Laxatives for Constipation

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Constipation Myths & Facts
woman with constipation

Top 12 foods that cause constipation

Foods that cause constipation

Just as there are many foods you can eat to help prevent or relieve your constipation, there are foods that can have a binding effect that can make your constipation worse. These are 12 foods to avoid when you are constipated.

  • Bananas
  • Caffeine
  • White rice
  • Red meat
  • White bread
  • Alcohol
  • chocolate
  • Some supplements
  • Dry products
  • Fast foods
  • Processed foods and frozen dinners
  • Chips

Quick GuideDigestive Disorders: Constipation Myths and Facts

Digestive Disorders: Constipation Myths and Facts

Laxatives for constipation facts

  • Constipation is infrequent bowel movements that may be painful or difficult with hard stool.
  • Common causes of constipation include diets low in fiber, medications, prior surgeries, and certain medical conditions.
  • A doctor should be consulted for constipation if it is severe, it does not respond to home treatment, is accompanied by bleeding, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, or pregnancy.
  • Non-drug measures for constipation include adding fiber to the diet, increasing fluids, and regular exercise.
  • Foods that increase fiber in the diet are helpful in treating mild cases of constipation. These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
  • Over-the-counter preparations for constipation include bulk-forming laxatives, stool softeners, lubricant laxatives, stimulant laxatives, saline laxatives enemas, osmotic-type laxatives, and suppositories.
  • There is concern that over-use of laxatives, especially the stimulant laxatives, may have a deleterious effect on the colon and make the constipation worse.
  • Children and infants usually can benefit from dietary modification to help relieve constipation.
  • Constipation in pregnancy can often be remedied with dietary changes and exercise. Individuals should consult their physicians before using laxatives or stool softeners.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/7/2016

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