An iron drip is a direct infusion of iron into your bloodstream that is designed to give fast and effective results. Iron is essential for making haemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. Iron also plays an important role in keeping the immune system healthy.
An iron deficiency can lead to tiredness or an unexplained lack of energy, shortness of breath, a pale complexion, brittle nails and thinning hair, a rapid heartbeat, and frequent headaches.
Who is at risk of iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency anaemia is a common condition that can occur in anyone, although certain people are more prone to the condition. These include strict vegetarians and vegans, because they do not eat iron-rich foods such as red meat; and pregnant or post-natal women.
People with gastrointestinal diseases that prevent adequate absorption of iron are also at risk of a deficiency. These include conditions such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis. People with chronic kidney disease may also be at risk.
Any other medical condition or action that involves frequent blood loss, such as chronic nosebleeds; regular blood donations; blood loss from major surgery or trauma; and women who have heavy menstrual periods, can also be at risk of iron-deficiency anaemia.
How is an iron deficiency diagnosed?
An iron deficiency is diagnosed through a blood test that includes a full blood count (FBC) and measures your red blood cell count. If yours falls below the normal range, then you may be diagnosed with iron-deficiency anaemia.
The doctor may also request a ferritin test, which is a protein that stores iron in your body. If you have low ferritin levels, it is likely that your iron levels are also low.
How is iron deficiency treated?
The standard treatment for iron deficiency is taking prescribed ferrous sulphate tablets to restore iron levels in the body. However, many people are intolerant of these supplements.
They can cause stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhoea, which can mean that they take a long time to take effect, or the patient does not continue with the full course of treatment.
Iron can be difficult to absorb through the gut, which means that correcting a deficiency through oral supplements can be very difficult and time consuming.
If you are experiencing unexplained fatigue or have any of the medical conditions described above, you can benefit from an intravenous (IV) infusion of iron. This bypasses the digestive system and delivers the iron directly to your bloodstream via a drip that will be inserted into your arm or hand.
The process will be overseen by a qualified medical practitioner who will be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) or the General Nurses Council (GNC). It can take place at your home or office (if within the M25 Greater London area), or at one of our London clinics.
The treatment is a supplementary therapy that is designed to boost your overall level of health and wellbeing, but it should not be seen as a substitute for a well-balanced diet.