I am 26, and I suffer from chronic constipation and used stimulant laxatives frequently for about 2 or 3 years before learning of the dangers. I take large dosages of fiber supplements now, but still have to use laxatives occasionally when stomach feels like it will pop. Can I reduce my body's addiction? Is the damage irreversible? What all can I do to help myself? I would appreciate any advice...thank you.
No one can answer a question like that but in the mean time it is important to STOP using ALL laxatives immediately, try the occasional glycerin suppository to initiate and soften stool, up your liquid intake and keep the fibre supplements.... but definitely stop further damaging your system.
When you say constipated what do you mean? how often will you go naturally and what consistency? any other symptoms?
I agree with sammy --- for your intestines to work you have to intake fiber. What laxatives do is make your colon lazy and lose muscle tone so they don't contract properly.
IT's not going to be easy to rebuild the muscle tone---- increase fiber and decrease the use of laxative but you can do it. Taking a water soluble fiber supplement is the way to start but begin slowly ---it'll cause gas but it'll go away with continued use. Also, make sure you drink enough water and exercise!!!
Yes someone can answer a question like that. You need to stay away from the laxatives and keep on with the fiber 2-3 times per day. Also be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. Try drinking prune juice or eating prunes as they are good for the bowels. If you haven't had a good BM by the third day then use a glycerin suppository. Also you will need to train your bowels so be sure to sit on the toilet or 5 minutes or so every AM after breakfast. Be sure to get plenty of exercise. It will be a long road ahead of you as laxative abuse has caused you muscle tone to get lax as Harry already mentioned but you are on the the right track.
Thanks to everyone for their input and encouragement. To answer one question...without laxatives my normal BM would be every 4 to 6 days and very hard and heavy. Should I avoid other products like Milk of Magnesia, or can I take too many fiber supplements? I would appreciate any further information. Thanks a lot.
Hi Harry! Just have a quick question for you. You seem to be well informed about laxatives. Do you think that colace is considered a laxative and will it cause my muscles to weaken. I had a rectocele a while back from straining too much. Since then well the constipation isn't better. My doctor told me to use Milk of Magnesia every other day and colace two times a day. It's hard for me to intake the fiber as I am very limited to what i eat due to a broken jaw. If you could suggest something that would be awsome or let me know what you think of my current use for constipation.
Colace is not a laxative it is a stool softener. As for fiber therapy even with a broken jaw you should be able to drink Metamucil with a straw so start taking in metamucil 2-3 daily.
As for the fella with the original post your main sign of constipation is the fact that your stools are hard. Remember frequency is not always a sign of constipation but consistency of the stool is more important. Milk of Magnesia is a laxative no doubt about it but one of the better laxatives since it isn't a simulant laxative. All in all though you would be better to stick with the fiber therapy (no you can't take to much of it and yes you can take it for life.), increase your water intake, get plenty of exercise, sit on the toilet daily for about 5 minutes after breakfast wether you go or not and if no BM by the third day then use a glycerin suppository. Remember you colon is lax from abuse so you need to totally retrain your bowels. Good Luck.
I know what colace is i have been on it for a while now. I wanted to see if keven had more insite to it. Yes i can take fiber substitute but at the same time it's always good to have the original products. Even with supplements i still don't get the right balance of fiber in my system and it bites.
I wonder if anyone else is on colace. I don't see it mentioned too much on here
As you know everything has side effects even food --- I read somewhere that the long term use of Colace is that it has some effects on the liver. I have had members of my family take it after an illness or surgery but not for long periods --only for shorter periods until they got over the problem.
I am a great believer in taking psyllium --a water soluble fiber that works well for me and alot of people. It makes my BMs gentle and like they are lubricated. It's a bowel bulking agent, it cleans your intestines (Pockets and folds) and is safe to take daily. It now comes in wafers, capsules and powder forms. I take the powder --Equate orange flavored --sugar free from Wal Mart. My wife take the capsules ---she says the powder bloats her making her hernia hurt.
[This message has been edited by Harry (edited 02-23-2003).]
