Anemia is the most common blood disorder and the anemic symptoms that a woman may have, can vary greatly. While in few cases the symptoms could be mild or non-specific, in other cases the underlying cause of the anemia rather than the actual anemia causes symptoms. Since women are twice as likely as men to have anemia, the symptoms are important to know about.

Common anemic symptoms

The symptoms may not be sudden but develop gradually over time; in some cases, however with some types of anemia, the symptoms could be of more rapid onset.


Low energy levels, getting tired or fatigued easily are the most commonly noted symptoms of anemia. Women may find that they get tired without having exerted substantially and that they tend to get out of breath easily even when the exertion is slight. Exertion could also cause headaches.

Anemic symptoms include a characteristic paleness of the skin and nail beds as well. Mucosal linings of the body could also be pale and colorless.

A woman may feel generally unwell, having the feeling of general malaise and weakness. She may also find that she has difficulty in concentrating properly. Dizziness or lightheadedness could be another problem. Night time sleep may be interrupted or she may find that she suffers from insomnia and has a tough time falling and staying asleep.

In some cases women may also experience palpitations or very fast heart beat as a result of their anemia; particularly after physical exertion.

Leg cramps may also be a problem for women with anemia.

Less common anemic symptoms

An unusual symptom called Kiolonychias where the nails curl upward could be noted sometimes with iron deficiency anemia.

Jaundice like symptoms could be present with hemolytic anemia when the red blood cells destruct abnormally and before their time causing a shortfall in the system. A yellow cast to the skin, dark urine, seizures and even kidney failure could be among the consequences.

Pica is the desire to eat non-food items such as chalk, clay, mid, glass, paper, wax, ice and hair and this is often due to nutritional deficiencies. In cases, pica could be a symptom of anemia as well.

Sickle cell disease is another condition that gives rise to anemic symptoms and with it symptoms such as leg ulcers may be noted. Additionally there could be lowered immunity, delayed growth, and other aches and pains.

Bone deformities could be seen in anemia caused by thalassemia major.

Anemia that is caused by Vitamin B 12 deficiency also has specific symptoms such as pins and needles or that tingling sensation in the extremities of the arms and legs. There could be a numbness of a loss of sensation which could also result in clumsiness or poor grip. Advanced stages of this problem could cause difficulty in walking, and even dementia, schizophrenia, paranoia and hallucinations.

Chronic lead poisoning could cause anemic symptoms such as abdominal pain, digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting and constipation as well as a characteristic blue black line on the gums called a lead line.