What Is Constipation?
Constipation is the trouble or inability to have a bowel development. In spite of the fact that it is a symptom, approximately 63 million Americans are unsettled by incessant constipation. Constipation might be settled by expanding fiber admission, practice and remaining hydrated.
The normal length of time between bowel movements varies widely from person to person. Some people have them three times a day. Others have them only once or twice a week.
Going longer than 3 or more days without one, though, is usually too long. After 3 days, the stool or feces become harder and more difficult to pass.
What Are Signs of Constipation?
- Few bowel movements
- Trouble having a bowel movement (straining to go)
- Hard or small stools
- A sense that everything didn’t come out
- Swollen belly or belly pain
- Throwing up
Why Does It Happen?
Some causes of constipation include:
- Antacid medicines containing calcium or aluminum
- Changes in your usual diet or activities
- Colon cancer
- Eating a lot of dairy products
- Eating disorders
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
- Not being active
- Not enough water or fiber in your diet
- Overuse of laxatives
- Problems with the nerves and muscles in the digestive system
- Resisting the urge to have a bowel movement, which some people do because of hemorrhoids
- Some medications (especially strong pain drugs such as narcotics, antidepressants, or iron pills)
- Underactive thyroid (called hypothyroidism)
How Is Constipation Treated?
- Drink two to four extra glasses of water a day, unless your doctor told you to limit fluids for another reason.
- Try warm liquids, especially in the morning.
- Add fruits and vegetables to your diet.
- Eat prunes and bran cereal.
- If needed, use a very mild over-the-counter stool softener like docusate or a laxative like magnesium hydroxide. Don’t use laxatives for more than 2 weeks without calling your doctor. If you overdo it, your symptoms may get worse.
When Should I See a Doctor?
Call your doctor right away if you have sudden constipation with belly pain or cramping and you aren’t able to pass any gas or stools.
Contact Digestive Health Centers to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist today.