Metamucil is a fiber supplement made from psyllium. It is designed to add bulk to the stool and so help waste travel smoothly through the digestive tract. It may be marketed as a bulk laxative because it adds bulk to the stool. Psyllium, the main ingredient in Metamucil, is a soluble plant fiber. If you are gluten intolerant then it is worth noting that the Metamucil powder and capsules are gluten-free, but Metamucil wafers contain gluten (one of the ingredients is wheat flour).
Although Metamucil is often marketed as a laxative it can actually be useful for both diarrhea and constipation sufferers. For diarrhea sufferers the extra fiber make the stool firmer and more solid. For constipation sufferers, the extra bulk can make waste food softer and easier to pass.
There are several varieties of Metamucil. The standard variety comes in a tub and is in the form of powder, which is mixed into water and drunk. A sugar-free version of the powder form is also available, as well as apple crisp or cinnamon flavor wafers, and an individual capsule form. If you are taking the capsules then be aware that one formulation of the capsules is called Metamucil plus calcium, and the added calcium in these may help to reduce diarrhea but would probably not be good for constipation sufferers.
Metamucil side effects
The most common side effects of Metamucil are gas and stomach cramps.
REVIEWS OF METAMUCIL
Review by Ed
Metamucil has changed my life for the better. I have had IBS all my life and I have tried Bentyl, Lomotil and other opiates. I was taking between 100 and 150 Imodium a month on top of the other drugs and nothing really worked. The Metamucil dosage that works best for me is eight to 12 pills three to four times a day.
The key for getting Metamucil to work was starting with the standard dosage (six pills) and working up from there. A good indicator with Metamucil is getting your poop to float. It sounds strange but once you have achieved the floating poop your dosage is spot on. I'm 6'6" and 22 and a half stone, so Metamucil dosage could be size dependent. Again, Metamucil has given me my life back, I no longer need to carry toilet paper and a spare pair of underwear everywhere I go. By the way, there's no need to buy the branded Metamucil, the generic works just as well and is cheaper.
Review by Kennet
I'm 42 and I have had IBS for as long as I can remember. I have also had anal fissures, probably because of constipation with bouts of diarrhea. I went to my doctor two weeks ago because of problems with the anal fissure recurring. She recommended that I started taking Metamucil in the morning and evening. After a couple of days I started losing my appetite. After another couple of days I got seriously bloated. I quickly noticed that although I was taking fiber and drinking lots of water, my bowel movements did not seem to increase.
After 10 days I got really bad stomach pains in the form of cramps that would make me curl up. I also felt dizzy. I stopped taking Metamucil. It's now three days since I stopped and the stomach cramps have stopped. I now have really bad diarrhea - the Metamucil finally coming out? Unfortunately this diarrhea has worsened my anal fissure symptoms!
Review by Christine
I am 49 and I have suffered from IBS for as long as I remember. I was even hospitalized at age nine due to severe stomach cramps and running to any available bathroom as fast as my little legs could carry me. This is back in the 70's of course and they knew nothing then. I was diagnosed with the classic 'nervous stomach'. Fast forward a few decades and my life is run around my bowel habits. Can't go out too early in the morning, or if I do, don't go too far. I have been known to leave a full shopping cart in the supermarket aisle to run home to use the bathroom.
I have had two colonoscopies already...my insides were such a wreck I felt sure colon cancer was just around the corner. Yes, I know that one affliction doesn't tie into the other, but your mind goes a little crazy sometimes. I am personally familiar with every bathroom on the Garden State Parkway.
Last year one doctor recommended Metamucil and I immediately kicked that suggestion to the curb, remembering the awful taste and how sludgy it was from my childhood. It was so gross I couldn't get it down. Last month someone recommended it to me again, saying it's come a long way since the 70's. All right, I thought, I'm getting a little desperate. I'll try it. Wow! In an instant my life has been changed forever! It tastes great and dissolves completely. I take it twice daily and I can't believe the difference. I'm pain-free and not afraid to leave the house anymore. I will be taking this product for the rest of my life.
