What is the correct treatment for constipation?
I am 17 years old, male, 5'10, 134 pounds and have come off a strict diet a few months ago.
Changes in your lifestyle may be the safest way to manage constipation. To help ease symptoms, try using a fiber supplement, such as oat bran, Metamucil, Konsyl or Citrucel. These natural supplements help make stools softer and are safe to use every day. Be sure to drink plenty of water or other fluids every day. Otherwise, fiber supplements can actually make your constipation worse. And add fiber to your diet slowly to avoid problems with gas.
Your doctor may recommend a stool softener, such as mineral oil or docusate (Colace, Surfak), to soften fecal matter so that it passes through your intestines more easily. But don't rely on stool softeners on a regular basis because they can cause other problems.
Your doctor may also suggest that you take milk of magnesia, which acts as a mild laxative. Mineral oil may interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and can cause a serious form of pneumonia if it's accidentally inhaled (aspirated) into your lungs, so don't take mineral oil just before you lie down.
If pelvic floor dysfunction is the cause of your constipation, your doctor may suggest biofeedback as a treatment. This technique may help you learn to better coordinate the muscles you use to defecate.
In general it's a good idea to check with your doctor before using any laxatives other than fiber supplements. Try eating lots of high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It's a good idea to check the content of prepared foods because not all foods claiming to be high in fiber actually are. Drink plenty of fluids and get as much exercise as you can. Swimming and walking are good choices.