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Long-Term Laxative Addiction

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Q. No one knows I have this problem. I have been using the laxative bisacodyl every day for twenty years and have steadily increased the dosage.

I've stopped taking it for a few days at a time. Not surprisingly, nothing moves.

Are there any studies on this? Might I have done permanent damage to myself?

Is it better to cut back slowly or stop altogether and just see what happens?

I know it's not healthy for waste to back up in my body, so I'm worried about stopping AND I'm worried about continuing.


A. You clearly have developed a laxative habit. Bisacodyl is considered a “stimulant” laxative, which means it triggers intestinal contractions. This can lead to loss of crucial minerals such as magnesium and potassium. Cramping and diarrhea are other possible side effects, along with a “lazy” colon that will not function properly without laxatives.

A gradual phase-off under medical supervision may allow your body to reestablish a more natural rhythm. We are sending you our Guides to Constipation and Digestive Disorders for information on non-drug approaches such as dynamite pumpkin muffins and “Special Constipation Remedy” with bran, applesauce and prune juice.
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I suffered from constipation since I was a kid. After completing a cleansing using Dr. Richard Schulze's products (www.herbdoc.com) I called and asked them if I could continue using formula #1 and they said yes take it as long as you need it.

One herbal capsule every night with dinner gave me very normal BMs within an hour of rising every morning. I took it for a little over two years and then my bowels became loose so I stopped it.

My BMs have remained normal for many years since then. I think the herbal remedy healed my GI system.

I take 40 mg prilosec daily as I have been diagnosed to have GERD by my GI. Have taken for 2 years.... How might I maintain my GI health with natural meds and wean off prilosec?

FBL: Formula #1 contains TWO stimulant laxatives. Not something I'd suggest for daily use.

Hello. Since menopause has worsened my constipation, I have frequently been taking a senna based laxative (two times a week for around a year, but these past two months I took it twice daily (as advised in the bottle) about three times.) As a result, my BM's are more infrequent now and pretty weak.

I recently discovered that senna laxatives are dangerous for your bowel because they are irritant and with frequent use, they eventually become addictive (they can damage bowel muscles and nerves.) I also read that severe cases of laxative addiction can end in a colostomy. I am so worried.
I immediately stopped taking the laxative and started a high fiber diet (vegetables, fresh and some dried, fruits, lots of water). Now I'm trying prune juice.
Could that help me recover?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO ADD FIBER SUCH AS CITRUCEL OR METAMUCIL. UNLIKE SENNA, IT IS SAFE TO USE DAILY AND YOU MAY NEED THE EXTRA HELP AS YOUR BODY READJUSTS.

I need HELP! I have stopped using the Senna products I abused for 5 years. I am now using 5 suppositories at once, sometimes 3 times in an hour to produce a bowel movement in addition to using Fiber Con, 4 capsules, 2 times a day. This is very frustrating. I am in menopause. I eat quite well and consume at least a gallon of water a day. I am very active. I pray you can help me to have a normal function of the bowel once more. thank you!!

My mom has been addicted to laxatives for 30yrs plus. Last year she had to be operated on because her anus had constricted to the point where not even a pencil had room, she was one step away from a blockage.

Not 4 months later she had to go back for the very same problem due to lack of post operative instructions. The only advice she was given this time is to take metamucil 3 times daily. great, now she complains that she has no bowel movement at all. I am so worried, what should she be doing? she is in her late 60's, average weight and has been active all her life as well as having a healthy diet. I tell her to be patient but she feels very uncomfortable not being able to 'go' daily.

is there a natural cure from laxative addiction? It has been 40 years. in my late 30 I went for medical treatment for this and was offered nothing. I had stopped using laxatives then and swelled up all over my entire body gained excessive weight and could not have a bowel movement. I went through the entire eating disorder program w/o taking any laxatives and was just told to eat. I did not get better and nothing changed. All they did was ridicule me for taking laxatives and accuse me of taking laxatives when I wasn't. Nobody seems to have an answer or a cure.

It seems to me that since the majority of the population has trouble with constipation albeit their diets are sensible and correct, can't doctors be a bit more empathetic to patients than they appear to be and most of all, try to find a solution that really works for their patient. Some OTC products are a waste of time and money and easier to prescribe than thoughtful evaluation.

I too am addicted to bisacodyl. I take between 12 and 20 per day. It started when I began long term narcotic use for chronic severe pain. I have tried everything to stop. I tried cold turkey and went 7 days with no bm, and became severely impacted. My rectum was protruding through my vagina. That's how bad it was. Luckily, I am a nurse, so I was able to relieve it with enema and manual disimpaction. Help?

I used Miralax for several years for constipation associated with narcotic pain med use. I had bad stomach pain and went to the ER a few years ago. A test was done and I was told to stop using laxatives by a surgeon. My colon was losing its motility, which means it was beginning not to function normally because I was addicted to laxatives. I've since cut way back on pain meds.

I stopped Miralax and am almost totally off pain pills. I use Metamucil once a day, a tablespoon in a cup of water. My family doctor told me to use this dose twice a day to maintain a bowel regime if I was going to be on narcotics. I decided I need to worry about my overall health before my back pain. I'm used to pain, and pills don't control it anyway.

Now I still have pain but I can also go to the bathroom normally without enemas or laxatives. No pills are worth living like that. We have to maintain overall health or we're killing ourselves. Nothing is worth the suffering I'm reading about here.

