Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How much iron does a grown woman need?"
I am 28 and worry I might be anemic because I know my mother was. I started taking iron supplements. How much iron should I take?
Iron supplements can be a good way of replacing iron lost from the body and for treating anemia that is due to iron deficiency. However, irons supplementation is not appropriate for everyone. For starters, it would only be appropriate for you if you really are iron deficient. Thus, your first step should be to find out if you are anemic. If you are anemic, then the second step is to determine if your anemia is caused by iron deficiency. Iron supplementation has side effects including nausea and constipation. Inappropriate iron supplementation can also overload the body with iron causing other problems. I suggest you start by scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician (family doctor or internal medicine doctor). He or she can order a routine complete blood count to see if you are anemic. If you are anemic, then a variety of other tests including blood iron levels, levels of thyroid hormone, vitamin B12 and folic acid will also need to be done. If one of these tests comes back with an abnormality, then you and your doctor will need to figure out why you developed this problem. For example, a common cause of anemia in women your age is excessive blood loss during your period. If this is an issue, then you may need treatment. Good luck.
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