Does Taking Iron Make Your Period Heavier?

“Does taking iron make your period heavier?”

Are you also haunted by the rumor that iron supplements can transform your period into a relentless torrent?

Let’s face it: We’re in an era where you’re just a Google search away from an avalanche of conflicting advice and worrisome anecdotes. While some say iron made someone’s period heavier, others may utter, “Nah, not likely.”

It’s like being trapped in a maze where the walls keep changing.

Don’t fret: here we are, serving as your compass through the clutter.

From science-backed studies to recommended guidelines, we will explore iron supplementation and its effect on menstrual cycle.

Can I Take Iron Pills While On My Period?

Taking iron pills during your period is safe and recommended, especially for women with heavy menstrual bleeding or low ferritin levels.

According to a study, iron tablets taken once a week for 16 weeks were more effective in improving hemoglobin concentration than taking them for four consecutive days during menstruation. The study suggests that weekly supplementation of iron is a better option.

In fact, taking iron is vital during menstruation because of increased blood loss.

Does Taking Iron Make Your Period Heavier?

No evidence suggests that taking iron makes your periods heavier. Instead, iron supplements can help improve menstrual flow in women with iron deficiency or anemia.

According to some sources, iron can help slow heavy period flow by helping small capillaries contract and stop bleeding. Besides, it can help replenish iron loss during heavy periods. However, they do not affect the underlying cause of excess bleeding.

Besides, research suggests that iron supplementation can improve fatigue in nonanemic menstruating women with low ferritin (below 50 μg/L).

During menstruation, women experience blood loss. If the body lacks sufficient iron to produce hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues throughout the body, including the uterus. In that case, it can lead to iron deficiency anemia.

The average blood loss during a normal period ranges from 30 to 40 ml. However, some women may experience heavy bleeding and lose over 80 ml per cycle. Heavy periods usually include-

  • Bleeding for more than seven days
  • Changing pads or tampons every two hours or more
  • Passing large clots or flooding
  • Feeling tired, dizzy, or faint during periods
  • Having low hemoglobin or iron levels.

Heavy menstrual bleeding may have various causes, such as:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Fibroids in the uterus
  • Polyps
  • Adenomyosis
  • Cervical cancer
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Medications
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Complications during pregnancy.

If you have heavy menstrual bleeding, consult your doctor for the proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Can Iron Deficiency Cause Heavy Periods?

Iron deficiency does not directly cause heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia). Instead, the relationship between the two is often the reverse: heavy menstrual bleeding is a common cause of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in reproductive-aged women.

Heavy menstrual bleeding can lead to iron loss; over time, recurrent heavy bleeding can cause iron deficiency or anemia.

Iron deficiency can cause symptoms like-

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headache
  • Pale or Jaundiced Skin
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling and Soreness of the Tongue and Mouth
  • Cold Hands and Feet.

Both heavy menstrual bleeding and iron deficiency, with or without anemia, negatively impact quality of life. The former causes episodes of heavy bleeding, and the latter impacts your daily life.

So, if you experience heavy menstrual bleeding or iron deficiency symptoms, consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and management.

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Does Taking Iron Make Your Period Heavier?

Can Iron Tablets Make Your Period Early?

No, iron tablets do not make your period early. Iron tablets do not affect the period cycle or regularity. They only replenish iron loss and prevent anemia.

If you have irregular periods, consult your doctor to determine the possible causes and treatments. Irregular periods can be caused by various factors, such as:

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Can Iron Levels Affect Your Period?

The exact mechanism of how iron supplements affect menstrual cycle is not fully understood. Still, some possible explanations include-

  • Iron supplements can disrupt menstrual cycles (timing, length, and flow) by altering hormone levels, such as estrogen and progesterone.
  • Iron supplements can improve blood clotting and reduce uterine inflammation, potentially reducing blood loss and cramps during menstruation.
  • Iron supplements can increase blood volume and pressure, impacting the period flow.
  • Low iron levels can cause heavy periods, as iron deficiency can impair the production of hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle.
  • Iron supplements may interact with other medications or supplements that affect the menstrual cycle, such as birth control pills, anticoagulants, or anti-inflammatories, which can cause unpredictable changes in periods.

