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Does Iron Infusion Cause Constipation

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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of An Iron Infusion

Why Do Iron Supplements Cause Constipation?

Some of the common but minor side effects of an iron infusion include gastrointestinal upset, burning or pain surrounding the injection site, muscle cramps, altered taste, and pain in the legs or arms, according to Mayo Clinic. These side effects dont require medical attention unless they do not go away or are particularly upsetting.

Side effects of an iron infusion that should be reported to a medical professional immediately if they occur include tightness or pain in the chest, blurring vision, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or limbs, and unusual fatigue, states Mayo Clinic. Fever, confusion, dizziness, rapid or unusual changes in weight and tingling in the hands and feet are other side effects that should be reported to a doctor or nurse. A list of common reported side effects ranked by severity is available at

Intravenous iron supplementation is most frequently used for patients diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia who cannot take oral iron supplements and have not had success in treating their anemia with high-iron diets, reports Cleveland Clinic. Some of the conditions that can indicate a need for iron infusions include bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, disorders of the kidneys that require dialysis, inflammatory bowel syndrome and celiac disease.

If Iron Deficiency Anaemia Is Not Treated

Untreated iron deficiency anaemia:

  • can make you more at risk of illness and infection a lack of iron affects the immune system
  • may increase your risk of developing complications that affect the heart or lungs such as an abnormally fast heartbeat or heart failure
  • in pregnancy, can cause a greater risk of complications before and after birth

Page last reviewed: 29 January 2021 Next review due: 29 January 2024

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:

More common

  • discoloration at the injection site
  • pain or irritation at the injection site

Applies to ferric carboxymaltose: intravenous solution

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Can I Take Iron With Antacids

Iron supplements should not be taken with antacids. Antacids, especially those containing calcium, have been shown to .

In fact, in some cases taking too many antacids that contain calcium is a factor in causing an iron deficiency because it keeps the body from absorbing the iron it needs.

Unfortunately, for many people heartburn is a side effect of taking iron supplementation, so they may unwittingly combine the two not knowing that they are actually reducing the effectiveness of their iron supplement. If you must take both, take the iron supplement at least two hours before taking the antacid tablets.

Find Natural Sources Of Iron

Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects (Infections, Diarrhea, Constipation ...

Eating iron-rich foods in your diet is the best way to avoid an iron deficiency and constipation from having to take iron pills. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says your body absorbs two to three times more iron from animal sources than from plants. Foods with the highest content of iron include lean beef, turkey, chicken and oysters.

If you are a vegetarian who does not eat meat, fish or poultry, the National Institute of Health suggests you need 1.8 times the recommended dietary allowance. The reason is youre getting your iron from plants in the form of non-heme iron that your body doesnt absorb as well as heme iron from animal foods. Good sources of iron for vegetarians include beans, dark green leafy vegetables, tofu, whole grains and nuts. Adding a source of vitamin C will enhance the absorption of iron.

Read More:Foods to Eat If You Have Low Iron

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How Long Does An Iron Infusion Take

An iron infusion can take up to 3 or 4 hours. You should expect to remain seated for this time. In some cases, the infusion may take a little longer, depending on the level of treatment your doctor thinks you need. The slow infusion rate helps prevent complications.

It often takes several iron infusions to bring the bodys iron levels up to the appropriate levels. You will receive iron infusions over the course of one or a few weeks for your treatments. Iron infusions take time and can be more expensive than other types of anemia treatments.

After the infusion, you can return to your normal activities straight away. Most people are able to drive themselves home. You can even go back to work after your infusion if you feel up to it.

You may have some side effects right after the procedure. Most of them are mild. These include:

  • temporary changes in the way you taste food and drinks
  • increased or decreased blood pressure or heart rate
  • burning sensation or swelling at the site of the injection

Do Iron Supplements Make Poop Smell

The short answer is that certain iron supplements can cause your poop to have a metallic smell. Iron supplements cause other stomach problems such as heartburn, diarrhea, nausea, and cramps. They change your poop in some different ways including looks and smell.

Iron pills change the color of your poop to be grayish-black or sometimes greenish. And along with that, it can have a sort of metallic smell. Which is sort of normal unless youre actually experiencing internal bleeding with your poop.

