What Supplements Can Cause Constipation?
Normal frequency of bowel movements varies from person to person. Constipation occurs when someone goes less frequently than three times every week and their stool is hard and dry – something which most adults can easily manage without issue.
Some supplements, like iron, calcium and some types of fiber can contribute to constipation while others, such as sujiaonori lactitol or berberine can help prevent or treat it.
1. Fiber Supplements
Fiber supplements are one of the first solutions often recommended to treat constipation. However, the type and amount may make a difference; generally the best way to treat constipation is to increase fiber consumption through food like whole grains, fruit, skinless vegetables and beans.
Fiber supplements can act as natural laxatives when taken with water, however it should be noted that any medications being taken (both over-the-counter and prescription), should be discussed with a healthcare provider prior to supplementation with fiber. Furthermore, certain fiber supplements may interact with specific drugs and reduce their effectiveness such as antidepressants, blood pressure medicines or insulin treatments.
Starting to add fiber gradually may take several weeks until your body and bowels adjust to it. Start off slowly (about 10 grams a day), gradually adding more as tolerated; depending on individual circumstances more may or less fiber may be required.
Eat foods high in both soluble and insoluble fibers, like oatmeal, fruits, raw veggies, dried fruit and beans. Incorporate as many different kinds of these into meals as possible to ensure you meet the recommended daily amount for your age and gender group.
Research supports psyllium’s effectiveness when it comes to fiber intake; brands like Metamucil and Konsyl Daily Psyllium Fiber contain this form of dietary fiber with gel-forming properties in the large intestine that increase water content for increased softening and bulking properties in stool.
A 2022 review demonstrated that pectin fiber can also provide numerous other health advantages, including weight loss and improved blood sugar control. Other studies have demonstrated its potential role in relieving constipation symptoms.
Before beginning taking any type of dietary fiber supplement, it’s wise to consult a healthcare professional first if you are already suffering from constipation. They will provide safe and effective dosage advice tailored specifically for you so you can find a remedy that best fits into your life and body.
Milk of Magnesia is an effective mineral supplement to relieve constipation. Containing magnesium hydroxide, it works by absorbing water in your digestive tract to soften and speed up stool passing. Magnesium can also be found in multivitamin and calcium supplements; taking one every day may help reduce constipation for some people, though ensuring you consume adequate dietary sources of magnesium is crucial in order to ensure adequate levels of this essential nutrient.
Diets that lack enough fiber can contribute to constipation. Eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains as well as taking an over-the-counter fiber supplement such as Metamucil or Citrucel may be helpful in this regard; try eating foods rich in fiber while drinking plenty of water to keep things moving smoothly.
Some medications can slow bowel movements, including pain relievers, iron supplements, certain antidepressants and specific medicines for blood pressure, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Over-the-counter antacids may also contribute to constipation if used over an extended period of time.
Other causes of constipation can be due to lack of physical activity, prolonged toilet usage (which may lead to sphincter muscle spasms and hard, lumpy stool) or consistently ignoring your body’s urges for bathroom breaks. Certain gastrointestinal diseases like IBS or colon cancer may make regular bowel movements harder too.
Folic acid supplements may cause constipation if taken in large doses or increased without increasing your hydration levels accordingly. A combination of high-fiber diet, proper hydration and an osmotic laxative may help alleviate constipation due to folic acid deficiency.
Stimulant-type laxatives, also known as stimulant laxatives, work by encouraging your body to produce more digestive fluid and are likely to cause diarrhea compared to other osmotic laxatives. Common stimulant laxatives include lubiprostone (Amitiza), Prucalopride (Prudac(r), Motegrity), plecanatide (Trulance(r), Kristalose(r), and Linzess(r). Your doctor will determine if this medication is appropriate based on your medical history and current health status.
If you’re experiencing constipation, drinking lots of water will help soften and pass stool more easily. Next, take a mild laxative such as Milk of Magnesia, Royvac (r), or Citrate of Magnesia as an aid to movement.
Sulfate laxatives work by drawing water into the colon through osmosis, softening stool and stimulating bowel movements while helping flush out toxins from your system. Other osmotic laxatives include polyethylene glycol (PEG), lactulose and sorbitol, all available over-the-counter or via prescription (Miralax or Milk of Magnesia for example) but long term use could result in electrolyte imbalances so it’s best to stay hydrated when taking such products.
Osmotic laxatives can also serve as a useful colonoscopy preparation strategy, drawing water into the intestines to flush away waste in preparation for colonoscopy procedures. These medications may have side effects including bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhea and dehydration that should be monitored closely prior to administration.
Opsmotic laxatives differ from stimulant laxatives in that they do not stimulate contractions in the bowels and do not result in significant fluid loss, yet still produce a bowel movement within 30 minutes to three hours for PEG and Lactulose, while some like Sulfate Salts or magnesium preparations may take six-12 hours or longer for production of stool movement.
If you’re experiencing constipation, consulting your physician about changing your diet or medication routine could help, or they could prescribe stronger laxatives and/or suggest other treatment options. Constipation is a symptom of various conditions and can have an enormous impact on quality of life; its causes vary from person to person and include factors like lifestyle choices and health conditions as well as medications like opioid pain relievers, iron supplements or tricyclic antidepressants that cause constipation.
4. Neuromuscular Agents
Constipation can be an indication of an underlying health condition. It could be related to thyroid disease, diabetes or colorectal cancer; neuromuscular conditions like multiple sclerosis or spinal cord compression; as well as certain over-the-counter or prescription medicines like pain relievers, iron supplements or diuretics.
As well as eating a diet high in fiber, herbal remedies may also be effective against constipation. Prune juice provides both dietary fiber and laxative properties found in organic fennel extract and organic dandelion extract that may help improve stool consistency, while magnesium citrate is another natural laxative with low costs and third-party testing of purity; best oral supplements for constipation include Solgar magnesium citrate or Constipation Ease which also features prune juice to ease bowel movement and organic fennel to reduce stomach discomfort.
Antidepressants and opioids may lead to constipation. They interfere with nerves in your colon that control bowel movement, or cause too much water absorption by your intestinal tract, resulting in hard stools and constipation.
Anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin), calcium channel blockers and antacids may all increase your chances of constipation; always read and follow label instructions on any medication that could potentially lead to constipation.
Sujiaonori, an edible green river algae, and lactitol have both been shown to aid constipation relief, according to research. Both supplements contain high amounts of fiber which has been shown to increase bowel motility. Furthermore, Chinese Medicine Formula CCH1–composed of Panax ginseng, Ginkgo biloba leaf, Licorice root Chinese Hibiscus Rhaeum Tanguticum and Aconitum carmichaelii has also shown promise when it comes to improving constipation symptoms.
Diet and fiber intake adjustments, coupled with regular exercise, may help alleviate constipation symptoms; if symptoms continue, contact your physician or nutritionist for additional advice.