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Constipation, Ambulatory Care

Constipation

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
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Headache

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Blood in your bowel movement
  • A fever and abdominal pain with the constipation

Treatment for constipation

may include medicine or a fiber supplement to make your bowel movement softer. A laxative may help relax and loosen your intestines to help you have a bowel movement. You may also be given medicine to increase fluid in your intestines. The fluid may help move bowel movements through your intestines.

Manage or prevent constipation:

  • Drink liquids as directed. You may need to drink more liquids than usual. 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.
  • Exercise regularly to help stimulate your intestines. Ask about the best exercise plan 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.

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