Constipation refers to very hard stools or bowel movements that are hard to pass.

You may also:

Need to strain

  • Feel like you did not completely empty your bowels
  • Have cramping, pain, bloating or nausea

Each person is different, but most people pass stools from 3 times each day to 3 times each week. As long as the stool is soft and easy to pass, you are not constipated.

 

Causes of Constipation

  • A diet that is high in fat and sugar or low in fiber
  • Not drinking enough liquids
  • Being inactive
  • Not going to the toilet when you have the urge to pass stool or have a bowel movement
  • Some medicines
  • Overuse of laxatives

To help prevent constipation:

  • Drink at least 8-10 cups of liquids each day. Warm or hot drinks may help your bowels move more easily.
  • Eat high fiber foods such as bran cereal, whole grain breads, raw vegetables, fresh or dried fruits, nuts and popcorn. Fiber helps move stool through yourbody.
  • You may want to limit cheeses, chocolate and eggs because they may worsen constipation.
  • Drink prune or apple juice to help soften stools.
  • Exercise to help your bowels move more easily. Walking works well.
  • Go to the toilet when you have the urge to have a bowel movement.
  • Check with your doctor before using any over the counter laxatives or enemas.

Your doctor may suggest a stool softener or a bulk laxative. If you are not getting the results you want, talk to your doctor.


Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have any questions or concerns.

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