Eating a fiber-rich diet, taking fiber supplements and staying hydrated are natural ways to maintain regularity of the bowels, while laxatives, suppositories and enemas can help to relieve constipation, notes WebMD. Fiber and bulking agents are often recommended for irregularity, as is getting more exercise.
Several laxative options are available, notes Mayo Clinic. Stimulants work by stimulating the bowel to release stool, while osmotic laxatives such as MiraLax, lactulose and magnesium citrate work by pulling water into the colon to expediate stool passage. Lubricant laxatives such as mineral oil make it easier for the stool to evacuate from the bowel, while stool softeners including Surfak and Colace add moisture to the stool by drawing water into the intestines.
Chronic constipation is treated by prescription-strength medications. Amitza and Linzess work by drawing water into the intestinal tract, speeding up the evacuation of stool. These medications are oftentimes recommended by doctors when other remedies fail to work.
When other treatments fail, surgery to repair anal strictures or fissures or rectoceles is sometimes recommended, notes Mayo Clinic. These surgeries are a last line of treatment. Additionally, surgery to remove part of the colon is sometimes an option for people with abnormally slow movement of stool in the colon.