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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Obstipation develops when you become so constipated you cannot have a bowel movement. You may feel like you need to have a bowel movement. You may have abdominal or rectal pain. You may also have bloating, nausea, or vomiting.
- Medicines may help soften your bowel movement and make it easier to pass. These medicines may be taken orally or as a suppository or enema.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your primary healthcare provider (PHP) if you think your medicine is not helping or you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your PHP as directed:
Your PHP may refer you to a gastroenterologist. Bring a list of your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Drink liquids as directed. Liquids will help keep your bowel movements soft so you pass them with less pain. Ask your PHP how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
- Eat high-fiber foods or take fiber supplements. Fiber adds bulk to your bowel movement and makes it easier to pass. Raw fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and beans are examples of high-fiber foods. Adults should eat at least 20 grams of fiber a day. Your PHP or dietitian can help you plan meals.
- Make time for your bowel movements. You may develop constipation if you ignore the urge or wait too long. Help train your body to have regular bowel movements by setting a bathroom time each day. The best time is after a morning meal, because your colon prepares for a bowel movement when you eat.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise may help your intestines pass bowel movements more often. Ask your PHP about the best exercise plan for you.
Contact your PHP if:
- You are losing weight without trying.
- You have a change in the color, amount, size, or consistency of your bowel movements.
- You have a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have severe abdominal pain.
- You have a bloody or black bowel movement.
- You vomit more than once.
- You have a fever and back, stomach, muscle, or joint pain.
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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.