Opioid medications such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine are effective at blocking pain signals to the brain and, as such, can be an effective treatment for acute pain (via Johns Hopkins). However, given that these medications are so powerful, it’s important to take caution and use them wisely. One of the effects of opioid use, for example, is a feeling of extreme pleasure and euphoria. People taking these medications often want to keep experiencing those feelings of pleasure, which, over time, could lead to opioid addiction. Johns Hopkins notes that 75% of opioid addicts in the U.S. started out taking them as part of a prescription.
However, even for people who don’t become addicted, opioid use still carries certain risks. According to a 2023 article published by StatPearls, anywhere from 40% to 60% of opioid users can experience opioid-induced constipation. This is primarily because opioids inhibit the movement of stool through the bowel. Over time, the fluid in your stool is absorbed back into your body, making that stool harder and more difficult to pass. Under these circumstances, you may want to talk to your doctor to try and return your bowel function to normal. But a high-fiber diet and laxatives can be a good place to start.
If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).