Taking iron supplements is certainly beneficial for your health, especially if you have an iron deficiency. But some people can be prone to experiencing side effects.
If you’re taking iron supplements, it’s important to be aware of any potential issues you may encounter so you’re prepared in advance.
Here are 7 iron supplement side effects you should look out for.
A common side effect of taking an iron supplement can be skin irritation, such as redness, a rash, swelling, or hives.
If you inject iron, redness can develop at the site of injection. This can also lead to a painful feeling in that specific area.
Your skin can also break out in hives or a rash, and can often swell. Swelling is more common at the mouth or around the neck and the throat. Your cheeks can also become flushed.
Some experience a feeling of dizziness or even double vision when they take iron supplements. This can also lead to fainting episodes.
While this side effect can be normal when taking iron, it’s something to be wary of and prepared for, given the disruption dizziness can cause. For example, driving is dangerous when feeling this way.
A lesser side effect related to feeling faint is a general weakness or a feeling of fatigue and lethargy. Be sure to rest if this is the case. Also, look into supplements that can help with these feelings (after seeking advice from your doctor of course).
Blood in Vomit or Diarrhea
A feeling of nausea can be common and, for some, this will lead to vomiting.
Similarly, some experience diarrhea after suffering painful stomach cramps or searing abdominal pain.
Something to look out for here is blood in the vomit or diarrhea. While this can be a common side effect, it’s important to keep track of this. Excess blood, black blood, or experiencing this for a long time, means you should be seen by a doctor.
Further excretion side effects could be darker urine, flatulence, or constipation. Keep well-hydrated is an effective way to avoid this.
Blue Lips, Nails, Fingers, Palms or Hands
If your lips, fingernails, the palms of your hands, or fingers develop a blue tint, this could mean you have overdosed on iron.
Watch out for a discoloring on these parts of your body and seek advice should it occur.
Pain can crop up in varying parts of the body when taking iron supplements. Typically, this can develop in your back, groin, sides, chest, or in various muscles.
Cramping can also take place in the stomach or abdomen, while numbness or tingling can take place in the feet or the hands.
Often, when swallowing, pain can be present in the throat.
Following on from chest pains, iron supplements can cause a rapid increase in heart rate and affect someone’s breathing rhythm. This can cause shortness of breath and a tightening in the throat or chest.
Your breathing can become decreased too, and heartbeats can become weaker. In more serious cases, this can also lead to convulsions.
Paleness and Clamminess
Some takers of iron supplements suffer from the development of clammy or pale skin. This may also develop into feverish symptoms.
Why Take Iron Supplements?
Typically, you should only take iron supplements if you have been advised by a healthcare professional. You’ll be prescribed supplements if your iron stores are low, or if your doctor is concerned you could develop anemia.
Iron is a crucial ingredient for your health as it helps in the production of hemoglobin, which features in red blood cells. This is what aids in the transfer of blood to the heart and the lungs.
Without an effective iron supply in your body, oxygen cannot be adequately moved to these organs.
It’s also important to consider the following if you are taking iron. Again, all of these should be checked with your doctor.
If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, as long as your intake is not excessive and is controlled, taking iron is safe. However, taking too much iron, and taking it orally, can cause potentially damaging side effects. If pregnant, it could lead to an early birth.
Children should not take high doses of iron. Iron poisoning is a common factor in child deaths due to side effects including intestinal distress, low blood pressure, and organ failure.
As well as this, premature infants with low blood levels of vitamin E can be badly affected by excess iron intake.
Diabetics, specifically females who have type 2 diabetes, can develop heart disease from taking too much additional iron.
Those who suffer from an irritable bowel can become worse off if they add more iron to their diet. Similarly, those with stomach or intestinal ulcers can become unwell with added iron.
If you suffer from a hemoglobin disease, taking added iron may lead to iron overload. This can be extremely dangerous.
Those prone to nosebleeds, and those who have trouble forming blood clots, should not take iron unless instructed by a doctor.
Watch Out for These Iron Supplement Side Effects
The most important thing to remember if experiencing iron supplement side effects is to monitor them and to seek medical attention where necessary.
It is especially important if these side effects become more severe or are heightened to extreme levels. Even if they occur at a seemingly placid rate, it’s always better to be checked by a doctor than to risk further problems.
Now you’re up to speed on iron supplements. If you found this article helpful, check out more on our blog.