To stop taking these tablets?(25 Posts)
Had a c section 8 days ago. While in hospital a midwife mentioned in passing that my iron levels were borderline low and they started to give me twice-daily iron tablets along with pain relief (I mention the manner of deliver only because neither the deficiency picked up nor the iron tablets themselves were really discussed with me in any depth). I dutifully started taking the tablets.
Now, a week later I'm still taking the tablets. However, I'm really suffering side effects including stomach cramps/bloating, difficulty going to the loo to pass stools (despite sometimes feeling I have to, urgently), black stools and general discomfort in the area. Having checked the leaflet with the tablets and had a look online these seem to be standard side effects. I'm due to see the midwife again on Monday so I will discuss with her then.
However WIBU to just stop taking the tablets meantime? I've never had problems with low iron levels before, have a good diet and am otherwise well (other than the exhaustion of having a newborn and DS3). The stomach issues are really getting me down and I'd just like to get back to feeling normal!
Any thoughts or suggestions?
I would wait till Monday if you can and possibly get your levels tested again. Spa tone taken with orange juice is a bit gentler on the stomach, it's basically liquid, but I think it's quite pricey.
Constipation and black stools is a side effect. Obviously you are having discomfort and trying to recover from a c section. I would stop and they can prescribe another medicine. It's unlikely to have any adverse effect between now and Monday
There are other formations of iron that are gentler on the stomach. Ask the pharmacist - ferrous fumerate is prescribed first as it's cheapest and is easily absorbed but I couldn't take it so had a different formation which was slightly better. You should be able to get it over the counter.
I have taken spar tone as well - its gentle on the stomach but my GP was very dismissive of it as the iron levels are so low.
Just stop taking them. Work on lots of red meat/green veg in your diet. Then get a recheck in about 3 months.
Not worth the side effects iME.
There are different formulations of iron and some people tolerate one better than another. I get on best with ferrous fumarate and barely notice it, there are others eg ferrous sulphate where the constipation and tummy pain really affect me. Speak to your midwife or pharmacist about an alternative.
I'm a midwife. If your levels were borderline I would personally stop. I assume you've been given ferrous sulphate - it is awful stuff. I took it postnatally too and I had to stop within days, I was in agony with the constipation, gas and tarry stools. It was delaying my recovery from the birth. I switched to spatone and just maintained a good diet, but you can ask to be given a gentler supplement. I'd also recommend plenty of water, prunes and chia seed or ground linseed/flaxseed on everything!
Are you BF?
Just wondering if low iron levels will affect you with that? Apart from digestive issues do you feel any different?
Thank you all very much. I think I will stop for now as it's only a day or so now until I see the midwife again. If they think I need to keep taking something, hopefully they can prescribe something else.
To the pp who asked - yes, I'm breast feeding. Other than these stomach issues I'm well...
I'd be more concerned stopping could affect your wound healing which is probably at least partly why they were prescribed.
Oh really? Hadn't made the link the wound- would iron levels affect that?
After another agonising trip to the loo during which I was crying out in pain, however, I think if they need me to have it they'll have to try something else...
I was in the same boat. Rather than stopping iron completely you could swap for Floradix. It's a more gentle way of getting iron as it's a natural iron supplement. The liquid version is more easily absorbed apparently so it's best. You can get it from Holland and Barret or Boots. Get a smaller bottle to start with and see how you go. It doesn't cause the bloating and constipation and you get your iron.
I think you've two choices:
fill your boots on fibre- chia, flax, oats, bran, prunes, apricots etc;
Or focus on an iron rich diet- orange juice with eggs, dark green veg, apricots, seeds, red meat. Limit milky stuff for a whole as it inhibits absorption.
I personally believe there's nothing in the the world worse than constipation I'd stop taking it
No expert merely an ex nurse.
Basically, because well oxygenated blood improves blood transport around the body including of course to wound sites providing the necessary elements for wound healing. Most people will know about fibrinogen and clotting for scab formation but then the tissue needs to 'rebuild'. So it's also needed for production of collagen.
Were you also told to increase your vit c intake? Vit c is necessary for iron absorption but in addition if you have a nice big drink of orange juice (with bits) when you have your iron preferably with a meal that may help the side effects. Also dried fruit is also high in iron and will help with any constipation.
I'd also strongly recommend zinc for wound healing and have personally found aloe Vera gel (don't buy expensive one just from a health food shop/online) is superb for wound healing, is soothing and doesn't sting and helps prevent scarring.
A friend recently had a bike accident and cut his chin, I recommended the gel etc and even though he had a few stitches it's now a few weeks later and you can't hardly see where it was cut.
I was in a similar situation and I stopped taking them. I was getting scared that all the straining to poo would reopen my third degree tear. Not sure if that can really happen but thats what it felt like. I upped my iron in my diet and just waited for my body to replenish my supplies.
Big glass of orange juice mixed with prune juice dealt with the constipation for me.
Agree with others there are other formulations of iron supplements which may suit you better.
Getting your iron levels back up to normal takes ages, a couple of months probably and you're unlikely to be able to do it with just diet.
I had a huge haemorrhage and narrowly avoided a blood transfusion. The hospital didn't tell me anything about the side effects of iron tablets but luckily I had been warned so I requested liquid iron and lactulose, which is a stool softener. They gave me Galfer Syrup which is horrid stuff and staibs your teeth so I switched to Floradix. Amazon is the cheapest place for it - price looks the same as elsewhere but the bottle is twice the size. Lactulose can be bought over the counter at chemists and I take 15ml morning and night, it is gentle stuff but really helps.
I had PPH with my last child and lost a lot of blood. I was given iron IV so avoided any intestinal side effects. I was anaemic a few years' ago and also had it IV and felt better within a couple of weeks. I'm not in UK though so maybe it's too expensive for the NHS
Not read all the replies but i gave them up after my c section. I tend to have lower iron levels as I am vegetarian but I took spa tone and vitamins with iron and ate as much as I could to boost my iron. Recovering from section is bad enough without iron tablet side effects!!
Thanks everyone. Was nearly in tears on the loo this morning! (sorry, TMI!!). Am stopping, eating some kale and will ask for something else on Monday!
Stop taking them. boots sells a wonderful product called Spatone, which is a liquid mineral with iron in it. They come in little sachets that you drink with orange juice. My midwife told me about it years ago. Wonderful stuff. It helps your body create iron naturally without the stomach cramps, other side effects etc. This has no side effects at all. Can't recommend it enough.
Excellent suggestions here. I second the zinc and vit c one.
Best one is Ester c from H&B and you can take loads. Speeds up metabolism.
Smoothies with prunes and oats and water/nut milk are great too - they clear you right out in the morning (soz, TMI)
5- 6 prunes
Several handfuls of spinach
3 spoonfuls of oats
Half an avo
200 ml water or something like almond milk
Banana or apple (whole)
Spoonful of Chia seeds/pumpkin seeds or any nuts as they have great content of selenium, iron and copper.
Blend all together - done and sip slowly - it should be nice and creamy. You'll feel more regular in no time
Good luck OP
Tinned grapefruit are good, and as a last resort glycerine suppositories
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