Iron Supplements Constipation

Iron supplements constipation. Many individuals begin to take an iron supplement when they find out they are anemic, with too little iron in their blood. Often individuals who battle with anemia are women, especially those who are pregnant.

When a person takes an iron supplement, they may find out fairly quickly that it can cause constipation. Unfortunately, pregnant women are already prone to constipation

1. Why do iron supplements cause constipation?

2. How can a person who has to take iron stay regular?

This article will answer both of these questions.

Why Iron Supplements Cause Constipation

iron supplement constipation

Some iron supplements are slow release, others are designed to be absorbed quickly.

It is only when an iron supplement isn’t completely absorbed before reaching the colon that it can cause constipation. If a person is anemic, the body will slow down the progress of stool containing the iron in an effort to absorb more of it.

When stool stays longer in the colon, more water is drawn from it. This can cause stool to become dry, hard and difficult to eliminate.

How to Avoid Constipation While on an Iron Supplement

1. Stop taking an iron supplement

The easiest way to avoid iron supplements constipation is simply not to take them. Many times, an iron supplement only needs to be taken for a limited amount of time. 

A person who is suffering from constipation should ask their physician if they still need to take an iron supplement. If a person needs to stay on an iron supplement for a significant amount of time, there are other things that can be done to counteract the constipation effect.

2. Take an iron supplement that is more quickly absorbed

Slow release iron is a bad idea for those at risk of constipation. Switch to the fast absorbing variety of supplement.

Do you want the benefits of a slow release iron supplement? Simply take a smaller dose multiple times throughout the day.

3. Reduce the dose

Since only iron that isn't absorbed before reaching the colon can cause constipation, by reducing the dose to what may be more easily absorbed can reduce iron supplements constipation problems.

Men usually do not need more than 8mg of iron per day. The need in women varies, but the dosage can start low and be built up.

4. Increase iron absorption with magnesium

Other supplements may be taken along with iron that will help with iron absorption. Magnesium is one such example, as it is know to improve digestion.

Ways a daily magnesium supplement can help prevent iron supplements constipation:

  • Magnesium helps to improve iron absorption

  • Magnesium functions as an osmotic laxative, naturally drawing water into the colon to moisten stool

  • Taking 300 mg. to 400 mg. of supplemental magnesium each day may result in stool that is soft, slippery and easy to eliminate

When taking a magnesium supplement, make sure to drink plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration. Except for those with kidney disease, a magnesium supplement is generally considered safe for daily use.

Since most Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diet, taking supplemental magnesium can even result in a variety of health benefits

5. Make recommended lifestyle changes

  • Get some exercise each day

  • Eat plenty of fiber rich vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, nuts, products containing bran and whole grain products, or even consider taking a fiber supplement

  • Respond quickly when you feel the urge to go

Conclusion, iron supplements constipation

If a person is taking an iron supplement and experiencing constipation, they are not alone.

Constipation is a common problem for those taking an iron supplement. There are simple solutions to help minimize constipation while on an iron supplement.

It may be possible to take an iron supplement and avoid constipation when you:

  • Get some exercise every day

  • Drink more water

  • Take something like a magnesium supplement to promote iron absorption

(Return from Iron Supplements Constipation to Causes of Constipation)

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