|What Advice Do You Have?
Feb 12, 1999
Dear Mr. Molaghan:
I suffer from anemia (just the plain old iron deficiency common in women), but have been reluctant to take supplemental iron due to chronic constipation, and difficult bowel movements. I hear that taking iron can cause increased constipation. Is this true, and what alternatives can you suggest?
I feel so weak and tired all the time. I try to eat more in order to gain energy, but all I get is fatter. I eat so much I am uncomfortable, breathing is hard, but I'm still exhausted and weak. Will supplemental iron help?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Response from Mr. Molaghan
Hello It is true that iron supplements can cause constipation, but if you are indeed iron deficient, it is important to replace it through supplementation as well nutritional enhancement. Iron rich foods include red meats, dark green leafy vegetables (especially spinach) legumes, and some dried fruit. A visit with a nutritionist would probably be beneficial for you. In order to minimize the constipation you might consider one of the commercial products such as Metamucil or Citrucel. These are also available in generic forms at most pharmacies for about half the price. These products decrease constipation by adding bulk and softness to the stool. It is very important to also drink several glasses of water each day. Good luck.
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