Something as basic as going to the bathroom can become a painful waiting game when struggling with constipation. The good news is that in most cases there are things you can do at home to lessen the occurrence of constipation.
First, it helps to understand what is happening in the body when constipation occurs.
Causes Of Constipation
In general, constipation happens because of a lack of water in the stool, which makes it difficult to move through the intestines. Eating higher fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains along with drinking more water and less caffeine can greatly help with this issue.
Constipation is also commonly caused by slow muscle contractions in the intestines, making it hard to push stool through the body. A lack of exercise, avoiding going to the bathroom for an extended time, or the use of certain medicines (pain killers, antidepressants, blood pressure medicines to name a few) can lead to slowed muscle contractions and subsequently constipation.
Although less common, constipation can be a sign of a more serious problem, so if your constipation persists for 3 weeks or more, or if you have cause for concern, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
When To See A Doctor
If changes in diet and exercise doesn’t lessen the problem or frequency, if constipation continues for 3 weeks or more, or if you have recently had a medical procedure, contact your doctor. Your doctor will likely ask a series of questions like medical history, the consistency of stools, when the problem started, other symptoms if any, etc. Although this subject can be embarrassing to discuss, rest assured that the doctors at Vanguard Gastro will use discretion and can better assist you the more honest and accurate you are in describing the problem.
If you would like you see one of our doctors, you may schedule an appointment at any of our convenient locations.