How Much Iron Should I Take For Period?

The exact iron dosage for your period depends on your age, iron levels, and the severity of your blood loss.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of iron for women aged 19 to 49 is 14.8 mg per day. It may increase to 18 mg per day if you have heavy periods. Women above 50 need 8.7mg of iron daily, but those with periods may require more.

If you are pregnant, you may need 27 mg per day of iron to support the growth of your baby and placenta. Iron supplements may be necessary for heavy period-induced anemia, typically ranging from 60 to 120 mg of elemental iron daily.

GroupRecommended Iron Dosage (mg/day)
Women aged 19 to 4914.8
Women aged 19 to 49 with heavy periods18
Women aged 50 and over8.7
Women aged 50 and over with periods14.8
Pregnant women27
Women with anemia due to heavy periods60 to 120 (as prescribed by the doctor)

Foods that Affect Iron Levels and Menstruation

Some foods can affect your iron levels and menstruation in different ways. Here are some examples-

  • Foods high in iron: red meat, spinach, legumes, shellfish, turkey, and quinoa.
  • Foods that help with iron absorption: vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, strawberries, broccoli, and peppers.
  • Foods that increase blood flow: vitamin K-rich foods, pineapple, spinach, fatty fish, berries, leafy green, turmeric, onion, garlic, beets, etc.

Side Effects of Iron Supplements on Menstrual Cycle

Some of the symptoms of iron supplement side effects on menstrual cycle are:

  • Shorter or longer periods than usual
  • Lighter or Heavier periods than usual
  • More or less frequent periods than usual
  • Skipped or missed periods
  • Spotting or bleeding between periods
  • Cramps or pain during periods
  • Mood swings or emotional changes before or during periods.

How To Manage Iron Supplement Side Effects on Menstrual Cycle?

Following some guidelines, you can manage iron supplement side effects on the menstrual cycle.

  • Follow the doctor’s instructions on the iron supplementation type, dose, and duration, and do not exceed the recommended amount.
  • Monitor your menstrual cycle and record any changes in your periods, such as date, duration, flow, color, clots, pain, etc.
  • Report any unusual or severe side effects to your doctor as soon as possible, such as excessive bleeding, prolonged bleeding, painful cramps, fever, infection, etc.
  • Take iron supplements with food or water to reduce stomach upset and nausea.
  • Choose a gentle iron supplement with fewer side effects and better absorbed by the body.
  • Eat a balanced diet rich in iron and other nutrients that support healthy menstruation.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and prevent constipation.
  • Exercise regularly to improve blood circulation and reduce stress.
  • Consult a doctor before starting or stopping iron supplements, especially with a history of medical conditions.

What are the Benefits of Iron Supplements for Women?

Iron supplements can help reverse low iron levels or treat iron deficiency anemia. It increases the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin.

Some of the benefits of iron supplements for women are.

  • Improved energy and stamina
  • Reduced fatigue and weakness
  • Enhanced cognitive function and mood
  • Better immune system and wound healing
  • Lower risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, such as preterm delivery, low birth weight, postpartum hemorrhage, etc.
  • Prevention of iron deficiency or anemia in infants and children.
Iron Supplements, Women, And Menstrual Cycle


Can Too Much Iron Stop Your Period?

Too much iron can affect menstruation, but it is unclear whether it can stop your period. Excessive iron, especially in conditions like hereditary hemochromatosis (HHC), can lead to amenorrhea (absence of periods) due to pituitary gland damage. However, other causes like menopause, birth control, and stress are more common reasons for stopped periods.

Do People With Low Iron Have Heavier Periods?

No, people with low iron do not have heavier periods. In fact, it is the other way around. Heavy periods can cause low iron because you lose more blood and iron than your body can replace, leading to iron deficiency anemia.


Does taking iron make your period heavier? No, taking iron doesn’t make your period heavier. Instead, iron helps manage healthy menstrual blood flow and reduce the risk of iron deficiency anemia.

Remember, both excessive and insufficient iron levels can impact menstrual cycles. So, maintain the balance and have a healthy menstrual cycle.

For more on safe supplementation, read our blogs.

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