Dear Ask The Doctor: Hi I'm a 21 year old male and I recently quit smoking marijuana after 5 years of smoking everyday and its one of the best decisions i made in my life but ever since i quit my bowel movements haven't been regular and they are far from regular. At first I was unable to have a bowel movement for 2 days and when i finally did I really had to push which i know is a bad thing since then my stool has been small and I seem to have to wait longer than i should have to i feel the need to go but i cant i find drinking coffee helps get it out but i still feel like there is more in there that should be coming out. im just kind of wondering if this is a common withdrawal symptom that will fix it self over time or if it could be something completely different and me quitting around the same time as this problem is a coincidence ?
Dear Patient: I am not aware that marijuana withdrawal has a direct link with constipation; it is usually linked with loss of appetite and nausea. There are several lifestyle modifications that may improve your constipation. These include: increased exercise, including walking (which may also improve sleep and lessen insomnia from withdrawal); increased fluid intake in the form of water; and increased fibre in the diet and fibre supplementation. Sources of dietary fibre include fruits and dried fruits especially prunes, root vegetables, especially in the skin, and legumes, cereals high in fibre, wheat and corn bran, oats, nuts and seeds and whole grain bread. Soluble fibre supplements and prebiotics are available in most pharmacies, which may improve symptoms in addition to diet. I would advise trial of lifestyle modification initially and if no improvement a visit to your family doctor for a clinical examination.