Why am I Pooping So Much?- VyWhy

Last updated on 2022-03-29 12:58:29


The number of times you poop each day is influenced by various factors. Learn more about possible causes of frequent bowel movements & how to treat.

Your bowel habits are influenced by a variety of different things, some of which you may not even realize. The number of times you poop each day can vary, and everyone has different bowel habits. Normal bowel movements can range anywhere from three times a day to four times a week.

It's important to be aware of any changes in your regular bowel habits. Most people have a "rhythm" or general bowel schedule. If you find yourself running to the bathroom more than usual, that’s something to take note of.

In this article, we’ll review the possible causes of frequent pooping, and when you should call your healthcare provider.

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Changes in bowel habits can be caused by a variety of things, and it may not always be clear what the cause is. Reviewing any changes in behavior can help you figure out the issue.

Changes in your diet can affect your pooping habits. Too much fiber can cause more bowel movements, as well as very high-fat meals.

When you exercise, your colon responds to movement. Your bowel muscles contract, helping to move bowel movements along.

Aerobic exercise like walking has also been found to increase healthy gut bacteria, contributing to regular bowel movements.

If you’ve been pretty sedentary and then start an exercise routine, it’s common to start to see changes in your bowel habits.

Drinking alcohol speeds up the digestive process and increases colon contractions. This causes more frequent bowel movements. This also means your body also can’t absorb fluid, making your stool looser and more watery.

Stress can cause constipation, frequent bowel movements, or diarrhea.

It can also change the physiology of the intestine. There are neurons in the bowel that communicate with the brain. Stress affects the neurons in the bowel, which is why so many people have stomach aches, diarrhea, or the urge to poop when stressed.

Stress is also linked to changes in gut bacteria, which can impact bowel habits.

Hormones affect gastrointestinal (GI) function, and monthly fluctuations can cause different GI symptoms, including diarrhea and frequent bowel movements.

Diarrhea is defined as loose and watery stools being passed at least three times a day. It can be acute or chronic, and acute diarrhea is a common occurrence.

Acute diarrhea lasts for one or two days, and gets better on its own, whereas chronic diarrhea lasts between two and four weeks.

Diarrhea can be caused by infections, medications, food allergies or intolerances, surgery, or digestive tract issues, including:

Sometimes medications can cause frequent bowel movements and even diarrhea. These medications include:

If you suspect your frequent poops are the result of taking medication, call the healthcare provider that prescribed it to you. The dosage may need to be adjusted or a different drug may need to be used. If the medication is over-the-counter, ask your healthcare provider if you should continue taking it.

Various diseases and disorders are associated with frequent bowel movements. If you’re pooping more than usual and not sure why, your healthcare provider might run some tests to check for any underlying causes.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a cluster of symptoms that occur at the same time. It's a functional GI disorder, which means it’s related to issues with how your brain and gut work together.

 Symptoms include abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, diarrhea, constipation, or a mix of all three.

IBS affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States.

Celiac disease is a chronic digestive and immune disorder. It’s triggered by eating gluten, and damages the small intestine, along with other organs. It can cause diarrhea, constipation, loose stool, and foul-smelling stool.

Along with an exam and taking your medical and family history, a healthcare provider can diagnose celiac disease through blood tests and a biopsy of the small intestine during an endoscopy.

Celiac disease affects at least 3 million Americans.

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory GI disorder. It's a common disorder, and can significantly impact quality of life.

Although it can affect any part of your digestive tract from the mouth to the anus, it most often affects the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine.

Along with fatigue, fever, joint pain, and nausea, a symptom of Crohn’s disease is diarrhea.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that in 2015, 1.3 % of adults in the United States (about 3 million) were diagnosed with either Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis (UC).

If you've been diagnosed with a disease that affects your bowel frequency or habits, follow the treatment plan that your healthcare provider has developed with you.

Dietary management is often part of the treatment for the above diseases.

If the cause of your frequent pooping is a result of lifestyle choices and not due to an underlying illness, there are several things you can do to curtail symptoms, including:

  • Stay hydrated.
  • Avoid foods that seem to be triggering an upset stomach or loose stool. Sometimes, bland foods might be best for a bit, like bananas, rice, toast, and applesauce.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks.
  • Avoid dairy products and spicy foods.
  • Stop or minimize caffeine consumption.

Stress can cause frequent bowel movements and exacerbate existing GI disorders. Learning tools for stress management can help you reduce the impact stress has on your body and mind. This may include yoga, meditation, relaxation techniques, and more.

Frequent bowel movements aren't always preventable. But knowing what triggers your body can help you make choices that reduce the likelihood of pooping too much.

Eating a healthy diet rich in fiber and minimizing processed foods, as well as staying hydrated, can help regulate your bowels. Staying active with physical activity can also help to regulate bowel habits.

If you’ve noticed changes in your bowel habits and aren’t sure why to talk with your healthcare provider. It may help to keep a journal of your bowel habits and diet to share with them so they have more information about what might be going on. If you find yourself in the bathroom more than not, or it’s interfering with your daily life, see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

If you’ve tried multiple things to help reduce your bowel frequency to no avail, call your healthcare provider for an appointment.

Everyone’s pooping habits are different. It's important to notice any changes in your bowel habits and talk with your healthcare provider about them. There are a variety of things that can cause you to poop more, so don’t panic if you realize you’re spending a little more time in the bathroom than usual. Taking stock of any lifestyle or dietary changes can help you figure out what’s going on. If you’re still concerned about these changes, call your healthcare provider.

Frequent bowel movements or changes in bowel habits can impact your life and in some cases, impair the quality of your life. It’s important to see your healthcare provider if you aren’t aware of a cause for these changes. Finding out the reason behind the frequent pooping can help you get the appropriate treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the normal number of times to poop each day?

    Normal can vary across individuals. People often have a pattern of what’s right for them. Typically, it can range from anywhere from three times a day to three times a week. Some people may not poop every day.

  • Why do I poop so much even when I don't eat much?

    Some GI disorders cause bulky and frequent stools even when you don’t eat a lot. Even without a GI disorder, what you eat has a lot to do with your stools. If you eat a high-fiber diet, even if you don’t eat a lot, you may have frequent bowel movements because of the fiber.

  • Does pooping a lot mean your metabolism is high?

    Maybe, but what it really reflects is the speed of your digestive system. Metabolism and digestion are two separate and different processes. Metabolism is how the body uses the energy absorbed from digesting food; digestion is how the body breaks down and excretes food in the digestive tract.

