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Video: Dr. Jadesola Omoyeni, Discusses Constipation

Dr. Jadesola Omoyeni explains what the causes and treatments are for constipation in a recent video presentation.

What is Constipation?

Constipation is when bowel movements become hard to pass or happen less frequent than usual. How often a person has a bowel movement varies from person to person. For some, it’s normal to have several bowel movements every day. For others, it may be one or two times a week. Having fewer than three bowel movements a week is generally considered constipation.

What Causes Constipation?

The most common causes of constipation are inadequate fiber in the diet, dehydration, and certain medications.  All of these can cause the stool to pass too slowly in the digestive tract. Slow movement causes the stool to lose moisture and become hard and dry.  Reasons for constipation include:

  • Not enough fiber in diet
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Consuming lots of dairy
  • Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
  • Change in routine
    • Traveling
    • Becoming pregnant
    • New diet or exercise routines
  • Medications
    • Strong pain medications (e.g. narcotics)
    • Antidepressants
    • Antacids containing calcium
  • Other medical conditions
    • Diabetes
    • Neurologic conditions like Parkinson’s, MS, or a spinal cord injury
    • Pelvic floor disorders
    • Irritable bowel syndrome

Managing Constipation

Treatment usually begins with lifestyle changes to diet and exercise.  Often, patients can get relief from constipation through these steps:

  • Increasing Fiber in Diet – Slowly increase your fiber intake.  A sudden increase in fiber can cause gas, bloating, and can even make constipation worse.
  • Drink more water – Drink an additional 2 to 4 glasses of water each day.
  • Exercise most days – Try to fit in physical activity most days every week.  This will help increase muscle activity in your intestines.
  • Don’t ignore the urge to go – take your time in the bathroom.  Allow yourself enough time for a bowel movement without feeling rushed.
  • If diet and exercise aren’t enough, your doctor may recommend laxatives.

Watch Dr. Jadesola Omoyeni explain when you should seek help for constipation and treatments:

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