Using a stimulant laxative or a stool softener from time to time is not a big deal, as long as you do not depend on them regularly. But which one should you choose to cure your constipation when it strikes?
The right choice depends on whether you have a punctual or chronic problem, says gastroenterologist Will Bulsiewicz, MD. If the poop is not usually a problem for you and you just need help at the moment, a stimulant laxative such as bisacodyl (Dulcolax) or senna (Sennokot) will do the trick . These work by accelerating and strengthening the contractions of your colon, which helps repel your waste.
You do not want to use them too often, otherwise they may lose their effectiveness. This can create a laxative addiction, requiring you to need higher and higher doses for poop.
Home remedies for constipation like aloe, cascara and Smooth Move tea can have the same effect, says Bulesiewicz. Softeners like docusate (Colace) work by reducing stool hardness, which should make them easier to pass. The problem is that they will not do much if you are already constipated because they take three or four days to get started, he adds. But they can help treat chronic constipation .
If you use laxatives more than once a month, Bulsiewicz recommends consulting a doctor on longer term solutions like stool softeners. Another remedy might be to take fiber supplements, which add volume to your stool to help you, and an osmotic laxative – which draws water into your intestines to help move stool – such as polyethylene glycol (Miralax ) or milk of magnesia. ]
In rare cases, your constipation may not respond to medication. This could indicate pelvic floor dyssynergia, a condition that prevents the anal canal and pelvic muscles from relaxing, explains Bulesiewicz. If you have this condition, you may feel as if you should continue pooping even if you had already gone there, or as if you had not pooped completely when you did. Treating this often requires physical therapy.
How to tell if your # 2 is normal:
Instead of relying on medications to help you leave, you should first prevent constipation. The easiest way to do it? Make sure you consume a lot of water and fiber. Exercise can also help, says Bulsiewicz. "When you move, your colon will move too."
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Another tip: Try to sit in the bathroom at the same time every day for five minutes. If you can not poop, just leave. "Having a routine sets a pace that your body can follow," says Bulsiewicz. "After a few days, your body will begin to recognize what you are trying to accomplish and help you reach your goal."
The article Should you take a softener or a laxative if you can? & # 39; t Poop? originally appeared on Men's Health.