Carvedilol: Uses, Side Effects, Dosages, Precautions

Capsules and tablets of carvedilol come in doses of 3.125 milligrams (mg), 6.25 mg, 12.5 mg, and 25 mg. The recommended starting dosage for patients with congestive heart …

Coreg (carvedilol) is a medication commonly used to treat individuals with congestive heart failure and to lower the blood pressure of those with hypertension. It may also be used for other issues, such as arrhythmias. Carvedilol is a beta blocker, meaning it stops the hormone adrenaline from working within the heart and blood vessels. Due to the chemical makeup of this medication, an emergency dose of carvedilol is given to those who have had a heart attack. This is meant to reduce the risk of fatal side effects and prevent further injury. Carvedilol, which is sold under the brand name Coreg, comes in tablet and capsule form. There is an extended-release version available, called Coreg CR.

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The two primary approved uses of carvedilol include slowing the progression of congestive heart failure and lowering blood pressure in those who have hypertension. Another approved use is a dosage administered immediately following a heart attack, or myocardial infarction.

This medication stops certain hormones from working in the heart, allowing the cardiovascular system to maintain a regular and balanced state. This balance decreases the overall strain on the heart.

The intensity with which carvedilol works is dependent on whether or not it is taken with a meal. Healthcare providers may educate patients taking carvedilol to take their dose with food to decrease the risk of an unsafe drop in blood pressure, also called hypotension. Carvedilol may also cause orthostatic hypotension, a drop in blood pressure when going from supine to standing. The half-life of carvedilol is typically seven to 10 hours after it is taken, and it takes about four half lives to be fully eliminated from the body (about 28-40 hours).

An off-label use of carvedilol is for the treatment of migraines and vascular headaches. It is known that carvedilol acts on the hormone levels impacting the heart, but these hormone levels also play a role elsewhere in the body.

Decreasing these hormone levels impacts the flow of blood through blood vessels everywhere in the body. By decreasing the intensity of blood flow, especially near the head and brain, the frequency and intensity of migraines may be lessened.

While the primary approved uses of carvedilol relate to the treatment of the heart, there are other heart conditions which carvedilol has off-label uses for. The use of carvedilol for these purposes has minimal supporting research. One of these off-label uses is for both chronic, or stable, chest pain and acute, or unstable, chest pain.

Other off-label uses of carvedilol include different types of irregular heartbeats, including atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation.

Minimal research has been done regarding the effectiveness of off-label use of carvedilol in children under 18 with congestive heart failure. However, there are dosing guidelines for using carvedilol in children. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist for the most current recommendations.

All patients should undergo a thorough examination and medical history before being prescribed any medication. A patient should inform their healthcare provider of all their current medications, including vitamins, herbs, and supplements, along with their allergies and past experiences with medications.

Carvedilol is typically a first-line medication, as it is often tried first to treat cardiovascular conditions. For this reason, a medical history is a very important precursor to determining if you are a good fit to take carvedilol.

Be sure to inform your healthcare provider if you have:

  • Any issues with blood flow
  • Diabetes
  • Pulmonary conditions such as asthma
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Low blood pressure
  • A thyroid condition

If your healthcare provider is informed of any of these conditions during your medical history, further examination and testing will likely be needed. Examination may include blood tests to determine liver and kidney health. As with many medications, carvedilol should not be taken by individuals who have severely impaired liver function.

The results of these and other tests will determine if you are able to take carvedilol. There are no known differences between the brand-name and generic versions of carvedilol.

Carvedilol is not recommended for:

  • Children
  • Individuals who have bronchial asthma
  • Patients with severe liver disease or congestive heart failure, which requires the use of intravenous therapy
  • Patients with a risk of anaphylactic reactions or any other sensitivities to beta blockers
  • People with significant bradycardia or high-grade AV block

Caution is advised in pregnant and breastfeeding women, but there is limited human data.

For people with thyroid conditions, kidney or liver disease, and heart failure: Carvedilol can mask an increased heart rate in patients with thyroid conditions and should be used with caution. Patients who have kidney disease, liver disease or acute heart failure along with second- or third-degree AV blocks should not use carvedilol unless they have a pacemaker. Otherwise, carvedilol can cause excessive fluid retention and a buildup of the drug in the heart.

Patients taking beta blockers before surgery of any kind should exercise caution, as carvedilol can interact negatively with anesthesia causing heart failure in some cases.

Patients with psoriasis, depression, or myasthenia gravis can experience an increase in symptoms once taking beta blockers, including a spread of psoriasis, muscle weakness, and double vision. Patients with depression experience this due to the impact beta blockers have on the brain.

Older patients should take carvedilol with caution. The body’s ability to eliminate diminishes with age and carvedilol may not be absorbed properly, causing a buildup in the heart. Patients with diabetes and heart failure should be monitored carefully when taking carvedilol, as this increases the chance of worsening hyperglycemia. Carvedilol is also known to mask symptoms of hypoglycemia, which may be dangerous if not corrected quickly.

Drugs which can have major negative interactions with carvedilol include:

  • Amifostine and ceritinib (chemotherapy drugs)
  • Apixaban and betrixaban (blood thinners)
  • Amiodarone and bretylium (heart medications)
  • Aspirin and lidocaine (pain relievers)
  • Cabergoline (dopamine promoter)
  • Clonidine (sedative)
  • Colchicine (anti-inflammatory)

There are other drug interactions to be aware of, making it important to consult your healthcare provider regarding the medications you are currently taking.

Other beta blockers with similar effects as carvedilol include:

  • Acebutolol
  • Atenolol
  • Bisoprolol
  • Metoprolol
  • Nadolol
  • Nebivolol
  • Propanolol
  • Timolol

While dosage is individualized based on the patient’s medical history, tolerance, and other medical conditions, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the manufacturer have developed standard doses to guide practice. Capsules and tablets of carvedilol come in doses of 3.125 milligrams (mg), 6.25 mg, 12.5 mg, and 25 mg.

The recommended starting dosage for patients with congestive heart failure is 3.125 milligrams twice daily for two weeks. This dosage may be increased depending on patient tolerance. Obese patients may receive a maximum dosage up to 50 mg twice daily.

Starting dosage for patients who recently experienced a heart attack is 6.25 mg twice daily for 10 days with dosage adjusted depending on patient tolerance.

