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Determination of iron status in women attending genitourinary clinics with pruritus vulvae
  1. S M Bates,
  2. G Dilke-Wing
  1. Department of Genito-Urinary Medicine, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S Bates
 Department of Genito-Urinary Medicine, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS FT, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Glossop Road, Sheffield S10, UK; sylviabates{at}


Objective: To compare iron status in women with pruritus vulvae and in asymptomatic controls.

Methods: 42 women with pruritus vulvae and 42 asymptomatic broadly age-matched controls were enrolled in this prospective study. The outcome measures assessed were serum iron, serum ferritin, total iron-binding capacity, haemoglobin and transferrin saturation.

Results: 12 (29%) participants and 10 (24%) controls were iron deficient; 1 (2%) participant and 1 (2%) control had laboratory-defined iron deficiency anaemia. Participants generally had lower levels of iron markers than controls, with differences (95% confidence interval (CI)) of −3.5 μg/l (−9.89 to 6.99) for serum ferritin (p = 0.73), −4.9 mmol/l (−8.12 to 0.12) for serum iron (p = 0.06) and −5.5 mmol/l (−5.75 to 1.46) for total iron-binding capacity (p = 0.24). No significant difference in haemoglobin or mean cell volume was shown between the two groups (haemoglobin: p = 0.17, 95% CI −0.83 to 0.15; mean cell volume: p = 0.15, 95% CI −4.59 to 0.73).

Conclusion: This study does not provide evidence to support the routine determination of iron status in patients presenting to genitourinary medicine clinics with pruritus vulvae from all causes.

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  • Funding: This study was awarded a grant under the Small Grants Scheme run by the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Research Department.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethical approval: This study was approved by the South Sheffield Research Ethics Committee.