If you are planning to take Psyllium for any of its health benefits such as constipation relief or detox there is a warning. Psyllium has the potential to cause gastrointestinal symptoms or can create an abnormal mass in the small intestine. Although it happens very rarely it can happen to you also. Read on for more details.
Psyllium Husk comes from the seeds that are coated with a gel like substance from the plant Plantago Ovata. The gel like substance or the whole seed is used to make bulk laxative known as psyllium. It is highly recommended to consult your physician before taking any psyllium product such as Isabgol or Metamucil.
Some Characteristics of Psyllium
Psyllium has also been called blond psyllium. This natural fiber is known has being a soluble fiber. Psyllium expands or bulks when water is present since it can easily absorb water. When passing in the digestive tract it can ease symptoms that are disturbing your digestive tract such as diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome. When psyllium is used properly it can regulate glucose levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Psyllium husk or whole psyllium seed can be purchased in forms of powder, commercial laxative, wafers, capsules and tablets.
What is Bezoar
Bezoar is a mass that forms in the intestines which is caused by fiber, hair or other indigestible materials. These causes create a clump that forms into a ball, which will pass through the stomach but can not be removed by a bowel movement. Symptoms that can occur if a bezoar is present are abdominal pain, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and gastric ulcers. Abdominal lumps can be felt from the outside of some individuals who has bezoars. Treatment options for bezoar can be done by surgical removal or removing it through a specialized scope that is put in your mouth and extended into your stomach
Can Psyllium Cause Bezoar
When psyllium is placed in water it begins to expand creating a mass of material that is difficult to swallow. The psyllium mass grows thick in a short period of time. Since psyllium creates a mass form like this you must stir thoroughly in 8 ounces of water and drink immediately. When insufficient quantities of water is taken the mass of Psyllium can harden in the intestinal tracts. You may be aware that fibers are not digested in the body. Psyllium also doesn’t gets digested as it is a soluble fiber and there is a possibility that it can cause Bezoar if it becomes too hard in the intestines when sufficient water is not taken.
When using any commercial laxative product you must follow all directions and dosage instructions. To keep from having any uncomfortable side effects start with a low dose and work up gradually.
Other Side Effects That Can Occur
Other than possibly developing a Bezoar there are other potential side effects that can occur from taking psyllium. Some side effects include cramps, gas, constipation and rectal pain. Psyllium has the possibility to also block your digestive tract. This is more at risk when an individual takes it prior to bowel surgery or does not drink plenty of water.