How often is iron deficiency anemia caused by underlying chronic GI blood loss

How often is iron deficiency anemia caused by underlying chronic GI blood loss? 

Approximately 60% of persons with iron deficiency will have an identifiable cause detected by EGD and colonoscopy:

  • • EGD demonstrates 36% (11% duodenal ulcer, 5% gastric ulcer, 3% anastomotic ulcer).
  • • Colonoscopy demonstrates 25% (cancer was most common cause).
  • • Diagnostic investigations should always be directed by symptoms and signs.

Non-GI causes should be considered as a potential cause of iron deficiency:

• Pregnancy

• Hematuria

• Celiac disease

• Menstrual bleeding

• Nutritional deficiencies

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