Constipation 2017-04-07T06:27:41+00:00

CONSTIPATION

WHAT IS CONSTIPATION?

Constipation is defined as having a bowel movement fewer than 3 times a week. Being constipated means your bowel movements are difficult or happen less often than normal. Almost everyone has it at some point in life. The normal length of time between bowel movements varies widely from person to person. Some people have bowel movements three times a day. Others have them only once or twice a week.

Going longer than three or more days without one is usually too long. After three days, the bowel movements are usually hard, dry, and small in size. What is important is whether there is a change in what has been normal for you.

SYMPTOMS

  • Small bowel movements

  • Hard, dry bowel movements
  • Uncomfortable or painful bowel movements that are hard to pass
  • A longer time than usual between bowel movements

  • Bloating and the feeling of a full bowel

CAUSES OF CONSTIPATION

Possible Causes

  • You wait too long to have bowel movements

  • You do not drink enough fluids

  • You overuse some types of laxatives

  • You do not eat enough fiber

  • You don’t have enough physical activity

  • You are taking iron pills or a medication such as narcotics that has  side effect of constipation.

Other Possible Causes

  • Pregnancy

  • Rectocele (a prolapse of the rectum in the vagina)

  • Depression or stress
  • Medical condition such as low thyroid ( hypothyroidism)

  • Medications such as narcotics

TREATMENT OF CONSTIPATION

To ease your constipation

  • Drink more fluids
  • Add more fiber to your diet

  • Increase your physical activity

  • Do not delay bowel movements. Make sure that you go to the bathroom whenever you feel that you need to go.

  • Laxatives may be used for a short time, generally less than 1 week. Many people find fiber supplements, such as Metamucil, Citrucel, or other psyllium products, to be helpful, but in a few cases they make constipation worse. Ask if any medicines you are taking may be causing constipation.

DOCTOR’S ORDERS

Tell your healthcare provider if:

  • You start having constipation after years of normal bowel movements
  • You have bouts of constipation alternating with bouts of diarrhea
  • You have pain during bowel movements or for some time afterward
  • Your bowel movements are dark or tar-colored or have blood in them
  • You are losing weight without trying