Methadone can cause some pretty horrific constipation, and while it's no one's favorite topic of conversation, chronic methadone constipation is no joke, can be a serious health condition, and is really really not fun.
Here are some collected tips for dealing with one of methadone's very worst side effects.
10 Constipation Cures
Be very careful with laxatives. Although these can be effective, they are not generally an appropriate solution for chronic constipation, and if used too often, can actually worsen the problem. The bowel can get "addicted" to the laxatives, and move even more sluggishly, or not at all, without them. If none of these more natural methods produce results, speak with your doctor about prescribed medication options.
- Water - It sounds too easy, but dehydration will cause constipation and exacerbate an already bad situation. Make sure you drink plenty of water every day.
- Fiber - Eat plenty of fiber rich foods. Raisin Bran is an old stand-bye, as are prunes, bananas, papaya etc. You can also supplement your fiber intake with natural psyllium husk fiber drinks. The psyllium husks will absorb water in the intestines and swell, helping to move stools along - but you must be sure to drink plenty of water for best effect and to avoid dehydration.
- Yoghurt with live bacterial culture - Eating probiotic yoghurts regularly ensures that your digestive system stays fine tuned with beneficial bacteria that help to eliminate gas and bloat as they improve efficiency.
- Stool softeners - These over the counter medications are quite safe. They work by drawing more water into the large intestine to soften hardened stools, allowing for an easier and less strained bowel movement.
- Exercise - A brisk walk, or even better, a regularly scheduled brick walk, will help to improve digestive activity and the passing of stools.
- Squatting - Some people find that changing their toilet position helps. Squatting is a very natural position for a bowel movement and can be more comfortable for passing hardened stools.
- Fleet enemas - These enemas draw the body's own water into the large intestine, causing an almost immediate need for a bowel movement.
- Warm water enemas - The old enema bag, although no one's favorite, can help to get things moving. Some methadone users even swear by "turkey baster" style enema syringes.
- A daily tablespoon of flaxseed oil is a natural laxative (as well as a good source of omega 3).
- A warm bath.
Avoiding foods that exacerbate the problem - Milk and cheese are no-no's, the casein protein in dairy products can slow down the processing of food.
It's tough, and some people will always struggle with methadone constipation, but sometimes trying a new natural method works wonders - and every little bit helps.
Medical Resource Sites
Add to the list...
Tia on March 25, 2014:
My methadone doctor suggest miralax. Its okay to take every single day. Before using it, I could easily go two or three WEEKS without pooping and no problems whatsoever! I now poop everyday!
firstname.lastname@example.org on September 06, 2013:
Everyone says "Drink a lot of water." Ok ... How much? Two bottles? two cups? Anybody know? I'm five feet four inches and weigh 166. Help!! What to do?
Stephanie on April 20, 2013:
I've been on Methadone for nine months &haven't been to the bathroom once. It's either this or severe drug abuse. It just goes to show you can never win.
Mark on January 20, 2013:
I like the "position" advice (squatting). What, as opposed to standing? Seriously though, two points. One, stop whining about how horrible it is to be on MMT. Do you really you think you would have fared nearly as well if you had kept using? Damn skippy you wouldn't have and if you could have just quit you would have! Two, scrap all the suggestions above and just use Miralax. It is non habit forming and uber effective.
sadlost on October 24, 2012:
This "medicine" is hell,!!! : ( i wish i was dead
Yaz on June 30, 2012:
Lots of water, minimal alcohol consumption, and psyllium husks (I am a big fan of the Gnu Foods bars) help out big time. I can relate to the fellow who said his movements were painful and felt like clay- I have been on MMT for 5 years and at 40 mg, you'd think a lower dose would mean easier, smoother dumps. Not so. Psyllium, exercise, lots of water, and Greek yogurt works for me, but you have to eat it all the time...
Boston Chic on January 24, 2012:
My body was addicted to laxatives. I had gotten so dependent that I was taking a strong laxative with cascara segrada in order to have a BM. Sometimes I would go 4-5 days without eliminating. I knew I had a serious problem So, I went to a GI doctor and I had a colonoscopy done. Everything was normal except a few mild hemorrhoids.
I was told to wean off all laxatives except psyllium, lots of water, lots of fruits, whole grains and veggies. I took the Lady Soma Detox packets with plenty water yesterday and in less than 24 hours, I went to the bathroom 3 times and eliminated A lot. It wasn't diarrhea either! Just normal and NOT painful. As a bonus, I lost 2 lbs and an inch from my waist because the bloat is gone!
This product made me feel so much better. It does work but read the instructions.
Sam on June 26, 2011:
email@example.com Thank u soo much for the info on laxatives. I too have a HUGE problem shitting and still haven't found the right laxative. I do have some pills called Internal flush. Do u think I will have any problems with withdrawls if I take this pill will it take away from the amount of meds thatenter my body to help with my pai n? Im dying of kidney diseaseso I won der if this will help me shit as I have no other method of pain control...
kris on January 24, 2011:
I've been on MMT(Methadone Maintenance Treatment) for over 10 years now & wish I would've NEVER started the so-called 'medicine'. However it 'may' have saved my life since I was using needles(always clean,but still)and dope I bought off the streets & never 'really' knowing the potency or other unknown impurities in my heroin that I cooked-up into the spoon atleast 3 X's daily,if not more. But it is what it is...I'm stuck on methadone,which's harder 2 kick than any other opiate. So, when it comes to constipation & methadone, I found that Fiber Choice(name brand)2 tablets twice a day,everyday- plus taking magnesium citrate,(1 whole bottle at once) w/plenty of fluids ONLY ONCE EVERY OTHER WEEK, if you find that you need it more than that, then let your doctor know immediately as it could lead to serious health problems & blockage within your G.I.track(gastrointestinal). To all that feel stuck on methadone(like liquid handcuffs)PLEASE know, there are some serious improvements in the medical field re:methadone addiction and alternatives to methadone. just ask your doctor. GOOD LUCK & PRAY PSALM 91 OVER YOU & YOUR BODY,cuz it's gonna NEED it.
mbnpm on May 21, 2010:
I tend to get a lot of hard poop balls stuck when I take methadone. The only way I can get them out is if I actually pull them out with my fingers. I just reach up there and pull out about 20 balls at a time. These balls are no joke, they are hard as rock, and they feel like thick clay.
deb douglas from Oxnard on March 06, 2010:
I have a couple more remedies for this exact problem that really do the trick for me. I get mixed dried fruit and cook it and eat about a half a cup of it for breadfast every morning. Also, eating as much beans as you can, like at least two or three times a week softens and helps regularity.
Cecil on March 05, 2010:
Bananas can go either way. They can relieve and cause constipation. As far as trying to relieve, I would not recommend taking a chance with the banana as this article suggests.