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Old 06-04-2001, 10:57 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 16
bamboo42 HB User
Taking iron for anemia - now constipated!

Diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia after 2nd blood test in April. Iron is 14 (values supposed to be 37-170 ug/dl) and Hemoglobin is 9.5 (supposed to be 12.5-15.4 gm/dl). Both values lower than in Nov. This is due to long heavy periods for years; am in discussion with gyn about possible hysterectomy this summer. My problem is that the iron supplements I'm taking (300 mg of elemental iron daily) is making me very constipated.

I don't want to use laxatives or enemas. Anyone have PRACTICAL suggestions of stool softeners, either natural or OTC? Or any other ideas?

Old 06-04-2001, 11:30 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: stoughton WI USA
Posts: 4,086
mlgable HB User
Re: Taking iron for anemia - now constipated!

Yep be sure to increase your water intake. Eat more fiber and include a fiber product such as metamucil, citrucel or fiber tabs a couple of times a day. Be sure to take these with lots of water. Also try prunes or prune juice. You might also try bran flakes at breakfast. If these don't help them by all means try a stool softener if needed but do try the other suggestions first. If you need to use something else occaisionally you can try MOM or a glyercin suppository.

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Old 06-05-2001, 02:24 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2001
Location: murrieta,california
Posts: 8
verde HB User
Re: Taking iron for anemia - now constipated!

Upon rising drink a glass of cool water... then half a cup of fresh strawberries. Works like a charm. Good luck!

Old 06-05-2001, 05:06 PM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 9
Tiffany HB User
Re: Taking iron for anemia - now constipated!

Seems like to me there is an iron pill that is not as hard on the stomach. Try your health food store. About the hysterectomy you should really do research on natural progesterone cream. I get mine from Arbonne, it's called phytorelief. If you do a search for Arbonne you should be able to read up on it. There is also a herbal supplement you can use to go along with the cream. I got the PMS supplement but they have one for Menopause too.

Old 06-05-2001, 07:40 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Columbus, NJ, USA
Posts: 173
Mattsmummum HB User
Re: Taking iron for anemia - now constipated!

I had iron deficiency last year and my doctor put me on Slow FES Iron. You can even buy it right at Wal-Mart for a better price. This iron was suggested because it normally does not cause constipation. I had no problems and I'm the type that can constipate easily, even when drinking about 96 ozs. of water daily and metamucil.

Old 06-06-2001, 06:18 AM   #6
Join Date: May 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 1
Hummingbird HB User
Re: Taking iron for anemia - now constipated!

I am anemic like you Bamboo. My anemia was the result of surgery. My doctor prescribed iron supplements to rectify the situation. From what I have been told, constipation is a side effect. I am fortunate because I am a vegetarian and constipation is never a problem! Like the other posts suggest, drink a lot of water and eat fiber. Everyone's system reacts differently so you need to find what works for "you". Legumes and tofu may help, along with flax (avail in health food stores) after eating the fiber drink lots of water to speed the intestines along.

Old 06-06-2001, 02:43 PM   #7
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 16
bamboo42 HB User
Re: Taking iron for anemia - now constipated!

Hi. Thanks everyone for your ideas. I'm going to reply to my own thread here, with some info gleaned today when I went in for a transvaginal sonogram. (BTW, I have several fibroid tumors, a cyst on my left ovary, and another mass in the uterus that the sonographer couldn't id as either a fibroid or a polyp; we'll have to wait and see on that.) Anyway, in chatting with the sonographer I asked her if she knew what my gyn recommended for constipation from taking iron supplements. She told me that the doctor recommends a tea, sold in lots of grocery stores and Wal*Mart, etc. called Smooth Move. The largest ingredient appears to be Senna Leaf, 1080 mg as per serving. I'm going to try it tonight; I'll report back in a few days to let you all know if it's working.

I have had GERD since 1982 and am allergic to soy and some other foods. Water has at times aggravated the GERD (or what's in it!), and so, too, has fruit or juice.

The menstrual problems go back several years (I just turned 45, have a family history w/ sisters & mother of menstrual problems) and with the blood test results went in and just asked my gynecologist if we couldn't just end the problem for once and all. I'm happy to say that she listened to me and didn't just have a knee-jerk reaction and say absolutely NOT! To have trouble standing for 20 minutes to do the dishes, let alone walk around one little grocery store... well, that's just too weak & tired for me. To my way of thinking, having surgery now (when my iron/hemoglobin levels are back up) while I still have some resources of energy would be far better than waiting a few more years, when I feel worse, and have recovery take that much longer.

Your opinions or stories of experience gratefully appreciated and accepted. Thanks!

Old 06-06-2001, 02:54 PM   #8
Join Date: May 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 1
Hummingbird HB User
Re: Taking iron for anemia - now constipated!

Hello Bamboo! I can completely relate to your problems. My surgery was a myomectomy for the removal of six fibroid tumors. We are close in age... I decided to avoid a hysterectomy for various reasons. I thought if there is a viable alternative, then that is the route for me. Good luck with the tea.

Old 06-06-2001, 07:46 PM   #9
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 16
bamboo42 HB User
Re: Taking iron for anemia - now constipated!

Hello, Hummingbird! This appears to be one of those subjects where people have definite opinions! LOL! I've suffered problems for YEARS. I don't want a doctor telling me I MUST HAVE an operation or CANNOT have one. When my mother was 49 (just 4 years off for me!) she had to have an emergency hysterectomy. My one sister hemorrhaged vaginally at work (she works in a factory with mostly guys) and almost died. I just feel that I should be allowed to make my decision and go through with it while I'm still relatively healthy. I've thought about just having a "surgical procedure" to take care of the fibroids, but think that's just postponing the inevitable (for me!) by a couple of years.

(Having killer cramps so excuse me if I seem short!) I was hoping all "things" would be identified with the sonogram, but there was a uterine mass that didn't seem to be either a fibroid or a polyp. As far as tests go I was going to ask the gyn not to do anything unnecessary but it looks like I'm going to have to let her do a biopsy of the mass. If the outcome of the test isn't going to change whether I get a hysterectomy or not, why do it?

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