The single most common digestive complaint in the United States is constipation, and it can make your life miserable. You feel bloated and irritable and you may tend to get headaches easily.
We define severe and chronic constipation as a stool frequency of less than three per week lasting for months and years.
Separating fact from fiction
Do you think you are suffering from an abnormal condition when you are not? Here are the facts on severe and chronic constipation:
- How often should I have a bowel movement? Fewer than 50% of people have one bowel movement daily.
- How many should I have a week? 95% of adults have 3 to 21 bowel movements weekly. This entire range is considered normal, depending on the person.
- What about accumulation of "toxins?" There is no scientific evidence showing that "toxins" accumulate when bowel movements are infrequent or that such constipation will lead to cancer or some other disease. However, if you are still constipated after using fiber laxatives or hydrated magnesium carbonate (milk of magnesia) you need to call (860) 826-3880 and make an appointment.
- Should I have more bowel movements as I get older? No, actually the number of bowel movements tends to decrease with age.
- How many people suffer from chronic constipation? Nationwide, this is a serious issue, affecting 15-20% of the U.S. Population
- If you eat right, get exercise and drink plenty of fluids, can you still get constipated? Yes. Some psychological issues trigger chronic constipation, including the loss of a loved one, divorce, depression and underlying medical conditions, such as low thyroid hormone levels.
If you have feelings of constipation that is occasional, take these steps to releave it:
Habits help. Go to the bathroom at, roughly, the same time every morning. Make this a habit as your colonic activity is highest in the morning.
Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Don't ignore an urge to go. The natural movements that trigger a bowel movement come and go, so if you have to go, go.
Pay attention to your stress levels. Stress can interfere with all of your body functions and how you react to stress is key. Many people cannot expel a movement properly because they are too stressed or are rushed. During your morning routine, relax.
Drink more water. Many Americans simply do not drink enough water. Adults should drink at least 8 12-ounce glasses of water daily. And on hot days and when you exercise, you should drink more than that.
Increase your dietary fiber intake. Switch from white to whole-grain breads, eat a bowl of oatmeal or bran flakes in the morning, switch from white to brown rice. Additionally, dietary fiber laxatives, like psyllium or methylcelluose work well in relieving chronic constipation.
We can help. We can perscribe medications and laxatives that will relieve your constipation to take for a short time to get you back to regularity. Call us at (860) 826-3880 and let us help ease your life.