The Health Benefits of Iron Infusions and Iron Injections

Iron injections, or iron infusions, are often prescribed to patients with anemia (or iron deficiency) in order to deliver supplementation of the nutrient intravenously when patients are unable to absorb iron adequately by consuming it (via the gut), due to blood loss, or by the mouth, or to quickly balance iron levels after a blood transfusion or other medical issue. Both iron injections and infusions are often administered at a medical facility (i.e., hemodialysis) or in a hospital setting by a medical professional (i.e., nurse or doctor), and it typically takes a series of injections and infusions, given over a series of weeks to balance iron levels. Here’s the difference between an injection and an infusion of iron:

  • Iron injections are injected into a muscle (typically the buttocks) with a needle. These injections can pinch, but deliver an immediate injection of iron. Side effects of iron injections include irritation, bruising, skin discoloration, or swelling at the injection site.
  • Iron infusions are administered into a vein with catheter and an IV drip as the patient stays seated. They can take up to 3 hours. While they take longer, they are less painful compared to getting an injections, and are often used more common to treat anemia so doctors can monitor to prevent negative interactions.

The main benefits of iron injections and infusions include:

1. Increased energy
Iron deficiency (or anemia) often leads to a sudden lack of energy. Patients often experience lagging energy and may even experience shortness of breath (due to inadequate blood oxygen transport via the red blood cells) when walking or even climbing stairs. Iron injections and infusions are often given to increase iron levels and vital oxygen to muscles, organs, and cells.

2. Better breathing
Because iron directly affects the transport of oxygen throughout the body, patients with iron deficiency often feel they lack oxygen. If anemia is severe, heart palpitations and wheezing after short bursts of activity (walking up stairs) can occur. However, a iron injection is a quick way to restore healthy iron levels and blood oxygen.

3. Top up blood stores
Iron injections and iron infusions are often given following a medical procedure that may have cause significant blood loss (i.e., a surgery). Women who experience heavy menstrual flow may also experience low iron levels after a period. However, iron infusions can top up iron levels for a few months up to a few years to get patients back on track.