The recommended dosage for patients with hypertension is 6.25 mg twice daily for seven to 14 days. Adjustments will be made as needed depending on patient tolerance.

All listed dosages are according to the drug manufacturer. Be sure to check your prescription and talk to your healthcare provider to ensure you are taking the right dose for your situation.

Consult your healthcare provider regarding whether or not to take carvedilol with a meal. Your healthcare provider may recommend carvedilol is taken with a meal to decrease its effects in the case of congestive heart failure. Carvedilol should be taken with enough water to ensure the capsule or tablet is swallowed.

If you miss a dose, it is advisable to take the missed dose as soon after it should have been taken. However, if you miss a dose and it is already time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue on with your regular dosing schedule.

If double doses are taken, a patient may experience dizziness or faintness and should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Carvedilol should be stored below 86 degrees Fahrenheit in a tight, light-resistant container preferably in a cool, dark place.

Capsules contain powdered medicine within the external covering. Individuals who have difficulty swallowing the capsule may be instructed by their healthcare provider to open the capsule and sprinkle this powder over their food.

As with all medications, carvedilol may cause side effects. Your healthcare provider will let you know what to expect, but always be sure to ask questions if you have them.

Common side effects of carvedilol include:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Swelling of legs
  • Pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Weight gain

Less common side effects include:

  • Weakness or tingling on one side of the body
  • Lower back or stomach pain
  • Numbness and tingling of the hands, feet, or lips
  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Pounding and slow heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech
  • Temporary blindness

These side effects may indicate a more serious problem which should immediately be resolved by emergency care and notifying your healthcare provider.

Carvedilol has a black box warning, which is placed by the FDA on medications with effects which are potentially severe.

This drug should not be stopped without first consulting your healthcare provider. Stopping this drug without a healthcare provider’s direction could result in any of the severe side effects listed, including an increase in symptoms which have gotten better since taking carvedilol. A healthcare provider will provide direction for adjusting doses as needed and with close monitoring.

Carvedilol is best avoided in people who have taken cocaine, because the combination can result in increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and an increased risk of both stroke and heart attack.

Do not take extended-release carvedilol within two hours of consuming alcohol, as this can impact the rate of absorption and cause an increase in cardiovascular symptoms.

Benfotiamine: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, and …

Benfotiamine is a dietary supplement that is a derivative of thiamine (also known as vitamin B1), a B vitamin found in a variety of foods including legumes, nuts and seeds, wheat germ, fortified grain products such as bread, cereal, pasta, rice, and flour, and some meat and fish. Since benfotiamine is fat-soluble and appears to have hig…

Benfotiamine is a dietary supplement. It is used to treat diabetic neuropathy (nerve pain) and Alzheimer's disease.

Benfotiamine is a lab-created version of thiamine (vitamin B1). Your body absorbs it better than natural B1. So some people use it to raise thiamine levels.

This article looks at the uses and possible side effects of benfotiamine, how to take it, and what to look for when buying it.

This video has been medically reviewed by Anju Goel, MD, MPH.

Thiamine deficiency is rare in the United States.

You may be at risk if your diet is:

  • High in refined carbohydrates (like white rice)
  • High in unfortified white flour products
  • Low in whole grains

Medical conditions that may put you at risk include:

Regular strenuous exercise also raises your risk.

Low thiamine can lead to nerve, heart, and brain conditions. Benfotiamine can boost thiamin levels and help prevent these effects.

Some research suggests benfotiamine may block the harmful effects of glycotoxins. Those are found in high-fat meats.

Glycotoxins trigger inflammation. They may also speed up some aging-related degenerative diseases.

This supplement is also touted as a treatment for:

Little research exists to support these uses.

Some research supports its use for diabetic neuropathy and Alzheimer's disease.

Diabetes involves high blood sugar levels, which can damage blood vessels and cause diabetic neuropathy.

Symptoms of neuropathy include:

  • Pain or diminished sensation in the feet
  • Burning or shooting pains in the lower legs
  • Balance and coordination problems

In one study, people with type-2 diabetes took 1,050 milligrams (mg) of benfotiamine a day. Then they ate meals high in glycotoxins. Benfotiamine appeared to protect against the glycotoxins' effects.

Another study tested two doses of benfotiamine (300 and 600 mg a day). Researchers noted a small improvement in neuropathy symptoms. The higher dose was more effective.

But not all research has been positive.

  • A short study found it didn't significantly lower the impact of high blood sugars.
  • A two-year study on type-1 diabetes found no significant effects on nerve function or inflammation.

More research is needed before any firm conclusions can be drawn.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a degenerative brain disease.

Symptoms include:

  • Progressive memory loss
  • Poor judgment
  • Misplacing things
  • Getting lost
  • Mood and personality changes

AD symptoms are believed to involve abnormal clumps of proteins in the brain. They're called amyloid plaques. Those features may be linked to processes in your body that rely on thiamine. But thiamine supplements have been found ineffective for slowing disease progression or reducing symptoms.

Benfotiamine drew attention because it's easier for your body to use. In an animal study, it appeared to lower numbers of amyloid plaques and improve brain function.

In a small 2016 study, people with AD took 300 mg of benfotiamine a day for 18 months. They all had some cognitive improvement.

These results suggest benfotiamine may be a helpful AD treatment. More research is needed, though.

Little is known about the long-term safety of benfotiamine.

It may cause side effects such as:

  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Body odor
  • Decrease in blood pressure

A 2017 review reported no side effects when benfotiamine was given to people with various conditions. Doses ranged from 300 mg to 900 mg per day.

In one study, several people reported nausea and indigestion when they reached about 7,000 mg a day.

While your body converts benfotiamine into thiamine, the effects may not be the same.

The safety of supplements hasn't been established for: 

  • Pregnant women
  • Nursing mothers
  • Children
  • Those with medical conditions
  • Those taking medications

Benfotiamine contains sulfur. Don't take it if you have a sulfur sensitivity.

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

No safe or effective dosage recommendations have been established for benfotiamine as a treatment for any condition.

Some neuropathy and AD studies have used dosages between 300 mg and 600 mg. Others have been as high as 1,050 daily mg without significant problems.

If you want to try benfotiamine supplements, talk to your healthcare provider. They can guide you on whether it's safe for you and guide you regarding dosage.

While few side effects have been reported, extremely high doses aren't advised.

Benfotiamine supplements are widely available online and in stores specializing in supplements.

