Iron Supplements Causing Blood in Stools

Iron is an essential mineral that is important in the production of red blood cells. Lack of iron in the diet leads to iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency may also be caused by excess blood loss due to menstruation, burns, stomach ulcers, hemodialysis, intestinal diseases and stomach removal, according to the Mayo Clinic 1. Patients with symptoms iron deficiency are treated with iron supplements 12. Patients taking iron supplements may notice blood in their stool 12.

Iron Supplements and Bloody Stool

Patients taking iron supplements may notice blood in the stool 12. Iron supplements irritate the stomach lining, leading to stomach ulceration 12. Bloody stool is a serious complication of iron supplements, and patients should seek immediate medical attention when they notice dark red or bright red blood in the stool 12. Taking iron supplements together with food may decrease stomach irritation 12. The doctor may also prescribe coated iron supplements to decrease stomach irritation 12.

Iron Supplements and Black Stool

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Oral iron supplements may also make stool to appear dark green or black 12. This is due to unabsorbed iron compound and is harmless, according to the Mayo Clinic 1. However, patients who experience sharp stomach pains and black stools that have red streaks should seek immediate medical help because they are symptoms of stomach bleeding caused by iron supplements 12.

Other Side Effects of Iron Supplements

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Iron supplements are available into two forms -- ferrous and ferric -- according to the Office of Dietary Supplements 12. Iron supplements may be administered as injections or orally 12. Iron supplements should be taken with vitamin C rich foods 12. Vitamin C increases iron absorption. Taking iron with food also reduces stomach irritation. Patients should avoid taking excess iron supplements to prevent iron overload 12.