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Why Do Iron Supplements Cause Constipation

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Immediate Action Required: Call 999 Or Go To A& e If:

Why Do Iron Supplements Cause Constipation?
  • you or your child takes too much ferrous sulfate

Taking too much can cause vomiting, stomach pain or diarrhoea.

In serious cases you can vomit blood, have a seizure or fit, or become unconcious.

If you go to A& E do not drive yourself. Get someone else to drive you, or call an ambulance.

Take the ferrous sulfate packet or the leaflet inside it with you and any remaining medicine.

Side Effects Of Iron Tablets You Must Know

If you have low levels of iron, your doctor may have advised you to take iron supplements as a quick fix. Usually, signs of iron deficiency show up only when the iron reserves in the liver, muscles, bone marrow, or spleen are exhausted and you may be on the verge of iron deficiency anemia. So though its possible to replenish your iron stores through iron-rich foods, recovery takes longer.

Daily iron requirment

  • Pregnant women: 27 mg

Moreover, if you follow a vegetarian diet, it may take longer still since the non-heme iron obtained from plant sources is not absorbed as well as the heme iron from animal sources. And if you are a frequent drinker of tea or coffee, iron absorption may be further hindered.

It has been seen that blood counts become normal for most people after taking supplements for about 2 months. In about 6 to 12 months, its possible to shore up iron levels even in the bone marrow.12 However, the supplements come with a few side effects that you need to be aware of. They can occur as a response or reaction to the supplements themselves or as a result of overdose. We have listed the side effects in the order of severity.

Does Iron Make Your Poop Black

Dark or black stools are a common side effect of taking an iron supplement. Though dark and black stools can be concerning, it is commonly reported, especially when you begin taking iron.

The color of your stool is changed by the excess, unabsorbed iron from your body and is nothing to worry about.

If your stool has red lines in it or looks like it contains blood, contact your GP immediately. Likewise, if dark stools are accompanied by nausea and vomiting, seek professional medical advice.

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How Often Do You Need To Get Your Vitamin D Levels Checked

Doctors do not usually order routine checks of vitamin D levels, but they might need to check your levels if you have certain medical conditions or risk factors for vitamin D deficiency. Sometimes vitamin D levels can be checked as a cause of symptoms such as long-lasting body aches, a history of falls or bone fractures without significant trauma.

Find Natural Sources Of Iron

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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.

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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of An Iron Infusion

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.

The Way To Resolve Iron Deficiency

Whenever a disorder or imbalance occurs in the body, as happens with low iron and constipation, we have to find a way to treat the imbalance while dealing with each of the objectives in managing the deficiency.

In cases of iron deficiency, the treatment objectives are:

  • To counteract the iron deficiency through proper diet or with supplements.
  • To reverse, minimize or at least limit the negative effects that has been caused by the disorder or imbalance.

The first objective for treating iron deficiency is to meet the bodys requirements of iron that is, we want to bring iron levels to normal.

The second is to reverse any unwanted changes caused by iron deficiency.

Constipation caused by iron deficiency can be a difficult problem to handle. If not dealt with properly, constipation may persist even when the iron deficiency is remedied. Iron supplements plus other agents are needed to rectify the problem caused by low iron and constipation.Of course, the best treatment plan would be if there were a single agent that takes care of both objectives. If there such an agent, what is that? I will get to that in a minute.

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How Long Will I Have To Take An Oral Iron Supplement

Your healthcare provider will let you know how long you have to take an iron supplement. After your hemoglobin and iron levels are back to normal, you may need to continue the iron supplement for another six months. You may have intermittent blood tests to measure your iron level.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Ferrous sulfate is a type of iron supplement that can help you prevent or treat iron-deficiency anemia. Check with your healthcare provider before you start on any supplements. If your provider recommended you start on ferrous sulfate, make sure to follow their guidance closely. Ferrous sulfate has many benefits but it can also cause side effects. Only take an iron supplement for as long as your provider instructed. Taking more iron than your body needs can cause serious health issues.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/24/2022.


Can Iron Supplements Cause Diarrhea

Why iron supplements are making me constipated and nauseous? | PRICELINE PHARMACY WEST BRUNSWICK

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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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

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.

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Why Do People Take Iron

Iron supplements are most often used for certain types of anemia. Anemia can cause fatigue and other symptoms. If you have symptoms of anemia, seek care from your health care provider. Dont try to treat it on your own.

Iron supplements are often prescribed to treat anemia caused by:

Those who may be at risk for iron deficiency include preterm infants, young children, teenage girls, and pregnant women, as well as people with certain health conditions including chronic heart failure, Crohns disease, celiac disease and ulcerative colitis. Iron supplements are commonly recommended for women who are pregnant or of childbearing age to help prevent anemia. Before taking an iron supplement, ask your health care provider if it is right for you.

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How To Avoid Ferrous Sulfate Constipation

Why does iron cause constipation  tips to prevent and relieve

ne of the best ways to prevent ferrous sulfate constipation is to drink lots of water throughout the day. It is also recommended to get as much iron from food as possible, as well as to eat high fiber foods that help promote good digestive health. Fiber-rich foods to include in the diet include raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans. To increase the bodys ability to digest iron, take iron supplements with a beverage rich in vitamin C, such as orange juice.

