Do not Take Herbs Prior to Surgery without Consulting a Doctor
When physicians ask patients to list the over-the-counter and prescription medications they take, herbal supplements rarely come to mind. You take herbs because they’re supposedly safe. Like many people you may never stop to consider the risks involved with these supplements that come from nature.
However, many herbs can actually cause complications during or after surgery. Make sure you share the entire list during your consultation, and do not start taking something new without first running it by your physician.
As an enzyme in pineapple, few people think of bromelain as posing any kind of problem during a surgery. It is actually used to help treat swelling following surgery or injury. It’s also useful in alleviating the pain of arthritis. However, it can affect how much medication your body absorbs when you take antibiotics, and it can also impede your body’s natural blood clotting abilities.
Many people take Echinacea to boost their immune system during cold and flu season. When combined with anesthesia, there is a slight risk of liver damage in those with a diseased liver.
People who suffer from migraines turn to feverfew for relief. It is also used to treat fever and irregular menstrual cycles. However, it does impact the speed at which the liver is able to process certain medications.
Garlic is used to lower blood pressure and reduce high cholesterol. If a person takes blood thinners, diabetes medications, or certain over-the-counter pain medications, there is a slight risk of increased bleeding during and after surgery.
Not only is ginger used to treat nausea, it is also used to flavor many beverages and meals. In large quantities, ginger may impede your blood’s ability to clot.
Older Americans rely on gingko for its memory boosting properties. It is risky during surgery because it lengthens the effects of anesthesia and sedatives. It can also slow the amount of time needed for your blood to clot, and that makes it harder for your incisions to heal.
Known for its energy boosting properties, some people take ginseng to help get them through the day. It is also found in many beverages, so always check labels before trying a new juice, smoothie, or tea. The problem with ginseng is that it can raise blood pressure and increase the heart rate.
Used mainly for muscle relaxation and anxiety, kava can interact with medications used during and after surgery. There is also an increased risk of damage to the liver.
Ma-huang (ephedra) is a popular herbal appetite suppressant. It is not a good mix during a surgery, as it reacts with some forms of anesthesia medications and leads to abnormal heart rhythms and high blood pressure.
Milk thistle is often used to reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies and to help relieve heartburn. It does react with many sedatives, such as valium, and can affect how well those medications work.
Though its effectiveness is questioned, a number of men take saw palmetto to help treat an enlarged prostate. The biggest risk with saw palmetto is that it can slow the blood’s ability to clot. This can lead to slower healing times following surgery and extra bleeding during the surgery.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is another herb used to help relieve anxiety and depression. It can interact with anesthesia and make it harder for you to wake up following surgery.
Many people rely on valerian to help calm anxiety and nervous tension. When paired with anesthesia, it can take longer for a patient to wake up. It can also affect your heart rhythm.
To request and appointment, please contact Skin Laser & Surgery Specialists of NY and NJ at (201) 299-4521.