We use a lot of colace at the nursing home I work at but those people often have trouble with hard stools as they don't drink, eat nor get the proper excercise like a younger person does. All of these things can lead to hard stools as well as to constipation itself.
I use Fleet glycerine suppositories almost every other day when I'm experiencing bouts of constipation (which for me are months at a time, sometimes the better part of a year).
I used to use cascara sagrada or that magnesium citrate drink.
I now realize that's not the way to go.
I tried the fiber, like metamucil I think (?) but could never gag it down, and the "cookies" I couldn't choke down either.
I remember going for colonic irrigation at one point because I wanted to believe so badly that it would help with other issues (such as skin problems which I was told had to do with impacted fecal material that could not just be moved out naturally and was just building up along the walls). Come to think of it, the intense pain you feel during an irrigation as you hold the water in is right along the same pathways as where I get my pains now.
Anyway, the laxative question, me too, I want to ask too. Since I use glycerine to move and even then, (I'm the milk dud stone girl).
I suppose I should try the fiber stuff, the new stuff that mixes clear --- is that citracell you guys talk about?
Because of extennnnnsive dental issues, I cannot eat much food other than oatmeal. I've been eating yogurt (but I think that adds to the constipation, since it makes my bowels harder and I *think* that's what makes the milk duds?), and blueberries...
Because of the dental problems, I cannot eat much protein, almost no vegetables, and I do drink caffeine (but coffee and tea only rarely), no soda. I pretty much live on oatmeal for soft foods.
I'm also trying to get my insurance company to help pay for my dental work because the more I learn (mostly from this board) there are definitely links going on here from not eating well,... including my lower fiber intake which I now see!
You should not be using the suppositories every other day. Use them only if you have not had a decent BM by the third day. As for fiber therapy there are capsules as well as stuff you can sprinkle on food now. The capsules have been around a long time so you should have been able to be on fiber therapy for a long time. As for getting your fiber there are many foods that you should be able to chew or handle even with dental problems. Prunes and prune juice is great for the bowels. So are high fiber cereals and some of the high fiber breads and crackers. Grapes and raisins should also be fairly easy to handle and would be good tohelp with fiber. As for insurance being better for dental problems..........most health insurances don't have much for dental provisions as they are health insurance policies and not dental insurance policies. For dental you need to specifically get dental insurance as separate policy.
JM, You have been given a lot of good advise here. I hope you are feeling better.
Did you ever stop taking laxatives? How did that work out for you?
I personally think that if you are still having problems that you should not stop taking laxative with out the help of a doctor.
Is your problem due to laxative abuse, or is the problem due to IBS C or some anatomical problem that would need a doctors care and possibly medication.
These would be my questions before eliminating a laxative that is at least making a BM.
4 to 6 days is too long to go with out a BM and would indicate a need for at least a consult with a medical professional.
posted>>Anyway, the laxative question, me too, I want to ask too. Since I use glycerine to move and even then, (I'm the milk dud stone girl).
I suppose I should try the fiber stuff, the new stuff that mixes clear --- is that citracell you guys talk about?<<
Citracel is orange too and comes in both the standard sugar formula of the sugar substitue formula.
It is less gas producing than psyllium because it is a different kind of fibre.
Glycerine supps are the good help that does not cause trouble because it is not an intestinal stimulent.
The problem with laxatives is that you don't want the ones that will over stimulate the intestines.
As for Laxatives, by the time your body gets to chronic constipation it might then be very necessary to seek the guidence of a Gastroenterologist.
Chronic Constipation is nothing to mess around with.
If it becomes bad enough it can put you in the hospital needing emergency surgery so just don't mess around.
See a doctor who can give you an accurate diagnosis.
There is an Osmodic laxative available only by prescription for people who suffer from chronic constipation.
At some point the problem becomes more than what might be addressed by only fiber.
If you find yourself in the position of needing a laxative for bowel function then the prescription kind
is the best. It is sold as a prescription powder and it completely dissolves in any liquid.
There is also a huge amount of medication to help with intestinal spasms if it is a spastic colon that is causing the constipation.
A spastic colon can cause a lot of serious problems and needs to be treated as a medical condition.