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Many of the most common psyllium side effects include gas in the stomach, bloating, cramps, and allergic reactions. Most other side effects caused by psyllium are generally unusual and may require medical attention. Taking other medications along with psyllium may increase side effects and lower the effectiveness of the drug. Long-term use of this medication may result in addiction, muscle damage, and dependency.
Psyllium is a high-fiber substance that is commonly taken as a laxative to treat constipation, diarrhea, and irregular bowel movements. The laxative is sometimes combined with a diet and exercise regimen recommended by a doctor. It works by using the liquid in a person's intestines to create soft stools that can easily be passed. This medication is available as a pill, a wafer, and in powder form.
Any laxative taken for a long period of time or taken too often can cause problems such as addiction. Using the drug for regular bowel movements every day over an extended period of time can result in dependency. Muscle tissues can become damaged, as can nerves in the intestines. The laxative is generally taken a few times each day for a week unless otherwise prescribed by a doctor.
Most of the time, people only experience the most common side effects of psyllium when they are taking this drug. Bloating and gas are very common, making a person feel like his stomach is too full. Cramps in the stomach may also be experienced but are generally mild. These psyllium side effects usually stop if a person begins consuming more water with each dose or lowering the amount of laxative that he or she is taking.
Another of the most common psyllium side effects is an allergic reaction. Trouble breathing, hives, swelling of the face, chest pain, and trouble swallowing are typical signs of an allergic reaction and will require quick attention from a doctor. Allergic reactions can sometimes result from inhaled psyllium, so it is generally recommended that anyone taking this laxative be careful not to inhale the powder.
Those who have medical conditions or are on certain medications should consult their doctor prior to taking psyllium. Many medications can interfere with the effectiveness of the laxative. Certain ingredients in the laxative also may interact badly with some medical conditions.
Some of the more unusual psyllium side effects include severe abdominal pain, vomiting, dizziness, and severe nausea. Constipation for four or more days may also result. Any severe reaction to this laxative will most likely need to be discussed with a physician.