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Iron Supplementation for Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the name for a group of chronic conditions where sections of your gastrointestinal tract becomes inflamed.

The two most common forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. 1 If you have IBD, your risk of also having iron deficiency (ID) and iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) increases.2

In patients with IBD, 36-76 % experience IDA.3 The main reasons why you may experience ID or IDA with IBD are:

Anaemia is a frequently occurring problem in patients with IBD, and IDA is the most common cause. 1 Other causes of anaemia in IBD patients include:1

  • Anaemia of chronic disease (inflammation)
  • Anaemia due to decreased absorption of Vitamin B12 and folate in inflamed regions of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Drug-induced anaemia

Anaemia affects the majority of patients with IBD, with the average IBD patient being anaemic one out of every five months. 4 It is important that anaemia, whether due to ID or any of the other reasons mentioned, is treated. ID can lead to a reduced work capacity, and if symptoms are severe, can cause an extended hospital stay. 2 If you think you may have signs of ID, it is important that you talk to your doctor.


  1. Ott C, Liebold A, Takses A, Strauch UG, Obermeier F. High prevalence but insufficient treatment of iron-deficiency anemia in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: results of a population-based cohort. Gastroenterol Res Pract 2012;2012:1-7.
  2. Stein J, Dignass A. Management of iron deficiency anemia in inflammatory bowel disease–a practical approach. Ann Gastroenterol 2012;26:1-7.
  3. Goldberg ND. Iron deficiency anemia in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Clin Exp Gastroenterol 2013;6:61-70.
  4. Bager P, Befrits R, Wikman O, Lindgren S, Moum B, Hjortswang H, et al. High burden of iron deficiency and different types of anemia in inflammatory bowel disease outpatients in Scandinavia: a longitudinal 2-year follow-up study. Scand J Gastroenterol 2013;48(11):1286-1293.
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