Senna During Breastfeeding - Its Safety And Health Benefits

Senna While Breastfeeding

Image: Shutterstock

While you are breastfeeding, the remnants of your pregnancy symptoms can sometimes resurface. And, one such recurring symptom is constipation. There are many herbs that help treat constipation at this time, and Senna is one of them. But, is it safe to take senna while breast feeding? Read this post to find out.

What Is Senna?

Senna is a laxative derived from the leaves and seeds of the Senna herb. It is an FDA approved non-prescriptive laxative that treats constipation and helps clear the bowels before a colonoscopy. It has been found that Senna seeds are gentler than Senna leaves, which makes the use of Senna seeds for laxative purposes desirable and has no harmful effects on the liver or other parts of the body.

If you are suffering from abdominal cramps, diarrhea stomach upset, you should not take the Senna supplement without consulting a practitioner. The laxative is a stimulant which irritates the inner lining of the bowel. In case the patient is already suffering from loose motions, it can further aggravate the situation.

In the case of pregnant or nursing women, it is mandatory that they consult their physician, discuss their health conditions and thoroughly analyze their status before they take up herbal medicines with Senna as the main constituent, which relieves constipation and alleviates bowel movement constrictions, which is a common phenomenon during pregnancy. It should only be taken in a limited dose, and it is meant for short term purpose only.

[ Read: Useful Herbs For Breastfeeding Moms ]

Senna During Breastfeeding:

Senna and its consumption at the time of lactation or breastfeeding have always remained a controversial topic. Even though according to The American Academy of Pediatrics have classified Senna as ‘usually compatible with breastfeeding’ and the WHO finds its use by mothers as safe during breastfeeding, it is still an issue of concern for lactating mothers.

Since constipation and irregular bowel movements are common ailments during pregnancy, which cause much discomfort to expecting mothers, the use of Senna during this period and continued till breastfeeding has been supported by the institutions and medical organizations. But the recommended dosage should not be increased in any way or it may lead to complications.

Senna During Breastfeeding

Image: Shutterstock

Effect Of Senna While Breastfeeding:

Recent studies have revealed that there is no harm in taking Senna for the short-term. The constituents and properties of the laxative do not seep into the milk produced and cannot cause issues such as diarrhea to the baby feeding on the mother’s milk who is on the oral laxative for a short term.

Some different set of studies also shows that although trace amounts of Senna may cross into breast milk, it does not seem to cause any problem for nursing babies. If the mother uses the laxative always within recommended amounts, Senna does not lead to any changes in the frequency or consistency of infants’ stools.

[ Read: Is Echinacea Safe While Breastfeeding ]

Long Term Use Of Senna:

The prolonged intake of Senna can be detrimental to the health of a mom. If consumed for a long time or in high doses, it can severely damage your liver, lead to laxative dependence and irritated lining of the stomach caused by the excessive use of the stimulant. It is always preferred that the dosage for the laxative is given in controlled amounts to prevent any severe side effects. In case the patient notices symptoms of loose stools or diarrhea, the consumption of the laxative should be immediately discontinued.

[ Read: Milk Thistle While Breastfeeding ]

Even though there is no concrete proofs of Senna causing diarrhea in nursing babies, it is always desirable that the mothers consume the laxative in moderation and keep a check on the health conditions of the child by regular inspection and checkups.

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