April 27, 2018

Saw Palmetto Side Effects

As an extract of the fruit Serenoa repens, saw palmetto is high in nutrients and fatty acids. This supplement is popular among aficionados of herbal medicine and alternative treatments. According to herbalists, saw palmetto can treat prostatic hyperplasia, urinary problems and reproductive issues. The Ancient Mayans drank saw palmetto in the form of a tonic and used it as an antiseptic and expectorant. Some traditional medicine practitioners treat male baldness.

Saw Palmetto Side Effects

Most people do not have any side effects while they are taking saw palmetto. Individuals who have side effects may experience flatulence, dizziness, diarrhea and constipation. On occasion, saw palmetto can cause impotence in males, nausea, vomiting, headaches and changes in appetite.

saw palmetto side effectsAs a supplement, saw palmetto is not closely regulated by the FDA. The FDA normally focuses on medications and foods. Since it is not as stringently regulated, there could be side effects not reported by the supplement makers. In some cases, patients have seen an increase in incidents like pancreatitis, liver damage and jaundice. Some people may experience chest pain, arrhythmia, hepatitis and heart disease. Saw palmetto may also cause muscle pain and breathing problems.

Individuals who have preexisting conditions should be especially cautious. Anyone with a history of heart, stomach, liver, kidney or lung problems should talk with their doctor before starting using saw palmetto. On occasion, patients may be allergic to the supplement. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include problems breathing, rashes or hives.

Some studies show that saw palmetto can change hormones in the body. Women might experience breast enlargement or tenderness while they are taking this supplement. Male patients may suffer from impotence, testicular dysfunction or erectile dysfunction.

The overall side effects associated with using saw palmetto include:

– Hives
– Headaches
– Irregular heartbeats
– Chest pain
– Dizziness
– Pancreatitis
– Constipation or diarrhea
– Gastrointestinal problems
– Gas
– Impotence
– Loss of appetite
– Nausea or vomiting
– Liver damage
– Jaundice
– Liver damage

Precautions and Contraindications

Individuals who are about to have dental or medical surgeries should be especially cautious before using this medication. Saw palmetto could make it difficult for the blood to clot and the individual could have uncontrolled bleeding. Anyone who is about to have a surgery should talk with their doctor about using saw palmetto. Patients who are on anticoagulants should also visit their doctor before taking saw palmetto. Since saw palmetto thins the blood, it can cause dangerous levels of bleeding on patients who are already taking anticoagulants.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be cautious about using saw palmetto. This herbal supplement can cause changes in the body’s hormones like estrogen and testosterone. If it is taken while pregnant or nursing, it can cause severe issues for the baby. With all of its effects on the hormones, saw palmetto can cause birth control to be ineffective. Patients who are currently on contraceptives should use a condom to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

One chemical in saw palmetto can be harmful for people with heart problems. Beta-sitosterol is structurally similar to cholesterol. If a patient who takes saw palmetto already has high cholesterol or heart problems, it can increase any issues experienced by the patient or cause a heart attack. Patients who are currently taking medication or have medical disorders should talk to their doctor before using saw palmetto to avoid drug interactions.

Many people believe that herbal supplements are safe because they are available over-the-counter. In reality, herbal supplements can cause more problems than traditional medications. These supplements are not as closely regulated as prescription drugs and can interact dangerously with other medications. Anyone who plans on taking saw palmetto should visit their doctor first. Patients should also contact their doctor if they experience any negative side effects or develop an allergic reaction. Only a qualified medical practitioner can decide the best way to treat any symptoms associated with saw palmetto use.