When choosing one, review the Supplement Facts label. It'll tell you about any fillers, binders, or flavorings. It also says how much of the active ingredient it contains.

Look for a seal of approval from a third-party quality-testing organization. A major one is ConsumerLab. This ensures the product contains the listed ingredients and no harmful contaminants. A seal of approval doesn't guarantee the product's safety or effectiveness.

Benfotiamine can treat thiamine deficiency. It may help with diabetic neuropathy and Alzheimer's disease. More research is needed, though.

Side effects are possible, but they've been rare in studies. Official dosages aren't established. Check with your healthcare provider before taking benfotiamine.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much benfotiamine should I take for diabetes?

    Healthcare providers may suggest between 150 mg and 300 mg of benfotiamine twice a day. It may decrease pain from diabetic neuropathy. More research is needed to be sure it's safe and effective.

  • What are the benefits of benfotiamine?

    Benfotiamine supplements help increase thiamine (vitamin B1) levels. Thiamine is key to a healthy nervous system. Some research suggests it helps with diabetes-related nerve damage and the cognitive declines of Alzheimer's.

Thanks for your feedback!

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  1. Whitfield KC, Bourassa MW, Adamolekun B, et al. Thiamine deficiency disorders: diagnosis, prevalence, and a roadmap for global control programs. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2018;1430(1):3-43. doi:10.1111/nyas.13919

  2. Stirban A, Negrean M, Stratmann B, et al. Benfotiamine prevents macro- and microvascular endothelial dysfunction and oxidative stress following a meal rich in advanced glycation end products in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2006;29(9):2064-71. doi:10.2337/dc06-0531

  3. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. What is diabetic neuropathy?

  4. Stracke H, Gaus W, Achenbach U, Federlin K, Bretzel RG. Benfotiamine in diabetic polyneuropathy (BENDIP): results of a randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical study. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2008;116(10):600-5. doi:10.1055/s-2008-1065351

  5. Alkhalaf A, Kleefstra N, Groenier KH, et al. Effect of benfotiamine on advanced glycation endproducts and markers of endothelial dysfunction and inflammation in diabetic nephropathy. PLoS ONE. 2012;7(7):e40427. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040427

  6. Fraser DA, Diep LM, Hovden IA, et al. The effects of long-term oral benfotiamine supplementation on peripheral nerve function and inflammatory markers in patients with type 1 diabetes: a 24-month, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Diabetes Care. 2012;35(5):1095-7. doi:10.2337/dc11-1895

  7. National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging. What are the signs of Alzheimer's disease?

  8. Pan X, Gong N, Zhao J, et al. Powerful beneficial effects of benfotiamine on cognitive impairment and beta-amyloid deposition in amyloid precursor protein/presenilin-1 transgenic mice. Brain. 2010;133(Pt 5):1342-51. doi:10.1093/brain/awq069

  9. Pan X, Chen Z, Fei G, et al. Long-term cognitive improvement after benfotiamine administration in patients with alzheimer's disease. Neurosci Bull. 2016;32(6):591-596. doi:10.1007/s12264-016-0067-0

  10. Korah MC, Pv JR, Rajeswari R, Behanan A, Paul EP, Sivakumar T. Adverse effects and side effects on vitamin therapy: a review. Asian J Pharm and Clin Res. 2017. 10(5).19-26. doi:10.22159/ajpcr.2017.v10i5.17014

  11. Meador K, Loring D, Nichols M, et al. Preliminary findings of high-dose thiamine in dementia of Alzheimer's type. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 1993;6(4):222-9. doi:10.1177/089198879300600408

  12. Pai ST. Peripheral neuropathy. In: Integrative Medicine. Elsevier; 2018:120-132.e8. doi:10.1016/B978-0-323-35868-2.00013-X

  13. Raj V, Ojha S, Howarth FC, Belur PD, Subramanya SB. Therapeutic potential of benfotiamine and its molecular targets. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. 2018;22(10):3261-3273. doi:10.26355/eurrev_201805_15089

Additional Reading
Bryonia: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, Interactions

Bryonia (B. alba), also known as bryony, is a plant commonly used as a homeopathic remedy for headaches, muscle pain, cold or flu symptoms, coughs, nausea, and constipation. It’s also sometimes used to provide relief for the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis, cancer, liver disease, and metabolic disorders. Tom Meeker / Getty ...

Bryonia (B. alba), also known as bryony, is a plant commonly used as a homeopathic remedy for headaches, muscle pain, cold or flu symptoms, coughs, nausea, and constipation. It’s also sometimes used to provide relief for the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis, cancer, liver disease, and metabolic disorders. 

Tom Meeker / Getty Images

The Bryonia plant is in the gourd family. Native to Northern and Eastern Europe, this perennial climbing vine has white flowers, red berries, and a thick, fleshy root with a strong, bitter odor.

The Bryonia plant is toxic when consumed, and homeopathic remedies should only be prepared by certified homeopathic practitioners. The root is the part of the plant used in homeopathic healing, and the Bryonia remedy is diluted to an extent that only a few (or even no) molecules of the original substance are present. 

Though Bryonia has been used for thousands of years as a healing remedy for several ailments, there is little to no scientific evidence to back up the claims of its effectiveness. Let’s explore some of the purported health benefits and potential side effects of taking Bryonia. 

Other names for Bryonia include:

  • Root of white bryony
  • Black-berried bryony
  • False mandrake 
  • Wild hops

Bryonia is used as a plant-based homeopathic remedy. Homeopathy is a complementary therapy that uses very small amounts of natural substances to treat symptoms that would otherwise be caused by the natural substance when taken in higher amounts, under the premise of “like cures like.”

People who use Bryonia as a homeopathic remedy believe the plant has healing properties that offer certain health benefits. It has traditionally been used as a homeopathic remedy for persons in which symptoms develop slowly but are accompanied by irritability, lethargy, decreased mental clarity, and intense pain, often worsened with movement.

It is commonly used for cold and flu-like illnesses, spasmodic cough, and rheumatic pains, as well as to treat acute abdominal situations like gastroenteritis, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

In its herbal application, extracts of Bryonia may be used to relieve constipation or as an emetic, inducing vomiting. It is also a diuretic and can be used to encourage urination to decrease fluid retention, potentially aiding hypertensive states.

Some people believe that Bryonia has anti-inflammatory effects, and take it to reduce joint pain and inflammation. Bryonia roots have historically been used in Turkish folk medicine, applied to arthritic joints to relieve pain.

