Symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia 

Many people with iron deficiency anaemia will only have a few signs or symptoms.

The severity of these symptoms largely depends on how quickly your anaemia develops. You may only notice few symptoms or they may develop gradually if your anaemia is caused by a long-term problem, such as a stomach ulcer.

The most common symptoms include:

Less common symptoms include:

  • headache 
  • tinnitus (hearing sounds coming from inside the body, rather than from an outside source)
  • an altered sense of taste
  • feeling itchy
  • a sore or abnormally smooth tongue
  • hair loss
  • a desire to eat non-food items, such as ice, paper or clay (a condition known as pica)
  • difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • painful ulcers (open sores) on the corners of your mouth
  • spoon-shaped nails

When to see your GP

If you experience symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia, see your GP. They can usually diagnose the condition with a simple blood test.

Read more about diagnosing iron deficiency anaemia.

Page last reviewed: 24/03/2014

Next review due: 24/03/2016