Objective: The objective was to investigate the role of Helicobacter pylori infection in iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) of pubescent athletes.
Study design: Blood sampling and a questionnaire survey were performed on 440 regular high school students and 220 athletes of a physical education high school. Hemoglobin, serum iron, total iron-binding capacity, ferritin, and immunoglobulin G antibody to H. pylori were measured to compare the prevalence of IDA and H. pylori infection in the groups. Nutritional analysis and a questionnaire survey for socioeconomic status were undertaken to compare and control for other risk factors that might influence IDA and H. pylori infection in the groups. In those with IDA coexistent with H. pylori infection, we also determined whether IDA can be managed by H pylori eradication.
Results: The prevalence rates of IDA, H pylori infection, and H. pylori -associated IDA in female athletes were higher than in the control group. The relative risk of IDA was 2.9 (95% CI, 1.5 to 5.6) for those with H. pylori infection. Athletes who exhibited H. pylori -associated IDA showed significant increases in hemoglobin, iron, and ferritin levels after H. pylori eradication. The subjects in the control group who were treated orally with iron alone showed no significant changes.
Conclusion: Adolescent female athletes may have development of H. pylori -associated IDA, which can be managed by H. pylori eradication.