how do you stop diarrhea when taking iron tablets

Mariah Brown

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Mariah Brown

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Greetings! Are you searching for information on how to stop diarrhea when taking iron tablets? You’ve come to the right place. Dealing with diarrhea can be an uncomfortable and inconvenient side effect of taking iron supplements. But fear not, as in this comprehensive guide, we will delve into various strategies and tips to help you manage this issue effectively. So, let’s explore the world of iron tablets and discover how to prevent and alleviate diarrhea when taking them, shall we?

how do you stop diarrhea when taking iron tablets

As an individual who has had firsthand experience with managing diarrhea while taking iron tablets, I understand the importance of finding practical solutions. That’s why I’ve compiled this guide with an ELI5 (Explain Like I’m 5) writing style. We’ll cover why diarrhea occurs when you take iron tablets, steps you can take to minimize its occurrence, and some frequently asked questions that might clear up any confusion you have. So, let’s dive in!

Why Does Diarrhea Happen When Taking Iron Tablets?

Iron tablets are a common supplement used to address iron deficiency. While they offer numerous health benefits, they can sometimes cause diarrhea as a side effect. The precise mechanism behind this occurrence is not yet fully understood, but a few factors contribute to it:

1. Changes in gut microbiota: Iron tablets can alter the composition and balance of the gut microbiota, leading to digestive disturbances such as diarrhea.

2. Irritation of the intestinal lining: Iron supplements may irritate the intestinal lining, triggering diarrhea as a defensive mechanism.

3. Incomplete absorption: Your body may struggle to absorb certain forms of iron, causing it to pass through your digestive tract too quickly and resulting in loose stools.

Preventing Diarrhea When Taking Iron Tablets

Eating with Iron Tablets

One crucial aspect for preventing diarrhea when taking iron tablets is to consume them along with food. This helps in multiple ways:

1. Gentler absorption: Food acts as a buffer, preventing direct contact between the iron supplement and your intestinal lining, reducing irritation and the likelihood of diarrhea.

2. Improved absorption: Certain components in food, such as vitamin C, enhance iron absorption. By taking iron tablets with a meal, you increase the chances of efficient iron assimilation while minimizing gastrointestinal distress.

Choosing the Right Form of Iron Supplement

The type of iron supplement you choose can significantly impact your digestive system. Here are some options to consider:

1. Iron bisglycinate: This form of iron is often well-tolerated and less likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects. It’s known for being gentle on the stomach and may reduce the risk of diarrhea.

2. Slow-release iron: Slow-release or extended-release iron tablets gradually release iron over time, minimizing the chances of diarrhea compared to immediate-release alternatives.

Gradual Dose Increase and Splitting the Dose

When starting an iron supplementation regimen, it is essential to give your body time to adjust. Begin with a lower dosage and gradually increase it over a week or two. This allows your digestive system to adapt and reduces the likelihood of diarrhea. Additionally, splitting your daily iron dose into two smaller doses, taken at separate times, can also aid digestion and prevent diarrhea.

Table Breakdown: Iron Supplement Recommendations

Iron Supplement Dosage Best Absorbed With
Iron bisglycinate 25-50 mg Vitamin C-rich foods
Slow-release iron 45-60 mg Meal containing fats and fibers
Immediate-release iron 30-60 mg Food

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Does taking iron tablets always cause diarrhea?

A: No, not everyone experiences diarrhea when taking iron tablets. It varies from person to person based on factors such as the type of iron supplement, dosage, and individual sensitivity.

Q: Can I take over-the-counter medications to manage iron-related diarrhea?

A: It is generally not recommended to take anti-diarrheal medications without consulting your healthcare provider. These medications may interfere with the absorption of iron, negating its intended benefits.

Q: Are there any dietary changes I should consider?

A: Consuming ample fiber-rich foods and staying hydrated can support healthy digestion and prevent both constipation and diarrhea. However, avoid consuming high-fiber meals at the same time as taking iron tablets, as it may interfere with iron absorption.

Q: How long does iron-related diarrhea typically last?

A: Diarrhea caused by iron tablets usually subsides within a week or two as your body adjusts to the supplement. However, if the diarrhea persists or becomes severe, it’s advisable to consult your healthcare professional.

Q: Can I switch to liquid iron supplements if I experience diarrhea?

A: Liquid iron supplements may be an alternative for some individuals who experience digestive issues with solid tablets. However, they still have the potential to cause diarrhea, so it’s best to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes.


Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of this comprehensive guide on how to stop diarrhea when taking iron tablets. We’ve explored various strategies such as consuming iron tablets with food, choosing the right supplement form, and gradually increasing the dosage. Remember, it’s essential to work closely with your healthcare provider to find the most suitable approach for you. Now, armed with this knowledge, you can take control of your iron supplementation journey. For more informative articles, make sure to check out our other health-related guides!


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