Psyllium fiber is a supplement that helps to relieve constipation, according to WebMD. It increases the bulk in the stool, causing the intestines to move and increases the water in the stool, making it softer and easier to pass. Psyllium is useful in treating high cholesterol and irritable bowel syndrome.
While the diet is the best source of fiber, many people have difficulty eating enough fruits and vegetables to obtain the required amount, according to Mayo Clinic. Research shows there are no long-term side effects of using products including psyllium powder. Upon initial use of psyllium products, many people experience intestinal gas and bloating. Beginning with a smaller dose and increasing over time helps to reduce gas production.
Psyllium interferes with the absorption of certain medications and increases the absorption of others. In diabetics, fiber supplements lower the blood sugar, so patients sometimes need an adjustment in their diabetic medication, states Mayo Clinic. Any patient using prescription medication should speak with his doctor or pharmacist to determine if a fiber supplement is safe for use with his medication.
Psyllium powder requires mixing with water, indicates WebMD. Mixing with 8 ounces of water reduces the chances of choking. Some patients have an allergic reaction from breathing in the dust when mixing the medication.