Treatment for IDA depends on the cause of the anemia. For example, if an individual is anemic because their diet is low in iron, a doctor may recommend an iron rich diet and oral iron (pills or liquid) or IV Iron. If the anemia is a result of blood loss, the patient will be treated with iron but may also need to be seen by another specialist to find the source of the bleeding or to control a woman’s menstrual periods. Some patients with severe anemia may require a blood transfusion.
If the doctor recommends iron supplements, remember:
- Iron supplements can cause an upset stomach and may change the color of stool (black and tarry).
- To increase absorption, they should be taken on an empty stomach or with orange juice. However, iron supplements can irritate the stomach and may need to be taken with food.
- Iron supplements can cause constipation; consequently a stool softener or laxative may also be prescribed.
If the doctor suggests an iron rich diet, it may look something like this:
Foods Rich in Iron
|Meat Sources||Serving Size||Iron (mg)|
|Tofu, firm and raw||½ cup||13|
|Pinto Beans||1 cup||4.5|
|Kidney Beans||1 cup||3.2|
|Garbanzo / Chickpea||1 cup||3.2|
|Egg ||1 whole||0.6|
|Fruits and Vegetables||Serving Size||Iron (mg)|
|Peaches, dried||10 halves||5.3|
|Tomato Juice||6 ounces||1.1|
|Green Beans||½ cup||0.6|
|Grain Products||Serving Size||Iron (mg)|
|Total Cereal, General Mills||¾ cup||18|
|Cream of Wheat||¾ cup||9.1|
|Cheerios Cereal, General Mills||1 cup||8.1|
|Bread, Whole Wheat||1 piece||1.3|
Recommended Daily Iron Intake
* American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatric Nutrition Handbook, Fifth Edition, 2004.
|0-12 months||2 - 4 mg per kg per day|
|1-2 years old||7 mg per day|
|3-8 years old||10 mg per day|
|9-13 years old||8 mg per day|
|14- to 18-year-old males||11 mg per day|
|14- to 18-year-old females||15 mg per day|