Bryonia is also often combined with other homeopathic remedies and touted as an arthritis remedy, aimed at reducing inflammation in the joints to provide pain relief.

In herbal applications, Bryonia may have potential as a complementary therapy for those undergoing cancer treatment. The extracts from Bryonia root may have properties that fight against tumors, helping slow the spread of cancer cells in the body.

The potent extracts used for cancer patients require a prescription and need more testing to determine their safety for human use. An in vitro study showed that Bryonia root extract had a toxic effect on two cancer types—head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and cervix adenocarcinoma.

At present, there is no evidence in human clinical trials to prove the effectiveness of Bryonia in reducing cancer cell growth. More research is needed to assess the possible anti-tumor properties of Bryonia. 

Herbal applications of Bryonia can cause side effects even when taken in small amounts. Homeopathic preparations are extremely diluted before use and must be prepared carefully and correctly by a licensed professional.

Side effects of Bryonia include: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting 

Berries from the Bryonia plant are poisonous and can cause death when consumed. 

Bryonia has been used for its medicinal purposes for thousands of years, though its popularity is waning as safer options become more available. There is not currently enough scientific information to determine the appropriate dosage of Bryonia.

Bryonia homeopathic formulations are produced by extracting the gummy resin from the roots and extensively diluting the resin. The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated Bryonia to determine its safety and efficacy. 

Suggested dosages vary, depending on age, health status, and other medications, supplements, and herbal remedies you are currently taking. It is important to only use Bryonia as a homeopathic remedy under the supervision of a certified homeopathic practitioner.

Bryonia is currently available in pellet (dissolvable tablet) and liquid extract forms as a homeopathic remedy.

Bryonia can be harmful when taken in measurable doses. For this reason, it is rarely found on the market for consumers as an herbal remedy or dietary supplement. If you opt to use Bryonia as an herbal remedy, it’s important to do so under the advice of a skilled herbalist to avoid serious side effects.

At this time, there are no FDA-approved homeopathic remedies, including Bryonia. This means that any product labeled as homeopathic is not evaluated for safety and efficacy in the United States. 

As with any homeopathic remedy, it is important to consult your healthcare provider and/or pharmacist before taking it, particularly if you are currently taking any medications or using other herbal or homeopathic remedies. 

Can I take Bryonia while pregnant or breastfeeding? 

Bryonia is unsafe for people who are pregnant and should not be taken. It is not recommended for use during breastfeeding, as not enough is known about its effects on a nursing baby. 

Can children take Bryonia? 

Bryonia may be safe for children when taken in homeopathic doses. Do not give Bryonia as a homeopathic remedy to a child unless under the supervision of a medical professional. 

Does Bryonia help with the flu? 

Some people believe that Bryonia can help relieve fever, pain, and cough caused by the flu. There is currently no scientific evidence to show that Bryonia is effective in providing relief from cold and flu symptoms. 

As an herbal application, Bryonia may have some benefits as a laxative, diuretic, and anti-inflammatory remedy. There’s not enough scientific evidence on Bryonia’s effectiveness in treating cancer or liver conditions or relieving joint pain and inflammation.

If you’re looking for an herbal remedy with fewer side effects and proven benefits, there are many other plant-based options to consider. While Bryonia in homeopathic doses rarely has side effects, it’s important not to delay conventional treatment by its use when needed.

Zinc for Colds: Does it Work?

Summary. There is evidence to support that zinc can shorten colds and reduce symptoms. It works best when taken within 24 hours of symptom onset, but the optimal dosage is unconfirmed. Consult with a healthcare provider and follow the directions on your zinc supplement carefully if you choose to take zinc for a cold.

Zinc supports a healthy immune system. After iron, it is the second most common essential mineral in our bodies. But because our bodies can't make zinc, we have to get what we need from food or supplements. Taking supplemental zinc for colds has become more popular over time as a natural remedy to fight off the virus.

This article discusses whether zinc works for colds, its side effects, and how to take it.

Verywell / Danie Drankwalter

Since the original 1984 research report on zinc, more recent studies have reported mixed results about whether zinc may shorten the duration of a cold and address symptoms.

On the whole, however, studies show that zinc can help ease symptoms and the duration of illness. For zinc to be effective, it needs to be taken within a day of symptom onset and on a regular basis.

Your body doesn't need much zinc to be effective, and if you overdo it, it can reduce the amount of copper in your body, which is another essential mineral. Too much zinc can also be toxic, leading to an upset stomach.

Other side effects include:

  • Zinc nasal sprays can make people lose their sense of smell, either temporarily or permanently.
  • Zinc lozenges can make you feel nauseated.
  • Zinc lozenges can leave a bad taste in your mouth.

It's important to start taking zinc within a day of feeling a cold coming on or you may not experience any benefit. Experts continue to research the proper dosage, but it should be safe to follow the directions that come with your zinc supplements. Remember that more is not better.

Zinc supplements come in lozenges, syrups, nasal gels, and nasal sprays. The nasal sprays have been known to cause loss of smell in some people (in some cases permanently).

There are several forms of zinc over-the-counter (OTC) supplements. They may contain zinc gluconate, zinc acetate, or zinc sulfate, and many contain more than one of these.

The different forms may have slightly different effects on the duration and severity of symptoms, but the research is not definitive on this point. You can ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for a recommendation.

If you eat a balanced diet, you should have sufficient zinc for your body to function properly. If you want to eat foods high in zinc when you feel a cold coming on, some options include:

  • Oysters
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Crab
  • Lobster
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy products

The amount of zinc required to help fight off a cold is not firmly established. However, one study of both zinc acetate and zinc gluconate lozenges found that taking 75 milligrams a day shortened colds between 12%–48%. They found no sign that taking more than 100 milligrams a day helped further shorten colds or reduce symptoms.

If you eat a balanced diet, you should have enough zinc in your system to meet your daily needs. If you want to take zinc for a cold, consider talking to your healthcare provider about how much is required.

Ask your provider if there's any reason why you shouldn't take zinc, which may include:

  • People with a copper deficiency
  • People who are pregnant or breastfeeding, since high levels of zinc may be unsafe
  • If you have been prescribed Midamor (amiloride), which can stop your body from eliminating zinc, causing it to build to dangerous levels
  • If you take an ACE inhibitor (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, often used for high blood pressure), hormone replacement (estrogen) therapy, birth control pills, or a proton pump inhibitor due to unsafe drug interactions

There is evidence to support that zinc can shorten colds and reduce symptoms. It works best when taken within 24 hours of symptom onset, but the optimal dosage is unconfirmed. Consult with a healthcare provider and follow the directions on your zinc supplement carefully if you choose to take zinc for a cold.

