If your bowel movements have become less frequent or more difficult, you may be suffering from constipation. Constipation is a very common condition, with most people having to deal with it at least once during their lifetime. Chronic constipation, however, can be symptomatic of a more serious condition.
Many factors contribute to constipation, some of which are obvious. Dehydration and a lack of fiber in the diet, for example, are well known to cause difficult bowel movements, but did you know that travel and stress can play a role as well? Disruptions in your daily routine can affect the digestive system, leading to constipation – these disruptions can be caused by traveling, a change in work life, an increase in stress, pregnancy, medication(s), dairy products or a lack of exercise.
Luckily, constipation is usually unpleasant, but temporary. Most people find relief simply in focusing on hydration and increasing the amount of fiber they consume by eating foods that relieve constipation, such as beans, prunes and broccoli. However, others find that that these changes either do not work or that their constipation returns frequently. For constipation to be considered “chronic,” it must result in less than three bowel movements per week over a period of several months. It is important to discuss your symptoms with a gastroenterologist, who will be able to diagnose your constipation and determine if the issue is symptomatic of an underlying condition.
Common Myths about Constipation
Here are three myths: (1) you should have more bowel movements as you age, (2) everyone needs at least one bowel movement each day, and (3) drinking water and working out will cure constipation for good.
The truth: (1) many people experience less bowel movements as they age, (2) not having a bowel movement each day does not necessarily mean you are constipated, and (3) drinking water can certainly help, but it is not a cure-all method for constipation.
If you find that constipation is more than just an occasional unpleasant experience, contact InSite Digestive Health Care today. Our GI specialists will diagnose, provide treatment options and determine if there is an underlying condition that requires further testing. There’s no need to “deal with” constipation and hope it will go away on its own, especially when trained, experienced specialists are available.