Can Iron Pills Cause Constipation
One of the other more common side effects of iron supplementation is constipation. Iron is a mineral that can be hard on the digestive tract and tends to cause GI-related side effects, such as constipation, nausea, indigestion, gas, and bloating.
But unlike some supplements where added ingredients can lead to constipation, iron itself is the cause.
Constipation is one of the most common side effects of iron pills because iron, in general, is poorly absorbed by the body, whether from food or supplementation.
Any iron that isnt absorbed can feed the harmful bacteria in the gut, which can interfere with digestive health and motility, resulting in constipation 12.
If youre experiencing constipation as a side effect of iron supplementation, consider swapping your iron supplement for another form or reducing your dose slightly.
For example, 300 mg of ferrous sulfate contains about 60 mg of iron per dose, whereas 300 mg of ferrous gluconate contains about 34 mg of iron per day.
For some people, ferrous gluconate has fewer side effects and is less constipating, making it a better supplement option.
Similarly, slow-release forms of iron may reduce constipation, but they dont come without their drawbacks.
Usually, iron is absorbed in the first part of your small intestine , but slow-release tablets typically bypass this area before releasing iron, which means absorption can be poor.
Here are a couple of other tips for taking iron pills to avoid constipation:
Taking Maltofer With Food
Even simple foods like tea, coffee, chocolate, and milk can interfere with the iron absorption of ferrous salts found in most iron supplements and, as such, these are generally recommended to be taken on an empty stomach.
Maltofer on the other hand can be taken with food anytime and absorption of the iron will not be affected. In fact, studies have demonstrated that iron absorption with Maltofer significantly increases when taken with food.
How Much Iron Do I Need
Your body needs iron to help produce hemoglobin in red blood cells needed to carry oxygen throughout your body. In order to reduce the risk of a deficiency and needing iron supplements, strive for the recommended daily intake â 8 mg for adult men to age 50 and 18 mg for women.
Certain conditions may put you at risk for not having enough iron and may lead to ironâ–âdeficiency anemia. Iron-deficiency anemia often affects people during pregnancy. Office on Women’s Health report as many as 5 percent of females of childbearing age have an iron deficiency. NIH recommends a daily intake of 27 mg daily for pregnant people to support the development of your unborn baby. If you experience heavy menstrual periods, you may also be at risk for iron deficiency anemia and require iron supplements.
You May Like: What Do Probiotics Do For Women
Why Does Iron Cause Constipation
While the side effects of iron supplements are very few and rare, constipation is one of the most common ones. Iron affects the digestive tract, so an increase in iron consumption may take a little getting used to for the body. This is because some forms of iron are difficult for the body to absorb, which means that the digestive system has to work especially hard to process a series of reactions before it can be utilized for various functions.
Is It Ok To Take An Iron Supplement Every Day
For the treatment of iron deficiency anemia in adults, 100 to 200 mg of elemental iron per day has been recommended. The best way to take the supplement so that you absorb the greatest amount of iron is to take it in two or more doses during the day. However, extended-release iron products may be taken once a day.
Don’t Miss: How Much Bone Broth Per Day For Leaky Gut
Do All Iron Supplements Cause Constipation
Do all iron supplements cause constipation? Iron pills may cause stomach problems, such as heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and cramps. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat fruits, vegetables, and fibre each day. Iron pills can change the colour of your stool to a greenish or grayish black. This is normal.
Is there an iron supplement that doesnt cause constipation? Maltofer is clinically proven to correct iron levels. Maltofer has fewer gastrointestinal side effects and is less likely to cause constipation compared to ferrous iron supplements. This means less constipation, less nausea, and an effective dose of iron.
Do iron supplements always cause constipation? Does iron cause constipation? In some people, oral iron may cause constipation. To diminish symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort, some people take their iron supplements with food or with a stool softener to try and offset constipation.
Why do iron pills make you constipated? Constipation is the most common side effect, but iron supplements can also cause nausea, indigestion, gas and bloating. The cause of the constipation is the iron itself, not any added ingredient.
Also Check: How To Take Probiotics With Antibiotics
Types Of Iron Supplements
There isn’t just one type of iron supplement available. You can choose between iron salts and amino acid chelates, which are often easier on the stomach, Caro says.
If you’re looking to avoid constipation, opt for ferrous bisglycinate , Caro says. Or, try ferrous gluconate, an iron salt formulation that absorbs well, she adds. “Avoid ferrous sulfate if constipation is a problem for you.”
And keep in mind that what you eat plays a role if you’re taking iron supplements. Make sure you’re getting enough fiber and drinking plenty of water, Shapiro says. “This will help you avoid constipation.”
Note: While some fiber is OK, make sure to avoid taking iron pills within two hours of eating high-fiber foods or fiber supplements, per the National Library of Medicine . Doing so inhibits iron absorption, according to Cambridge Memorial Hospital.
How Long Should You Take Iron Supplements?
For people who are deficient, iron levels in the blood generally return to normal after about two months of taking supplements, and you should continue taking them for six to 12 months to build up your iron stores, according to the NLM.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Belly Bloat Fast
Why Does Iron Typically Cause Constipation
You probably know someone that has taken an iron supplement in their lifetime you may have even taken one yourself. And what is the most common complaint?
