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Is it safe to take laxatives regularly for constipation. Having poor diet. Is fybogel better to improve diet?

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Practicing since : 2001
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Hi there, just wondering if you can help. Just to give you a bit of background. I manage a small care home for young adults with learning disabilities/sensory impairments. One of our clients is a male aged 24 who is blind and has a trachi in situ. Since taking the position 9 months ago I have noticed that this clients dietaty intake is very poor, mainly due to the lack of staff input with regards to healthy menus, always picking the easy options. The client has been taking fybogel for 5 years (am/pm), although I am aware that Fybogel has no negative side effects as such, would it not be better to improve his diet. I am told by staff that he takes it due to constipation but I know (without even looking) that his bowel movements will never have been monitored to assess this and he does not need any personal care after a bowel movement. I have spoken with the client and we have devised a menu with foods that he will eat and likes that will give him a balanced diet etc. The staff like to give him 'instant noodles', 5 sausages (as a meal), 10 XXXXXXX jetters etc etc, they are like 'lazy parents' who throw their kids a sausage roll for lunch instead of being creative. I have made an appt with his doctor to assess this. Am I on the right track?
Many thanks
Posted Mon, 27 Aug 2012 in Constipation
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 5 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
I must appreciate your efforts. Taking laxatives regularly is not recommended. Taking a laxative should not be a substitute to a healthy diet. You are on a right track and changing his diet would be the most appropriate thing.
There are many things you can do to help constipation. They include
1. Eating more fruits, vegetables and grains, which are high in fiber

Foods XXXXXXX in SOLUBLE Fiber: Oatmeal or oat bran; Brown rice; Orange, grapefruit, XXXXXXX plantain

Foods that can act as laxatives: Prunes, figs, Psyllium husk, shredded wheat, flaxseed (oil), Senna, Cascara sagrada, Aloe vera juice, Dandelion root, Molasses, Liquorice, etc.

2. Drinking plenty of water and other liquids

3. Getting enough exercise, abdominal exercises are best to improve gut motility.

4. Taking time to have a bowel movement when you need to. Visit the toilet for 15 minutes in the morning, even if you are unable to have a bowel movement. This relaxes and stimulates your digestive system.

5. Relaxation and stress management techniques.

6. Proper dietary habits, regular meals, not missing meals and breakfast,etc. Sit quietly for 15 minutes after eating a meal to aid in digestion.

7. Cessation of smoking and tobacco use, excess dependence on sodas, colas and caffiene.

Hope this answers your query. I will be glad to answer the follow up queries that you have.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Rakhi Tayal.
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