I too have been on pain meds and have gotten addicted to laxatives. I don't know what to do. I drink the stuff you take before a colonosopy. I do it once a week cause it makes me so sick I can't do anything for that day. If i don't do this I will go days, weeks without a bm. I haven't had a normal one in years. I don't know what to do. Tonight is the med night that's what I call it so everyone knows I will not be well tomorrow. Help me!

And yet, "colonic cleansing" is the all the rage..... The alt medicine industry needs to start controlling it's members or the government will step in - NOBODY wants that.

The laxatives that are safe to use regularly (heh....) are, in order of preference:
1. Fiber supplements - Metamucil, Citrucel or Fibercon. Metamucil is even "Natural" if that's important to you. Won't help as much if you have motility problems - ie, your bowel doesn't move normally (after years of senna abuse or while taking narcotics) - but it should be the basis of all bowel regimens, taken with plenty of water - double water if you're constipated.

Side benefit - The single most effective supplement you can take for long term health promotion. Puts ALL vitamin and herbal supplements to shame.

2. Prunes - talk about your natural goodness. They have 3 separate laxative effects - sorbitol, an osmotic that works by pulling water into the bowel movement; dihydrophenylisatin, a mild stimulant that has not been associated with colon problems; and fiber, if you eat them whole or stewed rather than juiced. Raisins apparently have some similar properties, as do strawberries and dried apples.

Side benefit - Full of antioxidants (for whatever that's worth, really) and vitamins and minerals.

3. Docusate. It's basically a detergent that helps water get into the stools and makes them soft. Doesn't absorb into the body, stays in the gut and gets pooped out.

And that's about IT. All the rest are associated with serious problems or side effects if taken in excess or for long periods - lactulose, Milk of Magnesia, mineral oil, you name it.

As for Senna, it remains the poster child for the alt med industry's cynical hypocrisy - they damn "western medicine" on one hand, and peddle poison with the other.

I, like FBL have suffered on and off with constipation all my life. As I have grown older (I am 52) it has become worse. I had extreme pain in my stomach and bloating for years which the traditional doctors could not help with and labeled as IBS ("irritable bowel syndrome").

Through careful observation I have discovered a lot of what causes my problems (dairy, gluten, soy, any rice flour cake or baked products, or anything which seems to have a drying affect in the bowel). My problem is not motility as I get very strong urges to go each day due to a diet of plenty of veg, fruit and fibre. What happens to me is that my motions seem very dry and difficult for me to eliminate.

I have suffered a front and back prolapse as a result of straining to go to the toilet which I have now had repaired. I am currently on a medication called Movicol (as I am 3 months post op) which keeps everything soft, however even taking this I recently accidentally had some product with soy in it and was slower to go and found it slightly difficult, I have to be extremely vigilant which is not always easy and some things can slip through the net.

What I would like to know is if there is a product that will naturally help to keep the bowel moist, as I will be coming off Movicol soon. I have tried a combo of coconut oil (which makes me gain weight and have large pimples on my body :( )..with linseed seeds, rice bran and slippery Elm, which does help a little but is far from ideal. Also I suspect I may have leaky gut, can this cause a dry bowel?

Any suggestions would be most welcome Thanks. :)

Hello, you did not mention taking Benefiber powder, made from wheat dextrin. This is what my gastro specialist recommended to me, he said just use it once a day, but it can be used up to 3 times a day. It does seem to help me.

I am asking for help.
I am reliant on Ducolax. I take 6 in the evening so I have a good BM in the morning (I feel I need this so I feel ok) then I take about 2/3 in a morning ensuring I have a movement mid afternoon.

I NEED to come off this and have tried. I last about 2 days, taking senna, movicol and taking one or 2 Ducolax. This does nothing and I find myself exasperated, feeling huge and constipated and give in and take Ducolax again.

My diet is ok. I do lots of exercise. I understand that the side effects of having a reliance on these tablets will lead me to feel bloated when I try to stop and retain water. I don't do it for weight control, but to control the appearance of my stomach so it is not huge and bloated and control how I feel (eg not sore and feeling full and constipated).

I know this sounds barmy. I used to be regular as clockwork until I had some stress in my life and then my BM seemed to alter, but I know need help. Can anyone please suggest something?

Thank you.

Am I understanding this correctly, you take 6 Dulcolax pills every day??????? That is more than what is necessary for a colonoscopy!!!! Does your doctor know about this?

hi there, I really hope you can help me, would appreciate any advice you can give me. I'm 32 and have been using dulcolax tablets since I was 20. I started college and wasn't eating properly thus became constipated. Since then I have not been able to come off them as my bowel just wont move without them and I have tried, I'm eating properly now but nothing works, I take 4 dulcolax tablets about twice a week... please, please help me, is there anything I can do now to return to normal or have I done permanent damage? I was even thinking colonic irrigation or hypnosis just to get the bowel started again but don't know? please, your help would be very much appreciated.

Hi, VS here. I have just had to go what is in effect cold turkey. It has been 6 days now. It has been awful. I have had cramps, severe constipation, bloated stomach, been upset and obviously felt very low.

