Saw palmetto is an alternative remedy made from the berries of a type of palm tree that grows in the southeastern region of the United States. According to the University of California, San Diego, saw palmetto has been shown to relieve the effects of benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. BPH is an enlargement of the prostate that can cause frequent and difficult urination. Saw palmetto should not be used to self-treat any condition, and individuals who consider incorporating saw palmetto into their supplement regimen should consult with a doctor prior to beginning therapy.
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Some individuals who take saw palmetto report digestive disturbances as side effects. Medline Plus explains that nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and constipation or diarrhea may occur. Bad breath is also a side effect that has been reported. Side effects related to the stomach and digestion may be decreased if the supplement is taken with food instead of on an empty stomach.
Headaches and Bleeding
Saw palmetto supplements have been linked to headaches, as well as an increased risk of bleeding, especially when taken prior to surgery, notes the University of Maryland Medical Centre. Patients who take saw palmetto should notify their doctor or surgeon prior to any surgical procedure to avoid excessive bleeding.
Visual and Sleep Disturbances
According to the University of California, San Diego, saw palmetto supplementation may cause dizziness and insomnia in some patients. Fatigue may also occur. Patients who experience these side effects should notify their doctor for recommendations, and should avoid driving or operating machinery to avoid accidents.
Cardiac and Respiratory Involvement
The Mayo Clinic notes that saw palmetto may cause side effects related to the cardiovascular system such as increased blood pressure, chest pain, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath and abnormal heart rhythms. The link between these side effects has not firmly been established, but the Mayo Clinic explains that the link is strong enough that anyone with underlying medical conditions should thoroughly consult with a doctor prior to beginning treatment to avoid possible serious reactions.
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