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When does severe constipation require medical treatment?

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Quick Answer

When severe or chronic constipation is not alleviated through exercising or eating more fiber, other medical treatments may be necessary, states Mayo Clinic. A laxative may be the second step in treating this condition, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.

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Consuming at least 14 grams of fiber daily usually grants patients with severe constipation some relief. To facilitate a bowel movement, a doctor can also recommend that patients use different types of laxatives, including osmotics, stimulants and lubricants, notes Mayo Clinic.

The next medical treatment option is to prescribe medications. Some prescription medicines used for severe constipation are lubiprostone and linaclotide. If these different treatment options are unsuccessful, then surgery is possible when constipation is caused by problems such as anal fissures. In some cases, patients with slow-transit constipation may need to have a surgery for colon resection. Slow-transit constipation occurs when stool passes very slowly through the colon.

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