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    Oral iron supplements are a common first-line strategy for addressing iron-deficiency anemia, a condition in which your body doesn’t have or doesn’t produce enough heathy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. Without enough iron, your red blood cells can’t produce enough hemoglobin, the substance that enables those cells to carry the oxygen to all your tissues. The goal of taking an oral supplement is to boost your body’s ability to produce that hemoglobin--and eventually your body’s iron stores.  

    But oral iron supplements aren’t a silver bullet. At some point, you may find they’re not meeting your needs--and you may need to explore other options.

    5 Things You Didn't Know About Anemia

    The Benefits of Oral Iron Supplements … and the Drawbacks

    When you have iron deficiency anemia, your doctor is likely to recommend a couple of strategies to address the problem:

    • Eat a diet rich in iron, which may include foods like legumes, leafy greens like collard greens and broccoli, certain types of fish, and meat (including organ meats like liver).

    • Take an oral iron supplement. Most people need 150-220 mg per day of elemental iron, according to the American Society of Hematology, but the recommended dose will vary for different people.

    But this isn’t a perfect strategy. Your body only absorbs a small percentage of the iron in the food that you eat. (You’d have to eat a lot of kale and broccoli to get anywhere close to enough iron to make up for the difference.) And oral iron supplements aren’t a magic solution, either. 

    Here are some of the reasons your doctor might want to look beyond oral iron supplements for your anemia treatment:

    • The supplement causes side effects. You might experience common side effects such as nausea , vomiting , abdominal discomfort , constipation and diarrhea , among others. At some point, this may become intolerable for you. In fact, many people stop taking their iron pills when the side effects become too much to bear.

    • Your body doesn’t absorb the iron from the supplements very well. To ward off some of those unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects, some doctors recommend enteric-coated iron pills. The trouble is, the coating can also decrease the effectiveness of the iron pills. You wind up not getting enough iron from the supplement to meet your needs.

    • You’re having trouble managing your med schedule. For example, some people need to take antacids, but then they have to stagger their schedule so they take the iron tablets a few hours before or after taking the antacids. Antacids can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iron from the supplements, and some antacids contain calcium which also interefes. Depending on how much of the antacid they need to take, this could become hard to manage. Iron can also interact with other medication; for example, it’s been shown to reduce the efficacy of some medications to treat thyroid disorders .

    • You’re still suffering from iron deficiency. If you’re still suffering from anemia, despite faithfully taking your oral supplement, it may be time to try something else.

    Next Step: Intravenous Iron

    You and your doctor agree: oral iron supplements aren’t working for you. What’s next? In many circumstances, the next step is to try intravenous (IV) iron. With this treatment method, iron is delivered into a vein through a small tube known as a catheter. It may take several hours to complete the entire process, known as an infusion, in a hospital or clinic setting.  

    IV iron treatment is often recommended for people who need to build up their body’s iron stores quickly. (The IV iron is delivered directly into the bloodstream much more rapidly than the iron in an oral supplement.) For example, doctors often suggest IV iron for people with iron-deficiency anemia as a result of bleeding in their gastrointestinal tract or have certain gastrointestinal disorders that prevent iron absorption.

    But it may also be an option for you if you’ve tried the oral supplement route without success. The treatment regimen can vary, but you may need to receive several injections of iron to build up your body’s stores.

    Another Option: Blood Transfusions

    It takes time for the body to respond to iron supplementation and to start making healthy red blood cells. So, people who truly can’t wait, perhaps because of severe, life-threatening anemia, may be candidates for a blood transfusion because it shortens that time frame. The transfusion won’t cure the iron-deficiency anemia , but it will make sure the body receives that much-needed temporary influx of healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.

    Ultimately, you and your doctor may have to monitor your iron levels to see what works for you. It could be that you could try going back to taking an oral iron supplement after receiving IV iron or a transfusion of red blood cells.

    What happens if iron supplements don't work?
    If iron supplements don't increase your blood-iron levels, it's likely the anemia is due to a source of bleeding or an iron-absorption problem that your doctor will need to investigate and treat. more
    Do iron gummies work?
    Gummy vitamins are designed to be a more palatable (read: sweeter) alternative to regular vitamins in the hopes that people will be more inclined to take them. But when it comes to health benefits, they're nowhere near a 1:1 swap. “Gummy vitamins actually have fewer vitamins and minerals than regular vitamins,” Dr. more
    How long do iron supplements take to work?
    – It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks of taking regular iron supplements before your symptoms start to improve. – You may need to keep taking iron for several months to build up your iron reserves and keep your anemia from returning. Take your pills for as long as your doctor recommends, even if your symptoms have improved. more
    How fast does iron work?
    – It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks of taking regular iron supplements before your symptoms start to improve. – You may need to keep taking iron for several months to build up your iron reserves and keep your anemia from returning. more
    Does iron and B12 work together?
    Vitamin B-12 and iron together have a role in your body for maintaining red blood cells and their oxygen-carrying capacity. Iron or vitamin B-12 deficiency may cause anemia -- a reduced number or abnormal form and function of red blood cells. more
    Do iron tablets work?
    Iron supplements can help reverse low iron levels or treat iron deficiency anemia. They can produce results quicker than diet interventions and are often considered the treatment method of choice. more
    How quickly does iron pills work?
    How long does ferrous sulfate take to work? Most people begin to feel better after around 1 week, but it may take up to 4 weeks for the medicine to have full effect. If you are taking ferrous sulfate to prevent anaemia you probably will not feel any different but that does not mean it is not working. more
    How long does it take for iron supplements to work?
    – It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks of taking regular iron supplements before your symptoms start to improve. – You may need to keep taking iron for several months to build up your iron reserves and keep your anemia from returning. Take your pills for as long as your doctor recommends, even if your symptoms have improved. more
    Can iron tablets work straight away?
    How long does ferrous sulfate take to work? Most people begin to feel better after around 1 week, but it may take up to 4 weeks for the medicine to have full effect. If you are taking ferrous sulfate to prevent anaemia you probably will not feel any different but that does not mean it is not working. more
    Does Iron Will work on plague?
    Iron Will works only on injures, so won't work against Plague's illness, although it still reduces the noises you make as you make vomit sounds, but not the injure grunts. more
    How quickly do iron tablets work?
    How long does ferrous sulfate take to work? Most people begin to feel better after around 1 week, but it may take up to 4 weeks for the medicine to have full effect. If you are taking ferrous sulfate to prevent anaemia you probably will not feel any different but that does not mean it is not working. more

    Source: www.healthgrades.com

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