Because thats the same kind of color you may experience with your poop when you have internal bleeding which can be serious. So, its always better to tell your doctor about the changes you may experience in your stool.

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Iron Infusions And Gut Health

Nick: Welcome to episode six of The Holy Gut Podcast. In this Podcast, we discuss iron infusions and gut health.

Hello, its me Nick Kamp, co-host of The Holy Gut Podcast, with my cohosts Dr. Nathan Connelly and Nicole Starbuck-Connelly. Nathan is a gastroenterologist and Nicole is a registered nurse and practice manager of the Moonee Valley Specialist Centre here in Melbourne, Australia. Moonee Valley Specialist Centre provides a number of services related to gut health including bowel cancer screening.

Nick: Im back speaking to Nathan. In this podcast were talking about iron infusions. Hi there, Nathan, how are you?

Nathan: Good, Nick.

Nick: Okay so when were talking about iron infusions, what type of patient requires an iron infusion?

Nathan: Generally speaking patients are iron deficient and theres different levels of iron deficiency. Theres people who just have low iron levels and whether they benefit from iron infusions or not is somewhat debated. Certainly patients who have a lower blood count, what we call anemia. When patients are anemic with low iron levels then they generally will need to have an iron infusion. Patients can have aural iron but thats often slow to work and about 30% of patients it doesnt work at all. So, generally patients with iron deficiency, iron deficiency anemia, the nerve responds to tablets or inability to take tablets with the patients we generally see having iron infusions.

Nick: What?

Nick: OK.

Can Iron Supplements Cause Diarrhea

What is chronic constipation and what causes it?

Yes, iron supplements can cause diarrhea. Though constipation is more commonly found with iron tablets, you may also experience diarrhea.

Iron supplements cause a range of gastrointestinal problems that lead to changes in your bowel movements. Speak with a doctor if you are concerned about any of these changes.

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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 .

Iron Supplements That Dont Cause Constipation

Some types of iron supplements may increase the likelihood of constipation, as well as gas and bloating. Although its unclear why some people become constipated due to iron supplementation, you can reduce your risk by taking other forms of iron that are less likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects. Discuss any concerns you about about supplementation with your physician.

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What Are The Side Effects Of Intravenous Iron

The side effects of IV iron are usually minimal, but may include the following:

  • Bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • Gastrointestinal pains, including nausea and cramps
  • Problems with breathing
  • Low blood pressure

Malabsorption In The Gut

Iron Deficiency Treatments  Iron Matters

The fluctuation of the female hormones, estrogen, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone during the menstrual cycle, may contribute to a malabsorption syndrome. This affects the bodys ability to absorb nutrients from food in the gut, aggravating the low blood iron levels by reducing the absorption of iron from food sources. The hormonal factors contributing to a malabsorption syndrome may also play a part in both peristalsis , inhibit other nutrient absorption and thereby contribute to constipation.

Attempting to correct this malabsorption syndrome by taking nutritional supplements, especially iron, may further aggravate the constipation. A characteristic feature of this malabsorption syndrome, which may not be present in every woman, is the difficulty in gaining weight, especially in young girls in their teens. However this may also be impacted upon by the poor dietary habits of young women who are more conscious of their body, focusing on their figure and weight than worrying about adequate nutrition.

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Blood Tests For Iron Deficiency Anaemia

The GP will usually order a full blood count test. This will find out if the number of red blood cells you have is normal.

You do not need to do anything to prepare for this test.

Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type of anaemia. There are other types, like vitamin B12 and folate anaemia, that the blood test will also check for.

Who Receives Intravenous Iron Supplementation

Patients who receive IV iron usually do so because they cannot take oral iron. These include the following:

  • Patients who are bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract and need to replace iron quickly.
  • Patients who have inflammatory bowel disease , and cannot take oral iron because it upsets their GI tract.
  • Patients who are on kidney dialysis, who often lose blood during dialysis. In addition, these patients are usually taking an erythropoietin stimulating agent and may need extra iron.
  • Patients with iron-deficiency anemia who are having high blood loss surgery within the next 2 months and need to replace iron quickly.
  • Patients with celiac disease .
  • Cancer patients who have anemia and are taking an ESA.

