October 18, 2018

Milk Thistle Side Effects

With over 2,000 years of use as a folk remedy, milk thistle has been popular with herbalists and naturopaths for several millennia. This herb has been used over time to treat varied diseases like liver disease, kidney disorders and gall bladder issues. Clinical trials indicate that milk thistle can protect the liver from any toxins and can be a powerful antioxidant. Milk thistle is also useful as an anti-inflammatory and can help the liver repair itself after it has suffered damage.

Herbalists will often prescribe milk thistle to former alcoholics who suffer from alcohol induced hepatitis. This usage is not yet backed by scientific data. Some studies show that it increases the survival rate in these individuals while others show no potential benefit. Traditional medicine uses milk thistle as an antidote to the lethal deathcap mushroom. If taken within 24 hours, it can reduce the chances of the liver being damaged.

Milk Thistle Side Effects

In general, milk thistle does not cause major complications or side effects as long as it is taken according to a doctor’s directions. Some people may suffer from upset stomachs, flatulence, bloating or diarrhea. Individuals who are allergic to ragweed should never take milk thistle because it can cause many of the same allergic reactions.

milk thistle side effectsSome research indicates that milk thistle can mimic the effects of estrogen. Women who have or are at risk for uterine, ovarian or breast cancer should avoid taking milk thistle. In addition, women who have had endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome or fibroid tumors should not take milk thistle. If women in any of these categories take milk thistle, their current medical conditions may worsen.

Milk thistle is gentler on the body than many mainstream medications. As a plant, it normally takes longer to take effect so individuals can discover any symptoms before they get too extreme. Some of the most common symptoms associated with taking milk thistle include:

– Flatulence
– Diarrhea
– Bloating
– Flatulence
– Rashes

This herbal supplement is not recommended for men who have or have had prostate cancer. Women who are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant should not take milk thistle. Like any drug, milk thistle can be passed through the woman’s body and into the fetus or infant.

Medication Interactions

Patients should always discuss taking milk thistle with their doctor before they begin treatment. Although it is available over-the-counter, it can still cause side effects or stop other medications from working. Milk thistle can reduce the efficacy of any antipsychotic drugs or phenytoin if it is taken concurrently with it. It can also cause drugs like halothane, hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills to stop working. When any of these drugs are used at the same time as milk thistle, it can cause severe side effects and drug interactions.

Since milk thistle primarily affects the liver, medications that are broken down in the liver should be avoided. These drugs include anti-anxiety medication, statins, allergy drugs and some cancer drugs. In addition, milk thistle should never be used in conjunction with antiplatelet or anticoagulant medication. Patients should consult with their doctor before taking any of these medications with milk thistle. Using these medications at the same time can cause undue strain on the liver and result in serious medical complications.

Patients who plan on taking milk thistle should schedule a visit with their primary care physician first. Milk thistle can cause other medication to be ineffective or create serious side effects. Only a qualified medical practitioner can say if using milk thistle is right for you. If you or a loved one has any side effects or medical problems while taking milk thistle, you should immediately visit a doctor or receive emergency medical services. Although it is not listed as a medication by the FDA, milk thistle can still cause side effects and negative symptoms in some patients. Visit a doctor first to ensure that taking milk thistle is right for you.