Why am I constipated?
Anything from stress to being pregnant to not getting enough fluids, fibre or exercise can all affect your bowel movements. Learn more.
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Medicines affect your digestive system in a variety of ways. Some affect the central nervous system and muscle function in the bowel, while others affect water absorption in your stools. In fact, constipation is a leading side effect of both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Here are the most common culprits:
Pain medications, such as opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are well known triggers. Because they affect nerve movement in the gastrointestinal tract, they can slow down your bowel movements.
Iron supplements may also slow down things in your digestive system, causing constipation. To help your body absorb your supplements better, try taking it with orange juice. If that doesn't help, talk to your doctor.
These medications can also slow down your bowel.
Antidepressant drugs that treat the nerve endings in the brain can also affect the nerves in your digestive system.
These drugs, taken for disorders such as schizophrenia, can reduce bowel motility.
Because diuretics make you urinate more often, these drugs can cause constipation.
Remedies for heartburn and indigestion often contain aluminum, which can slow down your system and cause constipation. There are different types, some of which don't contain aluminum, so talk to your doctor or a pharmacist about changing your medication if necessary.
Many types of blood pressure medication can affect your digestive system by slowing it down.
Parkinson’s Disease affects the nervous system, causing the intestinal tract to move more slowly. This combined with Parkinson’s medications can worsen constipation.
If you have a heart condition and are prescribed diuretics, you most probably have to urinate more often. Because frequent urination can affect how your bowels absorb water, they can result in constipation.
Because diuretics cause you to urinate more often, constipation can be a problem.
It’s also worth having a close look at your lifestyle and eating habits to see whether you should make any changes. For some ideas, visit our lifestyle tips and advice section.