Red Clover Side Effects

Although red clover is a "natural" product, it can still cause side effects. Some of the possible side effects of red clover include nausea, headaches, and muscle pain. There are also several red clover side effects that may be more serious and should immediately be reported to your healthcare provider. Some of these serious side effects include unexplained vaginal bleeding, allergic reactions, and signs of liver damage.

Does Red Clover Cause Side Effects?

As with any medication or supplement, side effects are possible with red clover (Trifolium pratense). People often assume that natural products are always free of side effects, especially dangerous side effects. However, this is simply not the case. Many poisons and toxins are also "natural," and you cannot assume that natural automatically means safe.

Possible Red Clover Side Effects

Possible bothersome (although not usually serious) red clover side effects may include:
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Vaginal spotting.

Red Clover Side Effects to Report

There are a number of potential side effects with red clover that you should report to your healthcare provider. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Signs of liver damage, such as upper right abdominal pain (stomach pain), yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin (jaundice), dark urine, or high liver enzymes (found using a blood test)
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as a rash, hives, itching, swelling of the mouth or throat, wheezing, or difficulty breathing.
Red clover has estrogen-like effects, and there is some concern that taking red clover may cause an overgrowth of the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium). This is known as endometrial hyperplasia and may increase the risk of uterine cancer. This condition is common among postmenopausal women who take an estrogen without a progesterone (this is known as "unopposed estrogen"). It is not known if red clover also causes this problem, although short-term studies seem to suggest that this may not be an issue with red clover. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop any signs of endometrial hyperplasia, such as abnormal vaginal bleeding. If you do not have a uterus (if you have had a hysterectomy), you do not need to worry about this problem.
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