Folks with Iron Supplement have side effects even with doctor prescribed medicine.
If you have iron-deficiency anemia, your body lacks adequate iron to produce enough healthy red blood cells. Since red blood cells are needed to transport oxygen throughout your body, you can experience symptoms like fatigue and shortness of breath. Thankfully, iron-deficiency anemia can often be treated by taking iron supplements; these are taken orally by most people, but some must receive iron infusions because they don’t respond well to oral iron. If you take oral iron, there are a number of common side effects to be aware of. Here are some you may experience, along with suggestions for managing them.
1. Changes in bowel habits.
Constipation is a frequently encountered side effect of iron supplements for anemia, but diarrhea can occur as well. A stool softener may occasionally be used to help with constipation. Increasing the fiber in your diet with fruits and vegetables and including probiotics like those found in yogurt can also work to regulate your bowel habits.
2. Upset stomach.
Stomach pain, bloating, nausea, and vomiting may also develop as iron supplement side effects. It’s generally recommended to take iron on an empty stomach to help its absorption, but if your stomach can’t handle it, consider taking it with a small amount of food. Also, iron supplements come in different formulations with different amounts of iron. Your doctor may suggest trying a smaller dose of iron to see if that reduces unpleasant symptoms.
3. Dark stools.
Greenish or grayish-black stools are normal when you’re taking iron supplements. However, bloody stools can also look dark. If your stool appears tarry or has visible streaks of blood, be sure to notify your doctor right away. Your doctor can run tests to identify if there is any internal bleeding or if this is simply a side effect of your iron-deficiency anemia treatment.
4. Stained teeth.
If you take a liquid form of iron, it can stain your teeth. Mixing the iron with water or juice and drinking it with a straw can help avoid this. Brush your teeth after taking it, as well. Keep in mind that iron stains are usually temporary, but baking soda and peroxide can help remove them if any should develop.
5. Metallic taste in mouth.
Some people report having an unpleasant or metallic taste in their mouth after taking an iron supplement. You can try drinking some water or chewing a piece of gum to help eliminate the taste. As the iron is absorbed and processed by your body, the taste should eventually dissipate.
Iron can irritate the lining of your esophagus and lead to heartburn. It’s important to remember, though, to not take antacids at the same time as your iron supplement. The medications can interact, causing iron to not be as well absorbed, so they should be spaced at least two hours apart. To help with heartburn, try taking your iron supplement with a small amount of food and avoid taking it near bedtime.
Should I let my doctor know about my iron supplement side effects?
Yes! Iron supplements take time to work, and you need to continue taking them for some time even after your iron levels get back to normal. You don’t want to just stop taking your iron because side effects become too troublesome. Instead, talk to your doctor to see what adjustments can be made. And on the flip side, serious complications can also develop if your iron levels get too high. You want to be sure that your side effects aren’t a symptom of iron overload. Your doctor will monitor your levels to keep you safe.