Most of the time, your primary care physician will be the first doctor you see about iron deficiency. Depending on your symptoms, blood work results, and cause of your iron deficiency, you may be referred to a different healthcare professional or specialist.
Let’s take a look at which healthcare professionals may be involved in diagnosing and treating you…
Once detected by the primary doctor, females with iron deficiency may be referred to a gynecologist to help determine the cause of their iron deficiency. In other circumstances, women experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding, pregnancy or menopause may have their iron deficiency first detected by their OBGYN during a checkup.
If a gastrointestinal disorder is suspected, your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist who can run tests to check you for stomach ulcers, celiac disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (such as Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis), and tumors in the digestive tract.
Your family doctor may refer you to a hematologist – a doctor that specializes in blood disorders including iron deficiency anemia – to help you manage your iron deficiency as well as any underlying issues (if any).
Since iron deficiency can cause cardiovascular symptoms like heart palpitations, your doctor may refer you to a cardiologist to check for any possible underlying heart conditions. Iron deficiency is common in heart disease patients. Severe anemia constrains the heart from pumping properly and can lead to congestive heart failure and other heart conditions.
In some cases, a registered dietitian can help you with your diet in order to help prevent iron deficiency and get the iron that you need from food (be sure to avoid common iron absorption inhibitors). This could be especially helpful for those with extra diet considerations, such as those who are gluten intolerant (celiac disease) or lead a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle in which iron-rich red meat does not exist in their diet.
Though your primary doctor may refer you to a specialist, don’t hesitate to ask for a referral if you feel that you need one or if you feel that your treatment isn’t helping. Being proactive about your health is always a good idea!
If you suspect that you are iron deficient, please:
- Fill out this Symptoms Checker and take it to your doctor for proper diagnosis
- Understand what tests you can expect when diagnosing iron deficiency
- Be aware of the different oral iron formulations that are available and discuss which one is best for you in consultation with your doctor or pharmacist
Content and advice provided on The Iron Maiden is for information purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for a licensed health care provider, who is knowledgeable about an individual’s unique health care needs