Best Laxatives for Constipation: Your Complete Guide (Updated for 2019)
May 01, · Constipation Home Remedies. Eat more fiber. Fiber makes stool bulkier and softer so it's easier to pass. Gradually increase the amount of fiber in your diet until you're getting Stay hydrated. Water is important for preventing constipation, too. Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Jun 06, · Laxative use can be dangerous if constipation is caused by a serious condition, such as appendicitis or a bowel obstruction. If you frequently use laxatives for weeks or months, they can decrease your colon's ability to contract and actually worsen constipation. Precautions for pregnant women and children.
Laxatives can help relieve and prevent constipation. But trewtment all laxatives are safe for long-term use. Overuse of certain laxatives can lead to dependency and decreased bowel function. If you've ever been constipated, you may constipahion tried over-the-counter laxatives.
A number of factors — including what is the eoq formula poor diet, physical inactivity and some medications — can disrupt normal bowel function and cause constipation. Many safe, effective over-the-counter laxatives are available to treat occasional constipation in a variety of ways. However, it's very important to read the label directions carefully and to use them as directed. Overuse of laxatives may cause serious side effects.
How often you have a bowel movement varies, but people normally have as many as three bowel movements a day to as few as three a week. You may be constipated if you have fewer bowel movements than are normal for you. In addition, constipation may involve stools that are difficult to pass because they're hard, dry or small.
Lifestyle improvements relieve constipation for many people, but if problems continue despite these changes, your next choice may be a mild laxative. Laxatives work in different ways, and the effectiveness of each laxative type varies from person to person.
In general, bulk-forming laxatives, also referred to as fiber supplements, are the gentlest on your body and safest to use constipayion term. Metamucil and Citrucel fall into this category. Here are some examples of types of laxatives. Even though many laxatives are available over-the-counter, it's best to talk to your doctor treatmentt laxative use and constipaation kind may be best for you.
Oral laxatives may interfere with your body's absorption of some medications and nutrients. Some laxatives can lead to an electrolyte imbalance, especially after prolonged use. Electrolytes — which include calcium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and sodium — regulate a number of body functions. An electrolyte imbalance can cause abnormal heart rhythms, weakness, confusion and seizures. Some products combine different types of laxatives, such as a stimulant and a stool softener.
But combination products don't necessarily work more effectively than single-ingredient products. In addition, they may be more likely to cause side effects. A single-ingredient laxative may work better for you. Read labels to make sure you know what you're taking, and use with caution. If you've recently given birth, consult your doctor before using laxatives. Although they're usually safe to use during breast-feeding, some ingredients may pass into breast milk and cause diarrhea in nursing infants.
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Don't delay your care at Mayo Clinic Schedule your appointment now for safe in-person care. This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. See more conditions. Request Appointment. Over-the-counter laxatives for constipation: Use with caution.
Products and services. Free E-newsletter Subscribe to Housecall Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics. Sign up now. Over-the-counter constipatiion for constipation: Use with caution Laxatives can help relieve and prevent constipation. By Mayo Clinic Staff. Show references Over-the-counter laxatives. Journal of the American Medical Association. Accessed Jan. Constipation and defecation problems. American Gastroenterological Association.
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5 OTC laxatives for constipation relief. Several types of over-the-counter laxatives can relieve constipation, such as. Stool softeners, like Colace or Surfak, add moisture to the stool to keep them from being too dry and niceloveme.comr, you might develop electrolyte imbalance if you use stool softeners too often.; Fiber supplements, such as Benefiber, Citrucel, or Metamucil, increase the. May 06, · There’s no known cure for IBS, but certain diets including a low-FODMAP diet can help prevent constipation. FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that are found in many fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and sweeteners. Sep 12, · Overall, for occasional and mild constipation, it’s best to start treatment with psyllium fiber (6, 7). Next Seek Out Hyperosmotic Laxatives If psyllium doesn’t produce a response, then the next step is to try hyperosmotic laxatives, like milk of magnesia, at the lowest possible dose.
In addition to a general physical exam and a digital rectal exam, doctors use the following tests and procedures to diagnose chronic constipation and try to find the cause:. Evaluation of how well food moves through the colon colonic transit study.
In this procedure, you may swallow a capsule that contains either a radiopaque marker or a wireless recording device. The progress of the capsule through your colon will be recorded over 24 to 48 hours and will be visible on X-rays. In some cases, you may eat radiocarbon-activated food and a special camera will record its progress scintigraphy.
Your doctor will look for signs of intestinal muscle dysfunction and how well food moves through your colon.
