Metamucil Side Effects: Common and Uncommon

November 12, 2012

Metamucil Side Effects: Common and Uncommon

Metamucil is a popular brand of over the counter laxative products. It includes powders and wafer bars. The main ingredient in Metamucil is psyllium husk powder. This ingredient is also found in commercial colon cleansing products. Psyllium helps stimulate the bowels and create softer stools that move easy through the bowels, sometimes to spectacular effect. Like any other drug, Metamucl has common and uncommon side effects. People may also be allergic to psyllium. Before taking Metamucil or other products containing psyllium powder, learn to recognize these Metamucil side effects. It is imperative that people with a known blockage of the intestines, bleeding from the rectum or use a colostomy bag ask their doctors if they are at risk for developing Metamucil side effects. Common Side Effects The common side effects include bloating, diarrhea, constipation or other sudden changes in amount, color or consistency of bowel movements. Some people that develop diarrhea may become faint die to mild dehydration. Some people find that their cholesterol lowers when taking Metamucil, but they must also be on a low-fat, heart-healthy diet. Metamucil is only meant to be taken occasionally or no more than 7 days in a row. This is because of another common but long-term side effect. If the intestinal muscles do not work out regularly by pushing stool along, they soon atrophy. A person with atrophied intestinal muscles must rely on laxative products like Metamucil in order to have any bowel movements.

Uncommon Side Effects Contact a doctor right away if you develop these uncommon Metamucil side effects. They could indicate that you are severely allergic to psyllium powder:

  • Sudden problems swallowing

  • Breathing problems, including a feeling as if you are being choked

  • Sudden rectal bleeding

  • Development of itchy rashes on the skin

  • Sudden stomach pain

  • Nausea, which may or may not be accompanied by diarrhea

  • Constipation lasting longer than one week

  • Sneezing, watery eyes, itchy eyes or sudden runny nose if accidentally breathing in dust from pouring powder into a drink or sniffing the powder’s odor

Warning Never swallow dry psyllium powder. Always add liquid such as water or fruit juice to it in order to avoid the most deadly of Metamucil side effects. When psyllium powder comes into contact with liquid, such as saliva, it immediately plumps up. People who have tried swallowing the dry powder can die from choking because the suddenly expanding powder swells up the esophagus to the point that it completely closes the trachea. Special Note for Diabetics Many Metamucil products or products containing psyllium husk powder also contain sugar which may affect blood sugar levels. These normal Metamucil side effects may bother diabetics. The Metamucil brand does make sugar free versions of its products. Before using Metamucil, diabetics should talk to their doctors to be sure that Metamucil will not interfere with their medication or insulin regimen. Do not take any medication for 2 hours after taking Metamucil because the medication may be speeded through the digestive tract before the body has time to properly absorb it.

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