IBS Tales Home > Treatment Reviews > IBS Supplements > Citrucel
Overall rating 4/5
based on 24 reviews
Citrucel is a fiber supplement made from methylcellulose. 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. Methylcellulose, the main ingredient in Citrucel, is a plant fiber which is non-allergenic and soluble. The manufacturers say that Citrucel fiber won't cause excess gas or bloating because the bacteria in the gut cannot break it down. Citrucel is gluten-free.
Although Citrucel may be 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 Citrucel. The standard variety comes in a tub and is in the form of orange-flavored powder, which is mixed into water and drunk. You can also buy Citrucel in a sugar-free powder version or in caplets. Be aware that the sugar-free version of Citrucel contains aspartame, an artificial sweetener which may cause some problems for very sensitive IBS sufferers. As with any fiber supplement, it is important to take sufficient water with the product. As Citrucel is simply made of fiber it can be taken long-term with no ill effects.
Citrucel side effects
The most common side effects of Citrucel are gas and stomach cramps.
REVIEWS OF CITRUCEL
Review by Em
I wanted to add my story just because I seem to have had a very different experience with Citrucel than most, so I thought another point of view on this product could be helpful to others (not that I would discourage anyone from giving it a try for themselves, of course).
I have IBS-D and unfortunately Citrucel was a bad, bad choice for me. I’ve tried Benefiber and Heather's acacia fiber but I noticed no appreciable improvement, nor worsening of my symptoms; they both seemed pointless. Metamucil caused gas and no improvement and Yerba Mate Soluble Fiber Caps caused an increase in gas and my stool was not loose but I had to go a lot every day I took it, so I stopped using it.
I read so many positive reviews about Citrucel for IBS-D, so I tried to give fiber another go. Unfortunately, Citrucel was awful for me. I started with the lowest possible dose of the tablets (two per day). I will say it caused zero gas, which was great. I took the pills a few hours before bed. Day one after taking them, I had one bout of very urgent, watery diarrhea. I was in a yoga class and had to basically kick someone out of the one bathroom the studio had to avert disaster.
Hoping it was a fluke or my system adjusting, I again took two Citrucel tablets that evening. On day two, I had two extremely urgent diarrhea attacks. I literally had to run into the bathroom at a Subway mid-order of a plain turkey sandwich and spent 20 minutes in there. I thank God no-one was in the bathroom or it would have been a devastating event.
In short, for me Citrucel was a distaster. I was really disappointed because every time I read positive reviews about something, I think perhaps I have finally found a reliable solution. It seems fiber supplements are just not going to help me.
I am going to stick to loosely following a low FODMAP/low residue diet. I’m not strict with the FODMAP thing, but I find it pretty easy to follow since I mostly eat soups, chicken or canned tuna and steel cut oats and rice. It hasn’t solved my problem, but it’s doable. Even though veggies are allowed in the low FODMAP diet, I have found it seems that mostly any fiber (supplement or whole food source) just doesn’t sit well with me.
I would encourage anyone to give Citrucel a try - just if you have IBS-D, I’d say do it when you know you have a few days where you can basically stay close to home and a bathroom while you see how it affects you. Also perhaps start at a dose even lower than the lowest recommended dose, maybe one pill or half a pill to start just in case?
Review by Kevin
I've suffered from IBS for several years now, with little to no relief from an array of products, diet modifications and lifestyle changes. My GI doc recommended Citrucel some time ago and at first I made a feeble attempt to integrate it because I hadn't had much luck with fiber supplements or bulking agents.
However, a few weeks ago I decided to give it a more definitive effort and now, lo and behold, my IBS-C has diminished significantly and I have regular as well as healthy bowel movements once a day. I feel great and while I hate to say it, this product has somewhat changed my life. I use the one with sugar added and take one heaping tablespoon every morning with one to two tall glasses of water (about a pint each). What a relief!
Review by Roe
I have had IBS for many years now. I get episodes of diarrhea and episodes of constipation. My gastroenterologist recommended Citrucel to help regulate my bowel movements. I've been taking two caplets every morning for a while now and I have gotten no relief. My bowel movements are still irregular. The only thing the Citrucel has done is cause me terrible stomach cramping and gas. How I wish I could find a solution to my IBS problem.
Review by Ada
I had finally had enough after three months of diarrhea which would happen every night, sometimes four or five or up to eight times a night. I was sent to a colon doctor and had all the tests but they found nothing. I called and said "Look! I need something!" so they prescribed Metamucil and Lomotil but they did not work. The stool would form a little but I still went all day.
