Let’s talk about constipation: treatments, causes, and what to do next

What is constipation, and what are the symptoms?

Constipation is when a person has fewer than three bowel movements in a week. Constipation can also refer to hard, dry, and difficult-to-pass stools. Constipation is a common problem affecting people of all ages. The most common symptom of constipation is infrequent bowel movements. Other symptoms may include:

  • Hard or dry stools.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Bloating.
  • Feeling like one has not fully emptied the bowels after a bowel movement.

Constipation is usually caused by a combination of factors, including diet, dehydration, and lack of exercise. Constipation can often be treated at home with simple lifestyle changes, such as increasing fluid intake and eating more fiber-rich foods.

In some cases, over-the-counter medication may be necessary to relieve constipation. Severe or persistent constipation should be evaluated by a medical professional. Constipation can usually be resolved with lifestyle changes and medication. However, if constipation persists or worsens, it is important to see a doctor to rule out other underlying causes.

What causes constipation, and how can it be treated effectively?

Constipation is a condition in which a person has hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass. Constipation can be caused by various factors, including a lack of fiber in the diet, stress, certain medications, and dehydration. Constipation often goes away on its own, but several treatments can help relieve the symptoms. These include stool softeners, laxatives, and increased fluid intake. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Constipation is a common condition that can be treated effectively with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. However, if constipation persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as abdominal pain or bloating, it is important to see a doctor for evaluation.

When should you see a doctor about your constipation issues, and what kind of tests might they perform to determine the root cause of the problem?

Constipation is a common digestive problem. It can happen when the colon absorbs too much water from the food you eat. This makes the stool hard and dry. Constipation can also be caused by not eating enough fiber, not drinking enough water, or not getting enough exercise. Some medications can also cause constipation. Constipation usually isn’t serious. But it can be painful and make you feel uncomfortable. If you’re constipated, your doctor may give you a laxative to help you have a bowel movement. If constipation is chronic, meaning it happens often and lasts for more than two weeks, then it’s important to see a doctor find out the root cause. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They may also perform a physical exam. Tests that may be ordered include a blood test, stool test, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy. These tests can help to rule out other conditions, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, that can cause constipation.

How can you prevent constipation from happening in the first place, and what lifestyle changes can you make to improve your digestive health overall?

You can do several things to help prevent constipation, including drinking plenty of fluids, eating a high-fiber diet, and getting regular exercise. If you are already constipated, several treatments can help relieve your symptoms. These include over-the-counter laxatives, stool softeners, and enemas. In some cases, prescription medications may be necessary. If constipation is a chronic problem, your doctor may also recommend making lifestyle changes, such as increasing your fiber intake or adding probiotics to your diet.