Is Senna Safe?
Many people may wonder about the safety of senna. Although the product appears to be safe for most people, you should talk to your healthcare provider before using it if you have ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, or heart disease. In order to minimize risks during the treatment process, you could also talk to your healthcare provider about any safety warnings and precautions that apply to you.
When used appropriately, senna is probably safe for many people. However, some people may be more likely to experience problems due to senna. Therefore, you should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking senna if you have:
- An electrolyte imbalance
- An intestinal blockage
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn's disease
- Heart disease
- Unexplained abdominal pain
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Warnings and precautions to be aware of include the following:
- Senna (especially if overused) can lead to electrolyte depletion. This can be especially dangerous for people who are dehydrated or who have heart disease.
- Senna can worsen dehydration (by causing diarrhea), especially if overused.
- Overuse or long-term use of senna can be dangerous. Do not take senna for an extended period of time unless your healthcare provider specifically recommends that you do so. If you have an ongoing problem with constipation, ask your healthcare provider about suggestions to improve your constipation without the need for long-term laxative use.
- Stimulant laxatives (such as senna) should never be used in an attempt to lose weight. Serious side effects (such as electrolyte imbalances or liver problems) could result.
- Senna may theoretically interact with a few other medications (see Senna Drug Interactions).
- Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking senna if you are pregnant or breastfeeding (see Senna and Pregnancy and Senna and Breastfeeding).