However, things are improving. I have drank prune juice and eaten regularly. I have 'been' naturally today for the first time in over 18 months. I am weeing normally (as I'm not sure why, but maybe the laxatives took all water from me???) and also I am eating food and not feeling absolutely bloated after the slightest thing. I ate a meal last night and felt normal and just full, not like my stomach had doubled in bloatedness.

I am not better by any means but I read it should take about 2 weeks but I have cleared my diary. I have also been referred to the eating disorder clinic by my doctor who are doing an assessment but the appointment isn't till Nov and I'm hoping that all will be ok by then. It was only when I was referred there did I start doing research as to how bad they are have I decided to come off them.

The only way for me is just cutting them out. I can recommend colonic irrigation. I've had it a few times, gets the bowel moving. A friend of mine does it and I am going to have one during the next week to help.

Thanks

I am so glad I found this website. I have felt so alone with this secret for years. My irregularity started when I was a child. I am 58 yrs old. As a child BMs were not talked about. Bodily functions were not discussed. We were brought up on meat potates,vegetables, white grains and dairy. The remedy for me was my mother forcing me to drink prune juice or eating prunes (which I hated) and when that did not work, an enema.

The pattern kept going. As a teenager I resorted to Maloxx or similar product. My irregularity improved after the birth of my children but then I quit smoking and it started again. This time extreme exercise and suppositories helped. Stress with divorce and life changes increased the problem again.

Eased up after that but still on suppositories and Mylanta. A few years ago another life change and stress increased 2 fold and so did the dependency where I turned to Ducolax for similar products. I was up to 3 a day for the 5 years.

Last year I weened myself down to 1 day, tried adding more herbal remedys. It has been 3 weeks now, free of any chemical laxatives. I am on pear cinammon cider with a splash of prune juice. Apple cinammon tea, fiber supplements with oat and bran in it as well as a Multigrain oat,bran,and barley hot cereal topped with cinammon. I have to stay away from dairy, red meats (which I never ate anyway) sweets. I also use Konysil 1 time a day (at night).3 8 oz of water or more a day.

I go bm once a day so far ( morning). The hardest part for me was to confess my secret to my husband who is my best friend and I should have been able to share this a long time ago but was so ashamed. I am hoping to be able to go 2 times a day. Don't know if that is a realistic goal considering this has been an addiction for 40 years.

I do have an appointment with my doctor so that I can tell him the truth as well. I am just hoping I have not done serious damage. That is my biggest fear. I am so glad I raised my children unlike I was and never got them fearful of discussing their BM's and taught them to eat the proper foods that they like in order to help them go. NOT make it a painful function.

I can see I am not alone in this battle with constipation and laxative dependency. I am an RN so you'd think I'd know better than to allow myself to take laxatives on a daily basis, despite the warnings. But, I'm only human and have problems just like everyone else has. Since my colonoscopy last month, I weaned off of laxatives except for fibercon at the advise of my GI doc. He found internal hemorrhoids as well as melanosis coli. I knew I didn't want to end up with a colon resection or cancer so it was time to do something.

I got dependent on laxatives because of chronic pain and pain meds. I'm not about to stop taking my pain meds as they give me a normal life that allows me to exercise and function daily. Anyway, here's how I weaned off. I stopped taking the cascara and other osmotic and stimulant laxatives and switched to fibercon only. I changed my diet as well: no more cheese, cream, white flour and pastries. I eat bran, prunes, apples, pears, grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and basically every fruit and vegetable that is fresh, bad tasting and fiberous.

Yes. I hate my diet but it's worth the sacrifice to have healthy working bowels. In addition, I drink 32 oz. of diluted Gatorade to stay hydrated and correct the imbalance caused by the laxatives. I get at least 30 min of exercise every day. The first week of this was HELL: gas, bloating abdominal pain and discomfort. As expected, I went 3 days without a BM when I first got off laxatives. I used a fleet liquid glycerine suppository and this helped. I tried not to use one daily. Just one if no bowel movement after 3 days. Pretty soon, I started going on my own again.

I am now on my 4th week laxative-free and have a bowel movement almost every day. I can't say I'm out of the woods yet. My stomach is still delicate and if I get off my diet or get sick or stressed, I'm constipated again. I can't stress enough how important it is to get off those darn laxatives!

As far as I'm concerned, I feel they should become controlled substances and addiction to them is way more harmful than any opiates that doctors are so afraid to prescribe for people. Getting off laxatives is not easy but with patience and retraining, it is possible to heal.

Hi. Wean off the Dulcolax ASAP. Talk to your doctor and get thoroughly checked out. He may recommend a colonoscopy. Start drinking a glass of 1/2 diluted Gatorade 4-6 times a day. This corrects the electrolyte imbalance caused by the laxatives. Take fibercon and a stool softener. You can take fibercon daily if you need to. It is not addictive. Cut out sweets, cheeses and white flour and fast food from your diet. Eat lots of bran and flax cereal, all raw fruits and vegetables, some nuts and seeds and only a little chicken or fish.

This will suck and you will hate it but trust me: you'll feel better. I had to do this and now live this lifestyle in order to save my bowel from a what would have been a certain colostomy. You will be bloated and very constipated when you first stop taking the Dulcolax. Resist the urge to take some to get relief. Instead wait until you have gone 3 days without a BM.

On the 3rd day, take a fleet liquid glycerine suppository. Make sure you exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Repeat all of these steps until you begin going on your own without the need for the suppository or the stool softener. It will take time. Be patient and allow your body to heal. I hope this helps you.

