What is Constipation?
Constipation is the inability or infrequent need to have a bowel movement. Constipation is defined as having three or less bowel movements per week and can be a temporary or chronic condition. Reasons for constipation can vary from changes in diet or activity habits, or be the symptom of an underlying condition.
Common Causes of Constipation
Constipation affects many and may be a result of many factors. Common causes of constipation are:
- Changes in diet or activity
- Side effects of medication
- Lack of fiber
- Traveling (known as “Travelers Constipation”)
- Underlying condition
Signs of Constipation
- Three or fewer bowel movements per week
- Difficulty or painful bowel movements
- Stool that is dry, lumpy and/or hard
- Feeling full, even after a bowel movement
Who is at Risk for Constipation?
Both children and adults can suffer from bouts of constipation. Those commonly affected by constipation include:
- Women who are pregnant
- People over the age of 65
- Those with medical injuries that confine mobility
- Those on certain medications
Problems Caused by Constipation
In some instances, long-term constipation may lead to other health problems such as:
- Anal fissures
- Bowel incontinence
- Fecal Incontinence
- Colonic conditions
- Urologic disorders
Constipation Treatment and Prevention
Based on the cause of constipation, several treatments can help you alleviate and manage your symptoms.
Types of treatment
- Increase your water intake
- Regular exercise
- Eat fiber-rich foods (avocados, whole wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, broccoli, bananas, apples, etc.)
- Avoiding dairy, meat or foods that are greasy or processed
- Over-the-counter medication
When to Seek Medical Care
If have tried self-treatment and lifestyle changes, or are experiencing worsening or persisting symptoms, call your doctor.
Seek immediate care if:
- You find blood in your stool
- You have stomach pain
- Have constipation lasting longer than three weeks
- Have sudden changes in bowl movements
- You are losing weight
Help for Constipation at Bronson
Constipation is one of the most common digestive conditions that impacts many individuals. Working with your doctor can help treat your constipation, manage your symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.
If constipation is causing you concern, discomfort or interrupting your daily life, you can rely upon your local care team at Bronson to provide the relief you need.
- Contact your Primary Care Provider
- Current patients can schedule in-person or video visit appointments by calling the office.
- Scheduled Video Visit: Bronson primary care—and many specialty care appointments—can now be done online using the Bronson MyChart App.
- Find a Doctor: Looking for a Primary Care Provider? Find a doctor and schedule online or by calling (269) 341-7788.
- On Demand Video Visit
- If you need help, whether you’re at home, at work or traveling, you can connect face-to-face with a Bronson doctor. Use anywhere you have an internet connection and a smart phone, tablet or computer.