Saw palmetto, a tropical medicinal plant, is a safe and highly effective treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as BPH or prostate swelling. Generally healthy, adult men can use saw palmetto regularly with few risks of side effects or other negative reactions. However, some individuals should not use saw palmetto because it poses an unacceptably serious risk of adverse effects. There are several saw palmetto contraindications. Do not use saw palmetto if any of the following situations describe you.
Do not use saw palmetto during pregnancy. Compounds in saw palmetto can interfere with levels of reproductive hormones such as estrogen (a female hormone) and testosterone (a male hormone). This cuold lead to pregnancy complications such as miscarriage and premature labor. Additionally, saw palmetto can affect a fetus’s hormonal development, leading to birth defects and health problems. Pregnancy is a major saw palmetto contraindication.
Nursing mothers should not use saw palmetto. Saw palmetto’s hormonal effects can decrease a mother’s breast milk supply, retarding the growth of the nursing child. Saw palmetto’s benefits can not outweigh its risks to nursng mothers and their children. Talk to your chidl’s pediatrician before taking any herbal supplement while breastfeeding.
People Scheduled to have Surgery
Compounds in saw palmetto may impair blood clotting, increasing the chances of excessive bleeding during or after a surgical procedure. This could lead to life-threatening complications. As a precaution, stop taking saw palmetto at least two weeks before any scheduled surgery. Tell your doctor that you are taking saw palmetto if you need to have any unscheduled surgery, including a simple procedure such as a tooth extraction.
Although it is generally safe, saw palmetto can cause other side effects and interactions. The National Institutes of Health has more information about saw palmetto contraindications.