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6 Treatments for Chronic Constipation


Constipation is an uncomfortable issue to deal with – especially if it happens frequently.

It’s quite common to experience it once in a while, Constipation is common, and it usually resolves with lifestyle adjustments or over-the-counter medications.

Chronic constipation, on the other hand, might disrupt one’s quality of life by interfering with everyday tasks. Chronic constipation is defined as having two or more symptoms over the last three months.

Symptoms of chronic constipation include:

  • Less than three bowel movements per week
  • Lumpy or firm stools
  • Straining with bowel movements
  • The feeling of a blockage that stops bowel movements
  • The feeling of being unable to finish bowel movements

Treatment is determined by the underlying issues, although finding a specific cause for chronic constipation is often challenging.

6 Treatments for Chronic Constipation

1. Eat More Fiber

Fiber is an essential nutrient that helps loosen stools. Increased fiber consumption increases stool water weight, which causes it to move more quickly through the intestines.

High-fiber foods include:

  • Fruits like bananas, apples, and raspberries
  • Vegetables like green peas, brussels sprouts, and broccoli
  • Whole grains like whole wheat, barley, quinoa, and oats
  • Legumes like split peas, lentils, and beans
  • Nuts like almonds, pistachios, and pecans
  • Seeds like chia seeds, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds

2. Exercise

Exercise stimulates muscle activity in the intestine, which is needed during bowel movements. Exercising most days of the week can help relieve chronic constipation.

3. Listen to Urges

Constipation relief requires good bowel movement hygiene. Never disregard bowel movement urges and don’t rush or strain. Establish a bowel movement routine, such as every morning after waking up or every night before bed. Ignoring urges to use the restroom can lead to constipation.

4. Try Over-The-Counter Medications

There are several different types of over-the-counter (OTC) medications to treat constipation.

  • Fiber supplements such as Metamucil and FiberCon can normalize bowel movements by adding dietary fiber if you struggle to meet your fiber needs in your diet.
  • Osmotics such as Milk of Magnesia and Miralax increase fluid secretion from the intestine and help to stimulate bowel movements.
  • Stimulants such as Dulcolax and Senokot stimulate the intestinal muscles to contract fast, which aids stool passing.
  • Lubricants such as mineral oil lubricate the intestinal tract, making stools easier to pass.
  • Stool softeners such as Colace soften stool by drawing water from the intestines.
  • Enemas and suppositories help to soften and lubricate stool, making it easier to pass.

5. Consider Prescription Medications

Prescription medications can be used when OTC medications are not effective. Prescription medications work differently, and your doctor will help you determine which treatment is best.

Some options include:

  • Lubiprostone
  • Prucalopride
  • Plecanatide
  • Lactulose
  • Linaclotide

6. Stop Medications That Cause Constipation

Some drugs or supplements can cause constipation. Chronic constipation may be helped by discontinuing the medicine, switching to an alternate medication, or reducing the dose of constipation-inducing medications.

It’s important not to stop treatment on your own. Always consult your doctor because some medications can induce constipation but are critical to treat your other medical conditions or can cause problems by stopping them abruptly.

The following are examples of common drugs that might cause constipation:

  • Opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone
  • NSAIDs like naproxen and ibuprofen
  • Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine and cetirizine
  • Iron supplements

When to See a Doctor

While occasional constipation may be managed on your own, it’s time to see a doctor if you have chronic constipation – especially if it’s accompanied by:

  • Blood in stool
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • A racing heart

Chronic constipation with these other symptoms can indicate a more serious underlying problem, like a bowel blockage, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or even colorectal cancer.

Don’t suffer from chronic constipation any longer – schedule an appointment today!

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