I had run out of Metamucil so I got Citrucel intead. The next day I noticed a big change and the following day I felt like I had never had a problem. I got my energy and appetite back. I have had problems for 30 years which come and go. Now I take the Citrucel and if I feel I may need the Lomotil I take it too. It has changed my life and I am just in the first week.
Review by Bryn
I tried everything to get rid of IBS-D, and I really mean everything. It was not until I started on Citrucel that my IBS was over. A couple tips to make sure it works for you. I also got off my trigger foods, such as gluten. Now that I use Citrucel I can again enjoy pizza (gluten-free Dominos) and I enjoy cheddar cheese too. I have also added nuts, fruits, beans and a lot of vegetables back into my diet without any issues.
For a long time I tried Metamucil and once I got on Citrucel I realized that Metamucil was part of the problem, not the solution. Metamucil made me feel bloated and sped up transit times, not what one wants for IBS-D.
I take Citrucel three times a day, before breakfast, lunch and dinner. I take two heaping tablespoons in one full glass of water. Yes, I know that is more than the dosage on the label but it works great for me and does not take me over my recommended daily fiber intake. I take the one with sugar in it, not the sugar-free version which I have heard could be an issue for some people.
If I am in between meals and very hungry I eat something that is made of soluble fiber. I also try not to get too hungry by eating some soluble fiber snacks between meals. Now I am regular in the morning and feel good all day and night. I am hoping this review will help others.
Review by David
Just wanted to say that I've suffered from IBS-D for years and after reading countless blogs about IBS I tried Citrucel Smart Fiber Therapy in powder form. The results were immediate and I'm happy to say I am feeling much better. Hopefully with my change of diet this good feeling will last. I highly recommend Citrucel Smart Fiber Therapy.
Review by Mary
About six years ago a friend told me about how she uses Citrucel and has no digestive problems. At my over-60 age, I look back at a life spent cowering due to the pain of digestive problems. I always said that eating healthily made it worse. But I remembered my friend and her Citrucel.
Last week I got some of the powder. I was afraid to try it since my system is so sensitive, and I started with a tiny morning dose: only quarter of a teaspoon rather than a heaping tablespoon. And so far so good. I am very hopeful. Maybe I will get my life back. I wonder why no doctors, friends, nurses or relatives imparted this information to me, and why Citrucel does not heavily advertise this on television.
Review by Chris
Citrucel has been a lifesaver for me. I have battled the horrible cramping and diarrhea for years, not knowing what was going on with me. Tests were always inconclusive. After searching the internet, desperate for answers, I came across the recommendation of Citrucel. I take it in the orange-flavored powder form and I actually like the taste.
I have had unbelievable results with this. I no longer get the cramping and bouts of diarrhea that would come on in the middle of my work day (try being a teacher and having an episode in the middle of class, usually after lunch). I was even able to take a three-week road trip with no episodes. I drink a glass (8oz) every morning and evening (not necessarily at the same time of day) and I can't rave enough about the results.
If you are desperate and feel like there is no hope, try this. It seems to work for people who have IBS-D but not so often for IBS-C sufferers. Try it!
Review by Sandi
My doctor prescribed Citrucel powder for my diarrhea-dominant IBS. Even though I'm diabetic, I purchased and used the orange flavor which contains sugar. It was like a miracle for me - no diarrhea or cramping at all and greatly reduced gas production after just two doses. (My doc prescribed it twice a day for a week, then every day for a week, then at least five times a week from then on. I take it daily.)
When I ran out of the original orange flavor I tried the sugar-free version. Within 24 hours the gas and cramping returned worse than ever. After one dose of the orange flavor, the cramping stopped and the gas reduced greatly. After two more doses, the IBS was under control again.
I compared the contents of the two types, and they are different formulations. They didn't just substitute artificial sweetener for sugar. I don't know if the different formulation didn't work for me or if it was the artificial sweetener they used, but I do know that one works. That's the one I'm sticking with.
Review by Jim
Ever since I can remember, as far back as my teen years (I'm 45 now), I've had IBS...the bloated feelings, and always running to the restroom at the worst possible moments. All my adult life I've suffered through this and finally a few weeks ago I thought on a whim, why not try Citrucel? I was worried at first that it wouldn't work and I'd probably end up worse off than when I started taking it. Well, let me tell you, this stuff has been a revelation to me in more ways than one. I no longer look like I'm seven months pregnant, and I don't feel like I have to camp out in the restroom anymore. This is what normal should be and I finally feel great! Heck I've even lost weight. Thank you for reading this.
