How To Treat Constipation In Adults

Constipation

Constipation is considered as difficulty in passing stools or decrease in the frequency of bowel movements. The cause of constipation may vary from person to person. The reason can be varied, including staying dehydrated, poor diet, and mechanical issues like an obstruction in the intestine.

Symptoms Of Constipation

The various symptoms of constipation are:

  • Pain in lower abdominal
  • Having lumpy or hard stools
  • Passing fewer than three stools a week
  • Straining to have bowel movements.
  • Feeling blockage in your rectum

Tips To Treat Constipation

Constipation is a common issue in adults. In most of the cases, small changes in diet and exercise can help to get relieve from constipation. An individual can take over-the-counter medications to treat constipation. OTC drugs are safe to use, but make sure to take them as recommended on the drug label, and don’t exceed the maximum dose.  However, if a person is not getting better with OTC medicines, make sure to consult with a health care provider. The doctor will identify the underlying causes of constipation such as

  • Are you taking any of these medications? Anticholinergics (e.g., antipsychotics, antihistamines, and tricyclic antidepressants), Antacids with aluminum or calcium, NSAIDs, antidiarrheals, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, calcium supplements, opioids, oral iron supplements, opioids, 5-HT3 receptor antagonists (e.g., ondansetron). If yes, your doctor might reduce the dose or change your medication.
  • Do you have any of the following medical health issues? Anxiety, hypokalemia, autonomic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, chronic kidney disease, colorectal cancer, diabetes, dementia, depression, hemorrhoids, hypercalcemia, irritable bowel syndrome, rectal prolapse, and more. If yes, your doctor will treat the underlying cause if possible.

Depending on your medical history, your doctor may prescribe some medication, laxatives, or might recommend you to make some changes in your diet and lifestyle.

Lifestyle changes: It may take days to weeks for results

  • Start eating fiber rich foods such as vegetables, wheat bran, and whole grains. Make sure to drink 1.5 to 2 L per day.
  • Consider increased physical activity if possible.
  • Start practicing toilet habits such as not rushing to the toilet, not “holding it”. Avoid going washroom approx. 30 minutes prior breakfast. Try to sit on the toilet in a position where the knees are at least as high as the hips.

OTC medicines – Your doctor may recommend OTC medicines if necessary.

  • You can consider to take laxative for 2-4 weeks for trial. You can take fiber (psyllium or methylcellulose), or an osmotic laxative (PEG 3350), or lactulose (Rx in U.S.), or sorbitol, or magnesium hydroxide.
  • Consider adding a stimulant laxative such as bisacodyl or senna; if necessary.
  • You must avoid bulk laxatives if you feel difficulty in swallowing, or are immobile, or are on fluid restriction.
  • You should avoid oral laxatives and use enemas or suppositories if you’ve fecal impaction.
  • If you’ve recently undergone any surgery or experienced heart attack should use an osmotic laxative (PEG 3350, etc.).

Things To Keep In Mind If You’ve Constipation

  • You must avoid bulk laxatives if you feel difficulty in swallowing, or are immobile, or are on fluid restriction.
  • You should avoid oral laxatives and use enemas or suppositories if you’ve fecal impaction.
  • If you’ve recently undergone any surgery or experienced heart attack should use an osmotic laxative (PEG 3350, etc.).

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