Be aware of the side effects of medications. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause occasional constipation. In some cases, relief is just a matter of changing the dosage or brand of the medication. It is important to talk with your doctor about all the medications and natural remedies you are taking and their possible side effects. When you pick up a prescription or purchase an over-the-counter medication at the drugstore, always feel free to ask your pharmacist about the likelihood of constipation .

Investigate vitamins and supplements. Talk to your doctor about the vitamins and supplements you are taking. Iron supplements, vitamin D, and calcium can increase the likelihood of constipation. Many herbal supplements also are linked to constipation.

Helpful tips for preventing or relieving constipation

Let’s face it… constipation is NOT a topic anyone enjoys talking about, but actually experiencing constipation is even LESS enjoyable. As much as we would like to avoid the subject, constipation is a very common condition, and it becomes even more common in later years of life. Almost everyone in their seasoned years has experienced the discomfort of constipation now and again … some of us more frequently than others. 

What does being constipated mean exactly? If you are having less bowel movements than usual, you are probably experiencing constipation. If it becomes difficult, painful, or takes longer to pass stool, you are probably constipated. If your stools are hard and dry, you are probably constipated.

Constipation is an important subject to talk about because the condition can be prevented and it can be treated. In most cases, constipation does not indicate a serious health concern. However, severe or chronic constipation may result in medical complications. If you think you are constipated, it is always a good idea to speak with your doctor to rule out any medical problems, including a blockage, disease, or other ailments.

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Symptoms of Constipation

Be careful when taking antacids. Although helpful for fighting heartburn, taking antacids repeatedly or at a high dosage can cause constipation. Let your doctor know if you are suffering from stomach issues. There may be an underlying cause that can be treated effectively.

Eat prunes. Your mother or grandmother probably recommended prunes to fight constipation. As it turns out, you should heed the advice. Prunes really do support healthy bowel function.

Limit dairy and high-fat foods, especially cheese. A diet high in cheese and /high-fat foods can slow down your digestion and cause or aggravate constipation

Include fiber in your diet. Research shows that eating a diet high in fiber - including whole grains, fruits, and vegetables - can help prevent constipation.

The following are a few signs that may indicate you are constipated:

Never ignore the urge to go. Holding in a bowel movement for too long can lead to  - or worsen - constipation. Certainly, most people prefer to have bowel movements in their own bathroom, but that isn’t always possible. Although perhaps not the most inviting environment, you can usually find a public restroom in almost any location. No matter where you may be, what you may be doing… when nature calls, answer.

Use laxatives, stool softeners, and natural constipation remedies wisely. Taking a laxative or other remedy to help with constipation is fine if done occasionally, but depending on them to keep you regular can cause problems. Talk with your doctor about laxatives. He or she can tell you which ones are best for you as well as the correct dosage you should be taking. Your doctor may suggest prescription drugs that help with constipation.

Stay as active as possible. Regular physical activity can help prevent constipation. Try to incorporate activity into your daily routine. Talk walks, do some gardening, exercise, even dance. There are ways to be active even with a condition that affects your mobility. The goal is to keep moving as best you can.

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  • You are moving your bowels less often than usual or only one or two times a week.
  • You have to labor and strain to have a bowel movement.
  • You have to spend long time in the bathroom before having a successful bowel movement.
  • Your stools are hard, dry, or look like rocks.
  • It feels as your bowels haven’t emptied completely following bowel movements.
  • You experience bloating and/or cramping.

Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration can cause constipation. Drinking enough water and other fluids helps keep stools soft and your bowels moving. Limit caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, because too much of either can contribute to dehydration.

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