Constipation

constipation

How many bowel movements is normal?  Answer: It depends… on you.

Did you know that the severity of constipation can be measured by what your stool looks like?  A normal bowel movement should produce a soft, sausage-like, formed stool. Names given are hot dog, sausage, coiler, or snake.  The stool comes out on its own with very little effort.

If you are constipated, your stool is hard and more difficult to pass.  Stools from someone who is constipated can range from corn on the cob to shooting marbles.  Straining and effort is required, or it just takes a long time.

Constipation can be caused by a change in diet, lack of activity, stress, or medication.  Having enough water and fiber contributes to normal bowel movements. Also, a regulated and less stressful day helps keep your bowel movements on schedule.  Did you know one of the most common causes of constipation is ignoring the urge to poop? It’s easier to figure out when you are getting constipated if you maintain a regular schedule.

Treat constipation as soon as you suspect, don’t wait for it to progress to discomfort and pain.  Hard stools can cause rectal tears and speed your development of hemorrhoids!

Avoid constipation by not avoiding the urge and make it part of your regular schedule, at least every other day, if not every day.  A pharmacist can help you select a laxative that is safe for your use. There are “better” treatment options for each situation. Mild laxatives may take two to four days to work, but are best for maintaining regularity.  Faster acting laxatives should only be used occasionally, as they can be harmful if overused or used when you have other health issues. If you are experiencing mild discomfort and wish to have something work faster, an overnight laxative may be recommended.  Other options are also available, allow your PharmaChoice pharmacist help you make an informed choice.

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Denise Doucette