Low blood counts can have a number of causes and they vary between women and men.
Causes for low blood count in women:
The most common cause of low blood count in women who are premenopausal, is iron deficiency caused by menstrual blood loss. Women of childbearing age have high iron requirements because of the extra iron needed for menstruation and pregnancy. Eating iron-rich foods may be sufficient to correct iron deficiency in some individuals; however, some women will need to take oral iron supplements in order to increase their blood count enough to donate blood.
If you are a post-menopausal woman and not donating three or more times per year, your blood count may still be within the normal range for women, but not high enough to donate blood. Please note that the lower end of normal range for non-African-American women is 11.3 gm/dl and for African-American women is 10.5 gm/dl. If the test performed today indicated that your blood count is below normal range, you may need to see your personal physician for further testing to determine the cause of your low blood count.
Causes for low blood count in men:
If you are not donating three or more times per year, your deferral today indicates that you may have a medical condition which is causing your low blood count. In men, a blood count below 13 gm/dl is considered anemic. Your personal physician can perform additional testing to confirm the cause of your low blood count and determine its cause.