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Can?t poop without laxatives: Graphic!

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Okay, someone I know has taken laxatives forever.  It was never to use lose weight.  She takes them because she has a hard time pooping.  I guess having kids started the poop problems, but prescribed medications made it worse.  Now she can’t poop without laxatives.  Actually, she’s constipated even when she takes them (been telling her for a long time this would happen). 

She’s eating Fiber One cereal, eating Activia, and drinking plenty of water.  She also drinks coffee.  Apple juice makes me poop so I suggested that, but it doesn’t have that affect on her. 

She says the poop will be right there wanting to come out but it just won’t budge no matter how long she tries.  She’s planning on telling her doctor about it during the next scheduled visit (isn’t too far away), but she really wants to poop now.   

Milk of magnesia doesn’t work, nor does magnesium citrate.  She’s not physically capable of giving herself an enema (running makes me poop but she can hardly walk, so that’s a no go also).   

What could she do to help move things along?

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Coffee always makes me poop but it usually takes a day or so to work, so that probably won't help much in this situation...

sit ups also work on me.

she could try:  warm water, mineral oil (it must be marked as mineral oil -- usually in the laxitive section at the drug store), and/or they have "meltaway" suppositories -- that she can give to herself (but she won't be comfortable).

When my son was all but impacted, he had to take a couple of TBSP of mineral oil (morning and night) and use the suppositories. 

She also needs to make sure she is drinking lots of water. 

There are some other methods, but they are pretty drastic and even more graphic -- so I'm not going there here.

Suppositories and mineral oil!  I totally forgot about that.  Castor oil might work too, ya think?

She needs to speak to her doctor, definitely. If it is causing her pain and can hardly walk it could be something as bad as an obstruction. Really, you should consider taking her to A+E. I have IBS-C, and on one of my worst flare ups I went to the night doctor because I was so badly constipated I was crying. They gave me suppositories, as it was the only way to... well, shift things.

For natural sources that haven't been said, get her to try prune juice or prunes themselves, or a strong black coffee and a bowl of oatmeal/porridge. In the long term, she should aim to keep her fibre levels up - getting the right balance of soluble and insoluble fibre. She might want to talk to the doctor about a higher fibre diet or just seeing how much she takes in on average a day. The recommended daily amount for a woman is about 25g a day. If she averages less than that, it may explain her constipation. Still, I hope your friend is well again soon.

You may want to tell your friend to add some unprocessed bran to her yogurt.  Excellent source of fiber.  Also, what about adding some prunes to her diet?  How much processed food does she consume?  The fresher and more 'natural' the better....processed foods seem to clog up the system.

Not being in anyway medically inclined but from the sound of it there might be something eles in there that shouldnt be. I would suggest her going to the doctors right away. especially if she is already on a high fiber diet and taking laxatives and still having problems.

She really has to go to see her doctor and not wait for a scheduled visit.  Chronic constipation is a serious matter because the straining it induces it can lead to all kinds of things from piles (haemorrhoids) and anal fissures to really nasty stuff like colon cancers.   If she's been self-medicating with the laxatives and ignoring the advice on the packet about "going to see a doctor if the symptoms persist", then she should certainly go now before it gets worse.


Oh, sorry I must have said this wrong.  She can hardly walk because of Degenerative Bone Disease and Osteoarthritis, not because of the other thing.  She's always had a wishy washy gut which she said happened after child birth.  The chronic constipation came when she was put on medication.  I think pain relievers (Vicodin) cause her the most problem with constipation.  So she only takes them when the pain is unbearable (like once a week or so). 

Lalabanana, what is an A+E?

Devilish, she eats quite a bit of processed foods.  I told her that junk will only exasperate the issue.  I'll try to get her to buy fresh.

Jane, she has hemorrhoids already and I hope she doesn't have any tears.

She's over-used laxatives for years.  I assume that's why she can't poop without them.  Is there any way to come back from this?


Have her go to her local drugstore and pick up Miralax.  It used to be only by prescription and is now available on the shelves.  She must take it every day (at night preferably before she goes to bed) and she should have great results. Even with her osteoarthritis and bone disease, she should be doing some sort of exercise, even if it is only walking.  That's my two cents for the day!

Oops, sorry. That's, um, accident and emergency. If she has anything like impacted feces she will need to go to the hospital. But if she has been on laxatives for years that would explain why she can't really go now. Get her to get more fibre and calcium in her diet, and on fresher foods (which you're doing, so that's good) and wean off of the laxatives.

If she has hemorrhoids she really ought to see someone in the hospital both to see if this is an obstruction and to check for tears - or worse. :[ I don't mean to sound scary but her muscles in her bowels may be so weak from too many laxatives that they might just not be able to push out the poo! She ought to speak to a professional right now.

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hi there.

i had the same problem. was dependant on nerve stimulating laxatives which left me, weak, dizzy, vomitting. i had to do this once a week just to 'clear'

the only, i repeat the ONLY, thing that has helped me go naturally is inulin powder. now, if you're friend really wants this problem resolved, she !!!WILL!!! take this. i have been to hell and back with my bowels.

insulin inulin is a prebiotic, it's from chicory root. it's all natural... her body will LOVE IT. you can take as much as you want, in tea or coffee, or whatever. i started off on about 5 heaped teaspoonfuls a day. you'll need to take less and less as your bowels regulate themselves and stop relying on laxatives. don't let her take it for two days and then give up. she should have a natural bowel movement in a few days.. just have patience. and and the best thing is, you have natural, painless movement usually right after drinking your tea/coffee. i sound like a salesperson for this stuff, i swear i would be. it's the only health supplement i have real convinction in. and.... best of all, its just fibre. but its the type of fibre thats important. amp;pid=1100&at=0

Edited Oct 23 2008 22:31 by coach_k
Reason: crossed out insulin, replaced with inulin

Inulin should NOT be confused with inSUlin...Kayaa had a typo - so be careful!