Review by M
The nurse practitioner at my GI's office recommended Citrucel to me for excessive flatulence, and it is the most effective treatment of any that I have tried. While it is not 100% effective at totally eradicating this problem, with regular use it does provide substantial relief. No OTC remedy for gas works as well, including charcoal pills. I have to say that it appears to work almost immediately, too. It takes less than a week for you to notice a difference. On the other hand, acacia fiber doesn't work nearly as soon, or nearly as effectively.
Review by Dale
I bought the orange-flavored Citrucel because it was the only thing I could find. I tried it for five days. One day after starting it I stopped having bowel movements. After four days of no relief I resorted to milk of magnesia. Thank goodness, it finally worked.
I threw away the Citrucel and went back to Unifiber. Unfortunately, this product does cause gas but doesn't cause IBS-C to be worse. As some of the comments state, maybe it was the artificial sweetener in the Citrucel. I may try it again if I can find the unflavored kind.
Review by Chris
This stuff really works! I was skeptical, since I had tried Metamucil once and it seemed to make me worse. However, I was having a severe attack of IBS-D and thought 'Why not?' I started on the Citrucel powder, and within a day or two I was feeling much, much better. I also cut way back on my insoluble fiber and started eating plain French bread for breakfast at the same time, so that may have helped, too. Anyway, I currently use the Citrucel powder first thing in the morning, and then again in the evening. I might add on some of the chews at lunch, but I can't swallow big pills so I don't think I'll use the caplets. Citrucel, along with the diet changes, has really made my life easier! I have been able to go on longer drives, to the mall, to see friends etc without having to worry about trying to find a bathroom or having a severe attack.
Review by Lynnae
Citrucel was the product I chose for my 15 year-old daughter when she was recently diagnosed with IBS. I considered psyllium, but wasn't about to introduce something that could cause gas when she is already in pain. The caplets have been a Godsend because she doesn't like to drink medicines or anything 'weird' - she can take these with water. So far, she is seeing some improvement - we're building her up to the recommended intake of soluble fiber, and began with two pills twice a day. It is going to be a journey to get her pain-free, and Citrucel is helping.
Review by Bette
Like others on this site I have had very positive results with Citrucel. I have had IBS my whole life and in the past few years it had gotten very bad, almost to the point where I was frightened to leave my house (not a great thing when one has to go to work). I now take Citrucel (two tablets each time) whenever I eat out, feel my belly is not right or have to spend a whole day out and will not be near bathrooms easily. I can repeat this up to three or four times a day. That and rarely eating fats or drinking alcohol has helped me tremendously. I also take VSL3 which is a probiotic each day. I now have this totally under control and feel like a normal person again. I feel the Citrucel has a lot to do with this.
Review by Jocelyn
I was told repeatedly to use Metamucil for extra fiber but found it ineffective. I then found a suggestion for Citrucel on an IBS support site. It has been a HUGE help. The thing is I, too, often forget about it until I go through my list of 'what I need to do' when I get a flare. Since I have had two flares in the three months that I have gotten back to the States, I am planning on sticking to the added sugar version (I cannot tolerate the artificial sweetener) and will report back the results. Overall, I have found Citrucel to be a lifesaver.
Review by Craig
Just like several people who have posted their comments below, I was told repeatedly over the years by my primary care physician to take Citrucel - the sugar-free type, due to my diabetes - to make my life with IBS easier to deal with. (This in addition to continuing to take dicyclomine before meals, three times daily.) But, as with others who have posted, I put it off repeatedly.
Recently, with the passing of my mother, a process that took some weeks in a nursing home, and the emotional toll that took, my IBS became a roller coaster of diarrhea and constipation, huge quantities of gas, and some incontinence. Once again, my physician told me to take Citrucel. I located the big plastic jar of Citrucel when I got home, added water, and thus began my newly-acquired freedom from the worst of the IBS symptoms. It's made a really positive difference, and it's been a big help to me. Now I know what regularity means.
Review by Abby
I have tried to get my IBS-D under control for many years. I have just tried Citrucel and it seems to be the answer, I take it after I eat and it works! I would recommend it!
Review by Ione
This is great stuff! I had earlier tried Metamucil which left me as constipated as ever and feeling even more bloated and bulked up. Because of that bad experience, I avoided Citrucel. Despite the side effects, my diet is high in fiber because the healthy food I like is that way. I figured I was probably getting enough bulk and didn't need a supplement if it just compounded the bad side effects of all those beans, grains and veggies in my diet. It didn't help that I thought Citrucel only came in the artificial Tang flavor.