Having a cold is unpleasant, and you may be tempted to try remedies like zinc to help relieve symptoms. Though experts are still determining the best dosage, there is ample evidence to show that zinc can shorten a cold and ease symptoms. It may only have mild benefits, but it can help if you start taking it soon after signs of a cold appear.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much zinc should you have per day?

    The recommended daily amount of zinc is 8 milligrams for adult women and 11 milligrams for adult men. Most people will get that from their normal diet. The body does not store zinc, and it eliminates what it does not need or use.

  • Can zinc increase sperm volume?

    Zinc is necessary for sperm formation, but taking zinc does not appear to increase fertility, despite some early research that claimed it might.

  • Why does zinc sometimes make you feel nauseated?

    If you take too much zinc, you may have some zinc toxicity, which can make you feel sick to your stomach.

Thanks for your feedback!

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Eby GA, Davis DR, Halcomb WW. Reduction in duration of common colds by zinc gluconate lozenges in a double-blind study. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1984;25(1):20-24. doi:10.1128/AAC.25.1.20

  2. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Zinc.

  3. Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(2):CD001364. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub3

  4. Rao G, Rowland K. Zinc for the common cold—not if, but when. J Fam Pract. 2011;60(11):669-671.

  5. Hemilä H. Zinc lozenges and the common cold: a meta-analysis comparing zinc acetate and zinc gluconate, and the role of zinc dosage. JRSM Open. 2017;8(5):2054270417694291. doi:10.1177/2054270417694291

  6. Harvard School of Public Health. Zinc.

  7. National Institutes of Health. Zinc, folic acid supplement does not improve male fertility, NIH study suggests.

Argan Oil: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, and Interactions

Argan oil can be used like olive oil or any other cooking oil. However, because of its price—roughly for an 8-ounce (250-milliliter) bottle—most people prefer drizzling it on …

Argan oil is a natural oil extracted from the kernels of the argan tree (Argania spinosa), which is native to Morocco. Rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, argan oil is often used in skincare as an anti-aging product. Argan oil is also used for culinary purposes, the consumption of which is believed to have medical benefits, including the treatment of high blood pressure and diabetes.

Argan oil is marketed for several different purposes, hair care and skin treatment chief among them. In recent years, argan oil has become so popular in cosmetics that the Moroccan government has stepped up efforts to increase the cultivation of argan tree groves. It's sometimes even called "liquid gold."

No less popular is argan oil's culinary uses. Consumers are not only drawn to its mild, spicy flavor (reminiscent of pumpkin seed oil), but also its purported health benefits. As a polyunsaturated oil, it is considered heart-healthy with similar benefits to olive oil.

Proponents claim that argan oil can treat a broad range of skin conditions, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, burns, and skin infections. The high concentration of antioxidants in argan oil— including oleic acid and linoleic acid—has led some to claim that it can fight aging by neutralizing free radicals that damage cells.

Dermatologists also say that omega-3 fatty acids found in argan oil may boost collagen production and plump your skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

In addition to its use in skin creams, lotions, serums, face masks, and ointments, argan oil is often incorporated into shampoos and conditioners or used as massage oil.

According to a 2015 study in Clinical Interventions in Aging, the topical use of argan oil in postmenopausal women led to a significant increase in the elasticity of the skin after 60 days. This effect was further enhanced by the oral consumption of argan oil in half of the participating women. While promising, note that conclusions were limited by the absence of a placebo control group.

Argan oil's benefit in treating burns and skin infections is far less certain. Although argan oil is known to have antibacterial properties, it is unknown if the effect is potent enough to prevent infection or aid in healing.

A 2016 study in Ostomy Wound Healing hinted at a benefit, wherein rats treated for second-degree burns with argan oil appeared to heal faster than those treated with either 1% silver sulfadiazine (a standard burn cream) or a placebo. (Results of any animal research must be replicated in humans for them to be considered applicable.)

Argan oil is thought to improve hair quality by preventing damage to the exterior cuticle of the hair shaft while preserving the natural pigments (melanin) that provide hair its color.

According to a 2013 study from Brazil, argan oil was able to enhance hair quality and dye retention after undergoing multiple hair coloring treatments. Hair coloring is one of the harshest procedures hair can undergo, and argan oil appears to have a protective effect when compared to commercial hair conditioners.

Some proponents believe that that consumption of argan oil can help treat or prevent certain medical conditions, including osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, epilepsy, and atherosclerosis. To date, there are few scientific studies to support these claims.

A 2013 study in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine concluded that diabetic mice given argan oil experienced far greater reductions in blood sugar than untreated mice with the condition. Moreover, the oil appeared to stabilize blood pressure—something that did not occur in the mice who did not receive treatment.

A similar study in Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases reported that argan oil blunted the effects of obesity in mice fed a high-fat diet. Compared to untreated mice, those given argan oil had lower total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and "bad" LDL cholesterol levels. With that being said, argan oil did not increase "good" HDL cholesterol levels vital to heart health.

Whether these same benefits can be replicated in humans has yet to be seen. Sadly, argan oil remains understudied compared to other heart-healthy polyunsaturated oils.

Argan oil is generally considered safe for consumption and topical use. However, in some people, argan oil may cause a form of allergy known as contact dermatitis, characterized by the development of rash, redness, and itchiness at the site of application.

Argan oil also contains tocopherols, a form of vitamin E, which may slow blood clotting and interact with anticoagulants like Coumadin (warfarin). Whether the concentration of tocopherols in argan oil is enough to instigate an interaction is unknown.

Argan oil is sold as a culinary ingredient and as a general health tonic. Oftentimes, there will be no discernible difference between the two options other than the price. Argan cooking oil is generally cheaper, although high-quality, cold-pressed oils can sometimes be as costly, ounce-per-ounce, as therapeutic oils.

There are no guidelines for the appropriate use of argan oil. When used topically, most manufacturers recommend dabbing a few drops onto the skin or massaging the oil into the scalp before combing it through your hair.

