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Constipation Treatment Overview

Find the right care and learn about different treatments.
Reviewed by Buoy's medical team
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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

  • You have frequent constipation.
  • Your constipation gets worse.
  • You are having pain or have a history of severe constipation, underlying GI issues (inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer), or are taking opiate medications.
See care providers

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.
  • Black tarry stool
  • Rectal bleeding

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

You should see a healthcare provider if you have frequent constipation, your constipation gets worse, or it is causing pain. Also see a provider if you have an underlying condition like inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or you are taking opiate medications.

What to expect from your visit

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about your symptoms and health to try to find potential causes of your constipation. In some cases, they may recommend bloodwork, imaging like a CT scan, or procedures like a colonoscopy.

If there are no underlying causes, they will likely recommend fiber supplements, drinking more fluids, and taking stool softeners as needed. They may recommend prescription medications that increase fluid in your digestive tract.

Prescription medications for chronic constipation

  • Lubiprostone (Amitiza)
  • Linaclotide (Linzess)

Types of providers for chronic constipation

  • A primary care provider can treat mild to moderate symptoms.
  • A gastroenterologist is a digestive disease specialist who can do additional testing and treat underlying causes.
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Frequently asked questions