For Your Good Health…
REGULARITY – Many Americans are subject to perceived constipation- they think they are constipated when they are not. In reality, the need to defecate varies greatly from individual to individual. For some, a bowel movement three times a day may be considered normal, for others three times a week may suffice.
PREVENTION – Is the best treatment.
Fluids– Softens stool. 31-128 ounces a day. Water preferably.
Fiber– Adds bulk and softens stool. 20-35 grams a day.
Exercise– Improves intestinal muscle tone therefore moving food through the bowel faster.
Atmosphere– Must be relaxed and unhurried.
Pattern– Ignoring the urge to defecate can lead to constipation. The most natural time to go to the toilet is after a meal. Condition yourself to act as nature intended.
Bulk Forming -Dissolves or swells in intestinal fluid and facilitates passage of the contents. Ex. Methylcellulose, Calcium polycarbophil, Psyllium.
Emollient/Lubricants– Softens fecal mass. Ex. Mineral oil, Docusate.
Saline– Evacuates bowel. Ex. Magnesium citrate, Dibasic (Monobasic) sodium phosphate, Sodium biphosphate.
Stimulants– Increases peristaltic activity. Ex. Cascara, Phenolphthalein, Bisacodyl, Senna, Casanthranol, Castor oil.
Laxative agents should be discontinued once regularity has returned.
Alert MD if when using laxatives, regularity does not return after one week or if skin rash appears.
Saline laxatives should NOT be used on a daily basis.
The dose of a laxative product should be individualized for appropriate effect.
Enemas and suppositories must be administered properly to be effective.
Laxatives should NOT be used in the presence of abdominal pain, perianal lesions, nausea, vomiting, bloating, or cramping without consulting a physician.
Laxatives containing phenolphthalein may discolor feces and urine to a pink to red color.
Certain Prescription and non prescription medication cause constipation.
Certain disorders cause constipation.
Laxative use in Pediatrics, Geriatrics and Pregnancy require special patient education and counseling strategies.
PREVENT CONSTIPATION ASK QUESTIONS
One of the keys to better health and well being is communication. Team up with your health professional. Do not be afraid to ask questions. You are asking for information that will help you live a longer and happier life.
If a higher level of wellness is a personal goal of yours, but you are in need of some external guidance and motivation, contact your neighborhood Pharmacist / Nutritionist / Fitness Professionals at Carnegie-Sargent’s Pharmacy and Health Center. (312) 280-1220. Remember health promotion begins with you!
Ask Your Pharmacist – Have a question for us? Give us a call or stop in for a private consultation. If you’d prefer, send a message below and it may end up in a future Ask the Pharmacist article.
– Mark Paley, Registered Pharmacist/Director