Metamucil (psyllium) is a natural and therapeutic bulk-forming fiber laxative. Psyllium works by absorbing liquid and easing intestinal swelling to create a softer bulky stool and stimulate bowel movements. Used to treat occasional constipation or bowel irregularity, it can be an effective over-the-counter treatment option for constipation in multiple sclerosis patients.
Psyllium should be taken with a full glass of water or other liquid. Without liquid, the laxative can swell in the throat and cause choking. It usually produces a bowel movement within 12 to 72 hours.
While it may take up to three days before symptoms improve, psyllium should not be taken for longer than seven consecutive days without first consulting with a medical professional.
Common side effects may include bloating or a minor change in the bowel habits.
Constipation is the most common symptom of bowel dysfunction in people with MS. The disease can interrupt brain communication that signals time for a bowel movement. Managing constipation should include eating a high-fiber diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals. Fluid intake should include up to eight glasses of water daily. Patients should try to maintain an active life and establish a bowel schedule.
A range of laxatives are available for use. Most of them are sold over-the-counter.
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