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Old 07-23-2003, 09:41 PM   #1
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Location: Joliet, IL USA
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nicolle HB User
Question Iron Supplements and Weight Gain

I was recently diagnosed as anemic and we're still trying to get to the source (iron deficiency but this is the first year I've ever been anemic..hgb from 12 to 8 in less than a year).

ANYHOO, I'm on iron supplements 3X a day. I did NOT lose weight during my anemia. I was normal but had a hard time losing weight even with diet and exercise.

Since taking the iron pills I feel bloated and even with diet and exercise I am actually gaining weight steadily (like 10 pounds in a few weeks). I was normal to begin with so this extra pounds packed on is bringing me above where I want to be.

Anyone else notice weight gain after taking iron supplements? Does it go away when your anemia is under control and you're off the supplements? There are no disclaimers on the supplements that I can see.

Old 07-24-2003, 05:02 PM   #2
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PaNik5717 HB User

Nicolle, this is a good question. I am still at a healthy weight, but I have gained about ten pounds in the last year and my numbers were just like yours. I was at 12.9 last May and 8.8 in February. Now, I am back at 13.7, but my energy level is still low and this is still a little low for our altitude. I am still really short of breath when I exercise.

My iron pills never make me bloated, so I have associated the weight gain with sleeping more and being less active. My body soaked up the iron even though we still don't know what caused mine either. I have some good prenatal pills that are sustained release and have vitamin C in them. Both of those things are supposed to help with the stomach problems, but the body may not absorb as much because of the sustained release. It is worth a try if you have less of the constipation, bloating, and cramping. They are called Bronson Iron with C.

Let's hope we get strong enough to work the wight off soon!
Total abdominal hysterectomy at age 26 due to abnormal bleeding. Kept ovaries.

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Old 07-24-2003, 10:23 PM   #3
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amwood HB User

Hey everyone - wow, I had no idea so many people had the same type of "mysterious anemia" as I do! As far as the weight gain goes, I didn't gain weight on the iron, I actually lost weight...but I think it depends on how your body reacts to the daily supplements. For me they were constipating and upset my stomach, so I ate less. That combined with being tired most of the time I really didn't feel like eating much. Then again, I wasn't exercising as often as I normally do (I was the one who got in trouble with my doctor for skiing!), so who knows how that all balanced out. For right now I've got to drink Ensure or Boost everyday to try and keep my weight up - pathetic considering I'm only 27!!
I'm sorry if you mentioned this in another post, but have you had any GI testing done for the anemia? Best of luck to everyone...and let us know how you're doing!

Old 07-25-2003, 05:40 AM   #4
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nicolle HB User

I am just as active as ever, and eat very healthy. The weight gain can only be attributed to the supplements.

There is a Yahoo board where other people have posted the "bloating" or weight gain.

My energy level is now back to normal, but I don't know my blood count yet. I have to see my gyne still and a GI specialist and maybe one of them will take another test. Last time I went to a Dr. it was two weeks after starting iron and my level was 8.9 (rather than 8.3) and my ferritin went from 2 to 3.

I can now run for an hour and go through long intense exercise and I have most of my energy back but even with the lower iron, when I took iron supplements on my own it was getting better.

So really, the weight gain is baffling.

Chromagen Forte has vitamin c and Folate and is in a liquid iron gelcap. Also, it doesn't cramp my stomach like Fe Tinic did (which I was on before Chromagen).

Be careful with multivitamins because supplements like calcium actually inhibit iron absorption. If your stomach can handle it (as long as you don't have an ulcer etc), you should take iron on an empty stomach with vitamin c but it must be in your stomach at the same time, so take it with orange juice or make sure your iron supplement either has vitamin c or that you're taking vitamin c at the very same time but beware of other vitamins which will interfere with your iron absorption.

Anyway, I hope I get to the bottom of this but perhaps it is just the menstrual bleeding, like my Dr. thinks. I will happy when my body is back to normal again so it can start acting normally to stimuli.

I forgot to mention I am also on prevacid. The first Dr. thought maybe the bleeding was due to aspirin, ibuprofen and alcohol (I drink on weekends but not that much) and didn't even ask about my periods, even tho I told her that's why I was on ibu the last year and had an ovarian cyst. So she put me on prevacid.

I asked the Dr. I see now if I DID have a hole due to the aspirin, ibu, booze etc., and didn't do those things for a while, would the hole heal and she said it would. So we'll just see if they ever get to the bottom of it.

Old 07-25-2003, 06:05 AM   #5
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PaNik5717 HB User

We expect so much from science and our bodies and it really seems more like a guessing game everyday.

My doc wants me to take a multivitamin (same doc that gave an anemic person sleeping pills, tho) so I take iron in the morning and at night along with a bcp each time and the multivitamin at lunch. I wish my body and my diet could do all of this on it's own because I hate taking so many pills.

My PCP told me ibuprofen or alleve would be OK and that will be everyday since I am bleeding all the time. The aspirin is the bad one and alcohol is the one that I miss. I would love a glass of wine or a beer at the end of some of these longs days, but I know it can't be good for my blood.

Isn't it weird how each body responds so differently to the supplements? I am so happy mine hasn't had any trouble with the iron they first gave me. I guess we each get our own deck to play with.

It's nice to hear you are able to be so active so soon!
Total abdominal hysterectomy at age 26 due to abnormal bleeding. Kept ovaries.

Old 07-25-2003, 11:38 AM   #6
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nicolle HB User

Actually ibuprofen is one of the leading causes of anemia.

Tylenol I was told is the only thing you should be using if you are worried about having a lesion in your stomach.

I did research this even before seeing a Dr. and ibuprofen regularly causes much of the same problems as does aspirin. Ibuprofen is an NSAID just like aspirin is and causes internal bleeding as well.

"If you have stomach ulcers, you will want to avoid alcoholic beverages, aspirin, and medications such as ibuprofen (Advil), which can make ulcers worse and lead to bleeding." taken from: [url=""][/url]

Please also see the following links: [url=""][/url]

"What causes GI bleeding?

The most common source of bleeding from the upper digestive tract is ulcers in the stomach or duodenum. Ulcers in these locations look like the ulcers that can occur in your mouth, which are called canker sores. The two most common causes of ulcers are medications and a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. The most common medications that cause ulcers are anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications such as aspirin or nonsteroidals anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen. About 20 percent of aspirin users develop erosions or ulcers and 2 to 5 percent may develop bleeding. Newer nonsteroidal medications, such as celecoxib and rofecoxib, are less likely to cause GI bleeding." (taken from [url=""][/url]

There are many many more. Just look for "ibuprofen and GI bleeding" or "ibuprofen and anemia" for some good links.

Old 07-26-2003, 07:10 AM   #7
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 954
PaNik5717 HB User

Wow, thanks for the links, Nicolle. As I was leaving my PCP's office, she asked me if I had been taking any anti-imflamatory pills. I told her I like Advil, but I have been afraid to take anything because of the risk of bleeding. She encouraged me to take advil or alleve.

My life is bound to get better when I get a new doctor. My small town docs are really nice to me, but they don't seem to offer the best advice.
Total abdominal hysterectomy at age 26 due to abnormal bleeding. Kept ovaries.

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