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Constipation Treatment Overview

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Care Plan


First steps to consider

  • Can often be treated at home, by drinking more water and taking fiber supplements.
  • You may need to take OTC laxatives, like stool softeners and bowel stimulants.
See home treatments

When you may need a provider

  • Frequent constipation
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Emergency Care

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Call 911 or go to the ER if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • You have not had a bowel movement for several days and you have pain in your abdomen or vomiting every time you eat or drink.

The suppliers listed follow Buoy’s clinical guidelines, but listing the suppliers does not constitute a referral or recommendation by Buoy. When you click on the link and/or engage with these services Buoy will be compensated.

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All treatments for constipation
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Read more about constipation care options

When to see a healthcare provider

If you have frequent or chronic constipation symptoms, see your primary care doctor. They may try to see if there are other medical conditions or medications that may be causing your constipation. Also see your doctor if you’ve not had a bowel movement for 7 days and OTC laxatives have not helped.

Depending on your symptoms, they may refer you to a gastroenterologist—a doctor who specializes in digestive diseases.

Getting diagnosed for constipation

If you just have constipation once in a while, your doctor won't recommend any tests. But if it happens often, they may want to do blood tests to make sure it’s not being caused by other disorders. They can also do a colonoscopy to check for underlying issues.

What to expect from your visit

Your doctor will try to figure out if you have an underlying condition that may be causing constipation. They’ll also ask you about any medications you’re taking to see if any can cause constipation. They may prescribe constipation medications that increase the activity of the colon and fluids in the colon.

If your constipation is caused by opioids, your doctor may prescribe medications specifically for this.

Prescription constipation medications

  • Linaclotide (Linzess)
  • Lubiprostone (Amitiza)
  • Plecanatide (Trulance)
  • Prucalopride (Motegrity)
  • Medications for opioid use: naloxegol (Movantik), methylnaltrexone (Relistor), and naldemedine (Symproic)

Types of constipation providers

  • A primary care provider can treat mild to moderate symptoms.
  • A gastroenterologist is a doctor trained in digestive tract diseases.
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