Can We Talk Constipation?


For most of us it’s not unusual to have constipation once and a while, but when it persists for more than 3 months it called chronic constipation. The American Journal of Gastroenterology reports that up to 28% of Americans suffer from chronic constipation. There are a number of causes, such as medicine side effects, related to another medical condition, or any number of other factors individually or collectively.

Experts say that up to 56 million Americans suffer from chronic constipation, and it affects women more than men. When you suffer from this condition, it’s important that when you meet with your health care provider or gastroenterologist, that you adequately describe your symptoms and treatments that you’ve tried. Tell your doctor, 1.) what you’ve tried, 2.) when you tried it, and 3.) how successful it was in relieving the pain and discomfort associated with chronic constipation.

By way of changes in your behaviors, have you started looking for a bathroom and some privacy lately? Say you’ll be right back and are a little embarrassed when you return a great while later? Have you cancelled plans with friends and family because you are constipated? You avoid going out at all, hoping you’re over the counter medicines will kick in?

Signs that you constipated include: fewer than 3 bowel movements a week; difficulty passing stool, straining, hard and lumpy stool, abdominal discomfort, bloating, feeling like your bowel is never empty, and no loose stools.

Just some plain, simple facts may help you avoid constipation such as chewing properly, swallowing and letting your body take care of the rest. Too much water or too little water may trip up your digestive system, so take notice when you eat. If your colon absorbs too much water along the way, your stool will be hard and dry and hard to expel, thus causing constipation. Another simple fact is that drinking through a straw can cause gas, chewing gum can cause gas, and excessive talking while eating may produce gas – all issues which may cause constipation later.

Some recommendations to keep you bowel in tip top shape include eating more fiber. Typically, the body can’t digest all fibers so they help in digestion through holding water, and slow digestion, leaving the body more time to break down foods. Drinking more water helps to prevent constipation by softening stool and a recommended daily supply is 8 to 12 cups daily depending on activities. Fitness is an integral part of a healthy body and mind. Muscle tone helps digestion and aids you in many other ways. Here are a few practical tips:

·        Sip water throughout the day

·        Have drink every time you pass the drinking fountain

·        Carry a bottle of water everywhere you go

·        Start a meal with soup

·        Drink before you get thirsty.

For more information on how you can maintain a healthier lifestyle, avoid constipation, or treat chronic constipation please visit with us by making an appointment at 210-268-0124 today!