CONSTIPATION

 

Constipation is difficulty passing stools.  It may be accompanied by gas, abdominal cramping, or pressure in the lower abdomen.  Constipation may lead to stool impaction, a severe form of constipation where the stool will no longer pass through the bowel or rectum.

 

Causes of Constipation:

  • Inadequate fluid intake
  • Decreased activity
  • Poor diet
  • Pain medications and other medications
  • Some chemotherapy drugs

 

Symptoms:

  • A sustained decrease in the frequency of bowel movements from your normal routine
  • Hard or difficult to pass movements. You may pass small, marble-like pieces of stool without a satisfactory elimination
  • Cramping or gas

 

Prevention:

  • Drink plenty of water.  Fluids keep the stool soft.  Try to drink 6 to 8 glasses (8oz. each) of fluid a day.
  • Eat foods high in fiber, such as fruit, vegetables, and beans.  High fiber foods stimulate the intestines to move.
  • Avoid cheese, processed meat and other low fiber foods that cause constipation.
  • Exercise helps stimulate digestion and prevent constipation.  Moderate activity such as walking will help.

 

**Call your doctor if you are constipated**

 

Some Medications (Laxatives and Stool Softeners) that may help:

  • Kristalose (lactulose)
  • Colace (docusate)
  • Dulcolax (bisacodyl)
  • Milk of Magnesia
  • Senokot (senna)