Does Tramadol cause Constipation?

What is Tramadol?

Tramadol is an opioid painkiller used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. It has lower risks concerning dependency and tolerance as compared to other opioid medications. Tramadol affects the central nervous system (CNS) in order to relieve pain.

What are some common Side Effects of Tramadol?

Tramadol can cause a wide variety of side effects. This includes constipation or other disturbances in the stomach. Other side effects may include:

  • Constipation 
  • Upset stomach
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Abnormal coldness in the body
  • Dry mouth
  • Awareness of a dry mouth
  • Hot flashes
  • Heartburn
  • Increased irritability
  • Sudden itching or skin rash
  • Pain in the joints 
  • Loss of strength or weakness
  • Pain in the muscles 
  • Unexplained redness of the face, neck, arms, and sometimes, upper chest
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Vertigo or loss of coordination

How does Tramadol cause Constipation?

Many opioids, including Tramadol, cause a delay in the normal functioning of the digestive system. Due to this, the stool becomes hard and dry. Opioids can affect the muscles of the anus, which leads to discomfort. You may be unable to relax the muscle. All these factors add up and cause constipation. 

Constipation occurs in the body thanks to the special opioid receptors on cells found throughout the body. Tramadol impacts your sense of pain by binding to these receptors in the brain. However, since these receptors are also found in the digestive system when the medication binds to those receptors, the bowel loses its ability to function as well as it previously did. 

How long does Tramadol-induced Constipation last?

Unfortunately, the symptoms of constipation will last as long as you continue to take Tramadol. It is crucial to note that Tramadol-induced constipation does not typically go away on its own. 

In addition to this, while your body may get familiar with the effects of Tramadol as time progresses, constipation is one of the primary side effects that does not tend to get better with the passage of time.

In fact, individuals have reported that even after they stopped taking the medication, it took some time for their constipation to clear up. 

How can I Relieve Tramadol-induced Constipation?

There are several different ways you can relieve constipation that occurs from opioids like Tramadol, such as:

  • Changes in diet and lifestyle

You should add more water and fibre to your diet. These two will help soften the stool and stimulate your digestive system. 

  • Physical activity

Physical activity is another excellent way of stimulating your digestive system.

  • Laxatives

If the symptoms of constipation are unbearable, consult your doctor right away. Laxatives are often one of the first treatments for constipation that occurs due to opioid treatments like Tramadol. Your doctor may start you off with over-the-counter laxatives as they are more likely to help if a person had had a history of constipation before they started taking opioids. In addition to this, your primary healthcare provider may advise you to combine a few laxatives.