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is when you have hard, dry bowel movements, or you go longer than usual between bowel movements. Constipation may be caused by a lack of water or high-fiber foods. Medicines used to treat pain or depression, or a lack of physical activity may also cause constipation.
Common symptoms include the following:
- Trouble pushing out your bowel movement
- Pain or bleeding during your bowel movement
- A feeling that you did not finish having your bowel movement
Seek care immediately if:
- You have blood in your bowel movements.
- You have a fever and abdominal pain with the constipation.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your constipation gets worse.
- You start to vomit.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Medicine can keep you have a bowel movement more easily. Medicines may increase moisture in your bowel movement or increase the motion of your intestines.
- A suppository may be used to help soften your bowel movements. This may make them easier to pass. A suppository is guided into your rectum through your anus.
- Laxatives can help stimulate your bowels to have a bowel movement. Your provider may recommend you only use laxatives for a short time. Long-term use may make your bowels dependent on the medicine.
- An enema is liquid medicine used to clear bowel movement from your rectum. The medicine is put into your rectum through your anus.
- Drink liquids as directed. You may need to drink extra liquids to help soften and move your bowels. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
- Eat high-fiber foods. This may help decrease constipation by adding bulk to your bowel movements. High-fiber foods include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, and beans. Your healthcare provider or dietitian can help you create a high-fiber meal plan. Your provider may also recommend a fiber supplement if you cannot get enough fiber from food.
- Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity can help stimulate your intestines. Ask which exercises are best for you.
- Schedule a time each day to have a bowel movement. This may help train your body to have regular bowel movements. Bend forward while you are on the toilet to help move the bowel movement out. Sit on the toilet for at least 10 minutes, even if you do not have a bowel movement.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Learn more about Constipation (Ambulatory Care)
Micromedex® Care Notes
- Constipation in Adults
- Constipation in Children
- Constipation in Infants
- Treatment of Chronic Constipation in Children