The idea of inserting a medicine capsule up your butt might not sound like the most pleasant way to spend an afternoon. But if you’re desperate to take a dump, it may be your only hope for relief.
Suppositories are one of many methods to treat constipation. And while they’re less convenient than pills and powders, there’s a reason people still buy them: they’re fast and effective.
Whether you’re suffering from traveler’s constipation or plugged up from a poor diet, this “magic bullet” for your butt might do the trick. Read on to learn how suppositories for constipation work, how they’re different from other laxatives, and what to expect.
What Is a Suppository for Constipation?
A suppository for constipation is a little capsule that you put up your butt to trigger a bowel movement. You can use it for relief of occasional constipation and hard stools that are stuck in transit.
Rectal suppositories are about an inch long and weigh 2-3 grams. They’re usually round like a jelly bean or bullet-shaped for easy insertion. Once inside your booty, they dissolve to release the medication.
Constipation is usually treated with glycerin suppositories, which draw water into the bowel and give you the urge to poop fast.
Suppositories for constipation don’t require a prescription—you can get them over the counter at your local pharmacy or buy them online.
Suppositories aren’t exactly the most pleasant way to make yourself poop, but they can be a good option if oral laxatives irritate your digestive system or give you abdominal pain.
How Long Does a Constipation Suppository Take to Work?
Most suppositories for constipation will produce a bowel movement within an hour after you insert them, although they can work as fast as 15 minutes.
Needless to say, you shouldn’t plan to go about your daily activities if you’re going to use a suppository. You basically have to sit or lie down until you feel it kick into action.
Suppositories, Enemas, Oral Laxatives: What’s the Difference?
Understanding the differences between suppositories, enemas, and other types of laxatives can be confusing—let’s break it down.
“Laxative” is a catch-all term for any substance used to treat constipation. This could be a natural laxative like coffee, berries, and leafy greens. Or it could come in the form of a powder, tablet, or liquid whose active ingredient stimulates a bowel movement.
There are three main over-the-counter laxative medications which come in generic and brand-name versions:
- Bisacodyl (the active ingredient in Dulcolax)
- Glycerol/glycerin (the active ingredient in Miralax)
Laxative medications can also be taken as a suppository, which refers to a medicine that comes in a solid material and gets inserted into the rectum. Laxative suppositories are just one type of medication that can be taken via the rectal route.
Laxatives can also be administered with an enema, which involves squirting liquid up your butt and into the lower bowel. Enemas are used to clean the bowel before a surgery or examination and usually require supervision from a healthcare professional.
How to Use a Suppository for Constipation
Alright, it’s time to say bye-bye to that blockage in your colon. Before you use a suppository, make sure you read the instructions on the label. Here are some general guidelines:
- Wash your hands (and put on a glove if you’re a germaphobe)
- Remove the suppository from its outer case
- Apply a small amount of water-based lubricant to the suppository so it slides in more easily (this is optional). Dipping it in warm water can help too
- Use your finger to insert the suppository about an inch into your rectum
- Sit or lay still until you feel the urge to poop
Side Effects of Suppositories
Suppositories for constipation typically don’t cause side effects, but you may experience any of the following:
- Stomach pain
- Burning sensation
If the suppository causes rectal bleeding or doesn’t produce a bowel movement within an hour, seek immediate medical advice, as this can be a sign of a serious condition.
Here are some additional precautions to keep in mind when using suppositories for constipation:
- Suppositories are for rectal use only—don’t swallow them.
- Talk to a doctor before using them if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a history of allergic reactions to medications.
- Keep them out of the reach of children. If ingested, contact poison control.
- Don’t use more than one suppository within a 24-hour period.
Get Ahead of Constipation
You can find all sorts of hacks and home remedies for a backed-up butt: colon cleanse cocktails, exercises, drinking kombucha, massaging your gooch, and more. But the best way to beat constipation is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Here are two important tips:
- Eat more fiber and drink more water—chances are you’re not getting enough of either
- Move around throughout the day, especially if you work a desk job. Sitting puts your digestive system to sleep.
Last but not least, don’t forget to have your DUDE Wipes handy when you feel that brown snake starting to work its way out of your butt. Dry toilet paper is no match for the atomic deuce you’re about to unleash.