The Side Effects of Psyllium Husk

scoop of psyllium seed husks
A scoop of psyllium seed husk spilling onto a wooden table (Image: marekuliasz/iStock/Getty Images)

Psyllium husk is derived from the Plantago ovata plant. Since psyllium husk naturally contains dietary fiber, it is used in several fiber and laxative supplements to treat constipation and promote bowel regularity, notes MedlinePlus. It can also be used to treat diarrhea and lower cholesterol levels. Although psyllium husk is normally safe, side effects may develop in some people.

Medical Absorption

Psyllium husk can possibly interfere with medication absorption, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Medications it can potentially affect include tricyclic antidepressants, digoxin, bile acid sequestrants and carbemazepine. Consult with your physician before using psyllium husk products.

Gas and Bloating

Bloating or a full feeling in your abdominal cavity are potential side effects associated with psyllium husk, notes the UMMC. Gas and increased flatulence often occur when using psyllium products. If bloating becomes unbearable or persists, talk with your doctor about alternatives to remedy your condition.

Obstruction

Taking laxatives containing psyllium husk can cause obstructions or blockages in the gastrointestinal tract. This effect is most common if you have failed to properly mix the psyllium husk with water or have undergone bowel surgery, reports MedlinePlus. Since the risk of developing a gastrointestinal obstruction can occur, do not use psyllium husk products if you have throat conditions or swallowing difficulties, as improperly chewed food can become lodged in your digestive tract.

Allergic Reactions

Severe allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, are a reported side effect of taking psyllium. Possible signs of allergic reactions include vomiting, chest tightness, breathing difficulties, rashes and hives. As a safety measure, report any of these symptoms to your physician, states Drugs.com.

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