Treatment for hemochromatosis involves removing the iron from your body, called a phlebotomy.
During a phlebotomy, your doctor removes approximately one unit of blood, which is one-half liter. You undergo phlebotomy at routine intervals (weekly to monthly) until your iron level returns to normal. This could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years, depending on the iron levels at the time of diagnosis.
Once your iron level is normal, you will continue to need phlebotomy but at less frequent intervals. Usually, men require phlebotomy three to four times a year; women need it one to two times per year. This continues throughout your life
Phlebotomy technique (Click to Enlarge)
To help maintain normal iron levels, you should:
- Restrict your vitamin C, red meat and ethanol intake
If hemochromatosis has caused advanced cirrhosis, then an evaluation for a liver transplantation may be necessary.