You've asked a good question, one which is actually not quite so easy to answer.
I've already had 3 bowel resections, each one made necessary because of serious intestinal obstruction caused by the build-up of scar tissue. Many Crohnies are in that situation, and possibly you are too. If you are, then you've got to proceed carefully.
Often, I was constipated (but with intermittent diarrhea). Unfortunately, I found that high-fiber foods obstructed me even more, and sometimes sent me to the emergency room with a total bowel obstruction, a horrible experience. So I hesitate to recommend that you consume more fiber at this point, unless you are not suffering from obstructions.
Similarly, normal laxatives (like Dulcolax) were undesirable because they are intestinal irritants, and this can trigger inflammation and a consequent obstruction.
My best advice at this point is to either:
1) Try a little high-fiber food and see how that works. Try eating one prune. If OK, then eat a few more later, but if that obstructs you, then:
2) Gentle stool softeners. Not laxatives. The softeners are supposed to help your stool absorb more water, which is much different than inducing a bowel movement through irritation of the intestinal lining.
3) I hesitate to mention thus, but when all else fails, an occasional enema. Not really a good practice because the overuse of enemas causes dependency on them. But there are times when you need immediate relief, and this usually works. A variation on the theme is to use anal suppositories, but I never had much luck with those.
P.S. Since my last bowel resection in late 2005, I've gotten much better, and I'm able to consume high-fiber foods. So constipation and/or diarrhea are seldom issues for me these days. Wishing you the same.
Crohn's since 1988
Post Edited (ozonehole) : 5/29/2010 1:53:55 AM (GMT-6)