As a form of soluble fiber, psyllium is commonly used to treat irregularity or difficult bowel movements, also called constipation. Psyllium is derived from the seeds of a small shrub called Plantago ovata, which is native to India. It's available over-the-counter as psyllium husks and psyllium seeds, alone or together with other supplements in various formulations. If you have questions about how much psyllium you should take, consult your physician for further guidance.
If you're an adult and are using psyllium husks to treat constipation, health professionals with the University of Michigan Health System recommend taking 1 tsp. of this fiber supplement three times daily. Each 1-tsp. dose of psyllium husks should be mixed in a large glass of juice or water and must be consumed immediately. If this mixture is allowed to sit, it thickens and becomes undrinkable.
Adults may take between 1/2 and 2 tsp. of psyllium seed once daily, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. Initially, you may want to begin with a small half-teaspoon dose of psyllium seeds until your body gets used to this form of fiber. If using psyllium seeds as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, you may gradually increase your treatment from a half teaspoon once a day to 1 tsp. four times a day. As with psyllium husks, each dose of psyllium seeds must be mixed with 8 oz. of fluid and immediately consumed.
Over-the-Counter Psyllium Products
If you're taking an over-the-counter psyllium product, always consult the label to determine how much of this supplement you should take. Over-the-counter psyllium products include powders, wafers, granules, capsules or liquid.
Always consult your child's pediatrician before giving any type of medication or supplement, including psyllium. In most cases, children between the ages of 6 and 12 may take half the typical adult dosage of psyllium -- but only when recommended by a doctor, the UMMC warns.
Inform your medical provider of any health problems or concerns you may have before taking psyllium supplements. If you have a personal history of kidney disease, consult your doctor before using this form of fiber. People who are allergic to psyllium should not take this supplement. Improper use of psyllium by hypersensitive people may induce a life-threatening allergic reaction. Additionally, avoid taking psyllium if you have any type of narrowing along your digestive tract or have difficulty swallowing. Such health conditions may increase your risk of choking or a bowel obstruction after taking a dose of psyllium.
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