Treatment for IDA depends on the cause of the anemia. For example, if an individual is anemic because the diet is low in iron, a doctor may recommend an iron rich diet or iron pills. If the anemia is a result of blood loss, the patient may need to receive a blood transfusion followed by iron pills. However, the doctor will need to locate the source of the bleeding and treat accordingly.
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|