I have IBS and up until recently, I went WAY too much...and now it has turned around and I can hardly go.  I have started drinking Yogi "Get Regular" tea with senna which is a natural stimulant (like caffeine is), exercising much more regularly and upping my intake of raw vegetables (which used to tear me up!)

I would definitely try prunes, castor oil, and get her off the processed foods!  Fresh salad, corn on the cob, brocolli, spinach, TURNIP GREENS....all these types of things help me trmendously...but balance with soluble fiber.  I eat oatmeal for breakfast every day and wash it all down with water.

The Doctor is a MUST!  I've had fissures and they are extremely painful - especially when you have not had a hard stool and then....hello!  She will wish she had seen the doctor earlier if she EVER gets fissures.  Took me 8 months to heal.

Good luck to her.

Be careful with Senna and castor oil. There are stimulant laxatives, natural or no. s_with_use

Laxative gut
Physicians generally warn against the chronic use of stimulant laxatives due to concern that chronic use causes the colonic tissues to get worn out over time and not be able to expel feces due to long term overstimulation. The evidence for this was never too strong, and it was always unclear whether the elongated and poorly moving colon of a patient with chronic constipation was a result of or was just a cause for patients' use of stimulant laxatives. A common finding in patients who have used stimulant laxatives is a brown pigment deposited in the intestinal tissue, known as Melanosis coli.

Really, she should talk this all out with a doctor. What has been said about fibre balance is right, though. Insoluble (the fibre that forms bulk and regulates acidity and PH in the gut) and soluble (the fibre that helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol).

Insoluble fibre examples:
 -- Whole-wheat pastas, breads, etc
 -- Quinoa
 -- Brown rice
 -- Bran products
 -- Fruit and vegetable skins, such as potato skins, tomato skins, plum/prune skins, apple skins, pear skins
 -- Nuts and seeds, particularly flax, almonds, brazil nuts and walnuts

Soluble fibre examples:
 -- Oats
 -- Rye
 -- Barley
 -- Potatoes of all varieties
 -- Psyillium husks
 -- Legumes and pulses, especially lentils, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), kidney beans, pinto beans and soybeans

And pretty much all fruits and vegetables. Particularly raspberries, plums, bananas, sweetcorn, prunes, apples, pears, blackberries, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels, asparagus, artichokes and dried fruit. Though you and she are aware of this, never introduce lots more fibre without drinking enough water to compensate. There is a more detailed list of fibre sources here for future reference.

Same thing happened to me on Vicodin, and the hospital said it is very common - and I have never used laxatives.  They switched me to a different pain med.  In the meantime, Dulcolax helped me - it's not a laxative, just a softener.

Dulcolax, otherwise known as Bisacodyl, is a stimulant laxative. Last time I took that personally, I was in agony. 08.html

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whoops! yes sorry about the typo.. most definately dooont take inSulin. that would be..... bad. to say the least.

lalabanana: had a bad experience with bisacodyl myself. it's violent. i passed out in the middle of the night when i tried to get to the toilet.

basically.. all laxatives are a nono. you want to fix the problem, not medicate it (not to mention make it WORSE in the longrun). your doctor will throw laxatives at you very easily, but its because its such a common problem. if, however, you really do suffer with bad constipation....... fibre, it is our friend. and the one and only substance that can FIX digestive problems

Same here with Dulcalax - it says safe and easy and comfortable, but it is not. 


Original Post by lalabanana:

Dulcolax, otherwise known as Bisacodyl, is a stimulant laxative. Last time I took that personally, I was in agony. 08.html

 They make a laxative, about that you are correct, but they also make a STOOL SOFTENER:  see rust/index.jsp which is not bisacodyl, but docusate sodium.

Also, "Docusate is also any of a group of anionic surfactants widely used as emulsifying, wetting, and dispersing agents.  Docusate sodium may be used in a daily regimen in persons who are undergoing narcotic pain medication therapy to reduce the effects of chronic constipation or hardened stools which can cause severe straining, impaction, and torn rectal tissues."

BTW, they also use it to remove ear wax...

I was born with constipation.  My mom told me some stuff I won't mention.  I've tried coffee, warm glass of wine, activia, bran and you name it etc.  Laxatives are too harsh.  I don't use them.  Tried the enema and don't like that either.  It seemed hopeless that I would ever be regular like everyone else.  Last summer my hubby and I got into beans.  We had a large crockpot of some type of bean simmering every day (just like when he was in the Navy - navy beans available to the boys 24 hours a day).  We actually love them and we were adding all kinds of different ingredients and spices to spice them up.  We even bought a 25 lb bag of them at Winco Foods.  Come to find out that I was starting to get regular.  They were the only thing to ever work for me.  Not even roughage like greens worked.  It sure felt good.  We have kind of  slowed down on the beans and of course I'm back to the old ways.  But they work!


Good Luck

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