Many patients who have digestive problems are also anemic due to low iron or low vitamin B12 levels.
What exactly is anemia?
Anemia is a common blood disorder that occurs when there's a decrease in the number of red blood cells (RBCs) and/or an existence of poorly formed red blood cells. These are the cells in your blood that carry oxygen. If you are anemic, you will feel tired, because you are not delivering as much oxygen to your body as someone who is not anemic.
Can this cause IBS?
People with IBS and related digestive problems often have a problem absorbing nutrients. This is particularly obvious with diarrhea, which is clearly a malabsorption issue. However, the same problem in absorbing nutrients can also happen with constipation.
This is why many people with IBS also suffer from chronic anemia. They are not absorbing the iron and/or vitamin B12 that's in their food, and that digestive problem can lead to other problems such as anemia.
Stephen Wangen, MD, shares what IBS is and whether or not it can cause an iron deficiency.