What is constipation?
Constipation occurs when bowel movements become difficult or less frequent. The normal length of time between bowel movements varies for each person but going longer than three days without a bowel movement is too long. Signs of constipation are:
- Stools are dry
- Abnormal stool size
- Frequent stomachaches
- Feeling bloated
- Loss of appetite
What causes constipation?
Constipation is usually caused by a bowel function disorder not a structural problem. Causes of constipation include:
- Low fiber diet
- Not drinking enough water
- Lack of exercise
What are the symptoms of constipation?
Symptoms usually consist of infrequent bowel movements or difficulty having bowel movements, abdominal pain and vomiting.
How is constipation diagnosed?
If you have constipation for more than two weeks, you should see a doctor to determine the source of your problem and treat it. Tests include:
- Blood tests if a hormonal imbalance is suspected.
- Colonoscopy to look for obstruction of the colon.
- Barium studies to look for obstruction of the colon.
How is constipation prevented?
- Fiber diet
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Exercise regularly