Constipation is a common issue I discuss with people of all ages. It is important to ensure regular daily bowel movements to avoid serious issues with the bowels long-term.
Common triggers for constipation would be:
-Dehydration in the elderly population
-Transition to solid foods at 6 months for infants
-Certain medications that might cause constipation
The most important thing to avoid pain, hemorrhoids and other consequences related to constipation is to get it under control quickly.
The best over-the-counter approach to do this is to take Peg 3350 (Restoralax, Laxaday, Clearlax are common brands), which is a powder that you mix in a glass of water. Adults should mix 17 g (a capful) in a glass of water (8 oz) and kids should take half of an adult dose. If a first dose is not helpful, a second dose can be taken 12 hours later.
Maintenance after getting constipation under control can be with ongoing Peg use daily or as needed. It is very safe to take at all ages and the only side-effect is loose stool (at which point you would stop it!).
Another helpful way to maintain regular, soft bowel movements is with Magnesium before bed – start with 100-200 mg of Magnesium (make sure it doesn’t also have calcium because calcium is constipating).
Metamusil may help maintain healthy bowel movements, but it needs to be matched by a lot of water otherwise it can bulk things up too much and cause constipation.
As always, please call if you want to review this with me.