Saw Palmetto Side Effects
Nausea, dizziness, decreased sex drive, and loss of appetite are some of the more bothersome side effects of saw palmetto. Fortunately, most side effects, if they occur, are not serious. However, there are some side effects that are potentially serious and require medical attention. These include unusual or unexplained bruising or bleeding, an unexplained rash, and wheezing or difficulty breathing.
People often assume that natural products are automatically free of side effects, especially dangerous side effects. However, this is simply not the case. As with any medication or supplement, problems are possible with saw palmetto (Serenoa repens).
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with saw palmetto. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of saw palmetto side effects with you.)
Potentially bothersome (although not usually serious) side effects of saw palmetto may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Decreased sex drive
- Impotence (also known as erectile dysfunction, or ED)
- Breast tenderness
- Loss of appetite.
Some side effects with saw palmetto, while occurring infrequently, are potentially serious and should be reported to your healthcare provider right away. These include but are not limited to:
- Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) or pancreas (pancreatitis)
- Any unusual or unexplained bruising or bleeding
- Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
- A rash
- Swelling of the mouth or throat
- Difficulty breathing.
Unpredictable side effects are also possible due to contaminants in saw palmetto products. Because herbs and supplements are not as tightly regulated as prescription or non-prescription drugs, they are sometimes contaminated with other herbs, medications, or even heavy metals. In order to avoid such problems, it is important to choose saw palmetto products that are made by trustworthy manufacturers. Your pharmacist can help you choose a good saw palmetto product.