Anemia and inflammatory bowel diseases

World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Oct 7;15(37):4659-65. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.4659.


Too often anemia is considered a rare or unimportant manifestation in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, over the last 10 years a number of studies have been conducted and the most relevant conclusions obtained are: (1) anemia is quite common in IBD; (2) although in many cases anemia parallels the clinical activity of the disease, many patients in remission have anemia, and iron, vitamin B12 and/or folic acid deficiency; (3) anemia, and also iron deficiency without anemia, have important consequences in the clinical status and quality of life of the patient; (4) oral iron can lead to gastrointestinal intolerance and failure of treatment; (5) intravenous iron is an effective and safe way to treat iron deficiency; (6) erythropoietin is needed in a significant number of cases to achieve normal hemoglobin levels. Thus, the clinician caring for IBD patients should have a comprehensive knowledge of anemia, and apply recently published guidelines in clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / diagnosis*
  • Anemia / epidemiology
  • Anemia / etiology
  • Anemia / therapy*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / complications*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / epidemiology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / metabolism
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Iron / therapeutic use
  • Iron Deficiencies
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Erythropoietin
  • Iron