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- What is constipation?
- What are the causes of constipation?
- What medications cause constipation?
- What natural and home remedies help cure constipation?
- What foods naturally help cure constipation?
- What types of over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives help cure constipation?
- Pros and precautions for using bulk-forming laxatives
- Pros and precautions for using stool softeners (emollient laxatives)
- Pros and precautions for using lubricant laxatives
- Pros and precautions for using stimulant laxatives
- Pros and precautions for using saline laxatives and osmotic laxatives
- Pros and precautions for using enemas and suppositories
- What natural laxatives are safe for infants, toddlers, and children?
- Are laxatives safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
- When should a doctor be consulted for constipation?
- Are laxatives safe to take for weight loss?
Quick Guide19 Constipation Myths and Facts
Are laxatives safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
Hormones from pregnancy, as well as prenatal vitamins and iron supplements may cause constipation. Pressure from the uterus pushes on the bowels and can cause constipation.
Dietary and behavioral modifications can ease constipation during pregnancy and are considered safe. It's best to try these natural remedies first to treat constipation during pregnancy.
- Eat a diet rich in fiber with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Supplement fiber in the diet with over-the-counter products such as Metamucil, which is considered safe
- Stay hydrated – drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day
- Drink 1-2 glasses of prune juice per day
- Exercise regularly – if permitted by your obstetrician
Pregnant women should talk with their doctor before using over-the-counter laxatives or stool softeners during pregnancy. Laxatives can cause fluid loss and diarrhea, so it is important not to overuse them during pregnancy. Avoid cod liver oil as a treatment for constipation if you are pregnant because it may prevent the absorption of needed vitamins and minerals.
When should a doctor be consulted for constipation?
Many people have a life-long tendency toward constipation while others have occasional constipation alternating with a normal bowel pattern or even diarrhea. While mild and intermittent constipation in these individuals is usually not a cause for concern, a doctor should be consulted under the following circumstances:
- A new onset of constipation or recent change in bowel habits
- Moderate to severe constipation, or constipation that does not respond to self-treatment with simple bulking agents that provide fiber
- Constipation that is accompanied by rectal bleeding, abdominal pain and cramps, nausea and vomiting, or involuntary weight loss
- Constipation during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.