Help! What Do You Do if Your Pain Meds Stop You Up?

Dr. Oz has the answer.

Q: What do you do if your pain meds stop you up?

Oz Says: If you're not already using all the no-drug strategies that prevent constipation, start now: Get at least 25 grams of fiber a day, stay active, drink lots of liquids, and respond to the call of nature promptly, says gastroenterologist David Bernstein, MD, of Northwell Health System in Manhasset, NY.

But those steps may not be enough if you're on opioids (including codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone). The action that makes these drugs so effective also causes constipation — they blunt nerve signals, including those that keep things moving through your intestines. Plus, they decrease fluid secretion there.

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Many people need two kinds of laxatives in a day: a stimulant and a stool softener. If those don't work, there's a pill (Amitiza) that might, and even an injectable med (Relistor) if you're really troubled. When you need to stay on pain meds, work with your doc to at least manage the problems around them.

This story originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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