Opioid Induced Constipation: Symptoms, Home Remedies and Treatment. If you are suffering from severe back pain, your physician may prescribe opioids to help you alleviate the pain. Opioid-induced constipation (OIC) is, therefore, a side effect of opioids. Although you may suffer from functional or typical constipation, at times OIC can be slightly different and can have other symptoms as well. Opioids are pain relievers or prescription analgesics that change the way your brain perceives pain. They can be prescribed to alleviate the pain originating from spondylosis, chronic back pain, and chronic neck pain.
Opioid Induced Constipation: Symptoms and Treatment
Common symptoms of opioids induced constipation are:
- Hard stools.
- Decreased bowel movements.
- Bloated belly.
- Toilet troubles.
- Abdominal discomfort.
- Acid influx.
Home remedies for OIC
- Exercising: Regular exercise can help you with constipation by accelerating the movement of stool, increasing blood circulation, and making the muscles of the bowel more pliable. It may also minimize the pain thereby reducing the need for taking any analgesics. Some of the exercises that you can do include yoga, a treadmill, walking, and water exercises.
- Eating fruits and vegetables: Eating dietary fibers is one of the best things that you can do. It can help make your stool bulky and help it pass through your digestive system with a lot of ease. Eating food products such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and carrots can greatly boost your fiber intake.
- Drinking plenty of water: Water helps with constipation by ensuring that your stool is hydrated and soft as it moves through the intestines. It also helps to keep your intestinal tissue healthy. Dehydration is not only a major cause of constipation but if it’s combined with opioid medication it can lead to a lot of constipation.
- Eat a lot of grain: Apart from eating fruits and vegetables, you should also include some grains in your diet. Instead of eating pasta and white bread, take whole grains which contain a lot of fibers. According to studies, this can help promote regular bowel movements.
- Avoid fatty acids, fast foods, and processed meat: You should try to avoid foods such as bacon, cheese, sausage, processed snacks, and potato chips. This is because they are very hard to digest and hence can aggravate constipation.
- Eat several small meals per day: As compared to large meals, it’s easier for the body to digest small meals. This can, in turn, relieve you of constipation and nausea that results from taking opioid medications.
- Give yourself time: If you are experiencing constipation you need to give yourself enough time for toileting. You can start by scheduling time to sit on the toilet until you are able to relieve yourself.
Opioid-induced constipation treatments
There are several treatments that you can use for opioid-induced constipation. These include:
- Stool softeners: When it comes to OIC, you will experience straining and discomfort when trying to pass stool. Since these products give you a slipperier consistency they can help you a lot. However, while taking them, you need to drink a lot of water.
- Stimulants: The use of stimulants can be helpful in making the stool easily pass through your intestine. They trigger the intestinal walls to tighten and squeeze the stool to move forward. Before trying them, you need to know that they can inflame and aggravate your intestines.
- Hydrating agents and lubricants: Lubricants and hydrating agents can also increase the water content in your stool thereby making them oilier and soft. This can make it easy to pass stool 8 hours after taking the medication.
- Prescription medication: There are also several prescriptions medication that you can use to treat opioid-induced constipation. These include methylnaltrexone, linaclotide, and colchicine among others.
Well, these are some of the best treatments and home remedies for opioid-induced constipation. However, before starting any treatment regimen it’s important to talk to your doctor. When suggesting OIC treatment, your doctor will consider your lifestyle and your spine condition. Remember, you may think you are suffering from functional constipation and yet it’s opioid-induced constipation.