Hi Rose, I am sat at home looking up help with what I've done to my body. I have abused laxatives since I was 17. I'm now looking at my 40th birthday in a few months. I had a scare last July with stomach pains and taken to hospital, confessed all and told very firmly (rightly so) take another laxative even a prune and end up with stoma bad. I'm a careworker so I see these in my work.

I used to compete in body building so staying in shape is of extreme perfection as to others keeping in shape, I'm not comfortable until I know I am fully empty. I get dizzy spell and cannot concentrate or even my speech is effected with either no BM or too much. I'm having a colonoscopy tomorrow. I've come across melanosis coli, also crohns has been mentioned. But deep down, I know the answer is laxative abuse. I just have to come to terms with the truth I can't be a 16r old figure, where my skin is that tight like a reptile. This is what happens after using senna lax tea..(I see this as allowed, as it's not the huge amounts of senna syrup I have taken over the yrs.)

I owe this to my children who have suffered immensely through mood swings, not able to eat out, not to mention the huge cost of products, and petrol running backwards to the shops!!!!!

My husband has stood by me through all of this, it's time to stop. We have always wanted to work together and right now in the process of moving from Scotland back to south( original form Bristol) to Devon/Cornwall, we have family there...and own a pub. the juggly of shifts and never all under the same roof just makes me more stressed= more control needed over my body..

Ok I'll get back on track!! forgive me.. I am fully aware of what I am doing, it's admitting it that's the problem. I am terrified that tomorrow will prove I've brought all this on myself, and the Dr will just sat get therapy, and stop taking laxatives.. I feel so good being thin. But I'm not naturally thin.. I am disgusted with my self, as I am a Devote Christian, and this is my only selfish act. I hurt seeing others hurt.... Thank you for your post and making me face my demons....much love to all going through this.xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

hi wik..wow I related to every single word you wrote. I just want to say maybe we can go through this and support and encourage each other through the discomfort and pain of giving up laxatives..either way I want you to know I'm thinking and praying from you.. I struggle so much with the urge to empty bowel after every meal I eat.. I have ended up with a prolapse rectum and will need surgery, however I know in my heart I have to find a way to accept my body, be patient, kind and compassionate.. to learn to manage the anxiety of not having a bowel movement without resorting to taking something that forces and irritates and does long term damage to my bowel..

I so know in the moment the pain, bloating, discomfort and disgust with the body and the need to empty the bowel immediately to gain relief and a sense of control again can be so strong in that moment it may be easier to take the damn laxative BUT its short term fix for control that cannot be maintained forever, in the moment it hard to feel or think about the forever, the future but we can get through this we can face the pain, the disgust, the journey to recovery and we are not alone.. you are not alone.. to everyone here we really can beat this addiction which it has become for so many, it wont be easy..BUT IT WILL BE WORTH IT AND YE ALL ARE WORTH IT... xx

Hi, I am a 19 year old female trying to make it in the world of classical ballet, I started taking dulcolax when I was 16, but last year since being introduced to SGI Buddhism I stopped. However I am going through a rough patch again and have started taking them again, I am now feeling constantly depressed and extremely unhappy about everything in my life. I use to take a lot each day, binge and purge whenever I had the opportunity, and although I was seen as a very emotionally sensitive person at school I don't think anyone really knew the extent as to what I was doing to my body.

I am now about 6kgs heavier than I was, and just as depressed if not more depressed then I was. I truly hate myself, I hate what habits I have formed at such a young age, and wish I could start fresh. I know this is not possible, but when you get into such a low state like this its almost like under all of this sadness I like the feeling.

I am finally going to see a sports psychologist in a few days time, but until then I just want to hide under my doona where no one can judge me.

I've been taking laxatives for about 3 and a 1/2 years now. I take senna laxatives, usually at least ten a day but I have taken a whole box a few times...that's about 50. I've also used dulcolax till it stopped working for me...I ate it like candy. I'm determined to stop. But I'm afraid about what will happen...what If I swell? What if I put on a tonne of weight? Will I be in pain?

As scared as I am I know I need to stop for the sake of my health and for the sake of the future I want to live.

Ag- I have been taking laxatives for 3 and a 1/2 years as well. I take the generic brand but take about 7 each night (the recommended dose is 3 a day). Over the past couple of days I have been in extreme pain and feel like my stomach is being ripped out. I need to stop taking them, but like you wrote, I am afraid of what will happen when I stop. Have you stopped taking them yet? I don't know what to do and I don't have health insurance so I can't go see a doctor. Someone help!

I see a lot of people here as well as myself have or are suffering from constipation. I seemed to have found the magic pill that works for me, it is "Chia Seeds", plain old chia seeds, you can buy them in a nutrition store or cheaper online, shop around for the best price. They can be put in just about anything, I put my in smoothies which consist of milk, frozen berries, banana and protein powder, it is recommended that you use them twice a day, 2 tablespoons each time, that would be 4 tablespoons per day.

Google about chia seeds and you will learn that they are an ancient super food with a great natural ability to "sweep" your colon. You will be amazed at your bm's, I have never felt as good in my life as I do today and I am 49 yrs old. By the way I have at least 2 bm's per day, I even give them to my kids with the same great results. As an added perk they are full of protein, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants and 2 tablespoons average around 6-7 grams of fiber. They are awesome. Hope this helps someone with constipation.

i am 70. I have taken laxatives for 50 years. I have gotten them down to almost nothing but that means I eat very little too.

