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I wonder if it's possible that you have been anemic for some time and the symptoms have only just started? I've read that anemia can go for a long time with no symptoms whatsoever until the condition gets very serious, and only then do symptoms appear. I was diagnosed with iron-deficiency and B-12 anemia back in October, and it seemed like it was kind of sudden to me, too. I had been very tired and had frequent body aches and headaches, but I always attributed it to the stresses of life with a family and a job that can be stressful (teaching). I went to the doctor for a routine physical, and he said he would do bloodwork to check for any problems, and he asked me if there was anything specific I'd like to check for, and I said, "well, I've always wondered if my iron is a little low," so he included iron in the bloodwork. It came back that I was anemic, so he ran an anemia panel and found that my iron and B-12 were very low (one was 5 out of a possible 95, and the other was 200 out of a possible 1000, can't remember right now which was which, but they both were very low). Now, I am on 325 mg. of iron 3x a day, and B-12 shots once a month. I also was diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroid a month after the anemia, and both conditions have very similar symptoms, so I am also on Synthroid.

Part of the problem could be if you are losing a lot of iron during your period once a month. At the risk of sounding indelicate, the more blood you lose, the more iron you lose, so if you are having heavy flow, that can mean you are losing more blood and, thus, iron.

Anemia (and thyroid issues) can run in families as well, so if any of your relatives have had it, then it is more likely you would have it as well. In my case, neither my mom nor my sister have been diagnosed with either condition, but I have encouraged them both to have it checked out, especially my sister, who is younger than me and still having a period. Women are more likely to have anemia because of their periods.

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