Milk thistle is a popular herbal supplement that has been used for centuries to treat liver and gallbladder diseases. It contains an active ingredient called silymarin, which is believed to have antioxidant properties and may help prevent liver damage caused by toxins.
However, some people have raised concerns about whether milk thistle can cause frequent urination as a side effect. In this article, we will explore the scientific evidence behind milk thistle and its potential effects on urinary function.
We will also discuss other health benefits of milk thistle and whether it is safe to use as a dietary supplement. So, let’s dive in and find out if milk thistle can really cause frequent urination or not.
Can Milk Thistle Cause Frequent Urination?
After conducting extensive research, there is no evidence to suggest that milk thistle causes frequent urination. In fact, a clinical study conducted by eHealthMe found no reports of frequent or urgent urination in people who take milk thistle.
While some people may experience gastrointestinal side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and loss of appetite when taking milk thistle extract orally, there is no evidence to suggest that it affects urinary function.
It is important to note that frequent urination can be a symptom of various medical conditions such as interstitial cystitis and diabetes. If you are experiencing frequent urination, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause.
What Is Milk Thistle And How Does It Work?
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a plant that has been used for over 2,000 years as a herbal medicine for liver, kidney, and gall bladder issues. The medicinal parts of the plant are the seed-like fruits (achenes), which contain the active constituent silymarin. Silymarin is a complex mixture of flavonoids and flavonoid derivatives, the flavonolignans, with the three diastereomeric pairs silybins A and B (also called silibinin), isosilybins A and B, silychristin, isosilychristin, and silydianin being the major constituents.
Several scientific studies suggest that milk thistle compounds protect the liver against toxins, including medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can damage the liver in large amounts. Silymarin contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It may also aid liver healing by stimulating the growth of new cells. However, while animal research shows that milk thistle can help preserve the liver, human trials have produced inconsistent outcomes.
Milk thistle extract might reduce the risk of death and improve liver function in people with cirrhosis. It may also decrease diabetes-related complications such as fatty liver and proteinuria. Milk thistle may lower cholesterol and improve symptoms of enlarged prostate in men when consumed with selenium for 6 months.
It is important to note that milk thistle does not seem to benefit all patients with liver disease, and well-designed scientific studies do not show significant benefits for people with a liver disorder or decreased death due to liver toxicity. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before taking milk thistle extract or any other supplement.
The Potential Link Between Milk Thistle And Frequent Urination
As mentioned above, there is no evidence to suggest that milk thistle causes frequent urination. However, it is important to note that milk thistle can lower blood sugar levels and should be used cautiously in individuals with diabetes who are taking medication to lower their blood sugar levels.
In some cases, frequent urination can be a symptom of diabetes. Taking milk thistle along with diabetes medication might cause blood sugar levels to be too low, which could potentially lead to frequent urination. Therefore, it is important for individuals with diabetes who are taking milk thistle to monitor their blood sugar levels closely and consult with a healthcare professional if they experience any changes in their urinary function.
Additionally, milk thistle may interact with certain medications used to treat HIV infection and blood thinners such as warfarin, which could potentially lead to urinary problems. It is important for individuals taking these medications to consult with a healthcare professional before taking milk thistle.
Scientific Evidence On Milk Thistle’s Effects On Urinary Function
Scientific studies on milk thistle have not shown any direct effects on urinary function. However, milk thistle has been found to have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may indirectly benefit urinary function.
Frequent urination can be caused by various factors, such as drinking caffeinated beverages or alcohol, using nicotine, and weakened pelvic floor muscles. Milk thistle is not known to exacerbate these factors, and in fact, may help alleviate some of the inflammation that can cause urinary issues.
Furthermore, milk thistle has been found to have a positive effect on liver function, which can indirectly impact urinary function. The liver plays a crucial role in filtering waste and toxins from the body, including those that can affect urinary function. By promoting proper liver function and detoxification, milk thistle may indirectly improve urinary function.
Other Health Benefits Of Milk Thistle
Milk thistle has been used for centuries to treat liver and gallbladder disorders, and its active ingredient, silymarin, has been found to have numerous health benefits. Studies have shown that milk thistle may help lower cholesterol levels and decrease diabetes-related complications such as fatty liver and proteinuria. Milk thistle has also been found to have antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition to its potential benefits for liver and diabetes-related issues, milk thistle may also have anticarcinogenic properties and be a supportive treatment for liver damage caused by toxins. However, more research is needed to fully understand the extent of its health benefits.
It is important to note that while milk thistle is generally considered safe, it may interact with certain medications and should not be taken during pregnancy or lactation due to insufficient evidence regarding its safety. As with any supplement or medication, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before use.
Is Milk Thistle Safe To Use As A Dietary Supplement?
When taken in appropriate doses, oral use of milk thistle appears to be safe. Milk thistle is a natural herb with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that is commonly used to promote liver and gallbladder health. It is considered one of the most common natural supplements for liver disorders in the U.S. However, it is important to note that dietary supplements are not regulated like drugs in the United States, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed.
Despite this lack of regulation, milk thistle is generally considered safe when taken in appropriate doses. Gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal bloating have been reported as potential side effects of milk thistle extract. However, there is no evidence to suggest that it affects urinary function or causes frequent urination.
It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any dietary supplement, including milk thistle, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking medication. Additionally, it is recommended to choose a supplement that has been tested by a trusted third party, such as USP, ConsumerLabs, or NSF.
Conclusion: Should You Be Concerned About Milk Thistle Causing Frequent Urination?
Based on the available information, there is no reason to be concerned about milk thistle causing frequent urination. While milk thistle has been used for centuries to treat liver and biliary disorders, and has been investigated for use as a cytoprotectant and anticarcinogen, there is no evidence to suggest that it affects urinary function.
It is important to note that milk thistle may cause gastrointestinal side effects in some people, but these are typically mild and temporary. Additionally, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional if you are experiencing frequent urination, as it may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.