question and answer
Can diverticulosis cause iron-deficiency anemia?
December 2003
JACOBI MASTER, MD, of Grandview, MB, inquires, "How should a 50-year-old woman with persistent iron deficiency be followed?" He continues, "She's postmenopausal with stools repeatedly positive for occult blood. Barium enema showed mild diverticulae. How often should endoscopic surveillance be undertaken?"
Diverticulosis as the cause of persistent occult blood loss and iron-deficiency anemia is extremely unlikely. If your patient continues to lose blood, she should be fully investigated by a gastroenterologist to make sure that there's no gastrointestinal (GI) malignancy. If the specialist doesn't find the source of bleeding after full investigation of the GI tract, it's very unlikely that the cause of iron deficiency is a malignant process. Whether or not the patient requires a repeat endoscopy would depend on the gastroenterologist's finding and recommendation. MS
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