I have hurt myself, and, I never thought about myself when I was doing this. Just thought I would be acceptable. Clearly there is

a psychological side to this.

I'm working away at finding ways to stay healthy without using much of a laxative and still have a bm daily.

Im so happy for this site. I have always felt alone. Doctors just say get off them. Don't seem to recognize that my intestines stop if I do that.

I am currently on 6 dulcolax a day and I have been taking dulcolax for 7 years. I am terrified I can't come off them even though I really want to. If I don't take them I has no bowel movement whatsoever. I need some advice on what can help go to the toilet and whether I should go cold turkey or wean myself off. My skin and hair is also dry and my hair falls out all the time. I want to get off laxatives ASAP please can someone give some advice.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: The skin and hair symptoms suggest you should be tested for underactive thyroid. That would lead to chronic constipation as well, and could be solved with treatment for the thyroid condition.

Hi all. Really feel like I need some help/motivation. Took my last dualcolax (one on it's own, normally took 2-3 a day and have been at the stage were was taking anywhere from 6-18 but cut down significantly recently as want to get better!) however have not had a proper bm since last Sat (although a dualcolax induced one, it's now Friday night) so worried and bloated! Heaviest I have been in years and still exercised four out of five days this week and not eating any carbs. Just want to go back to normal but terrified of gaining a lot of weight! Can anyone help by way of offering advice or letting me know how long this will last as so tempted to take a few laxatives now for relief!

Dear All, Thank you for your replies to me last year. It is a comfort to know I am not alone with the obsession. In reply to the recent posts, I hope I can offer some advice to you. I am not cured to any extent but have made big progress.

I used to take 6 ducolax at night and 2 or 3 in a morning. I had loose skin due to weight loss and became obsessed with being "empty."

My doctor referred me to an eating disorder clinic. I found that hard to comprehend, but when I had meetings with counsellor it did become clear. She explained it was like bulemia, trying to expel anything out of my body and being addicted to feeling empty.

Stopping the laxatives was very very difficult. My counsellor advised that ppl on lax are usually weighing in at about 4 or 5 lbs lower than what is their normal weight due to lack of fluid etc. she said when I come off them, expect bloatedness, constipation, pain and expect to put on about 4 or 5 lbs. this will remain for up to 4 weeks whilst your body and metabolism accepts the changes and catches up and regulates. I had an op (tummy tuck) and I was holed up for a while and took that as ideal opportunity as I wouldn't have to face anyone whilst I went through it. (as I'm sure I look about 3 stone heavier when I've not had a bm as I'm sure most ppl here feel!)

I still don't feel good until I have been in a morning and if I am going out at night I wont have big meal etc but things are improving, and I am actually lighter now than I was! I found 3 meals a day, more water has really regulated my bms and my life!

Coming off the laxs have helped me eat better as now I don't seem to get bloated after small amounts of food. persevere. you may well put a bit of weight on... but it will go im sure. I still have weak moments (today was a bad bad day, really wanted to cave) but keep going, set aside social things for this cold turkey time, and keep eating well so metabolism gets going. don't weigh yourself!!! please keep going. do not give up. I promise it will be worth it.

laxs cannot control your weight, they only control your perception of yourself. I know how amazing it feels being empty. today I felt constipated and wore a long dress, felt minging, had cup of tea (caffeine usually helps with me) and had a good bm, I felt thin and could look in mirror again! nobody but me notices believe me. see doctor about it if you can as the eating disorder place has been fab. keep at it

I really hope someone reads this.
This all started 3 years ago when I had a real bad bowel movement after a week of constipation. I was in severe pain which lasted a whole week and I literally couldn't walk let alone live with out feeling the worst pain I have ever felt in my anus area. Later found out it was anal fissures (tearing in anus muscles).

So in order to stop that from happening I started using laxatives almost everyday for the first 1 year or so. When I would stop using them I would get constipated and have a massive stool pass which in return would give me another anal fissure.

This continued till I told myself just to take laxatives everyday. Since the beginning of this I have had At least 10 episodes of anal fissures and have been to emergency room 8 times with the occasional "you need to eat more fiber speech" and told to take laxatives for a while. I got hooked on laxatives and now have been taking it everyday for last 2 years.

The day I forget to take them I feel really bloated and feel like something is protruding from my lower right abdomen (not really protruding but internally it feels like it). Anything I eat feels like I over ate no matter if it's just a piece of fruit. I have no health insurance and cant afford visiting a doctor. I have lost 2 jobs because of this problem and need a solution to really save my life.

If I stop taking laxatives I get re occurring anal fissures that have me in excruciating pain for days unable to move at all, and if I continue taking laxatives I am severely ruining my digestive system. Someone who has gone thru this please help.

I can't have a normal BM without laxatives I've tried and gone 4 days without them and if I do that I get a worse pain. Any tips or advice would really really be appreciated. I have tried eating healthy for months and have taken on more fiber and tried other natural laxatives but nothing works. If those who have also suffered anal fissures could advise my on tips. Thanks

I have tried for years to get off laxatives. My diet consists of pretty much only fiber! I am a vegetarian. I eat minimum of 3 apples per day. Cabbage, zucchini, celery, broccoli, etc... I even eat fiber bars. I drink water all day long. Nothing works!!!!

