The Perceived Impact of Iron Deficiency and Iron Therapy Preference in Exercising Females of Reproductive Age: A Cross-Sectional Survey Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Patient perceptions of iron deficiency and efficacy of iron therapy may differ from the interpretations of doctors. Qualitative investigation at an individual level related may help define patient expectations and therapeutic targets. Therefore, we aimed to explore this concept in exercising females of reproductive age.
Methods: Exercising females (n = 403) who either (a) were currently experiencing iron deficiency, or (b) have experienced iron deficiency in the past were included. A survey comprising open-ended text response questions explored three ‘domains’: (1) the impact of iron deficiency, (2) the impact of iron tablet supplementation (where applicable), and (3) the impact of iron infusion treatment (where applicable). Questions were asked about training, performance, and recovery from exercise. Survey responses were coded according to their content, and sentiment analysis was conducted to assess responses as positive, negative, or neutral.
Results: Exercising females showed negative sentiment toward iron deficiency symptoms (mean range = − 0.94 to − 0.81), with perception that fatigue significantly impacts performance and recovery. Iron therapies were perceived to improve energy, performance, and recovery time. Participants displayed a strong positive sentiment (mean range = 0.74 to 0.79) toward iron infusion compared to a moderately positive sentiment toward oral iron supplementation (mean range = 0.44 to 0.47), with many participants perceiving that oral iron supplementation had no effect.
Conclusion: In Australia, women prefer an iron infusion in treatment of iron deficiency compared to oral iron.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2097–2108
Number of pages12
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
Volume17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2023

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