Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What should I do if I am constipated?"
How do you make constipation go away? Its been bad for the last two days and I don't know what to do. Something I can buy from a grocery store that would help?
I am sorry to hear that you are having trouble with constipation! Constipation is one of the most common medical problems, and most people will be constipated from time to time, most often due to changes in stress levels, travel, and other disruptions in their normal schedules. Most cases of mild constipation will respond to increasing your intake of water and other liquids and eating plenty of fiber (think fresh fruits and vegetables). However, in more persistent cases, medications may be needed. There are several over the counter medications for constipation that are safe to take. These include sennosides-containing products (Senna, Ex-lax, and others), which produce contractions of the colon and will lead to a bowel movement. Also, Miralax (polyethylene glycol) is a gentle power-based laxative which works by drawing water into the colon, leading to increased stool mass and looseness, which will usually produce a bowel movement. Please see your primary care doctor to discuss these strategies. Sometimes, stronger doses of laxative medications are needed, which your doctor can recommend. Also, sometimes there is a medical cause of the constipation that needs to be identified and treated.
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