It can get so bad that patients would rather not take an iron product at all rather than feel the effects of some products, which is one of the worst outcomes a healthcare practitioner can have as they are trying to help someone. Its extremely frustrating to have picked the right ingredient at the right dose, only to have compliance be the limiting factor.
Thankfully, a new formulation of iron was developed that is able to virtually eliminate the side effect potential of taking an iron supplement, while reliably raising ferritin levels.
Iron Polysaccharide Complex is a non-ionic form of iron that is available as a liquid in Bio-Ferra. It provides 100% elemental iron, which is a significantly higher percentage relative to other forms of iron on the market.
Non-ionic iron is an important distinction to look for when choosing an iron, because the splitting into ions in the stomach is the main reason that patients will experience an upset stomach and constipation when taking typical iron supplements.
Tips To Avoid Constipation
Taking an iron or calcium supplement doesn’t automatically relegate you to a lifetime of constipation.
In addition to finding a supplement that’s easier on your GI tract â liquid iron or calcium citrate, for example â there are simple lifestyle and dietary changes you can make to avoid or lessen constipation.
If your constipation is persistent or unexplained, please seek help from your medical provider, per the Mayo Clinic.
Recommended Reading: How Does The Microbiome Work
Anaphylaxis And Iron Incjections
The most serious problem associated with injection of IVI products is a severe allergic reaction to the injection called anaphylaxis. This is a sudden response affecting the entire body, which sometimes happens to people who are allergic to peanuts or beestings. The signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include dizziness or fainting, skin flushing and itchiness, difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure and sudden anxiety.
FDA researchers reviewed voluntary reports submitted to the agency of serious, anaphylactic-like reactions associated with IVI through mid-2007. Their findings were reported in a September 2010 article published in the âAmerican Journal of Hematology.â
The authors note that 3 or fewer confirmed deaths occur annually in the U.S. related to an anaphylactic reaction to IVI. Administration of iron dextran appears to have a higher rate of anaphylaxis compared to other intravenous iron products, according to the report authors.
What Are The Different Types Of Ferrous Sulfate
There are many different types of oral iron supplements. Ferrous sulfate comes in tablet or liquid form:
- Tablets: The most common tablet size is ferrous sulfate 325 milligrams . Tablets come in standard or delayed release formats.
- Liquid: You can also take ferrous sulfate as a liquid iron supplement. The liquid comes as an elixir or as drops.
Read Also: What To Eat For Leaky Gut Healing
Ferrous Sulfate Versus Iv Iron
For the 23 studies that included intravenous iron as the comparator a significant increase in the incidence of gastrointestinal side-effects was observed with ferrous sulfate with an OR = 3.05 . Furthermore, mean hemoglobin increase was reported for 20 of the 23 eligible IV iron-controlled trials . Overall, for these 20 trials, the mean increase in hemoglobin for the ferrous sulfate arm was lower than for the IV iron arm although formal comparative analysis was not undertaken being outside the a priori objectives of our analysis .
Effect of daily ferrous sulfate supplementation on the incidence of gastrointestinal side-effects and hemoglobin repletion in intravenous iron-controlled RCTs.
The IBD subgroup analysis also showed a significantly higher incidence of gastrointestinal side-effects in the ferrous sulfate arm than in the IV iron arm with OR = 3.14 . The same was observed in the pregnancy subgroup analysis , with OR = 9.44 .
Nine out of the 23 IV-iron comparator studies reported zero GI side-effects in the IV-iron arm so, as detailed in Methods, we added the standard correction of 0.5 of a side-effect to each arm to enable calculation of the study-specific log odds ratio. Nevertheless, when we excluded these 9 studies from the meta-analysis the same overall effect was observed with an OR = 2.41 for ferrous sulfate .
How Long Does It Take For Ferrous Sulfate To Work
How long does ferrous sulfate take to work? Most people begin to feel better after around 1 week, but it may take up to 4 weeks for the medicine to have full effect. If you are taking ferrous sulfate to prevent anaemia you probably will not feel any different but that does not mean it is not working.
Also Check: What Do Probiotics Look Like
How Do You Stop Constipation When Taking Iron Supplements
If you need to take iron supplements due to an iron deficiency, it is possible that you might be anxious about the potential side effects associated with this. Digestive issues are not pleasant, and they can really impact your day-to-day life.
So is it possible to stop constipation when taking iron supplements?
If you are experiencing issues with constipation while taking prescribed iron supplements, then it is worth speaking to your doctor regarding this. They may suggest reducing the amount of iron that you are taking to see if this combats your constipation.
But if it isnt possible to reduce the amount of iron that you are taking, then there are other ways to prevent constipation when taking iron supplements.
This does include taking an additional supplement to help your digestive system while also taking your iron supplements. This supplement will soften your stools, ensuring that you do not feel constipated.
There are a couple of different stool softening supplements that you may take, including docusate sodium.
So, speak to your doctor if you are struggling with constipation due to iron supplements, and they should be able to point you in the right direction.
