Side effects of anemia treatment

Q: I had some blood work done recently and was diagnosed with anemia. My doctor has me on iron supplements but they make me bloated and constipated. Isn’t there any other way to treat anemia besides these pills? I’ll try any reasonable alternative. Thank you.

A: Iron deficiency anemia is typically treated in the way your doctor suggested. As you’re experiencing, the most typical side effect is constipation. Some forms of iron are less likely to do this, such as iron citrate or iron aspartate. Taking 1000-3000 milligrams of vitamin C along with the iron also increases the benefit of the iron.

If you’re still having trouble after switching iron products, a number of herbal medicines can sometimes be successful in treating iron deficiency anemia, including yellow dock, dandelion root, echinacea and alfalfa. All are sold in capsule form in health-food stores. A naturopathic physician can best advise you on whether your anemia can be treated with herbs

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