Argan oil and products that contain it can be found online and in many natural foods stores, drugstores, and specialty beauty shops. Bottles should be glass and have a dark tint (e.g., amber), which helps prevent deterioration of the oil that can occur with light exposure.

When used for therapeutic purposes, opt for organic cold-pressed oil whenever possible. Cold-pressing reduces the oxidation that can increase acidity in heat-pressed oils. The oil can then be refined to achieve a clear consistency and a characteristic yellowish-golden hue. Some argan oils are deodorized, the process of which doesn't affect the quality.

Organic oils should contain the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic certification.

Does argan oil expire?
Argan oil has a relatively long shelf life (up to two years), although the quality can be affected by extreme heat and ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

To avoid this, store argan oil in its original glass container in a cool room away from direct sunlight. Keeping it in the refrigerator can help preserve the oil. While it will congeal, it will return to normal once allowed to come to room temperature

Dispose of any oil that is past its expiration date, has a rancid odor, or suddenly becomes cloudy or discolored.

How can I use argan oil in cooking?
Argan oil can be used like olive oil or any other cooking oil. However, because of its price—roughly for an 8-ounce (250-milliliter) bottle—most people prefer drizzling it on pasta, couscous, stews, salads, and other prepared dishes. Some argan oils are made from lightly toasted kernels that give the oil an appealing nutty flavor. Toasting does reduce some of the nutritional value, but not enough to undermine its dietary benefits.

Pueraria Mirifica: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, and …

Alternative medicine practitioners contend that Pueraria mirifica is a powerful antioxidant able to neutralize free radicalsthat cause harm to cells. These antioxidant effects, along with its pro-estrogenic properties, are believed to be useful in treating women's health conditions, including: 1. High cholesterol2 2. Hot fl…

Pueraria mirifica is a plant native to Thailand and Burma. The root of the plant contains phytoestrogens, compounds that have estrogen-like effects. Pueraria mirifica is sometimes used as an anti-aging supplement or as a natural remedy for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

Pueraria mirifica is available in capsule, tablet, and softgel forms, as well as in serums and creams.

  • Kao keur
  • Kwao krua ko
  • Thai kudzu
  • White kwao krua

Pueraria mirifica should not be confused with other plants with "kwao krua" in their names, such as kwao krua dang (Butea superba) or black kwao krua (Mucuna collettii).

Alternative medicine practitioners contend that Pueraria mirifica is a powerful antioxidant able to neutralize free radicals that cause harm to cells. These antioxidant effects, along with its pro-estrogenic properties, are believed to be useful in treating women's health conditions, including:

Others claim that Pueraria mirifica can help soften skin, increase breast size, promote weight loss, and prevent heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Research on this remedy is fairly limited, but here is a look at what has been done.

Several smaller studies have found that the herb is beneficial in treating common menopausal symptoms.

A 24-week study published in the journal Menopause in 2007 investigated the use of Pueraria mirifica in doses ranging from 10 to 50 milligrams (mg) and concluded that P. mirifica at all doses was far more effective in reducing vaginal atrophy (wasting), vaginal dryness. and dyspareunia (pain during intercourse) than a placebo. The researchers did not specify whether any of the dosages were more or less effective than others.

The findings supported an earlier study in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand in which Pueraria mirifica improved vasomotor symptoms (such as hot flashes and night sweats) in 37 women experiencing menopause. After 24 weeks, women provided a daily 50-mg dose of Pueraria mirifica experienced the same level of relief as those given 100 mg per day.

More recently, a 2017 study published in Menopause reported that a vaginal gel containing Pueraria mirifica was nearly as effective as conjugated estrogen cream in preventing vaginal atrophy. The 12-week study involving 82 postmenopausal women also found that Pueraria mirifica cream was just as effective in relieving vaginal dryness and pain as estrogen cream.

Estrogen plays a key role in regulating bone turnover, the biological process in which old bone is broken down and replaced with new bone.

This is evidenced in part by a 2016 study in the Journal of Endocrinology in which bone loss was significantly slowed in postmenopausal monkeys with osteoporosis after they were given a diet supplemented with Pueraria mirifica powder for 16 weeks.

Similar results were achieved in baboons in a 2014 study in Phytomedicine. Further research is needed to see if the same benefits might be achieved in humans.

There is evidence, albeit weak, that Pueraria mirifica exerts positive influences on blood cholesterol levels. Most of the current evidence is based on a 2008 study from Japan in which 19 postmenopausal women were either given a Pueraria mirifica supplement or a placebo for two months.

At the end of the study period, the women provided Pueraria mirifica experienced a 17% drop in "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and a 34% increase in "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. By comparison, people given the placebo experienced no change in either their LDL or HDL.

Pueraria mirifica appears to mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, increasing the rate by which carbohydrates and sugar are metabolized. In theory, this can lower cholesterol while promoting weight loss and controlling blood sugar. Further research is needed.

Little is known about the long-term safety of Pueraria mirifica. Due to the herb's estrogen-like effects, symptoms such as bloating, cramps, breast tenderness, headache, weight changes, and irregular periods are possible.

With that said, none of the above listed studies reported significant side effects, even with up to six months of daily use.

A 2016 study in the journal Toxin reported that a 0.3% Pueraria mirifica solution significantly increased the risk of breast and endometrial cancer in female lab rats after 36 weeks.

Pueraria mirifica should be used with caution in people with liver disease since the herbal metabolites are broken down by the liver. Excessive use can place strain on the liver and potentially cause liver damage.

It is unknown if Pueraria mirifica can interact with other drugs.

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Pueraria mirifica is sold almost exclusively in the United States as a dietary supplement. Oral formulations can be found in many health food stores in doses ranging from 100 mg to 1,000 mg. There are also topical products sold online and at cosmetic counters. Most of these serums and creams are intended for the face or breasts rather than the vagina.

At present, there are no guidelines for the appropriate use of Pueraria mirifica. Studies investigating its use in humans found that it was just as beneficial at 50 mg per day as it was at higher doses.

As a general rule, start with the lowest possible dose and increase gradually if needed. There is nothing in the current medical literature to suggest that higher doses of Pueraria mirifica are any more beneficial.

Dietary supplements are not strictly regulated in the United States. Because of this, supplements can vary in quality and/or contain ingredients not listed on the product label.

To ensure quality and safety, opt for brands that have been independently tested by a certifying body like the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), ConsumerLab, or NSF International. Although independent certification is lacking in the supplements industry, larger companies are starting to see the benefits of seeking it as consumers become increasingly aware of supplement safety.

