Constipation: It is serious
Infrequent and painful bowel movements
Hard, dry stool
Belly pain, nausea, headaches
Bloating, distension, excessive gas
I take prescription opioids for chronic pain.
Why am I having trouble going to the bathroom?
  • These medications cause bowel movements to slow down.
  • When this happens, the stool may become harder and makes it difficult to go to the bathroom.
What can I do?
  • Eat fiber-rich foods, such as wheat bran, fresh fruits and vegetables, and oats.
  • Drink plenty of fluids every day.
  • Exercise regularly.
And remember: if you have to go...GO!
Over the Counter: Laxatives and Fiber Supplements
Type of laxative
How they work
Side Effects
Oral stool softeners (Colace, Surfak)
Adds moisture for easier bowel movements
Electrolyte imbalance if used over a long time
Oral osmotics (Milk of Magnesia, Miralax)
Adds moisture to the colon for better bowel movements
Bloating, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, gas, increased thirst
Oral bulk formers (Benefiber, Citrucel, FiberCon, Metamucil)
Creates softer stool for easier bowel movements
Bloating, gas, cramping or increased constipation if not taken with enough water
For more information, see:
What should I do before trying laxatives?
  • Tell your health care providers. They need to know how to manage your health to make sure
    that it is safe