Review by Darlene
I have had trouble with constipation all my life, although I eat healthily and drink lots of water. I am not heavy, but I have had trouble losing those last 10 pounds. I read that Metamucil could aid in helping me lose weight by relieving my constipation. I tried the unflavored one as recommended. I was so disappointed! My constipation got worse, and I got terrible gas and pain that actually woke me up at night and befouled my entire home, not to mention caused embarrassment at work!
This went on for five days of me sticking with the Metamucil. At one point I considered going to hospital because the pain caused by gas was so severe! Finally in desperation I took a stimulant laxative - actually, one didn't do it. I had to take a second one the next day, and then the problem was finally resolved. I'm now taking acidophilus and I find that this a much gentler way to become regular. I would love to add more fiber as well, so I may try Fibercon next.
Review by Dale
I have tried many fiber supplements - Benefiber, Konsyl and others. Metamucil powder, coarse-milled, unflavored, one heaping teaspoon in 8oz of juice followed by 8oz of water every morning helps the constipation the best. Stick with it...the gas will get better. I would like to know how much people take each day. I think one teaspoon might not be enough since I still have to take milk of magnesia once or twice a week.
Review by Randy
About 15 years ago, in my late thirties, I was diagnosed with IBS. The doctor put me on one of the many meds out there for IBS. Three years later I had a follow-up colonoscopy. That doc suggested I try going off the meds and try Metamucil, three teaspoons every morning. I immediately found that I could eat most of the foods I'd had problems with, and I have been faithfully using Metamucil ever since. If I miss a couple days, I know it as soon as I eat something that would set it off. So it definitely works and I promote it to others I feel it may help.
Review by Sue
I have had IBS since I was a child. The painful and embarrassing attacks happened several times a month. I had constipation, severe cramping, vomiting and faintness followed by diarrhea. I had testing in my 20s and I was given muscle-relaxing drugs. They didn't help.
I finally had a colonoscopy at 50. The doctor told me to take Metamucil three times a day with meals. The nightmare is over! My life has changed completely. At times I feel some cramping coming on if I have eaten too many bread-type products, but it passes quickly. The doctor did say that I have a twisted colon, and I think this may have contributed to the IBS. It felt almost as if my digestion was so slow that I would get a back-up.
To think that extra fiber could make such a difference is amazing. I use a cheaper store brand. Make sure you compare the ingredients. I have found that if I include food containing bran during the day then things move even smoother so to speak. If you are an IBS sufferer please try this product. I wasted such a big part of my life needlessly suffering from this condition.
Review by Sanj
I have been suffering with terrible stomach cramps, alternating loose stools and constipation. I was tested for Crohn's, cancers, blockages, etc and the docs decided it was IBS. I was then advised to 'live with it'. I read the IBS Tales site and decided to try Metamucil and an acidophilus supplement, two or three times a day. I have been taking it every day for 12 weeks and my life has changed drastically. I feel 10 years younger (I'm only 35, but I used to feel like I was 45!) and I am more active, vibrant, and pleasant. Everyone I know is shocked by the turn around, and even more in disbelief when I tell them the cure cost me less than $35. I recommend this to anyone!
Review by Paul
I would get IBS with terrible pain and diarrhea in the afternoon every one or two weeks. Worrying over when it would strike was almost as bad as the condition itself. It would usually occur two days in a row, so on the second day I felt doomed. One day my wife suggested Metamucil, and a small dose each day with lunch solved the problem instantly. I have found that Benefiber works as well.
Review by Pete
I am a 53 year-old male. I was so sick from IBS symptoms for six years running, I lost 40lbs and was deathly afraid to eat anything. It affected my life so much I truly wished I would die. Doctors fumbled around trying to figure out how to make me feel better. Well believe it or not, one day my specialist was not in and I ended up seeing an intern that day. He told me I should try Metamucil and stay on it once or twice a day.
Well I'll tell you, even though I still can't eat too much of anything, I now have this thing under control and feel so much better. I have to take the liquid not the tablets. The liquid makes me a bit gassy, but if you have suffered like I have, what's a little gas among friends?
