You should contact your doctor if you experience rectal prolapse, blood in your stool, very thin stools, unexplained weight loss, or severe pain, which may be symptoms of other medical conditions. You should receive immediate emergency medical attention for symptoms of an intestinal blockage including a sudden inability to pass gas or stools, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
Initially, doctors may recommend some medications. Your doctor may prescribe bulk-forming agents, stool softeners, or laxatives. You should discuss long-term medication options with your doctor, if necessary. Over-the-counter laxatives are not recommended for long-term use.
There are several steps you can take to prevent constipation. Eat a diet that is high in fiber including fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Drink plenty of water and fruit juices. Exercise regularly or increase your activity level. Establish healthy bowel habits. Go to the bathroom when you feel the need to void.
Am I at RiskCertain factors can lead to constipation. They include eating a poor diet, physical inactivity, older age, certain medical conditions, and some medications. You should tell your doctor about your risk factors and discuss your concerns. There may be changes you can make to eliminate selected risk factors.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.