It is relatively difficult to find organic Pueraria mirifica supplements in the United States since the active ingredient is typically grown in Thailand or Burma. In the absence of organic certification, some manufacturers will state that their products are "premium quality." This actually means nothing.

Always be sure to read the product label before making a supplement purchase. Many Pueraria mirifica supplements have added ingredients like folic acid, selenium, vitamin B12, and biotin. While additives like these may be beneficial, others may not. This includes wheat fillers of which you may have allergies or intolerance.

Try not to be swayed by health claims that may or may not be true. A number of Pueraria mirifica manufacturers have been known to market their products as "breast enlargement supplements," a claim that is patently false. Avoid any products that make such claims or promises cures of any sort.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Pueraria mirifica used for?

    Pueraria mirifica is an herb that's been used for more than 100 years in Thai folk medicine as a youth-enhancing, rejuvenating supplement. It contains phytoestrogens, substances that have estrogen-like effects, and has been researched as a therapy for menopause, cardiovascular disease, and bone health.

  • Where can you buy Pueraria mirifica?

    You can buy Pueraria mirifica in capsules, powder, and extracts where supplements are sold in health stores and online. You can buy Pueraria mirifica creams or gels online and in some cosmetic sections.

What Is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is how a person thinks and feels about their own qualities and characteristics. This is described as either high or low—that is, a person has either high self …

Self-esteem is how a person thinks and feels about their own qualities and characteristics. This is described as either high or low—that is, a person has either high self-esteem or low self-esteem.

More specifically, a person who has positive thoughts about their qualities and characteristics would have high self-esteem, whereas a person with negative thoughts about their qualities and characteristics would have low self-esteem.

This is important because higher levels of self-esteem translate into improved mental health, and lower levels of self-esteem are related to mental health conditions such as depression.

This means self-esteem is an important component of overall health and well-being.

People Images / Getty Images

Self-concept is the way a person evaluates their own psychological characteristics, physical characteristics, qualities, skills, roles, and other things that make them who they are. This relates to self-esteem because self-esteem is the level they positively or negatively perceive their self-concept.

Self-esteem is subjective; it comes from how the self-concept of a person relates to their own measures of success, values, and who they want to be.

For example, a person may have a self-concept that they are physically large and a belief that they need to be small. In this case, it would be likely that their self-esteem would be low. However, if their belief were that they need to be large, it would be likely that their self-esteem would be high.

The beliefs of others can impact self-esteem, too. Self-esteem is likely to be higher when a person receives positive feedback from people in their lives and through societal messages. This positive feedback can be anything that helps to form or reinforce positive beliefs about their qualities or characteristics.

The reverse is also true. Negative feedback from others can lead to lower self-esteem.

The specific signs of low self-esteem depend on the type of low self-esteem, or the area of self-concept or life related to the negative beliefs. However, some signs can help to identify general low self-esteem.

Someone may have low self-esteem if they are experiencing:

  • Inner voice of self-talk that is negative
  • Difficulty accepting or responding to compliments
  • Difficulty accepting or responding to constructive criticism or feedback
  • Unhealthy methods of coping, such as overeating, drinking, or smoking
  • Avoidance of social gatherings or situations
  • Avoidance of challenges or difficult situations
  • Focus on what is unwanted more than what is wanted
  • Hesitance to try new things
  • Low level of confidence
  • Excessive sensitivity
  • Intense focus on personal problems
  • Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or eating disorders

The earlier signs of low self-esteem, if not addressed, could lead to more serious concerns, including mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety, harmful habits such as smoking or drinking, or other negative effects on health and life.

Low self-esteem is something that can impact people of all ages, including children. However, young adults tend to have lower self-esteem than older adults, and women tend to have lower self-esteem than men.

Beyond these trends, many different circumstances, thoughts, and beliefs can impact self-esteem throughout life. A person could have general low self-esteem, or low self-esteem in all areas. It is also possible to have low self-esteem in only some areas, but that low self-esteem can carry over into other areas as well.

Self-esteem can be impacted by different areas of a person and their life, and self-esteem affects all areas of life.

There is a relationship between self-esteem, measured intelligence, perceived intelligence, and academic performance. Higher levels of intelligence and academic achievement have been linked to higher levels of self-esteem.

This relationship has been shown to go further with higher levels of general, educational, social, and public self-esteem all being linked to increased academic achievement. This means that high self-esteem in specific areas is related to positive outcomes in those areas. In fact, high general self-esteem provides benefits in a variety of areas.

Self-esteem can play a role in career progression. Low self-esteem can compromise belief in ability to make decisions related to careers and the intensity of searching for jobs. Additionally, high levels of self-esteem are linked to being more likely to apply for jobs, more likely to receive job offers, and greater career advancement.

Low-self esteem in the area of physical ability is something that can begin in childhood with physical education in schools, extracurricular sports, and activities with peers. It can also continue into adulthood. This may become related to low self-esteem in the area of physical appearance with weight gain associated with avoidance of physical activity.

Those who are more physically active have been found to have higher self-esteem, higher levels of perceived physical fitness, and a more positive body image.

Physical appearance, body image, and weight are all linked to self-esteem. Low self-esteem in these areas impacts many teens and adults.

More positive body image is associated with higher self-esteem and decreased risk of harmful effects such as eating disorders. Higher body mass index is associated with more negative body image, lower self-esteem, and increased risk of turning to cigarettes and other unhealthy coping behaviors.

These connections show how low self-esteem in one area can impact other areas and overall health and well-being.

Low self-esteem is linked to many mental health concerns. An increased risk of anxiety, depression, and addiction is seen with low self-esteem, as well as poor relationships and decreased overall quality of life.

Low self-esteem is also a common component of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.

Self-esteem is something that changes over time. Additionally, there are things that can be done intentionally to increase self-esteem, such as working with a mental health professional who uses a type of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. This may include focusing on specific areas where self-esteem is particularly low, or working on general self-esteem.

There are multiple methods that can help improve self-esteem:

  • Seek CBT talk therapy
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • Meditate
  • Join a support group
  • Connect with friends and family
  • Volunteer

Low self-esteem can be unpleasant on a daily basis, and it can lead to negative effects in all areas of life. If you struggle with low self-esteem, there are things you can do to increase your self-esteem and improve the areas of life and well-being that are impacted. Talk to your primary care practitioner, or reach out to a mental health professional, for support and guidance.

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