Review by Patricia
When I explained my symptoms to the doctor I was recommended to a specialist. We discussed the symptoms and he concluded that it was likely IBS. His suggestion was to eat a high fiber diet. I did this as much as I could but found it still must not have been enough as I was still having problems. One night it was like a light bulb went on and I thought I should try Metamucil. I'm not sure why I thought of it but it has improved my digestion 100%! I do not like the sugar-free version however as it seems to have an aftertaste. No worries though, as I like the regular just fine!
Review by Linda
I have had belly cramping since I was a child associated with bowel movements. For years, no-one knew what caused it. As an adult, many years ago, I was finally diagnosed with IBS. The only product I have found that has given me complete relief, with no more worries, are the Metamucil wafers - thank God for them. I can now go to a restaurant and not worry about having to find the bathroom before I leave, and I can go shopping without being hit with a bout of cramps in the store and having to find a bathroom. They have changed my life in many ways.
Review by Gaye
I was just diagnosed with IBS. I've had diarrhea and stomach cramps for over a year. My doctor did several tests, including a colonoscopy. He was not sure if I had colitis so he had me take Asacol for several weeks to see if it would help. It didn't help at all.
He then told me that I most likely have IBS and told me to take Metamucil. Wow! I noticed a difference right away! I had forgotten what a normal BM was like! I take the Metamucil (one capsule) every other day, otherwise it will make me constipated.
Review by Patricia
I have tried just about every product on the market for my IBS. The only product that has worked is Metamucil fiber wafers. The capsules and powder don't work, only the wafers. I have since prescribed this product for all of my IBS patients and every patient had the same remarkable, life-changing results!
Review by Matt
After being diagnosed with IBS and suffering immensely for about a year with constant attacks, I thought nothing would help me. I tried all the different drugs my doctor prescribed, but none of them worked. Finally, he suggested Metamucil. Almost right away my severe symptoms disappeared. I still get bad gas at times, and the rare mild attack, but I'm no longer in daily agonizing pain, and I haven't had an attack in almost nine months. I owe my new quality of life to Metamucil. Though when I miss a dose, the pain comes back almost right away.
Review by Chris
I have IBS since I was a teenager. I am now 39 and I have been taking Metamucil for at least 20 years or so. It helps a great deal and makes me regular. The gas is nothing and easy to pass. I have not had any IBS symptoms since I started using Metamucil over 20 years ago.
Review by Shawn
I was taking acacia fiber, but I tried Metamucil mainly because it was easier to get (any store instead of mail order). But it didn't work, in fact it made the constipation worse, and it seemed like the flow in my intestines worsened considerably.
Review by Lauren
I have suffered from IBS constipation since my teenage years. Metamucil has made me more regular but has worsened my gas. It is annoying and uncomfortable, but not as bad as the constipation I was experiencing, which nothing else seemed to help.
Review by Jackie
The Metamucil plus calcium capsules are way better than mixing the powder. They have helped with more regular and formed elimination. They have not controlled the gas or bloating which I am finding is mainly a problem when I am at work and definitely if I drink pop. It seems that any food I eat causes symptoms. But one or two capsules has made a difference and they are easy to use.
Review by Rita
I suffer from IBS with constipation and severe gas. Since I started taking Metamucil regularly I have been eliminating two or three times a day! I've never gone to the bathroom regularly, since I was a little girl. I am now 36 years old. It feels good to get the waste out of my system. Metamucil was a big help for me.
Review by Brack
I suffer from severe IBS with diarrhea. My symptoms started to improve after just one dose of Metamucil. I have been using Metamucil for five days now, and the diarrhea has resolved. I have not had any problems with increased gas. I would recommend Metamucil to anyone with IBS-diarrhea.
Review by Jes
I have IBS with constipation. I have taken Metamucil capsules for a week, and they have just caused a lot of gas, which exacerbates my condition. I'm definitely going to try Fibercon instead, since the manufacturers say that it is not digested by bacteria in the gut and thus does not cause gas.
Review by Steve
I tried Metamucil for IBS several different times, for at least a month. For me, if had virtually no effect, besides the fact that it was a pain to mix with a drink, rather than take a capsule. I have suffered mainly from gas and constipation for six years and haven't found a cure. That's just my take.
Do you suffer from IBS? Have you tried Metamucil? Please contact Sophie to send in your review.