I am so desperate to get off the chemicals. I only go twice a week and that's with the use of laxatives in which I have to take about 8 in a 2 day period.
The cramping pain is horrific. I am sooooo sick of living like this. Right now I am trying metamucil and had 2 glasses yesterday. But I was really bummed at the fact there is hardly any fiber grams per serving of 1 dose of metamucil. I eat more in 1 apple. I feel like having normal BM's is hopeless for me. :-(

I am 59 years old and since my last pregnancy at 21, I have been taking laxatives every other day and then eventually every day. I believe I have tried ALL the laxatives, powders, beads, syrups (rough), as well as other less desirable topics. Then something happened by accident. It was my routine to take 2 to 4 herbal softeners with laxatives and I would adjust the dosage to how I had "operated" that day. At a family gathering, my cousin made oatmeal with apples, raisins, cinnamon and Splenda. It is delicious. I started eating it 4 to 5 times per week.

What I noticed is that the adjustment to the pills were decreased gradually to the point that after 3 months, I was taking no laxatives. Now talk about a miracle. I promise you that I didn't change anything else to my routine... but all's working. I must admit that when I do "go" (and now I take NO laxatives, etc) that I am wiped out for a while. I believe that this is a result of my bowel healing itself. If I hadn't lived this myself, I would never have believed this story, either, but it is true. Hope the info helps someone.

How are you doing now? I am looking for long term positive feedback.
Shell

I want to know how are you now and if everything is working?

Hi, Wow all of your stories sound like mine. I became dependent on laxatives 28 years ago, right after my daughter was born. I had a c section. I have been to the doctors and had lots of test but they find nothing. I use miralax, prune juice and senna. I have a nightly ritual. It is a pain if I want to go anywhere over night I have to take it with me. I have tried not taking this stuff but can't go without it! I eat healthy and exercise. Is there an answer out there? Help I am tired of doing this. thanks in advance

What percentage of each are you using? Can you give the recipe?

Wow! So many of us suffering from constipation for years now, seemingly with no effective cure. Well, well, well - listen up here! You can wean off all those stimulantive and addicting laxatives. But you need a combination of things to succeed, and I have not heard anyone mention them here above here. Number one, the intestines need movement such as walking for at least 30 minutes to an hour per day. This walking or running must be combined with "non-soluble" fiber. And the fiber must be accompanied by lots of fluid such as water or whatever.

If you consume lots of fiber without enough fluids things just get worse in the colon (hard). And fruits! Fruits are the cleansing agents of the colon. Another item is lubricants. yes lubricants - take a spoonful or two a day of olive oil or coconut oil. And last but not least, and most importantly, is routine. Routine must be implemented, by sitting daily at the same time on the bowl and waiting and you move your stomach (not your anus) in and out, belly button moves back and out. This routine will not produce results unless all the above are done in combination. When one piece is missing, the other fails. It takes times, perhaps a few months, but don't give up. Good luck, and happy droppings to you all. walk, walk, walk yourself back to health.

I have been taking 20 ducolax pills daily for over 30 years. A doctor prescribed them for me when I was having a lot of pain after giving birth to my daughter. He suggested 3 pills a day and I had to gradually increase them.

I am 61 years old. Now I am having problems with water retention in my colon. I suffer with this for about 5 to 7 days at a time, then it gets better. My gastroenterologist suggest a test of my swallowing a small disk and not taking the pills for 5 days. There is no way I could go that long without the pills. He also said there is a possibility that my colon will need to be removed.

Dear Givinguphope,

I don't know what the answer is, but I want you to know that I have the exact same problem! I keep searching the internet for solutions and haven't found any. I've been taking Miralax for 3 years to combat a chronic anal fissure that I developed after the birth of my first daughter. After I had my second daughter, my struggle against the fissure became ever greater and I must always take Miralax 1x daily and eat well/drink water, etc. or the tear will come back. (I've read on AF forums that the tear must remain intact for one year in order for the scar tissue to be strong enough hold up to normal bowel movements).

I'm trying to find a way to get off laxatives forever. I know that taking Magnesium and Vitamin C every day has helped me, but I don't think I can survive on this alone or my fissure will come back (which is really the worst ailment I've ever faced! I feel your pain!). I hope you find a solution! If I do, I will certainly pass it on. =)

I promise u if u eat a whole papaya the next day u will fill up the toilet n it will smell like papaya. Then try having one serving everyday it is the best thing to have a bowel movement. I have always struggled with constipation n the constant use of laxatives n not producing bowel movements unless I have a lax I tried papaya for another reason n to my surprise I can now have a bowel movement everytime I eat it. Also caster oil once in a while or extra virgin olive oil two spoons daily n of course lots of water n exercise will totally help. I hardly ever drink water n don't exercise too much so of course I'm gonna get backed up but the papaya works for me.

Hi, It sounds really awful to say this but it helps me to know I'm not the only one with this horrible problem. As for the people discussing the fissures I have been there and it sucks. I was only 20 and I had them surgically removed. The recovery was painful for the first ten days and my sister who lived in Mexico at the time invited me down for a visit to cheer me up. I got my Dr.'s O.K. and was well rewarded cause it turns out the excessive heat and the water (yes, even the "good water" for tourists) make you need to go and keeps it soft. I was thrilled and healed in half the time. I had also had hemorrhoids removed during that surgery also. But here I am 20 years later, 5 years now addicted to laxatives, chronic pain sufferer in and out of emergency rooms and wheelchairs.

