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How Do I Use Psyllium for Constipation?

Psyllium can help move waste through the digestive tract, relieving constipation.
Psyllium husk.
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  • Written By: Kendall Perry
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 20 December 2014
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Psyllium has many uses, including as a dietary fiber supplement for people who suffer from constipation. Using psyllium for constipation is considered one of the best natural remedies, whether it comes from the backyard or the drugstore. It is important that you use psyllium correctly, because if the product is used too frequently in large quantities or if too little water is taken with it, you could end up with even worse constipation. If you are using psyllium to treat constipation and grew it yourself, no more than one teaspoon (5 g) should be sprinkled on a serving of food, but that amount can be used per meal per day. If you are purchasing a constipation remedy from the drugstore, be sure to follow the directions that are on the label.

One of the most commonly used herbal treatments is the use of psyllium for constipation. Many people who believe that herbal remedies are pseudo-science use psyllium for constipation, even if they don't know it, because almost every over-the-counter fiber supplement that is meant to relieve constipation uses psyllium as its main ingredient. Many breakfast cereals also use psyllium husks as a source of fiber. The plant, Plantago afra, is native to India but can be grown in many other parts of the world, and the seeds can be eaten on salads or yogurt. The nutty-tasting seeds also can be ground and mixed into batters.

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The benefits of taking psyllium for constipation are possible because it introduces water-holding bulk to the stool, and it actually helps soothe diarrhea for the same reason. The mucilage of the psyllium husk acts like a lubricant in the digestive tract while it swells to hold several times its own weight in water. For this very reason, it is important to take the recommended amount of water with it, because the husk will take water from wherever it can. This trait is why it also is helpful if you have diarrhea. The husk absorbs the excess water in the intestines and, by doing so, it adds bulk to the stool and relieves the cramping associated with diarrhea.

Psyllium also can be used in gluten-free baking to help the finished product retain moisture. Other benefits that scientist have noticed and have begun to study include the possibility that it helps regulate the blood sugar of diabetics. It also seems to sweep away cholesterol from the bloodstream.

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fify
Post 5

When I use psyllium for constipation, I sprinkle a little bit of it on salads, twice a day. I like having it with salad because the fiber and water content in the salad is also helpful for constipation. Psyllium can be taken in different ways though. My sister grinds it very thin and adds it to her orange juice.

The issue with psyllium is that it takes a while to work because it has to go through the digestive system. So it's a good idea to start taking it as soon as constipation is suspected. Those experiencing constipation frequently might want to take a little bit daily to keep things regular.

ysmina
Post 4

@Certlerant-- I have never used psyllium for diarrhea. I agree with the other comment, that you would want to drink the same amount of water. The cause of diarrhea is not too much water, there are different possible causes.

I think that psyllium is more popular for constipation and it works very well for it. I don't use laxatives and medications because they are habit forming and cause more constipation in the long term. The bowels become reliant on the stimulation from these medications. But psyllium is completely natural and has no side effects.

I have diabetes too, so psyllium is the best constipation treatment for me.

SteamLouis
Post 3

The number one rule for using psyllium to treat constipation is to drink a lot of water.

The treatment will not work if plenty of water is not taken with it because it work by pulling water into the bowels as the article said. Also, taking a lot of psyllium without enough water might cause some mild dehydration since some water leaves the water with the psyllium husk.

TalkingByte
Post 2

@Certlerant - Talk to your doctor for clarification, but you probably want to drink the same amount of water as you would when taking psyllium for constipation.

Diarrhea can be caused by a lot of things, but is usually related to a virus or your stomach's reaction to a specific food you have eaten.

In addition to taking the supplement to help, water will flush any toxins out of your body faster and probably help with any related stomach pain.

Certlerant
Post 1

Shouldn't psyllium be taken with less water if you are trying to alleviate diarrhea? It seems like the problem there is that no enough bulk is being formed.

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