Dealing with Anemia and IBS

For quite some time now, I have been dealing with iron-deficient anemia. In addition to being diagnosed with IBS, I was also diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and this type of anemia is common as a side effect.

Because my intestines are inflamed, it is hard to digest and process iron causing me to often be deficient. This deficiency, in turn, causes anemia and so I am often plagued with extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations.

Iron supplements

Of course, the first thing one does in order to combat this issue is to take iron supplements. I have been prescribed a myriad of supplements and my body just doesn’t seem to absorb the iron. In fact, I actually become quite sick when I take iron supplements. They cause me severe constipation, along with awful abdominal cramping and nausea.

Iron infusions

Since I fail oral iron treatments, the next step is to be prescribed iron infusions. In this case, iron is administered through an IV and directly into the bloodstream bypassing the digestive system. You would think this treatment would be the fix to my issue with iron-deficient anemia, but even being administered iron in this fashion can pose an issue. Strangely, sometimes my body still does not want to absorb the iron even when it is in my bloodstream.

I can’t tell you how many times I have had this treatment done to later go in for blood work and notice only the slightest improvement in iron stores. Iron just seems to be something my body is iffy towards.

Iron with food

With time, however, I have come to realize, that the best way my body can improve in this matter is through food. The tricky situation is that really the best way to get your iron intake is through a nice piece of steak and steak makes my stomach hurt. It is hard for me to digest so I stay away from red meat.

Although, according to my nutritionist, red meat is the best iron source as it contains heme iron, there are other options out there. So I figure, since I can’t have red meat, some iron is better than zero iron.

In this case, there are many foods out there that offer iron, and here are a few that I have been having to help alleviate the anemia:

Beet juice

I have read that beets are an amazing superfood and offer blood health and iron benefits. I have been having a minimum of a large glass of beet juice a day and already I see an improvement in my levels of fatigue.

Kiwi fruit

Kiwis are another great superfood, someone told me. They contain iron but are also an amazing source of Vitamin C and even help with digestive health. Vitamin C is needed in order to absorb iron, so having Kiwi daily is a great idea to help improve iron levels.


I love raw oysters. Shellfish, in general, are sources of iron, so if you are one who isn’t allergic to them, dig in!

Chicken liver

Yes, this is an organ and for those who are picky with food and texture, this may be tough to swallow. But there is a recipe out there for Chicken liver pate which is a spread made out of the chicken liver. It can be paired with your favorite crackers and you might find it to be tasty.

How about you? Do you suffer from anemia and IBS? What foods do you eat to help improve your anemia? Share below, we love to hear from you.

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