Menstruation does not cause anemia: endometrial thickness correlates positively with erythrocyte count and hemoglobin concentration in premenopausal women

Am J Hum Biol. 2006 Sep-Oct;18(5):710-3. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.20538.


Menstruation has often been cited as a risk factor for iron-deficiency anemia. This study tested whether normal, premenopausal women's luteal endometrial thickness (ET) was associated with their red blood cell count (RBC) and hemoglobin concentrations (Hg), and therefore whether a high ET put women at risk for anemia. Endometrial thickness can be considered a reasonable proxy for menstrual blood loss in normal women. Twenty-six healthy women from the Mogielica Human Ecology Study Site in Poland, aged 20-40 years (29 +/- 5.3 years, mean +/- SD), were selected. Subjects' ET was measured by transvaginal ultrasound in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, and their red blood cell count and hemoglobin concentrations were measured by fasting morning blood samples. Controlling for day of ET measurement, RBC and Hg were positively correlated with ET (r(2) = 0.24, P = 0.05; r(2) = 0.25, P = 0.04, respectively). We propose that, contrary to popular understanding, a thicker endometrium suggests greater iron reserves, rather than greater risk for anemia, in healthy women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / blood*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology
  • Endometrium / metabolism*
  • Erythrocyte Count / methods
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Luteal Phase / blood*
  • Menstruation / blood*
  • Premenopause / blood*


  • Hemoglobins