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How Peptic Ulcers and Hiatal Hernias Can Lead to Anemia

Women clutching her stomach with a peptic ulcer

Various medical conditions that result in internal and external bleeding can lead to a problematic iron deficiency in the body. Two of these types of disorders are peptic ulcers and hiatal hernias. Although both conditions have their own distinct causes and symptoms, they can result in anemia and establish new symptoms that practically mirror each other.

The purpose of this article is to describe the conditions of peptic ulcers and hiatal hernias and how these conditions can cause symptoms of anemia. It is often necessary to treat the underlying medical condition as well as the resulting anemia symptoms with dietary changes and iron supplements, like Fergon.

Peptic Ulcer and Anemia

Peptic ulcers are open sores in the stomach lining or intestines and are often categorized as gastric ulcers or duodenal ulcers based on their location. They are caused when the stomach lining or small intestines breaks down, often due to a bacterial infection of the stomach.

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Peptic ulcers can lead to anemia because of the internal bleeding they create. Bleeding ulcers can go unnoticed for a while and also cause hemorrhages that are life-threatening. Oftentimes, an individual will not know that the ulcer is bleeding until symptoms of anemia present themselves. Like other typical forms of anemia, ulcer anemia symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, and pale skin.

What Are the Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers?

It is common for individuals with stomach ulcers to feel abdominal pain, feelings of fullness, and have trouble drinking fluids. That pain felt is often in the upper abdomen and strong enough to wake one up at night. Individuals may also feel hungry after a meal and have nausea and vomiting.  Bloody stools, bloody vomit, chest pain, fatigue, and weigh loss are other symptoms that may occur.

Hiatal Hernia and Anemia

When part of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm, a hiatal hernia forms. This can be caused by an injury, a birth defect, or intense pressure on those particular muscles. In serious cases, this condition can cause food and acid to back up into the esophagus and cause heartburn. However, many people do not even know that they have a hiatal hernia until other symptoms present themselves.

Hiatal hernias can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, which results in vomiting blood and bloody stools. Excessive loss of blood at once and slow losses of blood over an extended period of time can lead to iron deficiency anemia. Studies have suggested that long-term iron therapy alone can treat the anemia-related symptoms associated with this disorder.

Bleeding Hernia Symptoms

In addition to blood in the vomit and stool, other common bleeding hernia symptoms include heartburn, belching, swallowing difficulty, and feeling very full after meals. It is also possible to experience pain in the abdomen and chest with this type of hernia. Individuals over the age of 50 and who are obese are most at risk of developing this type of hernia. Symptoms of anemia are often what drive hiatal hernia sufferers to seek medical treatment in the first place, but other symptoms may need to be treated separately and independently.

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