Table of Contents
- Constipation facts
- What is constipation?
- What causes constipation?
- Medications that cause constipation
- Other causes of constipation
- Other causes of constipation (Continued)
- What are constipation symptoms?
- How is constipation diagnosed (evaluated)?
- Exams and tests
- Imaging studies and other tests
- What treatments are available for constipation?
- Dietary fiber and bulk-forming laxatives to treat constipation
- Dietary fiber and bulk-forming laxatives to treat constipation (Continued)
- Other laxatives to treat constipation
- Other laxatives and OTC products to treat constipation
- Other laxatives and OTC products to treat constipation (Continued)
- Prescription drugs to treat constipation
- Other treatments for constipation?
- What is the approach to the evaluation and treatment of constipation?
- When should I seek medical care for chronic constipation?
- What is new in the treatment of constipation?
Quick GuideDigestive Disorders: Constipation Myths and Facts
What treatments are available for constipation?
There are many treatments for constipation. The best approach relies on a clear understanding of the underlying cause.
Dietary fiber and bulk-forming laxatives to treat constipation
The best way of adding fiber to the diet is increasing the quantity of fruits and vegetables that are eaten. This means a minimum of five servings of fruits or vegetables every day. For many people, however, the amount of fruits and vegetables that are necessary may be inconveniently large or may not provide adequate relief from constipation. In this case, fiber supplements can be useful.
Fiber is defined as material made by plants that is not digested by the human gastrointestinal tract. Fiber is one of the mainstays in the treatment of constipation. Many types of fiber within the intestine bind to water and keep the water within the intestine. The fiber adds bulk (volume) to the stool and the water softens the stool.
There are different sources of fiber and the type of fiber varies from source to source. Types of fiber can be categorized in several ways, for example, by their source.
The most common sources of fiber include:
- fruits and vegetables,
- wheat or oat bran,
- psyllium seed (for example, Metamucil, Konsyl),
- synthetic methyl cellulose (for example, Citrucel), and
- polycarbophil (for example, Equalactin, Konsyl Fiber).
Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.
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