Adverse Reactions Usually Caused by Iron Supplements Taken for Anemia

DATE: September 22, 2017


Women require more iron than men, and that’s why iron supplements or ferrous sulfate and their possible side effects should be discussed in detail. Those females who are 19-50 years old need more than doubling the amount of iron required by men (18 mg versus 8 mg per day). When you start taking special iron supplements, you may end up with such unpleasant symptoms as constipation, upset stomach, vomiting and nausea. These are their common side effects, so you should understand how to prevent them and watch out for warning signs.

Basic Information about Iron Supplements

They are available in 2 types: ferric and ferrous. Ferrous iron is better absorbed by the human body and contains more than 30% of elemental iron, so many people choose it. There are 3 forms of it, including ferrous fumarate, sulfate, and gluconate. A common daily dose of iron supplements taken by consumers is 325 mg, but the severity of anemia is the most important deciding factor. Doctors usually prescribe 60-200 mg of elemental iron, or 2-3 tablets a day.

Prevalence of Abdominal Irritation and Warning Signs

It’s proven that many anemic people (1/4) who take iron supplements suffer from different digestive tract side effects, including constipation and upset stomach. There are many leading causes of anemia, such as heavy menstrual periods and internal bleeding, which are not caused by iron deficiency. If you have bloody or tarry stools, abdominal soreness, pain and cramps, your anemia is caused by a more severe condition, so you need to go to your doctor immediately.

How to Prevent Side Effects Caused by Iron Supplements

Once you determine that anemia is caused by any iron-deficiency, focus on effective methods to alleviate the adverse reactions of iron supplements. As an example, it’s possible to diminish your digestive tract being upset using them before your meals and starting their intake with lower doses that can be gradually increased. You may also try to take iron supplements right before or 1 hour before eating. If you have any constipation when taking them, use special stool softeners to relieve this symptom. Pay attention to the following methods to prevent common side effects of these products:

1. Take any meds 2 hours before or after administering iron supplements, because they may potentially interact and affect their proper absorption.

2. Drink enough orange juice or water with each pill, because water helps disperse iron for better absorption, while Vitamin C boosts it too.

3. Avoid any products containing calcium when using iron supplements.

4. Keep them in a safe and cool place, such as a kitchen cabinet, not your bathroom.

In addition, you should understand that the intake of iron supplements is your long-term commitment. 6 months after you start this anemia treatment, it’s advisable to take them again to maintain your recovery from this condition.

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