Q:

How do you prevent constipation after taking iron supplements?

A:

Quick Answer

When taking iron supplements, docusate sodium, a stool softener, helps to prevent constipation, according to MedlinePlus. Constipation, nausea and diarrhea are all common side effects of iron supplementation.

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Full Answer

MedlinePlus recommends avoiding eating bran, whole grains, raw vegetables or other high fiber foods commonly used to prevent constipation at the same time a patient takes an iron supplement. If the iron causes an upset stomach, taking the supplement with a small amount of food that does not interfere with iron uptake may help.

Iron deficiency symptoms include pale appearance, fatigue and difficulty exercising, according to WebMD. The condition is more common in women after puberty, individuals who have had weight loss surgery and people with ulcers. Working out too much also causes anemia, as intense exercise destroys red blood cells.

Individuals who feel they might be anemic should speak to their doctor. Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding use of iron supplements for more than six months. Patients at risk for anemia, including pregnant women, the elderly and breastfeeding moms should ask their doctor if iron supplementation is appropriate for their health condition. Too much iron in the system has the potential for iron poisoning. When using iron supplements, patients should discuss the supplement with their doctor before beginning any new prescriptions due to potential undesirable side effects.

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