Also, make sure to exercise at least 30 minutes per day to keep the digestive system active and working well. Certain iron supplements and forms of iron are easier on the digestive system than others, so consider switching to Fergon if other supplements cause discomfort. It may also help to avoid taking any other medications or caffeine at the same time as iron supplements because these substances can reduce iron absorption and result in constipation. Some individuals may benefit from adjusting their iron supplement dosage after consultation with a physician if constipation problems persist.

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Forms Of Iron That Are Easier On The Tummy

Iron supplements are available in a number of different forms, including ferrous sulfate, ferric citrate and amino acid chelate. The latter is the gentlest on the stomach and may be least likely to cause constipation.

You dont need a prescription to get iron, but you should select the form and dosage ordered by your doctor. Taking more iron than you need in supplement form may cause nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain, in addition to constipation. Excessive iron intake can also damage your organs.

Choose The Right Supplement

If you require an iron supplement, many kinds are available and most deliver more than the DV for iron. The most common form of iron supplements is derived from ferric iron salts, such as ferrous sulfate, and ferrous gluconate. However you are more likely to experience the side effect of constipation from iron supplements in this form.

Other forms of supplemental iron that are more gentle on the stomach may be a better choice for you. suggests supplements like:

  • heme iron polypeptides

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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.

Can You Stomach It The Vicious Cycle Of Anemia And Iron Supplements

Does Iron Cause Constipation?

Taking many of todays available oral iron supplements can make you feel as if you have swallowed a brick. The side effects can be so unpleasant that you stop taking them altogether and begin a vicious cycle of spiraling iron levels and unused products. With our innovative new iron supplement Ferritin Boost, the ironology team aims to break that cycle with a formulation that offers optimal absorption without the unpleasant stomach issues.

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The Bottom Line: All Calcium Is Not Created Equally

Constipation is an unwelcome side-effect. But dont lose sight of why you started taking a calcium supplement in the first place bone health. More than likely you started taking calcium to stop bone loss, but did you ever think your calcium supplement could increase your bone density too?

Thats why at AlgaeCal we looked for a way to not only stop bone loss but build bone mineral density too. Plus, we wanted to end the digestion problems from rock-based calcium. Turns out, the answer was floating off pristine South American shorelines this whole time a bone-friendly, plant-based calcium. In fact, its the most mineral-concentrated plant on earth, containing all 73 trace minerals naturally found in your bones right now.

Whats more, the minerals are predigested by the plant making them more body-friendly!

Thats why you wont have any upset stomach or constipation from this rare marine algae. AlgaeCal Plus is the only calcium supplement that has been shown to increase your bone density naturally, without side-effects.

Even better, you can take it with the only mineral known to promote bone building and inhibit bone loss at the same time. This bone-building duo is unmatched by any other supplement or nutrient combination you can find.

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Can Supplements Cause Constipation

While numerous supplements may relieve constipation, a few may also cause or worsen it. The following supplements have been associated with an increased risk of constipation:

  • Iron. Iron supplements may cause digestive side effects, including constipation. Some forms, including ferrous sulfate, are more likely to cause constipation than other forms, such as iron bisglycinate chelate (

Keep in mind that other supplements may cause constipation in some people. If you suddenly develop constipation after starting a new supplement, discontinue the supplement and get advice from your doctor.


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How To Add More Iron To Your Diet

Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to take iron supplements to get more iron in your diet. You can improve your health and help prevent anemia by eating more iron-rich foods, per Healthline. For instance, red meat is nutritious and relatively high in iron. According to a 2016 review published in Nutrients, iron deficiency may be less common among people who eat beef, chicken, and fish. Just one 3.5-ounce serving of ground beef contains 2.7 milligrams of iron, which provides 15% of the daily value for iron .

Legumes are also a great source of iron. In addition to being heart-healthy, legumes are packed full of important nutrients, like iron and potassium. Some common legumes include lentils, beans, peas, and chickpeas. A single cup of cooked lentils contains a whopping 6.6 milligrams of iron. This accounts for 37% of the daily value of iron. Other nonmeat iron-rich foods include liver, pumpkin seeds, spinach, tofu, and broccoli . However, if you do think you need iron supplements, you should consult a doctor before taking anything.

Why Does Iron Typically Cause Constipation

Why does iron cause constipation  tips to prevent and relieve

Cyto-Matrix MemberProducts, Scientific Research / Clinical Pearls

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.

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What Are Different Forms Of Iron Supplements

Iron supplements can also administered in the following ways:

  • Oral: Iron supplements can be taken orally in the form of pills and syrups. Ferrous salts used in oral iron supplements include ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate, ferrous gluconate and ferrous succinate. It may take up to 2 months for iron levels to become normal while taking oral iron supplements.
  • Parenteral: Parenteral iron supplements include iron dextran, iron sucrose, iron carboxymaltose and iron isomaltoside 1000. Iron supplement injections are given intravenously or intramuscularly when:
  • Oral iron supplements are not tolerated.
  • Absorption is compromised by illnesses.
  • You cannot swallow.

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