Iron supplements are not recommended while on birth control. However, there’s no need to avoid multivitamins containing iron or reduce the amount of iron-rich foods in your diet if you’re using hormonal contraceptives. If you’re concerned about iron levels, you may want to consider using birth control pills that contain a low dose of iron.
Iron Levels on Birth Control
Birth control methods, including oral contraceptives, often cause a lower amount of menstrual blood to be lost. This is linked to fewer dips in iron levels while on birth control. In fact, birth control medications may increase iron levels. As a result, those on birth control do not need iron supplements with high doses of this nutrient.
If you’re still worried about your iron levels, you can see your medical provider for testing. If your number of blood cells is particularly low, you may have anemia, in which case you may be prescribed an iron supplement.
Other Sources of Iron
To safely get more iron while on birth control, you can take a multivitamin including iron or add more iron-rich foods to your diet. Both of these strategies are safe for those on birth control.
Iron-rich food sources include:
- Proteins like red meats, poultry, seafood, and dried beans.
- Fruits and vegetables including leafy greens, peas, and legumes.
- Grains like whole wheat bread, enriched bread, and fortified cereals.
Solutions for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
If you experience heavy menstrual bleeding while on birth control, you can try one of the following potential solutions:
- Try a different brand of your birth control method.
- Switch to a different method of birth control.
- Use an extended-cycle or continuous regimen of birth control pills to stop menstrual bleeding.
- Ask your medical provider about birth control pills containing a lose dose of iron, such as Lo Loestrin Fe, Microgestin FE, Junel Fe, or Estrostep Fe.