Psyllium is a fibrous material typically used as a gentle and bulk-forming laxative. Since the substance is a soluble fiber, it can pass through the digestive system without being totally absorbed or broken down. Throughout this process, it absorbs water in the body and turns into a viscous compound. This compound has benefits for cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, diarrhea, and constipation. The fiber is derived from the seeds of an herb native to India. Individuals can purchase it as a dietary supplement, and it is usually formed in powder, capsules, granules, or a husk. There are also some baked goods and fortified breakfast cereals that contain it. Psyllium is one of the most well-tolerated sources of fiber available, but there are some potential side effects individuals should be aware of.
Abdominal pain is a potential side effect of psyllium, especially if individuals take a dosage that's too high. There are varying signs of intestinal distress individuals might experience if they take psyllium as a laxative because of the way fiber bulks up the stool. It's also possible for psyllium to lead to blockages in the bowel if individuals don't have enough water alongside it. This can lead to abdominal distress and be a potentially serious problem that requires emergency treatment. The best way for individuals to prevent abdominal pain is to start at a small dose of the product until they see how their body tolerates it. From there, individuals can slowly add more until constipation or other symptoms are alleviated. Patients should always talk to a doctor before introducing any new and regular supplement to their diet. If individuals experience severe abdominal pain that doesn't go away, they should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. The pain might feel like aching in the stomach or a throbbing or cramping sensation in the abdomen.
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