Ask The Doctor > Questions & Answers > Very low levels of iron and supplements cause constipation

Very low levels of iron and supplements cause constipation

Patient: I like to sell plasma twice a week to help others and earn extra money. I have to go through tests before each donation to see if I can donate which include answering questions, taking temperature, blood pressure, pulse, checking arms for bruises, taking weight, and checking protein and iron levels. I always pass with flying colors except for my iron levels are extremely low, and I have to take iron supplements along with vitamin c to get them at an acceptable level. If I stop taking the supplements my levels go down fast. I do know it is more common for females to have low levels due to menstruating. My question is how can I get my levels up faster and maintain them? I don’t mind taking the supplement except it makes me constipated. Is there any other type of vitamin I can take to help or any prescription iron that is better than the otc stuff? Is there any health issues or things I could do that could possibly make my levels so low? What foods would be good to have regularily in my diet, and us there any foods I should avoid? Any advice would be appreciated as I’m very keen on maintaining good iron levels without constipation as I have to use enemas or other laxatives on a weekly basis because of the vitamin

 

 

Symptoms: Low iron levels and constipated

 

 

Doctor: Hello,It is appreciated you have taken the initiative of donation of your blood components , but twice weekly is way too short a time span between which your body would be able to replenish the blood loss and iron levels. This is to me, if the intent is to help then its understandable but to just make money, i think you would be stressing your body a lot.If you have been diagnosed with decreased iron levels and your TIBC values are high then you would be required to be placed on iron supplementation and it takes 1-2 weeks every time for the body to increase the Hemoglobin concentration by 1 gm%. If you are not tolerating oral iron then it can be given parenteral administration as well, but not advisable as you wish to increase iron to decrease by donation twice weekly. So , you may stick to balanced diet with green leafy vegetables, jaggery in diet, cooking food in iron utensils if possible, avoid excessive frying of the veggies to retain the iron content and also veggies would provide roughage which shall help adding bulk to the stools and prevent constipation as well. Also you must increase your daily water in take to 5-6 liters per day to maintain adequate blood volume and smooth metabolism.I hope i have answered your query in detail,wishing you good health,regards

 


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Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Toronto. He currently operates Infinity Health Centre, a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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