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For 25 years I suffered from constipation almost daily. I tried everything that came down the road without success. Some days it was bad and on other days it was terrible. Most of you know. In 2006, in a conversation with a next door neighbor, I learned that there existed a prescription drug called Miralax, an osmotic. The neighbor, a retired pharmacy technician, highly recommended it and I got a prescription from my doctor. It worked. I couldn’t believe it. Then, in 2007 the FDA approved Miralax (polyethylene glycol 3350) for over-the-counter distribution. I’ve been on Miralax ever since and in those 13 years I’ve never experienced a single day of constipation. Sometimes, I experienced mild diarrhea, although rarely. Now, after those many years being free of the constipation, I’ve got it back. In spades. What caused it is this: A three-day regimen of an antibiotic named azithromycin also known as a Z-Pak. I was prescribed the drug by my oral surgeon following the extraction of an infected tooth. While the antibiotic did the job, it also did a job on my gastrointestinal system. It wiped out all the good flora in my gut and left me more constipated than ever before and with stool so hard and claylike that I was forced to dig it out. Not a lot of fun, to say the least. That was two month ago and my system still hasn’t recovered. Within a day or two after realizing what had happened, I went online and read everything I could lay hands on about this subject. Yes, it is true that many of these antibiotics can really screw up an individual’s gastrointestinal system, resulting in either diarrhea or constipation. And, yes, it can sometimes be long lasting. So, I set to work setting up a program that followed the advice of the experts. I start the day with a small serving of hot oat bran. In the bowl are fresh blackberries or raspberries along with milk. I drink a glass of water with Miralax followed by a second glass of water. I take a quality probiotic. Along with the second glass of water, I eat two dried prunes. For lunch my entire meal consists of a large mug of freshly made split pea soup and a cracker. At dinner, it’s usually seafood or chicken for the entrée, a vegetable (no starch) and a copious serving of bean salad made from cannellini beans with olive oil. I drink another glass of water with a half dose of Miralax (this is added as one should normally require only one dose per day) followed by a second glass of water and two dried prunes. For dessert, it’s a serving of natural Greek yogurt with blackberries or raspberries. If a person who isn’t given to constipation were on such a diet, they would never be able to leave the bathroom. For me, it’s hardly making a difference. Specifically, there’s a bowel movement waiting for me almost every day without fail. I get stirrings telling me I need to go. When I sit down, the urge is there. But, the fecal matter doesn’t want to come out. I strain and strain and sometime squeeze without any success. When I become exasperated, I will wet a folded facial tissue and insert it as a cover for my index finger and palpate. Sometimes that palpation will loosen up a small amount of fecal matter. However, this can go on for up to a half-hour before I’m emptied. It is very unsettling and to let it continue like this is unacceptable. What I need is what a pharmacist friend characterized years ago when he gave me medication for another type of disorder. “Rob,” he declared, “this is the atomic bomb.” I’m looking for an atomic bomb. Interestingly, the poop that emerges is not hard poop. It’s relatively soft and well formed. But getting it out is the challenge. If anyone has any suggestions for resolving or improving this situation, I would be very grateful. I would prefer a solution using natural foods or additives, etc., rather than a prescription medicine with all its side effects. All suggestions are welcome. Thanks very much. Rob in Arizona