12 Best Foods for Painkiller-Induced Constipation

  • group-of-vegetables-on-table
    Overcome painkiller-induced constipation with diet.
    There are a number of different dietary modifications that may help with your painkiller-induced constipation. For some patients, altering dietary habits may be enough to prevent bloating, feelings of fullness, or constipation, while others may find dietary changes can be only one part of their treatment. The following foods can assist with the prevention or treatment of constipation induced by painkillers. Make sure to talk with your doctor before taking action, as dietary changes can make constipation worse in some instances.
  • Woman Drinking Water
    1. Water
    While not technically a food, water is under appreciated until you don’t have enough of it. Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day can help prevent constipation and keep your stools soft. Make sure you talk with your doctor before embarking on this hydration plan if you have congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with constipation.
  • capsule-pills
    2. Mineral Oil
    Again, while it’s not technically a food, this supplement will ease constipation by decreasing the absorption of water and increasing lubrication of the intestine. Be sure to discuss with your doctor before adding this to your diet, as this over-the-counter product interacts with a number of prescription medications and decreases absorption of a number of vitamins.
  • fruits
    3. Fruits
    To prevent constipation, it’s important to eat enough fiber, which you can find in many fruits and other food items. A number of different fruits are considered to be “high fiber.” These fruits have 5 grams or more of fiber per serving, which means that they contain 20% or more of the recommended daily allowance for fiber. Examples include apples, blackberries, pears and raspberries. Fruits like bananas, blueberries, kiwis, oranges and plums don’t fit the “high fiber” category, but are still considered good sources of fiber, as they contain 2.5 to 4.9 grams per serving, providing 10 to 19% of your daily recommendation.
  • Beans
    4. Beans
    A number of bean varieties are considered high fiber, including black beans, lentils, lima beans, pink beans, pigeon beans, pinto beans, and winged beans. Green beans, split peas, and white beans aren’t placed in the high fiber category, but are still considered good sources of fiber.
  • vegetable harvest, artichoke, mushroom, tomato, pepper, onion, asparagus, eggplant
    5. Artichokes
    Although not common in most kitchens, the artichoke is the most fiber-rich vegetable available. A medium-size artichoke has over 10 grams of fiber—both soluble and insoluble.
  • steamed-broccoli-in-bowl
    6. Broccoli
    Broccoli is another fiber-rich vegetable, and it’s also chock-full of vitamin D, which can help lower cholesterol. Although cooking broccoli can reduce its fiber content, steaming or lightly sautéing it will help retain important nutrients. The great thing about broccoli is that you get 7 grams of protein per calorie, making it one of the most efficient ways to increase fiber.
  • brussels-sprouts
    7. Brussels Sprouts
    Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts pack a tremendous fiber punch per calorie. You only need to eat 10 sprouts to get 7 grams of fiber.
  • Chia seeds
    8. Chia Seeds
    These seeds have an incredible 5.5 grams of fiber per tablespoon. When added to a smoothie or pudding recipe, you can easily (and deliciously) increase your fiber intake.
  • Flax seeds in heart shape
    9. Flaxseed Meal
    While not as powerful as chia seeds, flaxseed meal can be added to smoothies, yogurt or baked goods to increase fiber. Bread, pancakes, muffins, bars and cookies can all be enhanced by replacing eggs for flaxseed—just add 3 tablespoons of liquid and 1 tablespoon of flaxseed for each egg. You can also replace 25% of the flour called for in a recipe with flaxseed to increase fiber.
  • avocado
    10. Avocados
    A 2-tablespoon serving of avocado contains 2 grams of fiber and is also a great source of both mono- and polyunsaturated fats: the “good” fats your doctor wants you to consume more of, because they help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Colorful Carrots
    11. Carrots
    Carrots are a great high-fiber food for snacking. You can cut up or buy small carrot sticks that are easy to store and don’t spoil easily. When you get the mid-morning or mid-afternoon munchies, it’s easy to grab a handful and increase your fiber.
  • Fiber Supplement
    12. Fiber Supplements
    Fiber, like most nutrients, is better for you when you get it from eating the real natural product. But if you are not able to eat natural fiber products, there are a number of other options. Your local pharmacy will stock a selection of fiber pills and powders that can be used to supplement fiber intake. Make sure you increase fiber slowly, as failing to do so will increase gas and possibly lead to cramping.
12 Best Foods for Painkiller-Induced Constipation

About The Author

Dr. Pat Bass III is chief medical information officer and an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at LSU Health- Shreveport and University Hospital. View his Healthgrades profile >
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THIS CONTENT DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. This content is provided for informational purposes and reflects the opinions of the author. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding your health. If you think you may have a medical emergency, contact your doctor immediately or call 911.