Constipation medication is formulated to relieve infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stools, common symptoms of constipation. This category encompasses various types of laxatives, including bulk-forming agents which increase stool bulk, stimulant laxatives that speed up bowel movements, osmotic agents that help fluids move through the colon, and stool softeners. Read More…

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    • About Constipation Medications

      Over-the-counter (OTC) constipation medications, known as laxatives, are formulated to relieve symptoms of constipation and help facilitate bowel movements. These medications come in various types, each working differently to address constipation:

      Oral Osmotics: They work by drawing water into the colon to ease the passage of stool, and are helpful for individuals experiencing occasional constipation. However, they may cause bloating, cramping, or diarrhoea if not taken as directed.
      Bulk-forming Agents: These fibre supplements absorb water to form soft, bulky stools, which can trigger the bowel to push the stools out. Taking enough water with these supplements is essential to prevent further constipation.
      Stool Softeners: Adding moisture to the stool allows for easier and strain-free bowel movements but should be used with caution over long periods to avoid electrolyte imbalances.
      Stimulant Laxatives: They induce rhythmic contractions in the colon muscles, propelling the stool forward. While effective, they might lead to side effects such as cramping or diarrhoea.
      Lubricant Laxatives: Products like mineral oil can help stool move more smoothly through the colon but should be used sparingly to avoid nutrient malabsorption.

      It’s crucial to note that laxatives should be taken according to the instructions on the label and not used for more than a week unless recommended by a healthcare provider. Prolonged or excessive use can lead to dependency, decreased bowel function, and interference with absorption of nutrients and medication. Some individuals, especially those with certain health conditions, should consult their doctors before taking OTC laxatives to avoid complications like electrolyte imbalances or interactions with other medications.

    • Symptoms

      Certainly, here are the symptoms of constipation summarised in bullet points:

      • Fewer than three bowel movements per week
      • Stools that are hard, dry, or lumpy
      • Stools that are difficult or painful to pass
      • A feeling of incomplete evacuation after a bowel movement
      • A sensation of blockage in the rectum
      • The need for manual efforts to pass stool in some cases
      • Interference with daily activities due to symptoms
      • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
      • Unexplained weight loss
      • Continuous abdominal pain

      These symptoms can result from a variety of causes, including dietary habits, medications, health conditions, and lifestyle changes.

    • Diagnosis

      Diagnosing constipation involves a combination of approaches, starting with a review of your medical and family history, a physical examination, and potentially some medical tests if required.

      During the initial consultation, your healthcare provider will ask about your digestive tract history, any recent weight changes, and your family’s medical history, especially concerning digestive tract disorders or colon cancer. Questions about your bowel movement frequency, stool characteristics, diet, fluid intake, and physical activity levels are also typical. Keeping a diary of your bowel movements and noting any accompanying symptoms such as blood in the stool can be very useful for your doctor.

      A physical examination usually follows, where a healthcare provider may check your blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and listen to sounds in your abdomen. They may also feel your abdomen for tenderness, swelling, or masses and perform a rectal exam to detect any anomalies.

      Lab tests such as blood and urine tests can be requested to identify underlying conditions like hypothyroidism, anaemia, and diabetes. In some cases, stool tests may be conducted to check for infection, inflammation, and cancer indicators.

      If more information is needed, your doctor may use imaging tests like a computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or gastrointestinal tract series to identify problems causing constipation. Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy may also be performed to examine the inside of your colon and rectum.

      Additional functional tests to examine bowel movement and colon transit include colorectal transit studies, which can involve swallowing a capsule with markers to track stool movement through the colon, or eating a meal with a small dose of a radioactive substance to observe its passage through the intestines.

      If problems with pelvic floor muscles are suspected, tests such as defecography, anorectal manometry, and the balloon expulsion test can help assess the muscles’ function related to bowel movements.

      The diagnostic process is thorough and aims to identify not just the symptoms of constipation but also the underlying causes, ensuring that the treatment plan is tailored to your specific needs. If you experience symptoms of constipation, especially if they’re new or have changed, it’s essential to discuss them with your healthcare provider to receive proper evaluation and management.

    • Treatment

      Over-the-counter (OTC) constipation medications can be a convenient and effective way to alleviate symptoms of constipation. These products typically work by different mechanisms to either soften the stool, increase stool bulk, or stimulate bowel movements. Here’s some highlighted products that we offer:

      • Glycerol (Glycerin) Suppositories: These suppositories work by irritating the lining of the intestine and increasing the water content in the stool, resulting in a laxative effect. This can provide fast relief from constipation, often working within minutes to an hour.
      • Lactulose Oral Solution: This is an osmotic laxative that works by drawing water into the bowel to soften stools and increase bowel activity. It’s often used for treating chronic constipation and can be particularly useful in maintaining regular bowel movements.
      • Manevac Granules: Containing a blend of fibres, these granules work as a bulk-forming laxative, which increases stool bulk and triggers the bowel to push the stools out. It’s often recommended for individuals who need to maintain regular bowel action, including pregnant women.
      • Laxido Orange Sugar-Free Sachets: These contain Macrogol 3350, which is another type of osmotic laxative. It works by retaining water in the stool, softening it and making it easier to pass, and is especially helpful for those with chronic constipation.

      These medications should be used as part of a regimen that includes dietary changes, increased fluid intake, and regular exercise for best results. If you’re considering an OTC laxative for constipation relief, it’s also crucial to consider any possible interactions with other medications you may be taking and to be aware of any underlying health conditions that may be affected by laxative use.

    • Prevention Strategies

      Preventing constipation is often possible with lifestyle and dietary changes. Here are several steps to help prevent this condition:

      • Increase Fibre Intake: Incorporating a variety of fibre-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can help improve bowel function. Gradually adding fibre to your diet can help avoid bloating and gas.
      • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water each day is essential. Aim for at least eight glasses of water, and limit caffeine as it can dehydrate you.
      • Regular Exercise: Physical activity can help keep stool moving through the colon, so try to include regular exercise in your routine.
      • Respond to Bowel Urges: When you feel the urge to go, don’t delay. Waiting can make stools harder and more difficult to pass.
      • Establish a Routine: Try to create a regular schedule for bowel movements, especially after meals.
      • Limit Low-Fiber Foods: Eating fewer foods with low amounts of fibre, such as processed foods, dairy, and meats, can help prevent constipation.

      If these self-care steps don’t resolve your constipation, or if you experience any severe symptoms like rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, or unexpected weight loss, it’s important to see a doctor. They can help identify any underlying conditions and recommend appropriate treatments.