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icon Constipation Misconceptions

Separating truth from speculation

When talking about constipation, you hear a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding the use of laxatives. Here’s some truth on the most common constipation misconceptions.

Eating a high fiber diet will prevent constipation from occurring.

Sometimes. Although some people find that a diet that is rich in fiber can help prevent constipation, some people with severe constipation actually find it worse if they up their fiber intake. See what works for you.1

Being constipated cause toxins to build up in your body.

False. Don’t worry – experts say that constipation doesn’t cause a build-up of toxins in the body.2

Women always get constipated before their period.

Sometimes. Experts say that hormones only play a small part in constipation, but some women swear that the time of the month affects how often they go to the toilet.3

Your body will become dependent on laxatives if you use them regularly.

It’s unlikely that taking the recommended number of laxatives will do you any harm. Although some people with chronic constipation find that they need laxatives to be able to go most of the time, it’s not because they’ve become ‘dependent’ on them.4

Dulcolax® or laxatives are addictive.

False. Some people misuse laxatives but they aren’t addictive.5

Constipated people eat badly and take no exercise.

Sometimes. Older people tend to find that being inactive can lead to constipation, or can make it worse. There are usually other factors, too, though.6

Constipation leads to bowel cancer.

False. There’s no evidence that constipation directly leads to bowel cancer. However, an American scientific study has suggested the risk of bowel cancer is higher among people who suffer from chronic constipation. Researchers believe the connection is that when someone is constipated, the bowels are exposed to carcinogenic substances for longer.7

Dulcolax® or laxatives cause 'rebound constipation’.

False. There’s no evidence that constipation comes back as soon as you stop taking laxatives for constipation.8

Dulcolax® or laxatives help weight loss.

False. They are licensed for constipation and do not cause weight loss. Taking a laxative where there is no need for constipation relief will merely result in the loss of water, salts, and nothing more. Please talk to your doctor if you have any concerns regarding the use of laxatives.5

Sources:
1 Constipation. (2019). Retrieved 7 August 2019, from https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/constipation/
2 How Chronic Constipation Affects Your Body. (2019). Retrieved 7 August 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/chronic-constipation-affects-body#1
3 Constipation Before Period: Causes and Treatment. (2019). Retrieved 7 August 2019, from https://flo.health/menstrual-cycle/health/pms-and-pmdd/constipation-before-period
4 Over-the-counter laxatives for constipation: Use with caution. (2019). Retrieved 7 August 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/constipation/in-depth/laxatives/art-20045906
5 Laxative Abuse: Side Effects and Long-Term Health Risks. (2019). Retrieved 7 August 2019, from https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/blog/laxative-abuse-long-term-risks
6 (2019). Retrieved 7 August 2019, from https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2018-09-25/why-your-healthy-new-diet-is-making-you-constipated
7 Study finds no constipation, colon cancer link. (2019). Retrieved 7 August 2019, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-study-constipation-cancer/study-finds-no-constipation-colon-cancer-link-idUSBRE92K0TU20130321
8 All About Laxatives. (2019). Retrieved 7 August 2019, from https://www.onemedical.com/blog/get-well/laxatives

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