Constipation is a serious health issue in the United States. More than 42 million US citizens have problems with this condition. The more staggering fact is that dealing with constipation costs emergency rooms more than 2 billion dollars. In most cases, the irregular bowel movements are not a big reason to be alarmed. But bowel conditions can worsen with time, and it can become a chronic disease followed by intense pain. When this happens, a red light needs to signal an alarm in your head, and you should visit a doctor.
When to See a Doctor
Like we said, in the majority of cases, constipation is nothing that should worry you, because it is a state that passes quickly. But in some cases, being constipated can be a sign of a more significant health problem. There are severe health conditions that can manifest through irregular bowel movement.
The most dangerous cases of constipation can be a sign of Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, stroke, lupus, and thyroid disease. If you are suffering from constipation for more than three weeks, you should go and see your doctor. This way you can be sure that it is really constipation that is bothering you and not a graver health condition.
In some cases, you should go to a doctor immediately without a waiting period. Constipation becomes an emergency if you notice blood in your stool, if you don’t have a bowel movement at all for longer than one week, if it’s your first constipation and unintentional weight loss follows it.
While typically considered a common occurrence in most individuals, this illness can be caused by intestinal blockage. You will know that it’s a bowel obstruction if you notice severe abdominal pain, vomiting, inability to pass gas, and severe bloating. If you have two or more of these combined, you need to go to an emergency room.
Preparing to Talk to Your Doctor
Visiting a doctor shouldn’t worry you. At first, you will have a conversation about your diet, eating habits, stool consistency, and when constipation began. If your problems last more than three days, you should carefully monitor what happens to your body so that you can tell that to the doctor. The more details you know, the more accurate the diagnosis will be.
In most cases, constipation can be handled by a change in diet and adoption of specific lifestyle changes. In other cases, you can get rid of irregular bowel movements by using medications. Doctors, depending on your case, usually recommend blood pressure medications, iron supplements, anticonvulsants, and pain relievers.
Causes of Constipation
Constipation typically starts when a person doesn’t take in enough water. In other cases, it happens when your stomach muscles weaken, and they can no longer push stool out of the body properly. Constipation can also be a product of a sedentary lifestyle or a poor diet.
Gas, on the other hand, is a product of swallowed air or the food you eat. Gas is also a consequence of chewing gum, eating quickly, and using a drinking straw. In these cases, it has something to do with swallowed air. Regarding the food you eat, gas can be a consequence of bacteria fermenting undigested carbohydrates within your digestive tract.
All of you will be glad to hear that standard constipation has an easy cure. The first steps would be to quit caffeine and drink enough water. Moving on, adding fiber to your diet would be the second step. Furthermore, you should focus your diet on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Exercising on a regular basis and visiting the doctor more often will also keep you safe from constipation.
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