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How to Stop Constipation from Taking Iron Supplements

author image Jennifer S. Wright
Since 2008, Jennifer S. Wright has written articles on a variety of topics including parenting concerns, medical conditions and nursing issues. Her articles have appeared in "LPN" magazine as well as on various online publications. An LVN since graduating from Weatherford College in 2005, Wright has taken care of elderly, pediatric and obstetric patients in hospital and home health care settings.
How to Stop Constipation from Taking Iron Supplements
Eating foods high in fiber, like fruit, can help prevent constipation.

Unfortunately, constipation is a common side effect of iron supplements. Not everyone has a bowel movement daily, but you are likely to have constipation if you pass fewer than three stools a week, if you pass hard stools, strain more than usual while having a bowel movement or if you feel like you weren’t able to completely empty your bowel after a bowel movement. Make a few changes to help prevent and treat your constipation.

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Step 1

Drink fluids often.
Drink fluids often.

Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. The National Institutes of Health recommends a daily water intake of six to eight 8-ounce glasses. Fluids that contain caffeine can cause dehydration, which can worsen your constipation.

Step 2

Fruits and vegetables contain healthy fiber.
Fruits and vegetables contain healthy fiber.

Eat a balanced diet that includes foods high in fiber. Children, teenagers and adults should consume 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily. Increase your fiber intake gradually because eating a large amount of fiber at once can cause gas, bloating and stomach cramping. Foods high in fiber include fruits, raw vegetables, greens, whole grains and dried beans. Foods that can worsen constipation include ice cream, cheese and processed foods.

Step 3

Exercise most days of the week.
Exercise most days of the week.

Exercise at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Regular exercise can improve your digestive function.

Step 4

Use the restroom frequently.
Use the restroom frequently.

Use the restroom as soon as you feel the urge. If you hold your bowel movement, your body can absorb some of the water in your stool, making the stool harder.

Step 5

Speak with your doctor.
Speak with your doctor.

Take a daily over-the-counter fiber supplement, which can make your stool soft and easier to pass. A fiber supplement can worsen constipation if you don’t drink an adequate amount of water daily. Speak with your physician before taking a fiber supplement if you have intestinal problems. These supplements can interfere with the absorption of medications like aspirin, warfarin and carbamazepine. If you have diabetes, watch your blood sugar levels carefully while taking a fiber supplement because these supplements can reduce your blood sugar levels.

Step 6

Rely more on diet than on store booght laxatives.
Rely more on diet than on store booght laxatives.

Use a saline laxative, like milk of magnesia, for occasional relief of constipation. Habitual use of certain types of laxatives can interfere with normal intestinal function and make your body dependent on them for a bowel movement.

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