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How Is Anemia Treated

Your healthcare provider will decide on the proper treatment, depending on the type of anemia and what is causing it.

Your doctor must first find out if the anemia is being caused by a poor diet or a more serious health problem. You can then be treated for both the anemia and its cause.

One way of treating iron-deficiency anemia is by eating foods that are high in iron. The following foods are good sources of iron:

Another way to treat anemia is by taking oral iron supplements . The patient may also need to take erythropoietin-stimulating agents . ESAs work by helping to make more red blood cells. These cells are then released from the bone marrow into the bloodstream. ESAs are given by injection or intravenously.

In cases where the patient cannot take oral iron supplements, he or she may have to have intravenous iron supplementation. As with any medication, do not take any supplements without the advice and direction of your physician.

How Can You Relieve Constipation When Taking An Iron Supplement

Constipation | Approach to Causes, Associated Conditions & Symptoms, Treatments

If you must take a daily multivitamin or dietary supplement containing iron, there are a few things you can do to combat getting clogged up.

First, try simple, standard constipation treatments such as increasing your water and fiber intake and being more active, suggests Dr. Chen. Exercising is a tried-and-true, natural way to stimulate a bowel movement. Certain yoga poses â that involve twisting and forward bends â are particularly helpful for promoting poop.

“If needed, short-term use of osmotic laxatives can also be effective to soften the stool,” Dr. Chen says.

But if these methods aren’t enough to get things flowing, you can also try to change the way you’re obtaining your iron. For example, some individuals get their iron infused. Taking your iron intravenously doesn’t cause constipation, but this procedure has its own potential side effects, says Dr. Chen, who recommends less-invasive approaches.

“Some people find it better to take their iron every other day or switch to a liquid formulation so they can more easily the dose to the one that is more tolerable,” she says.

You may also consider using “slow-release” or “enteric-coated” iron supplements to reduce GI discomfort, but keep in mind that these forms decrease the amount of iron your body absorbs, says Dr. Chen, who stresses that you should only make these kind of changes with your doctor’s consent.

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What If I Forget To Take It

If you forget a dose, take another as soon as you remember. If its almost time to take the next dose, then do not take the missed dose at all.

Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.

If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember your medicine.

Why Does Iron Cause Constipation Tips To Prevent And Relieve

It is a well-known fact that iron supplements cause in addition to stomach pain and nausea constipation the most likely side effect. Why does iron cause constipation?

Iron supplements cause constipation because the absorption of iron is weak from food as well as from supplements. On average 10% of iron from food is absorbed by the body for women and 5% for men. In case of iron deficiency, absorption increases up to 20%. Iron not absorbed by the body feeds bad pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Constipation is therefore a sign of predominant bad bacteria in the colon .

Although iron bisglycinate is known for being stomach friendly among divalent iron salts and causes side effects more seldom , some people are still more gentle to iron than others. Therefore, iron bisglycinate can cause constipation for some people. The bigger the amount of iron consumed, the higher the risk for side effects . For instance, side effects with Iron 30 mg and Iron syrup for children 25 mg are more rare, because the daily amount of iron is only 2530 mg. Superironis 60 mg iron, i.e. twice as much. However, Superiron is needed in case of diagnosed iron deficiency anemia and usually the choice for pregnant women. A lot of people do not have any side effects with iron bisglycinate independent on the amount consumed.

Trivalent iron may cause constipation more often compared to divalent iron salts because the amount of iron not absorbed by the body may be greater.


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Do I Need More Iron If I Am Breastfeeding

No, you do not need more iron during breastfeeding. In fact, you need less iron than before you were pregnant. The amount of iron women need during breastfeeding is 10 milligrams per day for young mothers 14 to 18 and 9 milligrams per day for breastfeeding women older than 18.

You need less iron while breastfeeding because you likely will not lose a lot through your menstrual cycle. Many breastfeeding women do not have a period or may have only a light period. Also, if you got enough iron during pregnancy , your breastmilk will supply enough iron for your baby.

Anaphylaxis And Iron Incjections

Injectafer Lawsuits

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 “American Journal of Hematology.”

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.

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