Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) causes stomach contents to come up into the esophagus, or food pipe. Anemia occurs when there are not enough red blood cells (RBCs) in the body. GERD itself and certain GERD medications may both cause anemia.
For this reason, treating GERD-related anemia involves different approaches, depending on the exact cause.
This article discusses GERD and anemia and explores the connection between them. It also outlines treatment options for GERD-related anemia, and some possible preventive measures.
GERD is a condition that
People with GERD often experience heartburn due to stomach acid damaging the inside of the esophagus.
Less common symptoms of GERD include:
GERD is common in the United States, affecting 18.1–27.8% of adults. Scientists remain unsure about its exact causes.
There are several risk factors for GERD. The condition is more likely to occur in people:
- with obesity
- who are 50 years of age or older
- who smoke tobacco
- who drink alcohol
Individuals are also at a greater risk of developing GERD if they regularly take certain medications, such as:
Anemia affects RBCs within a person’s body.
There are two main types of anemia: hyperproliferative anemia and hypoproliferative anemia.
Hyperproliferative anemia occurs when certain bodily processes destroy RBCs prematurely. By contrast, hypoproliferative anemia develops when the bone marrow does not produce sufficient amounts of RBCs.
Some people with mild anemia do not experience any symptoms. In others, however, the condition can cause significant health issues. Symptoms of anemia include:
- a reduced ability to exercise
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
Other causes of anemia include:
- sickle cell disease
- some communicable diseases
- issues with the immune system
- blood loss from surgery, hemorrhage, or menstruation
Although GERD and anemia are very different conditions, there are some important connections between them.
There is also
For example, doctors
The same principle applies to GERD-related anemia, whether it is due to internal bleeding from esophagitis or iron deficiency from using PPIs. In the latter case, doctors may advise a person to stop using this GERD medication.
In general, there are
- making some lifestyle changes, such as practicing good sleep hygiene and reaching or maintaining a moderate body weight
- taking medications such as PPIs
- undergoing surgery
To prevent GERD, it is best to avoid the associated risk factors. This could mean:
- quitting smoking, if applicable
- avoiding consuming alcohol, if applicable
- reaching or maintaining a moderate body weight
Although these measures cannot completely eliminate the likelihood of developing GERD, they can lower a person’s risk.
Some people believe that eliminating certain foods may prevent the onset of GERD symptoms. These include:
Below, we answer some of the most common questions about GERD and anemia.
Can GERD cause low blood count?
Yes, GERD may cause a low RBC count, or anemia.
Is acid reflux a symptom of iron deficiency?
No. Acid reflux is a symptom of GERD, which may cause iron deficiency anemia.
Can low stomach acid cause low iron levels?
Yes. Having too little stomach acid
Can low iron levels cause digestive issues?
No. Doctors do not consider digestive issues to be a symptom of iron deficiency or iron deficiency anemia.
GERD is a common condition that may cause anemia. Moreover, some GERD treatments may also lead to this condition.
For this reason, a medical diagnosis is essential to receive appropriate treatment. People may be able to prevent developing GERD and anemia by making certain lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or avoiding consuming alcohol.
A person should seek guidance from a doctor if they are experiencing symptoms of GERD or anemia.