How did treating constipation become so risky?

What would be worth risking labored breathing, fainting, abdominal pain, severe diarrhea (so bad it can lead to life-threatening dehydration), a distended belly, and nausea?

A treatment for cancer, perhaps? Or maybe one for a potentially deadly infection, heart attack, or stroke?

But constipation?

A pair of frequently prescribed drugs for being “backed-up” commonly cause those adverse reactions. (Never mind the fact that there are plenty of natural ways to get things “moving” again – and I’ll get to those in a second.)

But that might be child’s play compared to what’s coming down the pike from a team of scientists at the Mayo Clinic. They’re busy in the lab creating a genetically engineered bacteria they say is “showing promise” as a brand-new treatment for constipation.

And the group is champing at the bit to get this bug down the throats of human volunteers. Of course, you know what comes next — the fast track “in and out” of the FDA.

Before you turn to any drug, however, you need to know what the side effects can be. Because while constipation can be annoying at its least (and a threat to your health at its worst), the “cure” doctors are prescribing is akin to ripping your house apart to unclog a drain!

How low can they go?

From the good old days of shyly mentioning “occasional irregularity,” we seem to have entered a new era in which “anything goes.”

I mean, I’m no prude, but to see a television ad for the constipation drug Linzess that shows people sitting on the toilet – well, that’s a bit over the top, don’t you think?

And it has me wondering what kind of commercials will eventually come out for this new GMO constipation cure. Maybe some animated bacteria will be dancing around the inside of somebody’s large intestine while singing a jingle about pooping!

What this laboratory-created microbe does is produce “large amounts” of a chemical called tryptamine. That, in turn, is supposed to help zip food through the intestines… and (fingers crossed!) have “potentially less risk of side effects” than other drugs for constipation.

At least, that’s what the Mayo Clinic researchers have found to be the case in mice. So, maybe those “regular” rodents should be featured in the advertising — we’re already seeing commercials with bears hugging toilet paper!

But seriously, this med will likely hit the market with just as many question marks as other GMOs, such as the Frankenfoods we’re expected to embrace as being totally safe (even though we don’t know if they really are).

For the FDA, however, approving questionable drugs is just “business as usual.” For an example, take a look at some of the drugs it’s already deemed safe enough for us to swallow, such as the one I just mentioned, Linzess.

Linzess triggers a complex reaction in the intestines, resulting in an increase in fluids that causes a “laxative effect,” which may sound good if you haven’t been able to “go” in a while… but it can also cause a horrific condition called “ischemic colitis,” a potentially deadly condition that can result in a perforation of the colon.

Then, there’s the risk of diverticulitis (the inflammation of small pouches called diverticula that form in the intestines), severe diarrhea, dehydration, and a sudden drop in blood pressure that can lead to fainting.

And that’s just the short list! Linzess is so risky that the consumer group Public Citizen put it on its “do not use” list last year.

Also available to help you “go” is the Rx med Amitiza, which is in a class all of its own.

As we warned eAlert readers over three years ago, Amitiza is in the same family as a well-known abortion drug, one called misoprostol.

I know, it sounds insane that the FDA would allow such a med on the market. But despite the fact that the agency was petitioned almost a decade ago to place a clear warning on the label about the risk of losing a baby while taking this drug, it refused… and it took a full three years to even send back a response.

Even if there’s no chance that you might become pregnant, Amitiza has plenty of other side effects, such as dyspnea (trouble breathing, which can happen after taking the first dose),  fainting, very low blood pressure, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Look, trying to treat constipation shouldn’t be a life-or-death proposition.

Adding more fiber and fluids to your diet is usually enough to do the trick. One extremely effective Ayurvedic treatment (the original holistic method of healing that has been practiced in India for thousands of years) for constipation is an herbal mixture called triphala. It’s quite easy to find, and it is also a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.

Another excellent way to fight constipation is with a high-quality probiotic, one blended especially for colon health.

And as far as bacteria goes, that’s the only kind you want to be taking!

“Mayo Clinic discovery is first step toward new bacteria-based constipation treatment” Susan Buckles, June 13, 2018, Mayo Clinic,