In general, constipation occurs more frequently as you get older.
Treatment for constipation includes changing some behaviors, eating foods high in fiber
, and using laxatives or enemas if needed. You can try these treatments at home, before seeing a healthcare provider. However, if you do not have a bowel movement
within a few days, you should call your healthcare provider for further assistance.
A variety of laxatives are available for treating constipation
. The choice between them is based upon how they work, how safe the treatment is, and your healthcare provider's preferences. Bulk forming laxatives include natural fiber and commercial fiber preparations such as psyllium
. You should increase the dose of fiber supplements
slowly to prevent gas and cramping, and you should always take the supplement with plenty of fluid. Hyperosmolar laxatives include medications such as polyethylene glycol
) and have the advantage that they do not cause gas or bloating. Stimulant
laxatives such as senna
are effective but they must be used cautiously if they are to be used regularly. Finally, a newer treatment such as Lubiprostone
) is available on prescription and treats severe constipation. It is expensive compared to other agents. However, it may be recommended if you do not respond to other treatments.