ZocdocAnswersHow can one treat a laxative addiction?

Question

How can one treat a laxative addiction?

I'm a guy and I'm 33. Due to chronic constipation, I've been taking laxatives for years. Now it feels like I'm addicted ? I can't have a bowel movement without them. What kind of treatment can I get to ween me off laxatives?

Answer

The answer to your question depends on a few critical factors. 1. Which laxative have you been taking. 2. What is causing your chronic constipation, and 3. How much fiber do you have in your diet. Probably the best next move for you would be to present this issue to your primary care physician who can recommend a treatment plan to you get you off the laxatives that fits in the context of your past medical history. If the laxative you are taking is a motility stimulant (gets your bowels moving), then you can try to wean yourself off it first by taking less of it every week. At the same time you need to increase the amount of fiber in your diet so that you form healthy amounts of stool. You can buy fiber supplements at the grocery store if you can't fine enough high fiber foods you can eat regularly. Finally, you can try a stool softener such as Docusate (Colace) which can be taken in place of the laxative. Keep in mind that it is also important to look into why you are so constipated. It isn't normal for a 33 year old guy to have that much trouble with your bowels. Your doctor may order some tests or refer you to a gastroenterologist for further workup if necessary. Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.