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Symptoms - Haemochromatosis

Haemochromatosis symptoms usually start between age 30 and 60, but they can happen earlier.

Symptoms usually develop earlier in men than in women. Symptoms may not start in women until after menopause.

Sometimes there are no symptoms and the condition is only found during a routine blood test.

Early symptoms of haemochromatosis

Early symptoms of haemochromatosis can include:

Non-urgent advice: Talk to a GP if you have:

  • long-lasting or worrying symptoms of haemochromatosis
  • a parent or sibling with haemochromatosis, even if you do not have symptoms

Diagnosing haemochromatosis

Later problems caused by haemochromatosis

If haemochromatosis is not treated early, you may get serious complications. These can lead to symptoms such as:

  • loss of sex drive (libido)
  • darkening of the skin - if you are white you may look permanently tanned
  • tummy (abdominal) pain and swelling
  • yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice) - this may be harder to see on black and brown skin
  • feeling thirsty all the time and needing to pee often
  • joint pain and stiffness, especially in your fingers
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • swollen hands and feet
  • an irregular heartbeat
  • your testicles getting smaller

Complications of haemochromatosis

Page last reviewed: 8 August 2023
Next review due: 8 August 2026

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.