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What is the Treatment for Constipation?

Explore constipation treatment options, including dietary adjustments, exercise, and medications. Learn about fiber, physical activity, and relief strategies for improved bowel health.

  • 29 Jan 2024
  • 3 min read
  • 32 views

Constipation is a common condition where infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools persists for several weeks or longer due to which a person is unable to empty the bowel. Affecting people of all ages, constipation can cause significant pain and discomfort to the patient. Key symptoms of constipation include dry and hard stool, painful bowel movements and having fewer than three bowel movements a week. Constipation treatment often involves dietary changes, increased fluid intake, regular exercise, and, in some cases, medical intervention to facilitate easier bowel movements.

Treatment of constipation

The following treatments can help ease constipation:

  • Change the Diet

To ease the symptoms, make changes in diet to make stools softer and easier to pass. Including more fibrous food (22 to 34 grams of fibre per day) in the diet can help ease constipation. There are mainly two types of dietary fibres: insoluble and soluble fibres.

  1. Insoluble fibres: These are mostly present in wheat bran, vegetables and whole grains. They add bulk to stools and help to release motion more quickly and easily.
  2. Soluble fibres: These fibres present in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas and in some fruits and vegetables absorb water and form a gel-like paste in the digestive tract, which softens the stools and improves its consistency.
  • Get Regular Physical Activity

It is important to do some regular physical activity to help relieve the symptoms of constipation.

  • Try Bowel Training

Doctors recommend establishing a consistent daily routine, including having breakfast at the same time each day and allowing a 30- to 45-minute gap before attempting to pass stool. This practice assists the colon in moving stool regularly and facilitates easier bowel movements.

  • Stop Taking Certain Medicines or Dietary Supplements

If certain medicines or dietary supplements are causing the problem of constipation, then talk with the doctor who may change the dose or suggest a different medicine that does not cause problems related to constipation. 

  • Take Over-the-Counter Medicines

Doctors may prescribe certain medicines with laxatives for constipation treatment to help ease the symptoms. These are:

  1. Fibre supplements (Citrucel, FiberCon, Metamucil)
  2. Osmotic agents (Milk of Magnesia, Miralax)
  3. Stool softeners  (Colace, Docusate)
  4. Lubricants, such as mineral oil (Fleet)
  5. Stimulants (Correctol, Dulcolax)

If someone has been using these laxatives for a longer period, consulting a doctor is advisable to discuss a gradual cessation plan. This approach may enable the colon to resume its normal stool movement once the laxatives are gradually phased out.

Also read:

Conclusion

Constipation is a very common problem worldwide that affects a person’s daily life. Early diagnosis and seeking medical attention and treatment to manage the other underlying factors are important to give relief to the patient from undue physical and psychological stress. Accessing appropriate constipation treatment, often including dietary modifications and prescribed medications, is essential, and health insurance coverage can assist in managing the expenses associated with comprehensive constipation care.

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