Anyone who’s endured surgery likely knows that painkillers can cause constipation, sometimes major constipation. But this can also apply to prescription opiates like hydrocodone and oxycontin. Occasionally this is also true for over-the-counter meds like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. “These medications bind to the same receptors in the stomach, blunting the whole digestive system as well as your pain,” he explains. While taking painkillers, you should make every effort to resolve the underlying injury or find other ways of treating the pain. In the meantime, take a daily stool softener along with the pain pills.
As any pregnant woman can tell you, hormones can do a number on your digestive system. In particular, high levels of oestrogen and progesterone or low levels of testosterone can be constipating. In the case of pregnancy, the “cure” will come in nine months, but for other hormonal imbalances it’s best to cure the underlying condition first, Dr Iqbal says. As we age, our hormone levels naturally fluctuate so if you feel out of sorts, talk to your doctor about possible therapies and lifestyle changes.
Not drinking enough water is another common cause of constipation. Make sure you have plenty of fluids to keep things regular. If you aim for eight full glasses of water a day, this is what will happen to your body. However, also keep in mind you can drink too much water too.