How do you get off them when your still on the pain killers? When you can barely walk, let alone 30 min. I usually take 3 dulcolax tabs 2 to 3 times a week. I remember the first year I took them (2 tabs then) I thought they were great. They always worked and I never had side effects. Now sometimes I get really sick during the night a few hours after I take them. The cramps are worse I shake and sweat and I vomit before or during my BM. I don't know why this only happens sometimes or what's going on. Has this happened to anyone else? I am trying so hard to get off these evil little things. All I ever do anymore is cry and worry. Any and all tips would be appreciated.

Have struggled with laxative addiction for years. Now that I am (finally) trying to come off them -- I am experiencing terrible swelling - mostly in my legs but also in face and, less often, hands. Has anyone else gone through this and have any tips on how to deal with it or how long it might last??

Thanks in advance for any and all info you can provide!! And, thanks to you all for sharing your experiences -- it has been helpful to read that I'm not alone!

hi everyone, I'm sooo happy to read something more updated on lax abuse..I have been suffering for 3 years since I had my daughter... it's literally the hardest thing I have ever had to go through and there just isn't enough information out there!! Looking on other sites it seems as though they were all updated at least 4 years ago minimum with comments..

I am currently decreasing the amount of lax a day/week I take..I have tried to go cold turkey but it just doesn't work an I end up buckling and taking some for relief, as am sure you all understand..I have gone from taking at least 12 a day to 2 tablets every other day! I am having BM but they aren't great and tbh I look about 9 months pregnant! which in itself makes me want to give in and take the tablets..

How's everyone else getting on? It's so hard to think that laxative abuse is regarded as an eating disorder but I have read sooo many positive stories..WE CAN DO THIS!! lets all stay in contact somehow..I know support will make things easier.. hope everyone is well x

Hi Everyone,

I have been told so many times to eat yogurt and drink milk etc to restore the probiotics in the gut BUT what I have realised is if you eat/drink pasteurised, quite frankly there is not enough probiotic left to make a significant difference - well not in our extreme cases anyways.

So I am now drinking RAW milk (non pasteurised and non homogenised) daily for a few weeks and then I will start decreasing movicol progressively and see if it works.

My gut has been so destroyed by antibiotics and meds over the years, and clinical colon cleanse destroys everything. I believe the best 'colon cleanse' is to drink raw milk like we all used to before they started treating cows badly and in having infections which then led to fear of raw milm for humans and the need to pasteurise. Pasteurisation was an economical decision - but a lot of people are dairy intolerant. Raw dairy is good for you, if you get the right source.

I know its expensive and hard to get (get it direct fresh from a farm that treats their cows well and doesnt overwork them) but our health is priceless.

I will repost here the results after a few weeks to keep you updated.

Best of luck to everyone out there suffering from the same

Peoples Pharmacy response: We cannot endorse raw milk consumption, because it is too difficult to ensure that the milk is uncontaminated. There are other ways to get probiotics in your diet.

Victoria,
I am in very much the same situation. I always had digestion problems with partial constipation starting in my mid teens (I'm now 34). I started using cascara segrada (senna) seven years ago and found that it helped quite a bit so I kept using it. I went on hydrocodone about 2 years later. My digestive problems just got worse and worse, alternating between debilitating diarrhea and ridiculous constipation (2 + weeks without a movement, needing to have a "pregnancy" wardrobe for severe back up and bloating, uncontrollable extremely foul smelling gas).

Due to various health problems I was finally put on disability last fall and got health insurance for the first time. They are working me up in gastro with a bunch of tests. I know I need to stop the pain meds and I'm fairly confident I can though I may not be able to work. But I am willing to do that because of what I have now learned about laxative overuse and the permanent damage it can cause. There is also a history of colon removal in my family.

I am terrified that my intestines/colon can no longer contract on their own because that's what it feels like... it's so quiet down there. The cascara segrada stopped working even though I kept upping the dose, so now I'm down to magnesium citrate (the stuff they give you before surgery) and enemas. I literally cannot go on my own.

I'm terrified. I wish the gastroenterologist would just give me a motility test and I wish ANYONE I saw for all those years had said something about my chronic laxative use. If it's so dangerous why wasn't I warned? I know it's on the label but when I said anything they would tell me to add more fiber to my diet which would make it worse (recently found out I have delayed gastric emptying which makes it hard to digest fiber). Anyway, I'm scared and upset but I hope the best for all of us with this problem. It sucks when you can never go to the bathroom normally :/

Hi everyone,
I was so grateful to find this page two weeks ago. The stories, tips and support were the final push for me to get off laxatives completely. I had taken 2-4 daily for 13 years. It had started as a way to purge after a binge, but as I got older and my eating habits improved, it just became a way to have a bowel movement every day. I was very constipated and could not go without the pills. I really connected with what VS said about being addicted to "feeling empty." I tried to quit many times in the past, weaning myself down to 1 a day or 1 every other day, but any time I tried to go more than two days without it, I would panic and then give up and continue taking the laxatives.

