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People take iron supplements when their bodies do not have enough iron. Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin.
Hemoglobin is part of red blood cells. It carries oxygen through the body. Without enough oxygen, you may feel weak, dizzy, and short of breath. You may tire easily. You also may feel grumpy, have headaches, and have trouble concentrating.
Most people begin to feel normal after a few weeks of taking iron pills. But you need to take the pills for several months to build up the iron supply in your body. This can take up to 6 months.
You can buy iron supplements without a prescription. Your doctor will give you directions on how much to take and for how long. Your doctor will also tell you whether you need any testing for iron levels.
Common side effects may include:
You may have other side effects or reactions not listed here. Check the information that comes with your medicine.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: September 8, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
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