A swirling artistic red and blue liquid wave wraps around an arm getting a iron and saline infusion.

What to Expect: Iron Infusions

Iron deficiency anemia is a symptom I've experienced with Crohn’s disease.  Lack of iron is actually quite common in healthy people, so when you add a Crohn’s diagnosis it isn’t surprising that iron deficiency is more so amplified.1

Symptoms of anemia include: being short of breath, dealing with intense fatigue, loss of hair, dizziness, lightheadedness, fast heart rate, brittle nails, pale skin, overall feeling of weakness and that’s just to name a few.1

This or That

Have you ever had an iron infusion?

Anemia struggles

Since being diagnosed back in 2011, I have struggled greatly with anemia.  I have had many blood transfusions and iron transfusions to help get my levels normalized—although even with these therapies I have never had normal levels but that is another story.  Though normalcy hasn’t been reached, these therapies help improve my case greatly and I am thankful for having the opportunity to get them.

This past week was my last iron infusion and I thought it would be fitting to write about my experience, in case anyone was due to have them.

Iron infusions with IBD

Typically you go in for multiple infusions, usually five, within a week or so of each dose.  I have had what is called an Iron Push before, which is a one-time deal and it is administered via IV.  I had this done when I was in the hospital and I believe that is only done in certain cases and must be hospitalized for it but don’t quote me on that.

In this most recent case, I was given five infusions once a week.  200mg of iron each week so a total of 1000mg of iron for the entire process.

Things to consider


If you have sensitive veins there are some things to consider.  Iron is abrasive and it can cause discomfort during the infusion.  My nurse was kind enough to dilute the iron with another saline bag and use a “y” connection to then do the infusion.  You can easily ask for this and it is very easy to do.  Instead of the infusion taking about 20-30 minutes, it does take about an hour but to me it is worth not having to deal with discomfort.

A quick note about this method: when the iron comes in its own bag it is already diluted in a solution for the infusion.  What I ask for is an extra step to the dilution process because I have had many instances where the dilution from the pharmacy is not enough for me and it causes discomfort at the vein site.

Hydration and comfort

Also, make sure you are hydrated and have eaten something before your infusion session.  It helps for the nurse to find a good vein and it also helps your body process the iron better.  You will be sitting for some time so also dress comfortably and warm because we all know infusion centers tend to be wicked cold. And lastly, bring some entertainment.

Worth it?

Overall, if you qualify for an iron infusion, it was worth it for me.  If you have sensitive veins, ask your nurse to further dilute the infusion with an extra saline bag.  Make sure to dress comfortably and bring entertainment.

Have you had an iron infusion before?  Do you have any tips you’d like to share?  Share below, we love to hear from you.

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Treatment results and side effects can vary from person to person. This treatment information is not meant to replace professional medical advice. Talk to your doctor about what to expect before starting and while taking any treatment.
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