Constipation is a common gi issue, and almost everyone experiences it occasionally at some point in their lives. It usually indicates that you are not getting enough water and/or fiber in your diet. It is important that you treat occasional constipation without relying on over the counter laxatives. Frequent or long term use of laxatives can cause an additional health risk and could cause dependance.
Most occasional constipation can be treated with the gradual addition of fiber and drinking plenty of water each day. 25 – 30 grams of fiber per day is the daily recommendation and adults should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day; more if you are working outside or live in a very hot, dry climate.
Chronic constipation is another matter entirely and can cause long term damage. If you notice a darkening of the stool or visible blood you should contact a doctor immediately, as this may be a symptom of a much more serious issue.
Symptoms of constipation include:
- Infrequent bowel movements – typically fewer than three stools a week
- Painful bowel movements – having hard or lumpy stools
- Straining to have bowel movements