Side Effects Not Requiring Immediate Medical Attention
Some side effects of ferric carboxymaltose may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- discoloration at the injection site
- pain or irritation at the injection site
Applies to ferric carboxymaltose: intravenous solution
Read Also: Can Ibs Cause Pulse In Stomach
Can I Overdose On Iron
In fact, if you have small children in your home, take extra precaution as accidental overdose of iron-containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under age 6. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or call poison control center immediately. If you suspect that your child has overdosed, note that treatment is effective if instituted early enough and should be sought immediately.
Does Iron Make Your Poop Black
A noticeable outcome of iron supplements is black stools.
While it can be alarming, its normal and expected as the result of iron tablets.
In some cases, black stool can be a sign of internal bleeding. For peace of mind, consult your doctor when you notice changes.
You should also seek medical advice if your stools differ more than just color, for instance, if they are tarry, blood-streaked, or painful.
Also Check: Can Sinus Drainage Cause Diarrhea
How To Relieve Constipation From Iron Supplements
- Increase your fluid or water intake.
- Since exercising helps with overall constipation, it will help relieve symptoms while taking iron supplements, too.
- Always go to the toilet regularly and never postpone your trips as it might worsen your constipation.
- If you are experiencing constipation from iron supplements, avoid eating food that causes constipation.
This includes wheat products, blackcurrants, blueberries, bananas, milk, and cheese.
- Eat foods that are high in fiber to increase the amount of stool and increase your toilet trips.
For example, opt for whole-grain products, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, celery, and legumes.
Still, keep in mind that they might cause intestinal gas.
- You can also opt for fiber supplements since they are relatively safe and beneficial.
- Dried black plums are incredibly beneficial for your gut health and help promote better absorption and gut movements.
- Fermented food like yogurt, pickles, and miso contain live bacteria and promote the growth of good bacteria in your intestines.
Getting Rid Of Constipation Caused By Vitamins Or Due To Other Factors
It has been seen that there are times when one needs to take in vitamins to meet the nutritional deficiencies in the body. And the problem of constipation also exists. In such cases, you have to learn the various ways in which the problem of constipation can be dealt with successfully. Mentioned below are some simple ways in which the problem can be solved to a great extent
What Are The Types Of Iron Supplements Out There On The Market
Pills that contain iron are usually in ferrous form. There are three subcategories of ferrous iron that are sold on the market today: ferrous fumarate, ferrous gluconate, and ferrous sulfate.
When choosing any of these iron supplements its important to look at the elemental iron in each individual serving. Most iron supplements in the ferrous form are sold as a pill. Iron supplements are also available in capsules, drops, and liquids, coated and extended-release capsules.
Tablets and pills are better absorbed and cheaper as well. For adults who have trouble swallowing the pill form and also for children, the liquid form of iron supplements can be useful.
Coated tablets or extended-release capsules have fewer and less severe side effects. However, this form of iron supplement is not absorbed as well in the bloodstream.
Ascorbic acid or vitamin C can help iron be absorbed better. Iron acts better in an acidic/low pH environment.
Iron supplements are great to incorporate in your diet if you are deficient of this important mineral.
Including Healthy Fats In The Diet
The body needs all kinds of nutrients for keeping healthy. Including healthy fats in the diet in the form of coconut oil, raw milk, and butter, fish oil, pastured meats etc. can help greatly in dealing with the problem of constipation caused due to vitamin supplement intake.
Now that you know, avoid vitamins that can cause constipation and lead a healthy life.
You May Like: How To Soothe Burning Anus After Diarrhea
Iron Supplements And Constipation
- Reactions 0 reactions
For the 20+ years that I have had IBS, I have mostly struggled with the IBS-D side of the spectrum, with one exception being alternating IBS-D and IBS-C in my very early 20s.
However, as I have mentioned more recently on this site, I have become more and more prone to constipation in the past couple of years. This has seemingly been exacerbated by a hysterectomy I had nearly 2 years ago.
Take Your Supplements The Right Way
To help alleviate constipation from iron supplements, begin taking your pills at half-dose and gradually increase the dosage every three days until you reach the full dosage. It’s best to separate your dosage into three smaller daily doses to reduce the likelihood of constipation.
Exercise each day to stimulate healthy bowel movements. Try physical activities such as walking, 20 minutes of light aerobics or a bike ride.
Take a stool softener when needed to relieve constipation. Stool softeners increase the water content in stool, making them softer and easier to pass during bowel movements says University of Washington Medical Center.
Eat more fruits and vegetables. They are rich in fiber which adds bulk to stools, making them easier to pass during bowel movements. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Pyramid recommends eating two to four servings of fruit and three to five servings of vegetables each day.
To prevent overdose, never take more than the recommended dose of iron without permission from your doctor.
Iron blocks the absorption of some antibiotics. Inform your doctor that you are taking iron supplements before taking antibiotics. Your doctor may prescribe a different antibiotic or recommend that you temporarily discontinue the use of iron supplements during the duration of your antibiotic cycle.
Read Also: Why Do We Need Probiotics Now