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How to Keep from Plugging Up the Toilet

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Q. I have had difficulty with extremely bulky bowel movements my entire life. It is terribly embarrassing to have to use a toilet away from home for fear of plugging it up. Fiber supplements, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, prunes and stool softeners don't help. I would love suggestions that might work.

A. One low-cost, low-risk option might be to try sugarless gum containing xylitol. This natural compound is not absorbed from the digestive tract so it attracts water and makes the stool softer and hopefully less bulky. If your kidneys are healthy, a magnesium supplement (200 to 400 mg) may also be helpful.

If these tactics are unsuccessful, you might try MiraLax for a few days. This pulls fluid into the large bowel and makes the stool less firm.

You are not the only person to experience such embarrassment. Here are a number of stories from visitors to this website: 

"I have struggled with this same problem off and on for a long time. I recently discovered a major reason for it. I never had significant problems until I became lactose intolerant. And it's not only products with milk/lactose that will cause it. I've noticed that after developing bulky bowel movements my digestive system is much more sensitive to food in general. In addition, I've found that gluten products will aggravate it even more. This observation isn't just from me personally but something I've discovered is common with many of my friends.

"My biggest suggestion would be to try for a few weeks completely eliminating dairy and gluten products, while upping the amount of water you drink every day. When I adhere to this diet, I have nearly NO problems." Rose


 "My grandson has this same problem despite lots of fiber and fruit. I followed advice given by a physician that due to our water's high level of calcium, he was probably low in magnesium. Being that it's a vital mineral, it made sense to try a supplement. Works like a charm!" Jack


"I have had this problem for several years. I'm a slim woman. Mine are not hard and dry...just very large and unwieldy. I do not hold anything in, I eat lots of fruits and vegetables and very little meat, I drink water, but not gallons of it, and still have the di'stink'tion of knowing I can plug up any toilet anywhere at anytime.

"The only med I take regularly is an allergy pill like Claritin D. I have learned to flush at exactly the right movement moment so that it will be whisked away. Usually it works." Deb


"When my son was small, his bms were as big around as a can of vegetables, no exaggeration! We had to keep a special trash can by the toilet to store a paint stir stick to break up the mass so it would flush. His Dad would make comments about the toilet clogs and it embarrassed our son. After all, he couldn't help the size of his bm!" Kelly


Share your own bathroom stories below in the comment section. What has worked for you? 
If you would like to learn more about our favorite constipation remedies, we suggest The People's Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remeides. You will learn about a variety of approches from blackstrap molasses and flaxseed oil to special fiber solutions plus honey and vinegar. And in Recipes and Remedies from The People's Pharmacy you find find recipes for "Power Pudding" and dynamite "Pumpkin Bran Muffins." We are still offering our special 50% off sale on Recipes & Remedies when you purchase Quick & Handy Home Remedies. Here is a link to this special ofer

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I was plagued with this problem for several years. Every time I had a bm my husband would have to unclog the toilet. I tried stool softeners, was already taking a magnesium supplement, tried prunes and high fiber cereals, but nothing helped. Finally I went on line to research it and found out it was a form of constipation. My internist told me to start taking MiraLax, which I have now taken for a year at the recommended dose. Now I have halved the dose and hope to get to the point where I don't have to take it.

To keep from plugging up the toilet, how about flushing a couple of times while you are in the process of the movement. If you wait until the whole thing is there, of course it will plug up if there is too much

Have been plagued by massive quantities of fecal material for a decade or more -- started out as large, firm stools that would not flush without plunger assistance. Very embarrassing, especially in a small office work situation. Then my constitution changed and the stools are now massive quantities of soft, pasty material that can pretty much fill the entire lower half of the toilet bowl. Am using Miralax, which has probably accounted for the change in composition, but am still baffled by the quantity of stools. Altering the amount of Mirilax, water, etc. does little to change the situation, leading to clogged plumbing, which is costly as well as embarrassing. The soft stools result in extreme urgency if the initial daily urge to go isn't taken care of promptly, which adds to my toilet anxiety complex.

Baby Sis, I agree with you! My husband had this problem until I persuaded him to flush halfway through the proceedings. No more stopped toilets. Another thing that helped was bidet attachments on our toilets. (See Amazon for good cheap models.) We used much less toilet paper after that which helped a lot too. I LOVE our bidets!

My grandson has always had this problem. Flushing a few times during a BM would not work as it is so large, more round (like a ball) than long. As an infant and toddler he would go days without having a BM and I think that it destroyed his intestines, maybe they ballooned out and stayed that way because he is now regular but the large round BM's won't go down. It sounds disgusting but he uses a surgical glove to break it up so it goes down because a thin surgical glove can fit into his pocket easily so if we are visiting friends he doesn't have to fear flooding their bathroom.

If nothing works for you then focus on the toilet. My brother-in-law installed a superflush toilet that never plugs. Problem solved.

Weekly basis eat pappaya after your every meal. This is excellent source natural fiber & laxative.

I've had large size BMs --(almost the diameter of a soup can)-- all my adult life. However, they're usually a soft/normal consistency (soft as Playdough) so I don't consider this "constipation." Unfortunately, these BMs manage to plug up the toilet bowl sometimes. I'm grateful to hear others having this same issue of plugging up the toilet because it's very embarrassing! As if I have to "apologize" for my bowel movements!

It makes you feel like some sort of "freak of nature." Thank you for this topic revelation! I no longer feel like "the only person in the world" that has the "talent" of backing up toilet bowls...

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