I went completely off them 10 days ago, and while I have not felt totally "empty" since then, I have been able to go a little bit every day. I still get very bloated in my belly, but not much bloating or weight gain anywhere else. I think that the many changes I have made for my health in the past 5 months have helped this transition greatly. They put my body in an optimal state for recovery:

1. I tried to wean myself off slowly again over a period of a few months, going down to 1-2 a day, sometimes trying to go a day or two without any, sometimes going back up to 3.
2. I cut out almost all sugar and sweets 5 months ago. I used to eat candy all the time. Now I might have a piece of chocolate every once in a way. My new favorite snack is the dark chocolate cherry cashew bar from KIND.
3. I cut out most white flour products and eat mostly whole grain. But I try not to be too rigid about it.
4. I am very conscious about getting at least 25g of fiber every day. I have oatmeal with an egg, a spoonful of flaxseed and a handful of blueberries every morning. I try to eat lots of fresh/frozen fruits and veggies. If my stool is too hard (and painful), then I try to make sure I get more soluble fiber or eat some white rice flour noodles.
5. I have one of those probiotic chews every day (since I'm lactose intolerant and can't have dairy).
6. I have a tall glass of water as soon as I wake up and then have a mug of coffee. The hot coffee really helps get my bowels moving and this is usually when I'm able to go. I drink lots of water throughout the day.
7. I try to do at least some form of physical activity 4-5 times a week, even if it's just walking around my neighborhood.

Thank you all for bravely sharing your stories and tips. It helped so much to know what I had to expect from quitting (the bloating, weight gain, etc) so I could mentally prepare myself for it. I also was finally able to tell both my husband and my best friend for added support and accountability. Even though this will be an ongoing process, I feel so relieved to no longer be holding the secret by myself.

I'm so relieved to see other people know what I'm going through. When I was 13 I had a severe jaw surgery where my mouth was wired shut for months. Afterwards I would only have a bm once or twice a month. I was sick all the time and felt awful so I tried around for years doing natural things and then when I was in college I tried bisacoydl for the first time. It was amazing that I was able to go to the bathroom. I kept using them and gradually had to increase the dosage to 20-30 pills per day now that I'm 27.

I turn 28 next month and my husband and I want to start trying for a baby in the spring. I knew I had to quit even though I've heavily relied on laxatives for almost 8 years. I quit 10 days ago and luckily it only took 2 days before I had a bowel movement. I take a lot of fish oils, herbs, vitamin C, magnesium, and have tried some stool softeners to help. My husband has been so supportive and even bought enemas and suppositories so I could get relief it came to that.

I've pretty much been able to go to the bathroom every day and it's been wonderful to not have the cramps that came with laxative abuse and I'm sleeping better now that I'm not running to the bathroom all the time in the night. The only thing that's been very hard has been the swelling. I've put on a ton of water weight - I can't wear my wedding ring and my clothes are tight. I went from being 94 lbs to being 102 lbs in just a week.

I feel very discouraged and uncomfortable in my own skin but I know that I need to get well and want to have children. I have been eating really well to help with going to the bathroom (yogurt with flaxseeds, apples & pears, carrots with hummus, big plates of steamed broccoli with butter & vegan cheese, etc). I know I couldn't have put on that much real weight in such a short amount of time but I feel terrible. If anyone has had a similar experience please let me know how long it might last. Otherwise, if you're trying to get off laxatives, don't wait. If my body can get back to normal and I can go to the bathroom every day (even twice a day some days) then you can too.

MR,
Tell me the amounts of each thing you are taking. I would like to try the combination. The only thing the doctors have suggested is Metamucil for me. I am so happy for you.

hi, I really need help I'm a 24 year old and have been taking dulcolax tablets for approx three years now. I take 15-20 mg every day. I'm so scared too turn too anyone for help as nobody knows my problem. I don't plan too have kids any time soon but I fear I have done too much damage and I need too stop this please help me !! I need advice! It's ruining my life.

People's Pharmacy response: Talk to a gastroenterologist (stomach doctor) to get advice on how to gradually stop the Dulcolax and still be able to pass stool. This will not be a shock to such a physician.

has any one ever tried caster oil & did this help it should not have any bad side side effects.?

Thanks to everyone, but especially MR and good to hear that I can get off them. Am going to doctor on Friday to talk about alternatives. I stopped having regular bowel movements about 3 years ago and started on them to stop that uncomfortable feeling. But having runny stools all the time isn't much fun either, especially as I sometimes get windy and have cramps beforehand. I try not to take them every day but always seem to relapse. Normally it's 2-3. I can't take them when I see my boyfriend as very often I don't feel I can control a bowel movement when being very intimate and having taken Ducolax (nobody has broached this subject above so hope it's not inappropriate), so then I'll stop taking them a day before I see him, but end up feeling bloated and unattractive after a few days, particularly as we only ever eat out, and normally not the type of food I'd eat at home.

When I'm at home I eat small, healthy regular meals which my body processes much better and I do a lot of running so tend to burn more off anyway. Now I'm with someone I love again, it's time to get the mind and body healthy and wean myself off.

Does anyone have advice on reducing the bloating? I've been laxative free for 2 months but I'm up 10 pounds from my natural weight (not the unnatural low weight laxatives caused) and bloated all over. I exercise regularly and eat very healthy. PLEASE HELP!

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