Laxatives For Constipation (cont.)
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
In this Article
- What is constipation?
- What causes constipation?
- When should a doctor be consulted for constipation?
- What natural remedies can a person take for constipation?
- What over-the-counter preparations can be used for constipation?
- Bulk-forming laxatives
- Stool softeners (emollient laxatives)
- Lubricant laxatives
- Stimulant laxatives
- Saline laxatives and osmotic laxatives
- Enemas and suppositories
- How is constipation treated in infants and in children?
- How is constipation treated during pregnancy?
- Laxatives for Constipation At A Glance
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
How is constipation treated during pregnancy?
Hormones from the pregnancy, as well as prenatal vitamins and iron supplements may cause constipation. Pressure from the uterus pushes on the bowels and can cause constipation.
Often dietary and behavioral modifications can ease constipation during pregnancy and are considered safe.
- Eat a diet rich in fiber with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Supplement fiber in the diet with over-the-counter products such as Metamucil, which is considered safe
- Stay hydrated – drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day
- Drink 1-2 glasses of prune juice per day
- Exercise regularly – if permitted by your obstetrician
Pregnant women should talk with their doctor before using over-the-counter laxatives or stool softeners during pregnancy.
Laxatives for Constipation At A Glance
- Constipation is infrequent bowel movements that may be painful or difficult with hard stool.
- Common causes of constipation include diets low in fiber, medications, prior surgeries, and certain medical conditions.
- A doctor should be consulted for constipation if it is severe, it does not respond to home treatment, is accompanied by bleeding, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, or pregnancy.
- Non-drug measures for constipation include adding fiber to the diet, increasing fluids, and regular exercise.
- Foods that increase fiber in the diet are helpful in treating mild cases of constipation. These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
- Over-the-counter preparations for constipation include bulk-forming laxatives, stool softeners, lubricant laxatives, stimulant laxatives, saline laxatives enemas, osmotic-type laxatives, and suppositories.
- There is concern that over-use of laxatives, especially the stimulant laxatives, may have a deleterious effect on the colon and make the constipation worse.
- Children and infants usually can benefit from dietary modification to help relieve constipation.
- Constipation in pregnancy can often be remedied with dietary changes and exercise. Individuals should consult their physicians before using laxatives or stool softeners.
REFERENCE: MedscapeReference.com. Constipation.
Last Editorial Review: 9/14/2011
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