Constipation is a taboo subject for many people. If you’re too embarrassed to discuss it, know that you are far from alone. Constipation affects about 14% of adults in the United States and accounts for an astounding 3.2 million medical visits every year. It’s a common and widespread issue. Nobody wants to talk about it, but for the sake of our health, maybe it’s time we opened a dialogue.
Americans spend three-quarters of a billion dollars on laxatives every year, and it’s not helping. Pharmaceutical laxatives and stool softeners often make constipation worse. Laxative overuse can lead to dependency, making it difficult or impossible to have a bowel movement without using strong laxatives. Over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives also tend to produce some serious side effects including abdominal cramps, dehydration, dizziness, low blood pressure, electrolyte imbalance, and bloody stool.[3, 4]