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Is It Safe to Take Iron Supplements While on Birth Control?

Dr. Betty Acker

Medically reviewed by Dr. Betty Acker, MD on December 14, 2020

You may have heard about people who need to take iron supplements because they are anemic.  Anemia is the medical term that describes a low red blood cell count.  It is a common issue and has many different causes.  People who have periods are often found to be anemic.

You can be diagnosed with anemia after a simple blood test.  This can be just a finger stick run on a drop of blood in your doctor’s office or testing in a lab after blood is drawn from your arm.  

If your periods are heavy enough to make you anemic, there are several things you can do about it.  Certain foods provide iron so you can get iron from food sources.  These include meats, beans, leafy greens, and grains, especially iron fortified items.  

You can use iron supplements and most “women’s formula” vitamins do contain iron.  Just check the label. We recommend you avoid supplements containing only iron unless recommended by your doctor because they can be really hard on your digestive system.

The best way to treat your heavy periods that are causing anemia is with a birth control that makes your periods lighter in flow and shorter in duration.  That way you are treating the cause, not just the result.  It is very common for a menstruating person to use pills or other methods for this specific reason, in addition to the contraceptive benefit.  

Talk to us at Nurx about the options we can offer you to treat your heavy periods.  We can discuss options with you and pick the one that best fits your needs.

 

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