Our caring team of Mayo Clinic experts can help you with your constipation-related health concerns Start Here. Treatment for chronic constipation usually begins with diet and lifestyle changes meant to increase the speed at which stool moves through your intestines.
If those changes don't help, your doctor may recommend medications or surgery. Increase your fiber intake. Adding fiber to your diet increases the weight of your stool and speeds its passage through your intestines. Slowly begin to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables each day. Choose whole-grain breads and cereals. Your doctor may recommend a specific number of grams of fiber to consume each day.
In general, aim for 14 grams of fiber for every 1, calories in your daily diet. A sudden increase in the amount of fiber you eat can cause bloating and gas, so start slowly and work your way up to your goal over a few weeks. Several types of laxatives exist. Each works somewhat differently to make it easier to have a bowel movement. The following are available over the counter:. If over-the-counter medications don't help your chronic constipation, your doctor may recommend a prescription medication, especially if you have irritable bowel syndrome.
Biofeedback training involves working with a therapist who uses devices to help you learn to relax and tighten the muscles in your pelvis. Relaxing your pelvic floor muscles at the right time during defecation can help you pass stool more easily. During a biofeedback session, a special tube catheter to measure muscle tension is inserted into your rectum.
The therapist guides you through exercises to alternately relax and tighten your pelvic muscles. A machine will gauge your muscle tension and use sounds or lights to help you understand when you've relaxed your muscles. Surgery may be an option if you have tried other treatments and your chronic constipation is caused by a blockage, rectocele or stricture. For people who have tried other treatments without success and who have abnormally slow movement of stool through the colon, surgical removal of part of the colon may be an option.
Surgery to remove the entire colon is rarely necessary. Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this condition. Many people use alternative and complementary medicine to treat constipation, but these approaches have not been well-studied.
Using a probiotic such as bifidobacterium or lactobacillus may be helpful, but more studies are needed. Fructooligosaccharide, a sugar that occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables, may be helpful as well. Researchers currently are evaluating the usefulness of acupuncture.
You'll likely first seek medical care for constipation from your family doctor or general practitioner. You may be referred to a specialist in digestive disorders gastroenterologist if your doctor suspects a more advanced case of constipation. Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of information to cover, it's a good idea to be well-prepared.
Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor. In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment. Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time to go over additional questions you may have.
Your doctor may ask:. Constipation care at Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. Don't delay your care at Mayo Clinic Schedule your appointment now for safe in-person care. This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. Diagnosis In addition to a general physical exam and a digital rectal exam, doctors use the following tests and procedures to diagnose chronic constipation and try to find the cause: Blood tests.
Your doctor will look for a systemic condition such as low thyroid hypothyroidism or high calcium levels. An X-ray. An X-ray can help your doctor determine whether our intestines are blocked and whether there is stool present throughout the colon.
Examination of the rectum and lower, or sigmoid, colon sigmoidoscopy. In this procedure, your doctor inserts a lighted, flexible tube into your anus to examine your rectum and the lower portion of your colon. Examination of the rectum and entire colon colonoscopy. This diagnostic procedure allows your doctor to examine the entire colon with a flexible, camera-equipped tube.
Evaluation of anal sphincter muscle function anorectal manometry. In this procedure, your doctor inserts a narrow, flexible tube into your anus and rectum and then inflates a small balloon at the tip of the tube.
The device is then pulled back through the sphincter muscle. This procedure allows your doctor to measure the coordination of the muscles you use to move your bowels. Evaluation of anal sphincter muscle speed balloon expulsion test. Often used along with anorectal manometry, this test measures the amount of time it takes for you to push out a balloon that has been filled with water and placed in your rectum. Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic.
Share on: Facebook Twitter. Show references Constipation. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Accessed June 4, Chumpitazi CE, et al. Soap suds enemas are efficacious and safe for treating fecal impaction in children with abdominal pain. Bharucha AE, et al. Chronic constipation. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. In press. Accessed June 6, Kellerman RD, et al. In: Conn's Current Therapy Philadelphia, Pa. Ferri FF. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor Department of Health and Human Services and U.
Department of Agriculture. Wald A. Etiology and evaluation of chronic constipation in adults. Management of chronic constipation in adults. Constipation and defecation problems. American College of Gastroenterology. Accessed June 7, American Gastroenterological Association. Ohkusa T, et al.
Gut microbiota and chronic constipation: A review and update. Frontiers in Medicine. Accessed June 10, Crockett SD, et al. American Gastroenterological Association Institute guideline on medical management of opioid-induced constipation. Related Laxatives. Associated Procedures Colonoscopy Flexible sigmoidoscopy X-ray. Mayo Clinic Marketplace Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
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