Constipation

  • Medical Author:
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Women with constipation

Top Foods to Prevent Constipation Foods

Top 12 Foods to Prevent Constipation and Provide Relief

Fortunately, there are many foods you can eat to help relieve constipation, and foods to avoid that can make constipation worse. Here is a list of 12 foods to eat to help relieve your constipation. When planning a healthy diet, it helps to include plenty of high-fiber choices to help you stay regular.

  • Flax seed
  • Beans
  • Kiwi
  • Berries
  • Pears, plums, and apples
  • ...

Quick GuideDigestive Disorders: Constipation Myths and Facts

Digestive Disorders: Constipation Myths and Facts

Constipation facts

  • Constipation is defined medically as fewer than three stools per week and severe constipation as less than one stool per week.
  • Some of the symptoms of constipation include
    • lower abdominal discomfort,
    • infrequent bowel movements,
    • straining to have a bowel movement,
    • hard or small stools,
    • rectal bleeding and/or anal fissures caused by hard stools, and
    • physiological distress and/or obsession with having bowel movements.
  • Constipation usually is caused by the slow movement of stool through the colon.
  • The two disorders limited to the colon that cause constipation are colonic ine
  • There are many causes of constipation including medications, poor bowel habits, low fiber diets, possibly abuse of laxatives, hormonal disorders, and diseases primarily of other parts of the body that also affect the colon.
  • rtia and pelvic floor dysfunction.
  • High levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy may cause constipation.
  • Medical evaluation of constipation should be done when constipation is of sudden onset, severe, worsening, associated with other worrisome symptoms such as loss of weight, or is not responding to simple, safe and effective treatments.
  • Medical evaluation of constipation may include a history, physical examination, blood tests, abdominal X-rays, barium enema, colonic transit studies, defecography, anorectal motility studies, and colonic motility studies.
  • The goal of therapy for constipation is one bowel movement every two to three days without straining.
  • Treatment of constipation may include dietary fiber, non-stimulant laxatives, stimulant laxatives, enemas, suppositories, biofeedback training, prescription medications, and surgery.
  • Stimulant laxatives, including herbal laxatives, should be used as a last resort because they may permanently damage the colon and worsen constipation.
Reviewed on 7/16/2015
References
REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.

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