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Dig Dis Sci. 2013 May;58(5):1299-305. doi: 10.1007/s10620-012-2496-6. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Prevalence and predictive factors for gastrointestinal pathology in young men evaluated for iron deficiency anemia.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Ramat Gan, Israel.



The prevalence of gastrointestinal lesions in young men with iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is unknown, and there are no evidence-based recommendations for the evaluation of the gastrointestinal tract in this population.


The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of significant GI lesions among young males with IDA, and to shed light on potential predictors of their presence.


Clinical, endoscopic, and histological data was retrospectively collected from medical records of 347 young males with IDA.


Clinically significant GI lesions were diagnosed in 62 %. Upper GI lesions were found in 35 %. Peptic disease was the most common finding, diagnosed in 30 %. Celiac disease was diagnosed in 4 %. Lower GI tract lesions were diagnosed in 34 %. The most common findings were hemorrhoids (17 %) and inflammatory bowel disease (16 %). Malignant lesions were not detected. GI lesions were encountered more frequently when respective symptoms were obtained. Multivariate analysis showed that the presence of GI symptoms and the use of proton pump inhibitors were associated with an increased likelihood of significant GI lesions.


GI lesions are common among young men with IDA. GI evaluation is mandatory in symptomatic men and in asymptomatic men when the anemia is resistant to iron therapy. Symptoms may dictate the order of evaluation.

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