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A 47-year-old member asked:

I need to take stool softners or laxatives to have a bowel movement. what could be the reason for this? about a 2 months ago i thought i was constipated so i took a laxative. ever since then i haven't been able to have a bowel movement without using one o

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Serlin
Family Medicine 22 years experience
There : There are many reasons for constipation. Without knowing more about your history, i can't tell you for sure what is the cause of yours. With that being said, fiber is normally a good answer to constipation as you are attempting with a goal of slowly increasing to 30g/day in your diet. But, you need to make sure that you drink lots of water in order to help move that fiber through your system. If you don't drink enough water, then the fiber becomes almost like a plug and then you require the softeners or laxatives. Try to drink 2-4 liters of water per day (think 2 of the large 2-l soda bottles of water). Certain foods and meds also tend to be constipating as well although you said you haven't had any changes to yours. Also, if you had a stomach virus(gastroenteritis) or surgery, both of those can lead to constipation. Certainly, you can see you family physician to evaluate more specifically what may be causing your constipation.
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Dr. Eric Kaplan
Colon and Rectal Surgery 43 years experience
Change your diet and: Fluids. Eat a high fiber diet between 20-25 grams per day, regular meal times and drink 80-100 oz of caffeine free alcohol free fluids daily. If you exercise and should add 20 oz per 30 minutes of strenuous exercise. Some meds contribute to constipation so take the meds with full glass of fluid instead of a sip in addition to the above recommended fluids.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Jun 24, 2019

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