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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Bowels

02/16/2004

Question:

What happens to your body if you have to take milk of magnesia every day to get your bowels to move? Can your bowels become addicted and get use to going only with help from laxatives?

Answer:

Hello,

It is not exactly addiction. It does, however, mean that you have put your bowel`s own natural system to sleep by using outside unnatural stimulant laxatives. If it continues long enough it may cause melanosis coli. If you had a colonoscopy, it would show a brown pigmented color to the bowel surface. This is very unnatural. You should see your doctor for help very soon. Thanks for the question.

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Response by:

Edna M Jones, MD, MRO Edna M Jones, MD, MRO
Former Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University