May 5, 2014 - Combating Constipation

We all might feel a little 'backed up' at times but it can be relative sometimes to a person's expectations. I am asked by patients how often they are supposed to have bowel movements. A fairly regular and average amount would be every 1 to 2 days. However I am sure there are readers thinking, that is either not enough or too much. It really is also based on how you feel. If you are comfortable going every 2-3 days without excessive bloating, passing gas or abdominal pain, then you are not constipated. You are simply being you. I have patients that expect to go at least once a day and feel they are constipated if they go less than that.

To keep yourself on a regular schedule remember to drink enough fluids, try to maintain some regular exercise and eat fiber. Fiber can be soluble like apples, oranges, strawberries and oatmeal and it can be insoluble like whole grains and most vegetables. Both can be beneficial in different ways to help food move through your intestines at a desirable pace. If you are feeling that you are constipated, try food, fluids and exercise first. If that is not sufficient then think about taking docusate sodium (Colace) which is a stool softener, a supplement like Metamucil or Senakot, and/or a probiotic. Think about how you eat and remember that fatty food moves more slowly through your intestines than high fiber foods. So you might savor them as they go in, but not as much when they are coming out. Hope that didn't ruin your dinner!

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