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July 14, 2021 03:23pm
By Jill Murphy, Associate Editor
Constipation is a condition in which an individual has fewer than 3 bowel movements a week or has bowel movements that are hard and difficult to pass. Constipation is considered to be a common gastrointestinal compliant affecting approximately 42 million individuals in the United States. Constipation is very common during pregnancy, after childbirth, after surgery, and after taking certain medications. Most cases of constipation are easily managed with proper treatment, but some individuals suffer from chronic constipation, which can lead to other complications.
Signs and Symptoms
While the frequency and severity of constipation vary from individual to individual, common signs and symptoms include:
Cause and Common Triggers
Some of the most common causes of constipation include:
Testing and Diagnosis
If you experience persistent and chronic constipation, you should seek medical care from your doctor to determine the cause. Your doctor will probably conduct a physical exam and may order other tests, especially if you are suffering from chronic constipation.
Prevention and Management
Preventing constipation is easier than treating it. Lifestyle modifications for prevention and treatment include:
Treatment and Care
Treatment depends on the cause, severity, and duration of the constipation and may include 1 or more of the following:
Homeopathic and Alternative Remedies
Some patients may find relief from constipation by making dietary changes and may elect to use alternative remedies such as:
It is important for patients to discuss the use of alternative remedies with their doctor or pharmacist to avoid drug interactions or contraindications and to ascertain the appropriateness of use.
A number of OTC products are available to prevent and relieve constipation. OTC products for treating and preventing constipation include:
Patients should consult their pharmacist for a recommendation on an OTC product for preventing and treating constipation, guidance on its proper use, and information on potential drug interactions and contraindications.
Resources for Patients
Resources for Pharmacists