia requires a referral to a gastroenterologist. Your GP may be able to guide you for other types of anaemia. Causes of iron deficiency anaemia can be due to poor intake, absorption, or excessive loss of iron from the gastrointestinal system.

Iron absorption varies significantly between individuals. Vegetarians are more at risk as iron within meat is easier for the body to absorb. Most of the iron in a typical diet is in the form of iron salts, in this form the absorption varies depending on other things consumed with it. Tea, fibre and calcium can reduce iron absorption but fruit juices, vitamin C and alcohol encourage absorption.

Iron may not be absorbed due to coeliac disease, this will improve on the appropriate diet. Certain gastrointestinal conditions such as cancer and inflammatory bowel disease may cause anaemia. It is this that makes us investigate most cases. 10-20% will have a significant medical cause for their anaemia, 80-90% have nothing to worry about.