Pres Rx: Herbal Supplements

Pres Rx: Herbal Supplements

If you are taking St. John's Wort or any other herbal supplements, you need to tell your doctor before heading into the operating room.  By not informing them before your surgery, those natural supplements can have dangerous consequences.

Finding natural ways to boost the body's defenses isn't always bad. But before you take those over-the- counter products, make sure you know what's in them before you go into surgery. Studies show that as much as 60 to 70 percent of patients don't disclose their herbal use with their physician. Some patients may think since they are natural supplements they are not considered medications.

Not reveling the use of herbal supplements prior to surgery can lead to some very serious complications as the herbs and anesthesia interact within your body. 

For example, ginkgo biloba and garlic can cause bleeding. Kava Kava, which is used for a sleep aid, can prolong sedation with some of the agents used in the operating room. St. John's Wort may cause instability of pulse and blood pressure during general anesthesia. Complications from herbal supplements can come from high doses, so it is important to discuss the dosage with your doctor as well. 

Be smart and prepared before heading into the operating room. The American Society of Anesthesiologists recommends that you discontinue herbal remedies at least two weeks before surgery.