Finally, after a few years and more urging by my doctor, I decided to try Citrucel. When I looked for it I discovered that the powdered version comes in an unflavored form which (unlike Metamucil) has absolutely no effect on the flavor of whatever beverage I add it to. After putting it in my breakfast fruit juice for a little while I had regular, softer stools that came out without effort. It didn't add to my usual gas or feeling of bloating (the cramps had already been taken care of by low-dose amitriptyline).
In the meantime my husband has had problems with stools that are too loose and hard to control. I suggested that he try Citrucel and voila! His stools were no longer so loose and he had better control over them. Citrucel became our breakfast ritual, including when we traveled. We even enjoyed our smooth, thickened breakfast juice. Then the unflavored Citrucel suddenly disappeared from all the stores in our area. The store clerks couldn't say why, but searching the net I came up with one explanation (unverified), which is that there had been production problems with the clear Citrucel and so it was discontinued and taken off the market.
The flavored Citrucels have such a wretched taste that it would be hard to stick with them, so we tried the tablets. They turned out to be more trouble than the powdered form because one dose has less effect, so more doses have to be remembered, and taken, across the day. Fortunately, searching for the unflavored Citrucel on the net, I discovered that it is available online from Drugstore and CVS. I highly recommend the powdered form of Citrucel. At least for my husband and myself, it worked on our two distinctly different problems.
Review by K
After getting my gut in somewhat of an order I needed fiber because of constipation. After adding Citrucel all my IBS cramps came back. I have had three flares which I finally had gotten under control since taking the Citrucel.
Review by Vickie
I have IBS and Crohn's Disease, and for years I have suffered from diarrhea, cramping, bloating, gas, and in the last year constipation has reared its ugly head at me. When my doctor suggested Citrucel I passed it off as merely a suggestion and paid no attention. When he finally became irritated and TOLD me to take Citrucel I decided to give it a try.
The diarrhea has stopped and only rarely do I have an occurrence. I can now eat more foods than I was able to before. I am still trying to decide between the sugar-free and the regular Citrucel. I have suffered from these conditions for 33 years and this is the first time I have had the freedom to eat cheese and drink cokes and coffee without expecting a bout of diarrhea in the next hour or so. I try to tell my friends who suffer from similar symptoms to just give it a try, but some are like I was - skeptical. Well, I am not skeptical any longer.
Review by Terry
I have had IBS for 10 years, since having my gallbladder removed. I have spent years with the cramping, constipation and diarrhea that IBS sufferers know so well. I have been told to take fiber many times but imagined that it would only irritate my stomach.
I finally followed the directions of my new GI doctor who promised he could cure my IBS in a month if I would take Citrucel one or two times a day. I complied and he was absolutely right. I rarely have IBS symptoms since taking Citrucel. I have regular bowel movements and no more stomach cramps. It is so worth a try. It changed my life...Good luck to all of you.
Review by Jessica
Since my teenage years I have suffered from IBS, mainly the constipation type. Numerous doctors kept telling me to take more fiber. Of course, I did, but nothing worked. In fact, the extra fiber was causing extra pain, but no elimination, just excess gas and bloating. I eliminated so many trigger foods, tried so many specialty diets, but nothing worked.
Finally about six years ago, a doctor angrily yelled at me 'Just take some Citrucel'. Having tried Metamucil, and all the others with no relief, I was skeptical. However, I tried it and haven't looked back since. I take it twice a day (morning and night) and my life has changed so much for the better. I don't wake up in the morning wondering if I'll be in excruciating pain for the rest of the day. My emotional outlook on life is much better and I don't worry about having a social life. Also, I'm married now and have two children. I never thought that would be possible before, because IBS stunted me in so many ways.
I don't like the sugar-free Citrucel. It has aspartame, which can counteract the effects the IBS sufferer is trying to achieve. Aspartame and many sugar substitutes do more harm than good.
Review by Corn
Until about two years ago I was a sporadic IBS sufferer. I would only get diarrhea if I had a college exam, interview, etc. Then it would go away after going to the bathroom once. Since October 2003, I was getting the diarrhea at least once a week, sometimes more often. I went to a gastro doctor and he told me he was confused by my symptoms as I was also considered constipated as I did not go that often. There was nothing in my blood that he could detect and no foods that caused this.
He suggested taking Citrucel daily. This helped some, but sometimes I would still get the diarrhea, although less often. I went to my primary care doctor, and right from the start she said I have IBS and that I should continue with the Citrucel as much as I needed daily, and use Imodium for those times I knew I would be nervous. This has helped a lot! I only take two Citrucel pills in the morning and Imodium only every other month if that. I do feel Citrucel has helped me.
Do you suffer from IBS? Have you tried Citrucel? Please contact Sophie to send in your review.