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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Constipation: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Digestive System


Constipation | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

To treat this condition, a person needs to find the cause and fix it. For instance, if it is caused by lack of exercise, the person needs to exercise more. If the body is not getting enough fluids, he or she needs to drink more.

If the feces are hard, a doctor may recommend a mild stool softener, such as docusate, or laxative. Laxatives, such as bisacodyl, come in many forms, including liquids, pills, chewing gum, and powder that is mixed in water. If laxatives are used for more than 2 weeks, they can aggravate symptoms. Sometimes diet changes work just as well as laxatives. For instance, a diet containing bulk, such as vegetable fiber, bran, and water, produces large, soft feces that are easily passed.

A person also may want to try:

  • drinking 2 to 4 extra glasses of water a day
  • drinking warm liquids, especially in the morning
  • eating more fruits and vegetables
  • eating prunes and/or bran cereal
  • When a disease is causing constipation, the disease must be treated.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Before taking laxatives, a person should talk to his or her doctor as there can be side effects. For instance, if a person takes laxatives that contain certain chemicals for too long, these laxatives may actually maintain constipation, and weaken the muscles of the bowel.

    A person should add fiber to his or her diet a little at a time until the body gets used to it.

    What happens after treatment for the condition?

    Good lifestyle habits allow the digestive system to work efficiently. Eating a fiber-rich diet, drinking plenty of fluids, and exercising regularly go a long way toward preventing constipation.

    How is the condition monitored?

    Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong number of bowel movements. Each person's body finds its own normal number of bowel movements. It depends on a person's age, the foods eaten, and how much he or she exercises. A person should call a doctor if he or she has blood in the stool, is losing weight without dieting, or has severe pain with bowel movements

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    Constipation: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: Dr. Karen Wolfe, MBBS, MA
    Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Reviewed: 08/09/01

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