A drug for treating constipation is in the works by Mayo Clinic researchers.
The drug is called A3309 and so far in clinical trials, has been shown to deliver relief from constipation, which afflicts about 30 million people in the U.S.
So how does this constipation drug work? It targets the recycling of bile acids, which are created in the liver and released into one’s digestive system.
Bile acids break down fats and absorb them into the body … but bile acids also work as natural laxatives.
Laxatives, as you know, encourage bowel movements and are a common treatment for constipation. A3309 suppresses the absorption of bile acid in the small intestine.
This permits more bile acids to enter the colon and promote bowel movements.
The Phase II trial lasted two weeks, and patients reported better bowel movements and less straining with this new drug. The next step is Phase III: more participants, longer study period.
If you’ve been suffering from constipation for a while, don’t just automatically assume that the answer is to take a drug, even if ultimately, research shows a drug to be very effective.
Your constipation may be caused be a disease process, and taking a drug to relieve symptoms will not address the root problem.
A perfect example of this happened with my mother. She’d had a few bouts of constipation that were relieved with traditional over-the-counter drugs.
But one day the constipation was non-responsive to laxatives and a suppository, and had her debilitated and in severe pain.
We took her to the emergency room where it was discovered that she had about two weeks’ worth of backed up bowel movements that the doctor had to extricate with his hands.
During the past two weeks, however, my mother had been having bowel movements.
The ER doctor said it’s possible to have bowel movements while a constipation process was going on.
The cause of my mother’s constipation was determined to be a combination of low thyroid (she had already been diagnosed with this but the treatment had not yet fully taken effect), excessive inertia and lack of fluid intake.
Constipation can also be a sign of a more serious disease like colon cancer.
Sometimes, constipation is the result of just poor diet and lack of exercise.
Increasing fiber intake and moving more can do wonders. In fact, physical activity stimulates bowel movements.
Ever notice that your dog suddenly has to have a bowel movement soon after running around outdoors?
I’m a certified personal trainer and tell my clients that ideal fiber intake should be 25 to 35 grams a day. Two apples and a cup of strawberries provide 13 grams of fiber.
Switching from white to whole grain breads will increase fiber intake.
Constipation has many potential causes, so if diet and exercise don’t resolve the problem, see a gastroenterologist.