For almost 2000 years, milk thistle has been used in the treatment of liver diseases and other related conditions. It can also help in reducing cholesterol levels and the chances of cancer cell growth. Yet, even though it is a natural product, it can still cause a number of side effects. Common possible side effects of milk thistle include diarrhea, headache, and nausea. There are also side effects that may be grave and must be reported immediately to your physician.
Side effects of milk thistle are minor and rarely occur, but being aware of these negative effects can help a lot. Taking milk thistle in large doses can cause mild to severe headaches. The supplement also has a mild laxative property, which may cause problems with bloating, flatulence and an upset stomach. Other reports claim body weakness as its side effect. As stated, the laxative effect is mild but if you are suffering from acute diarrhea, then stop taking milk thistle and consult your doctor. Other side effects like gas and stomach discomfort will fade away once you stop taking milk thistle. But for people who use milk thistle as a part of their therapy, it’s best to ask your doctor before discontinuing. Dose adjustments may solve the problem but it’s still your doctor who will advise you on the best way to reduce such side effects.
A number of patients complain of insomnia that can result to body weakness, fatigue and lack of energy. There have even been reports of sexual drive changes and impotency. Other milk thistle side effects could manifest in the skin including rashes and loss of appetite. All of these side effects are oftentimes mild and don’t pose a threat to one’s life. Perhaps the worst possible problem with the herb is if you happen to have an allergy to it: allergic reactions to milk thistle may include signs or symptoms such as a swollen throat, tongue, lips and even swelling in the entire face.
If these side effects occur, contact your doctor immediately, particularly looking out for signs of allergic reactions such as facial and throat swelling. Keep in mind that anaphylactic shock, a severe form of allergic reaction, is a life-threatening condition. These side effects are not common, but they may happen. There are people who are sensitive to foreign substances without knowing about it.
So is milk thistle safe? Yes, only if you follow the recommended dose and the dose that has your doctor’s approval. Taking anything in doses larger than prescribed or suggested is harmful and this is the same with milk thistle. Don’t use a larger dosage than what your body requires. It poses a risk of overdose and might cause health problems. Don’t forget to consult your healthcare provider before starting milk thistle therapy. If you feel that your doses have to be lowered, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about it. Unpredictable side effects of milk thistle are also possible because of contaminants that may be in your milk thistle product. Since herbs and supplements are not strictly controlled by FDA, they are sometimes contaminated by foreign substance, other medications, herbs and even metals. For you to avoid this incident, always buy milk thistle products from a reputable manufacturer.