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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

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How can severe constipation be treated through medications and diet?

Answered by
Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 16087 Questions

Posted on Tue, 9 Oct 2018 in Digestion and Bowels
Question: My BM habits have changed quite a bit in past year. Now I feel very bloated and impacted most of the time. In the past I had the opposite and had a BM every day.
I can feel the need but can't go and when I do it is very hard to start and some of the stool is very had lumps. Is there some type of laxative, food or other things you could recommend that I could do to help this situation. I am not overweight or exercise at least 3 times a week.
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 34 minutes later
Brief Answer:

fiber, fluids,continue activity, laxatives

Detailed Answer:


Constipation can be treated by--(1) diet as you mentioned- fruits and vegetables. Whole grains--There are some fruits that are more likely to help with bowel movements eg apples, prunes, kiwifruit, pears, oranges

Vegetables like beans, artichokes, sweet potatoes

Other sources of fibre-flaxseeds, oats, chia seeds, lentils etc

At least 5 servings of fruits/vegetables daily, that means with each main meal and with/as a snack

Some persons find it difficult to increase the amount of fiber used, if this is the case for you then you can consider using a fibre supplement eg Metamucil, Cetrucil, Benefiber.
Start with once a day and increase till you achieve regular bowel movements.

(2)fluids-at least 8 glasses of fluid daily unless there is a medical reason for not using a lot of fluid eg heart disease/liver or kidney disease

This would not include caffeinated drinks or alcohol because these cause the body to lose fluids by increasing urination

(3)continue your activity

(4)laxatives- this should be a last resort. They can be used as a temporary measure. If used for too long or too commonly then this can cause/worsen constipation because they can stop the bowel from working well on its own.

Using a laxative once or twice is fine. eg Ducolax, ex-lax, Constulose, magnesium citrate

Hope I have answered your query.

Take care

Dr Michelle Gibson James, General & Family Physician
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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